Monday, March 28, 2011

A Storage Idea

Today, as I sorted thru stuff that I had put into the garage for this week's Flea Market, I came across three, still in their packages, Toy Hammocks.

I have no idea why I had bought them, but I brought them back into the house because I think they might be useful in the RV.

They are made of a white nylon mesh.  As I was looking for pictures, I saw several that were crocheted, for the do-it- yourselfers.  

Although they are shown hanging in corners, they can also be hung flat on a wall.  

And although the are shown with the front side open, you can hook the front edge over the middle hook and create a closed mesh bag.

As an experiment,  I hung one up and was easily able to put ten rolled tee shirts into it.

I could see attaching some of these to the back of the closet, or even the closet door using those adhesive hooks.  

Just an idea.  I put them into my dresser drawer for future use.  There are several different types for sale on the internet and Baby stores and container stores.

Has anyone used them?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I hope I'm not claiming improvement to soon

About three weeks ago I took word verification off of my comments.  I think.  If it is still requiring you to type that silly word, please let me know!

The first time I took it off I started getting SPAM on older posts.  This time I checked the box saying to put comment moderation on posts older than 14 days.

So far I have not gotten any more SPAM.

I've gotten quite used to typing the silly words.  I make it a personal challenge and look at it as an exercise for my old brain.

I have also removed the auto-correct.  It kept changing my misspelled words into words that were nonsense.  I would rather watch for the red underline and correct the spelling (mistyping) myself.

My days have been good.  Getting some art work done, and today we took the first pass at the taxes.  There goes the savings account!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


For the first time in several days it has stopped raining and the sun is shining.  Two more storms are predicted in the next four days.  I am so glad we have a new roof!  We have had almost 40 inches of rain since October.
picture from the web

I saw our local bobcat again this afternoon.  I was washing a few dishes and I looked out the kitchen window and there he was just walking thru as calmly as can be.   

I hope he is catching lots of mice and gophers in our yard.  They have been invading our garage again lately.  

I've been baiting the traps and catching them.  The other morning there was a mouse that had only been caught by the foot.  I couldn't kill it by hand, so I took it and let it go on the far side of the yard.  

Wonder if Bob killed it for me.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Master Bedroom is FINISHED

Well, almost. 

 I still have to clean the free standing cone fireplace and give it fresh a coat of high temp black paint, but that's another project and may not happen for a while.

I left the tape up on top so I can make a plastic tent when we spray paint it.  Before we had the roof redone water dripped down the pipe and there is a bit of rust that has to be cleaned of

But everything else is done!  

I ended up deciding to save the light sage green color for another room and go with my own custom mixed color.  
I had tried three different sample quarts of paint and none of them were right, so I took some white paint and started adding a bit of bunt umber and a bit of burnt sienna until I got the color I liked. 
 Then I  added more white to get it to the correct shade. 
 I took this to Sherwin Williams and they almost matched it.  Their sample match was still to dark so I had them mix it at 75% saturation for the gallon and it was just right.  

The new color is very much like the background color of the Blogger Dashboard! Neutral, but a good color to bridge between the barn wood wall and stone wall.

On Sunday we carried the big brass framed mirror into the kitchen and I spent a couple hours polishing it with Brasso.  Craig had gone off to the store while I worked, but when he came back he did some rubbing too.

Wow, it came out like new!   
The entire room has been transformed!

You will never confuse me with "Susie Homemaker."  I hate to clean, and rarely do housework, but my recent painting has been very rewarding.

As I work thru each room I become more and more motivated to keep them nice. 

The good news is I won't be doing any more renovation for at least the next two weeks.

 I have a couple of sculpture orders to get done this week, and next week I have to get stuff ready for the Flea Market on April 2nd.

  I've been stashing stuff in boxes in one of the garages for several months.  Now I have to haul it all out, sort it, price it, and decide what should go to the market, what should be kept for storage, and what should go to the dump. 

Craig is no help in this. Whenever I bring it up he makes "unhappy noises."  I don't know if thats just his way of getting out of dealing with things. 

So if I don't do it, it won't get done!

Well, at least it's not painting!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Audio Version of Merikay Remembers

Now what is she doing?

Last November I started a second blog Merikay Remembers as a place to  write a series of little stories about my childhood for my grandchildren.

Years ago,  I had helped my own mother use a book of questions to put together her stories.

  For Mother's day, last year, my daughter gave me a similar guide book, and I decided it was time to start working with it.

About the same time Kim Miles  was experimenting with doing audio versions of her blogs.  She used the free trial of a service from the internet.  (I just checked her blogs from then and see the audio tracks are no longer working.)

 I really thought it was a neat idea.  Craig told me I didn't need a "service" to make audio files, and he could show me how to do it.

Well, in our usual way we got busy and five months have slipped by.  The other night I asked him about it again and between the two of us we figured it out.

  Using the Garage Band application on my lap top I am able to record podcast files in an MP3 format.  I went to the Help link on Blogger and learned how to put them into my posts. 

To do this, I had to either  subscribe to a service like Kim had, or  host the podcasts  myself. 

Since we have a nice big web site, that worked for me, and Craig showed me how to do it.

I don't intend to make podcasts of this blog any time soon, but I think it is a neat addition to my little stories. Most of the MP3s are only a minute or so long.

If you'd like to see how it's working there is an Audio link at the bottom of each of the stories on Merikay Remembers .  There is also a link to that blog on my side bar just under the labels cloud.

Now that I've got it figured out I hope to create a story or two each week to build the collection.  Eventually I will burn the podcasts to a CD for my great grand children, and have the blog posts printed as a book or ebook.  gotta be modern.

The answer to the question posed at the beginning of this post is that I'm recording an MP3.

Craig said they sounded to tinny and echoey, so I put a blanket over myself to make a recording chamber!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


The ceiling need a second coat!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hank The Cowdog

As I read the blogs of those of you who are wandering around Arizona and Southern California, finding wonderful ranch sites and desert locations, I can't help thinking how much you would enjoy listening to the Hank the Cowdog  audio book series.

Those of you in other states will enjoy them too!

A recent picture on the the Bayfield bunch blog of a coyote outside their rig reminded me of the series.

We have about a dozen of the the audio books that we have bought thru the NPR (National Public Radio) catalog over the years, and have enjoyed  while sitting in front of a winter's fire, and while taking the long drive down to San Diego (with dogs of course!)

Who is Hank?

Hank is a mutt!  He lives on a ranch,
and in fact is the "HEAD of RANCH SECURITY!

The many delightful stories are told
 in Hanks own voice,
from his unique, dog, point of view.

Hank and his good buddy Drover get into all
sorts of trouble, both inside and out.
Of course it's never their fault.

Sometimes Hank is a hero!
He also falls in love a lot.
Sometimes he has disagreements with the CAT!
The cat always wins, but Hank doesn't think so.

And the coyotes.  At one point Hank falls in love with a lady coyote and goes to live with the pack.  But they have  many drunken parties, and their singing keeps Hank awake at night.

Whatever he does, he manages to make his listeners smile. 

So if you love dogs, humor, and the West, this is a wonderful series.  

Buy a few for yourself, you can always share them with your grandchildren!

I looked up Hank on Google hoping to find some free downloads to recommend to my RV friends.  I found one site here that had a couple.  I don't know how it works, but you might want to try it. 

I did find the Hank the Cowdog web site and store where you can buy CDs or cassettes.  It's   here.  They let you listen to a sample of  the stories. 

I checked with the San Jose Library, and it looks like they have all the books, but I can't find any Audio Books.  I'll have to go into the Library one of these days and ask.

I'm going to buy several more and put Hank on my Christmas wish list. (I don't need any more "stuff.") I would like to have more to listen to when WE are on the road.  (There are more than 50 stories in all.) 

Anyway, it's good for the child within,  And I think with RVers, the child is not far from the surface!


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Medley Stuffed Peppers

The other day I bought a package of three Sweet Bell Peppers for no other reason than "they were so pretty."  I  decided I wanted to use them this evening, but  I didn't feel like doing my good "old stuffed pepper the way my mother did it" recipe.  You know, hamburger, rice, and tomato soup, so I looked thru the cupboards to see what I had on hand and put together my own version of a recipe I  saw in a magazine some years ago.

Craig said they were the best stuffed peppers he had ever had and insisted I post the recipe.  So here it is:

Merikay’s Medley Stuffed Peppers
Serves 2

Three sweet Bell peppers –red, yellow, orange
Cooking oil
2 large garlic cloves – minced
¼ Cup Onion,- minced
2 Cups fresh Crimini mushroom caps – minced

1 cup uncooked rice medley  (A mix of rice including brown and  wild – no seasonings added) I bought this in the bulk section of Berkeley Bowl.

½  cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup grated Mexican Cheese Mix (Packaged)  These were all leftovers and
½ cup Jack Cheese (Packaged)                             amounts were what I had on hand

1 small can  (8.75 oz) kidney beans – rinsed and drained
½ Cup frozen corn
3 green onions sliced into rounds

Cook rice medley in 2 cups water until tender (about 40 minutes).
 Cut peppers length wise. Steam until tender. 
Sauté garlic and onions in 1 Tablespoon oil a few minutes, then add the mushrooms.  Cook until mushrooms wilt and corn defrosts.  Add cooked rice medley, kidney beans, and parmesan cheese.
 Place peppers cut side up in single layer in baking dish.  Fill with rice mix. (I had a little left over that I put it into a small dish and saved for lunch.   It could be baked along with the peppers).

Scatter green onions over peppers. Scatter Mexican cheese mix over peppers and place into a preheated 350 oven. 
  Bake 15 minutes, scatter Jack cheese over and bake 5 minutes more.

Cooking time might be increased if dish is made ahead and is cold.

All measurements were based on leftovers I had on hand and what seemed about right.

 So now it's in my blog and I can find it using the "Labels."

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Last Wall

Today, Saturday, Craig helped me take down the heavy brass mirror over the built-in vanity so I could get the wallpaper off the last wall in the master bedroom.

He had to remove the paper from the kick-space in the center. I can climb step ladders all day, but I just can't get down into little low places like that!

Unless something comes up, I will start painting the ceiling on Monday or Tuesday.  I still have to decide on a wall color.  I'm torn between a pinkish brown that might go with the stone and wood wall, or a very light sage. 

The operative word is "might."  I've already bought three sample pinkish brownish paints, and none of them are quite right. I know the sage would be safe.  I guess I'll get a sample quart and try it out.  I hate making these kinds of decisions! 

Someday this will all be a distant memory!

For today, I got to check off "remove wallpaper from master bedroom" in my to do book.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Hear an old interview:

I got this email this morning from a reporter who did an interview with me when I had a Solo show at a Gallery in San Francisco some yeas ago.

I really don't remember what I said, but if you have nothing to do and have internet access on Saturday afternoon, you might try to listen in.

"Hi Merikay,
Hope this email finds you well.
We did an interview several years ago now for my show Animals Aloud.
It is re-running this Saturday on at 3pm. 
 It's online only.   
The show is about Animals in Art. 
Your interview will run around 3:43 pm.  ( PACIFIC Time)
I know the Lola Gallery is no longer around, but people can always contact you online if they want to see your work.
Very best,
Déirdre Kennedy
Reporter - Producer "

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cooking in an RV

Food is a big part of our life.  Craig likes to pick out interesting recipes, shop for the ingredients, and  I enjoy cooking them. 

Mostly, I enjoy is eating them!

As I look forward to the day we are full timing I have been thinking more and more about how small  RV kitchens are, and wondering how I'm going to create the types of meals we have become accustomed to. 

But, the more I read and the more I think about how I do things now, the more comfortable I am becoming with the idea of an RV kitchen.

I have been working my way thru the RV cooking and kitchen talk threads on the RV Dreamers forum site. Many of my questions have been asked and answered by others there.

Many of the full time bloggers write about what they prepare and post recipes. Some, like Laurie and Odel have a whole side bar of recipes that look very interesting. Knowing they have done some very interesting cooking in their RV is encouraging.

I've also been working my way thru the many episodes of the RV Cooking Show.

The recipes Evanne demonstrates are not very complicated, nor exotic, but for me watching her cook in a small space has been interesting.  

I have noticed that although I have a very large kitchen, I actually do most of my prep work in a very small area.  If Craig helps, which he often does, he takes his cutting board to our seating area of the island.  

My biggest set back is, or was, the pile of dishes I would accumulate and all the cooking "things" and ingredients that got left out on the counter while I cooked.

I do think it's all a mater of changing habits.  Changes that are for the good whether I stay in a sticks and bricks or get to move on to an RV.

I started changing last year.  It was one of my first accomplishments toward my RV dream.  I used to leave dishes in the sink and pans soaking overnight.  I try not to anymore.  (Well, almost never.) Most nights all of the dishes and pots and pans are done and put away.

I have always been a fan of "cooking shows."  And when preparing a dish with many ingredients I usually try to get them cut or prepared and put into separate bowls before I actually start to cook.  I have been known to measure spices or sauces like soy sauce into little cups so I don't have to fumble about when it's time to add them.

I think this is a very important habit to have.  Not only to have the ingredients measured and ready to use, but to have any preparation mess and tools cleaned and put away before starting to cook, and then to keep washing up bowls and tools as you go.

Earlier this week we made ribs in the crock pot.  Since we had some left over I decided to make stir fried rice the next evening.  I had some rice in the freezer because for the first time I had doubled the amount of rice I cooked and froze what I had not used.

Instead of using a lot of bowls, I used coffee filters to put my cut up carrots and vegetables into before cooking.  

Four less dishes to wash! I could have used one for the meat as well.    I also used a prepackaged "fried rice seasoning" which made things even easier.

My kitchen is one thing I will miss, but I think we will continue to enjoy delicious and creative meals on the road.

Of course there will always be nights like tonight,  tired from removing wall paper all day, when I ask Craig to bring home 

A true no mess dinner!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wallpaper Removal Day-5

I guess I'm just scraping by these days.  Scrape, scrape, scrape!

Except that it is a very tedious process, the wallpaper removal is going well.

Today I started the hardest part.  The ceiling:

This house has many little "interesting" details.  In this room the ceiling is a normal eight foot height, except for a 4' X 15' section that is arched from 9' to 11'.  The rest of the ceiling is painted.  This section was wallpapered. 

To me there is nothing worse than removing wallpaper from a ceiling!  I got about half of it scraped off, but not washed today. 

The bit of the wall showing is a rustic barn wood wall that goes with the retro cone fireplace and corner stone wall.

This is the top half of a "before" picture I took last week.  I had to cut off the bottom because it showed all of the "stuff" we had piled up in there and I found the mess embarrassing!  

Anyway, half of me wants to paint the wall, but Craig likes it, and maybe the "character" of it will appeal to a future buyer.  If not, painting it will be easy for them to imagine doing if that is their preference.

So, thats today's update.  I did walk today, and as soon as I post this I'm going out to see if I can pick enough Miner's Lettuce for a dinner salad.

Exercise Goal:
 miles on the treadmill, 

miles Tuesday

Total walked = 324 miles  

Someday I will be hiking 1000 miles in National Parks!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Next Room Decided

I decided which room to tackle next on Monday when I successfully peeled off the first piece of grass cloth wall paper in what is considered the master bedroom. We actually sleep in a different room. (It's another story.)  It took a bit of scratching at the bottom edge, but I found once started the dry paper came off in floor to ceiling strips.  A fuzzy paper layer remained on the wall.

I knew that before I worked on the paper I wanted to clean the stone wall behind the little cone fireplace.  It was really ugly.  Over the years I have passed a webster over it a few times a year, but didn't do much else.  I started the cleaning process with a very thorough vacuuming with the soft brush attachment.

Next I washed the stones.  Starting at the bottom I used a spray bottle with 50% water and 50% vinegar to drench each stone.  By tucking Sham-wow cloths under each row, and towels on the floor,  I was able to catch the run off as I went.  I figure I used about two gallons of liquid.

It took two days to do, but it came out quite nice.  I will be cleaning and repainting the fireplace as well.  It's a rather retro feature, but can be quite pleasant.

Then I started ripping off wall paper.

 I  also  cleaned off the under layer of paper and glue with DIF, a scraper, and a three step wall washing process.

I've finished getting all the paper off and am about 1/3 of the way thru the removal of the under layer.

I'll probably be at it most of next week.

Tomorrow, Saturday, I going to preview a local monthly Flea Market.  It is said to be one of the better ones, with fewer really junky vendors.

You have to apply for a spot a month in advance.  I sent in the paper work for the first Saturday of April.  If I don't get a spot for then, I'll try again for May. But I want to take a look at what people are selling, their pricing, and their display methods.

It is supposed to be a quite nice day weather-wise.

Didn't walk today, but I'm really tired from scraping and washing.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

On the Lighter Side!

He puts a little butter in the egg.

A few weeks ago Craig had one of his favorite breakfasts.  Soft boiled eggs.

Of course he had to use his little chicky egg cup.  I don't know where it came from, but I do know we have had it forever, and it will come with us!

Exercise Goal:
 miles on the treadmill, 

miles Thursday

Total walked = 322 miles  

Someday I will be hiking 1000 miles in National Parks!

Death Valley

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Evelyn asked about my reference to a "Audio Ebay."  No, there is no Ebay for just audio equipment.  I was referring to is sites like AudiogoN where you can list used high end audio equipment and sell it with auctions as well as fixed prices.  You can also use the Paypal system for payment.

We have a lot of things that need to be listed!

It's hard to believe we all ready starting the third month of 2011. So far his year,  I've accomplished what I set out to do, maybe a little bit more. 

My to do list is written in pencil, which is good, because I had "paint the dining room" penciled in for March, but its done! 

I started work on the master bedroom yesterday.  I'll have to do a post about what I need to do in there. It will be a busy month.

One thing I'm definitely planning is a day of relaxation and fun with a fellow blogger, Levonne.  I hope to meet up for a nice walk on the beach sometime this month!

Exercise Goal:
 miles on the treadmill, 

1.5 miles Wednesday (plus a whole lot of upper body exercise using the wall paper scoring tool!)

Total walked = 320 miles  

Someday I will be hiking 1000 miles in National Parks!

Capitol Reef, Utah

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Like a puzzle

Some days this house feels like a giant "moving squares puzzle!"  I take stuff out of one room or closet, or drawer, get rid of some of it, but move some of it to another room!

A while back I emptied the attic of everything except empty boxes, send a lot to the trash or the flea market piles in the garage, but some is in boxes in a hallway upstairs.  Not gone.  But not back in the attic.

When I painted the living room a couple of things got shuffled to the dining room, then when I painted the dining room, they got moved to a bedroom.  Now I'm eyeing that bedroom as my next project and I am moving them up into the hall.  

Yes, I know I have to move them OUT, but they are some things I could list on the Audio version of Ebay.
One of these days ...

I do have two things on Craig's list this week ...

Someday that puzzle will be solved.

Everything WILL fall into place.


Exercise Goal:
 miles on the treadmill, 

miles Monday

Total walked = 318.5 miles  

Someday I will be hiking 1000 miles in National Parks!