Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cheese and Spinach Casserole

I dug out this recipe today and wanted to post it for posterity (and to make it easier for me to find next time). I found it several years ago on some low-carb website, but I don't eat it because it's low-carb. I eat it 'cause it's just plain good. It's better if you make it the night before you want to serve it and let the flavors meld, but I can't ever wait. I wanted to grate my own nutmeg, but couldn't find any whole nutmeg at the two local grocery stores I went to so I used ground. And you can't leave out the nutmeg because that's what really makes it. Well, that and the cheese. And the butter. And the eggs. And the spinach.

Cheese and Spinach Casserole

10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 c. melted butter
1 pt. cream-style small curd cottage cheese
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 1 1/2 qt casserole. Mix all ingredients together. Place in baking dish. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Sprinkle croutons on top during last 10 minutes of baking time.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thrift Store Bulletin Board

I found this bulletin board in a thrift store the other day for $1. I figured it was worth every bit of that. The two pics I stuck on there are of the campsite in the Keys that I'll be staying at in May. The weather's cold and rainy today and supposed to be even colder tomorrow and through the weekend, so I'm keeping those pics front and center to keep me going. Gee, I almost sound like I'm back in Wisconsin instead of here in Florida.

Stash the Cords

I don't know about you, but I have so many different chargers for all my electrical stuff, I was going crazy trying to keep track of them. I've gotten a handle on them by gathering each one with a twist tie and stowing them all in a plastic storage box. I keep the box on the rear shelf above my bed, making it very easy to reach up and grab the box when I need one of them. There's also room up there for another box in which I keep maps, brochures, and other information on campgrounds. The shelf has just enough of a lip to keep the boxes from flying off when I'm under way.

And that stuffed animal on the side is my new cat. No litter box, no coughed-up hair balls, no midnight wake-ups. My kinda cat.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Now I Really Am Homeless

I am finally done with the apartment. For the past two months I have been slowly - and I do mean slowly - clearing out my apartment. The lease is up the end of this month so I've taken my time, but today I finally took the last batch of donate-able stuff to the thrift store, cleaned the whole place and turned in my keys. I will not miss climbing up and down three flights of stairs every time I leave and come back home, but I will still kinda miss that view. The last thing I carried out was the red step stool.

Ta-Ta, Toaster

It pretty much goes without saying that living in a small space requires some serious adapting. I'm not known for my creativity, but I am pretty good about learning from others. Case in point, the toaster. I used to have a toaster taking up space because, well, real kitchens have toasters, right? It's the American way. Never mind I hardly ever used it, and when I did, it was simply to toast a muffin or bagel. I mean, there's not much else a toaster can do, right? And everybody knows when you're living in a small space, the things you have with you have to do at least double, if not triple, duty.

Last week at the Escapees rally, they had morning breakfast and bagels and they had set up a George Foreman grill to toast our bagels. Brilliant! That particular model was one of the higher end models with a thermostat that was set on Medium, but it turns out I can do the same thing with my little uni-temp model. So out the door went the toaster and now I feel even better about having my little George Foreman grill. Like I said, I'm not the brightest bulb in the box when it comes to creatively figuring out the obvious, but when it smacks me right between the eyes, I get it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mardi Gras 2010

Every year Dunedin, FL has a Mardi Gras parade and party. It's usually a pretty big deal, but this year's was kind of a dud, probably due to the extremely cold weather we had. I spent the earlier part of the day hanging out on Honeymoon Island State Park and I took a few pics. The bad weather didn't keep the sea shell hunters and the surfers away at all. And that city you see in the distance in one of the pics is Clearwater Beach. At least we don't have any snow :)

Red Tootsies

I'm still getting used to how convenient it is to live in a tiny home on wheels. Last month when I was driving to a rally I was thinking, "Gee, did I remember to pack {something, who knows what}." And then I remembered, oh yeah, everything I own, pretty much, is right here in this van.

Today I went to Walmart and did some grocery shopping. As I was checking out I saw the nail salon and remembered that I had planned on getting a pedicure. Oh well, I thought, I'll just have to do it another time since I have all these groceries that need to go into the refrigerator. After I checked out and got to the van I realized I could just stay parked right where I was, put away my groceries, then go back into the store to have my pedicure. Done deal.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Laundry Day

Today I did my laundry at a different laundromat. The laundromat here at my park has all front load washers and frankly, I just don't believe they get clothes as clean as the top load washers. I know, I know, the front loaders are "greener". I don't care, I want clean clothes.

I think one of the smartest things I do is to hang my uniforms from the handles of the storage bins at the front of my rig. This way they stay clean and out of the way. I also make good use of space by having a shoe bag hanging on the outside of the closet door and I use the pockets to hold washcloths and underclothes. I have way too many washcloths (and probably way too many panties), but those are holdovers from my roomier apartment days. As they become worn, I'll turn them into rags and stow them in the back of the rig or in the shed. The washcloths, I mean. The worn panties get tossed :)

As I spend more time living in My Way, I'm finding that although I have downsized quite a bit, I still have a lot of things I could probably do without. I'm going slowly, though, realizing that until I've done this for one full year, I won't really know what I do and do not need.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Walmart camping

After reading so much about Walmart camping, I finally decided to give it a try. This isn't really "camping" so much as it is just overnight parking. It's for those times when you just need a safe, convenient place to park overnight while catching some z's. With camp sites in private campgrounds and even in state parks costing $25 and up per night, the opportunity to park somewhere for free just to sleep a few a hours sounds like a good deal.

Turns out, it's great. For example, yesterday I worked an extra shift from 11 am to 7 pm. This gave me enough time in the morning to pack up My Way and drive it to work. After work I drove to Seffner to gas up (Flying J over there has the cheapest gas in the area) and then drove down to Arcadia, FL, about an hour and a half drive. The Escapees Chapter 15 is having a rally down here and I wanted to come down and join them for a couple of days. But at $29 per night for a campsite at the rally campground, I really didn't want to pull in at 10:30 pm and pay that much money just to fall into bed and sleep. Walmart camping to the rescue.

The Walmart Supercenter in Arcadia is right on SR 70 and has a nice, big parking lot. There's a Subway sandwich shop right next to it, so I grabbed a $5 footlong Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki sub and parked in the back of the parking lot near two other RVs who were obviously parked for the night. I closed the curtains, turned on a little light and ate my sub while listening to the radio. Then I hit the rack. It was very quiet at this Walmart; they didn't even have a noisy parking lot cleaning truck come by at 3 am, like some other Walmarts I've stayed at. At 6:30 this morning I awoke to the sweet sounds of birds chirping in the trees. I got up, got dressed, walked over to the store and bought some veggies for tonight's pot luck dinner. Then I drove over to the campground where the rally is and joined the group just in time for coffee and bagels.

This is now the third time I've camped at a Walmart and every time has been just great. I agree with suggestions I've read at online sites to try to be as unobtrusive as possible, meaning I don't put out any chairs, put up my Winegard or run my generator. I don't look like I'm camping, because I'm not. I'm just parking for a few hours. I pretty much show up after 9 pm and am up and at 'em by 7 am. With a Class B, it's even easier for me to blend in, but I do park right among the other, larger RVs, so it's obvious I'm not just parking while shopping. I didn't check with this Walmart's manager for approval to park, but I did so with the first one I stayed at. I figure if there are already a couple of rigs there, it must be okay to park overnight. And I do always go in and spend money in the store the next day. It's not something I'd do every night out, but for those times when I really just need a place to sleep for the night, I'm all for Walmart camping.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Craigslist Scammer

Against my better judgment, I tried selling my sofa on Craigslist. I had tried selling a table a year ago and got nothing more than three spam messages, but since Craigslist is still around I figured it must be working for somebody so I gave it another shot. I listed the sofa the end of December and got one email that never materialized into anything. Then I re-listed it yesterday and got the following email:

On Mon, Feb 1, 2010 at 10:45 AM, Barry Johnson> wrote:
** Avoid: wiring money, cross-border deals, work-at-home
** Beware: cashier checks, money orders, escrow, shipping
** More Info:

I wanna know if you still have this item for sale.What is the final
buy it now price

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my Black Berry®

this message was remailed to you via:
The guy's name was Barry Johnson and while I thought he sounded a bit over-excited I figured he just didn't want to deal with coming to see the sofa if I wasn't willing to deal a little bit. I could appreciate that so I responded with my bottom-line price. Later in the afternoon, I got this response from "Barry" (note his different email address):

From: Barry Johnson>>


I am ready to purchase it asap.I anticipate that I'll have a Certified Bank Check issued out to you from my bank (Bank Of America). It will clear within 2 to 3 business days.I'm in no rush with you till fund's are cleared in your bank. I'll instruct a Shipping Co Agent to come for pick up,when check has been cleared. Kindly e-mail me back with your physical address such as Name,Address (NOT City, State, Zip-code, Phone Number.I will be sending the payment via USPS Express Postal Service .

You can delete the advert asap!

I will await your response with details, do have a pleasant day!.

Barry J
Jacksonville,FL 32207

Argh! Another piece-o'-crap scammer. I was pissed and I shot back this reply:

From: Sue>>

Well, talk about timing. Right after I got your first inquiry email I got an email notifying me that I won a huge Nigerian lottery. Needless to say, I am no longer in need of selling that sofa and have instead donated it to a local charity. I am now independently wealthy.

You do have a pleasant day as well.

At least I gave it a shot. Now I'm going to sell the sofa and a bookcase through a local consignment shop and just be done with it. It's just not worth the aggravation to try to sell things on Craigslist.

Travasak Sleep System

I have broken my back making my bed for the last time. Every week for the last two months I have crawled over my bed and fought with the fitted sheet and the mattress. Even getting at the back corners from outside via the back door was torturous. And forget about actually making the bed during the day, so my home pretty much looked like a disaster (by my standards). I finally gave in and bought a Travasak Sleep System.

It's basically a sleeping bag, but a more high-tech version of one. It's made up of two comforters, one a heavier winter weight and the other a lighter summer weight. In cooler weather you put the summer comforter on the bottom and the winter one on top and when the weather warms up you flip the sack around. These two comforters have zippers on three sides so you can zip them up to create a sack or zip them completely apart for washing or zip them anywhere in-between. On the inside of each comforter, along each side, are continuous strips of velcro which are used to attach the one long flat sheet of the system to the insides of each comforter. This velcro holds the sheet in place while you're sleeping in the sack, but makes it very easy to remove the sheet for washing. I bought the twin size (42" x 80") and the blue matches my quilt perfectly. At $125, it's a pricey sleeping bag, but I like the entire system. I washed all the components yesterday and they all washed and dried nicely (the instructions say to line dry the comforters and just fluff them on Air for 10 minutes, but I actually dried mine on Delicate for 45 minutes and they came out fine). I had plenty of room to sleep in the sack with the sides zipped up and when I got too warm overnight it was easy to unzip one side and throw the cover back.

Now what I've done is I have the bed made up with just the quilt over the mattress and topper and use the bed as a sofa for seating during the day. At night I'll just unroll the Travasak and slip right in to sleep. In the morning I let the Travasak air out a bit and then roll it up and use it as a bolster on the sofa. A nice, neat home and no more broken back.