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A R C H I V E D...S U N D A Y...M O N T H L Y S 


Thought it was time to change the opening photo that I've used the past three Issues for something new. In fact, I may switch out the photo each month.


As of February, we've only had three days of snow this winter. So different than last winter.


Somersett has a nine-hole and an eighteen-hole golf course where the lawn is currently golden.

F I V E.. F A V E.. F I N D S

Welcome to a new category. I'm sharing five favorite things that I've either recently discovered, are tried-and-true staples, or are just miscellaneous FYIs. Hope you will send me your own recommendations and when I've collected five, I'll publish them (anonymously) in the following Issue. Sound fun? Here are mine:  

N A P A.. - .. S O N O M A ...L O R E

(1) The Eight by Katherine Neville is a book I read 25 years ago and remains one of my favorites. I told myself I'd read it again someday and now that day has come. I love historical fiction especially when a story goes back and forth in time - which this one is and does. As Amazon describes:

"... bestseller of a quest across centuries by two intrepid women to reunite the pieces of a powerful, ancient

chess set ... A bejeweled set that belonged to Charlemagne has been buried in a Pyrenees abbey for 1,000 years. As the French Revolution rages in Paris, nuns dig it up and scatter its pieces across the globe because, when united, the set contains a secret power that could topple civilizations. To keep the set from falling into the wrong hands, they embark on an adventure that begins in Paris, leads to Russia, Egypt, Corsica, and into the heart of the Algerian Sahara..."

The book involves real, historical characters including Charlemagne, himself, Catherine the Great, Robespierre, and Pope Pius IX as well as a fictional, New York 5th Avenue palm reader.

If you like history, detective stories, and the classic, The Count of Monte Cristo, I think you will like The Eight. (Her other two novels did not measure up.) 

The book involves real, historical characters including Charlemagne, himself, Catherine the Great, Robespierre, and Pope Pius IX as well as a fictional, New York 5th Avenue palm reader.

If you like history, detective stories, and the classic, The Count of Monte Cristo, I think you will like The Eight. (Her other two novels did not measure up.)


(2) dr. Praeger


One of my go-to plant-based meals is dr. Praeger's burgers. There are many brands on the market but this one is made with real food. The black bean quinoa is delish and the risotto kale is good - but not as delish. Not crazy about the other flavors or their textures. I now even prefer dr. Praeger to real beef!


Before I microwave this burger, I toss a green salad, adding all available goodies (tomatoes, onions, olives, etc.) with any dressing - olive oil/vinegar or bleu cheese are particularly good for this upcoming "taco" using:


(3) La Tortilla Factory


It only has 4 gms of carbs but 15 gms fiber. Win-Win. Just nuke for 17 seconds, both sides, or, heat in a pan if you prefer.


Last step: add burger and salad to tortilla and enjoy a healthy, balanced meal in less than 5 minutes!

(4) "Dedicated" with Doug Brunt.

This weekly podcast is hosted by Douglas Brunt (author of The Mysterious Disappearance of Rudolf Diesel that I wrote about in last month's Issue.) It airs on SiriusXM and iHeart (just install the app on your device if it's not already there.) Each podcast starts with Brunt making his guest's favorite cocktail - which is an annoying waste of time and a direct copy of Bill Maher's podcast, "Club Random," which I also like - sometimes.) Brunt's interviews are always interesting. He invites best-selling authors such as Scott Turow, Douglas Murray, Diana Gabaldon, Patricia Cornwell, Nelson DeMIlle, and James Patterson to share their bios and inspirations. They also talk about the manner in which they write - do they outline or not, do they write on legal pads or laptops, in a secluded room or on a commuter train, etc.

As someone who has written 28,000 words of her own first and last novel ... yikes! ... I find Dedicated really fascinating.

(5) Wonderful's Honey Roasted, Pistachios.


Back to food ...

An addictive snack and easy to eat as they are already shelled. Most of the time, tho, I opt for shelled pistachios (i.e., "pistachi") as the manual effort to free these little gems slows down my consumption. Unfortunately, these nuts, like all nuts these days, are aggravatingly pricey.


D I S C L O S I N G.. A ..9 0 - Y E A R - O L D .. S E C R E T


A couple of weeks ago, my cousin posted on Facebook that he and his bride celebrated the SF 49ers win over the Packers with Fresh Dungeness Crab Louie. He included a recipe of Louie dressing from Flavor the Moments website. (Photo left.) Not only did this initiate my cravings for a crunchy seafood salad, but it also reminded me that I was the keeper of a priceless recipe in my pantry.


Well, maybe not priceless to me but to a certain family. Here's the story:

For many years, and many years ago, I lived with the grandson of one of the Croatian chefs at Tadich Grill - the oldest, continuously run restaurant in California and the third oldest in the United States.


It started as a coffee stand along the Wharf in 1849 and morphed into a restaurant with a couple of different location moves along the way. Now at 240 California Street.


Said Croatian grandson and I lived in a top-floor flat in Presidio Heights that had a large kitchen and formal dining room - perfect for dinner parties. We hosted many and most were themed. I don't remember what theme called for Louie dressing - but we knew Tadich Grill's was famous for theirs. So, my beau phoned his mother to ask for the recipe. I can still remember his side of the conversation, "OK, promise. I won't tell anyone." I guess that included me even though I had a wonderful relationship with his parents. They were old school, from Dubrovnik - a beautiful, coastal - and supposedly oldest-walled city in Europe. But clearly, the recipe was a well-guarded family secret.


Years later, after we went our separate ways, I eventually opened my cookbook, San Francisco a la Carte, and guess what was inside!


L O U I S   D R E S S I N G

(1) yellow onion, chopped

(3) large dill pickles, chopped

(1) bottle chili sauce (size ?)

(1) bottle ketchup

(2) C mayo

1/2 oz parsley, chopped

1/2 t tabasco

1/2 Worchestershire


If you prefer a less caloric dressing, check out the Flavor the Moments website where Host Marcie offers a healthier version - and according to my cousin, is "very good."


As for leaking a 90-year-old secret ... I did give it some thought ... and decided to spread the good word. Life's short!


U P D A T I N G...M Y...N E W...H O M E.. ~...C H A L L E N G E ..# 1


As I mentioned in a previous Issue, I moved to my new home at the end of 2021. Businesses were still stifled due to Covid. Although I was able to have a new floor installed, it was difficult finding product and labor to continue my upgrading plans.

Admittedly, I was very spoiled in Napa having my own construction crew. Still, I had high hopes for my guest bath - if nothing else. It was decent enough but blah, and the fake river rock pattern of the quartz countertop and tub surround slabs HAD TO GO!

I drew a new 3-D perspective with scaled elevations and floor plan. Then optimistically headed to a few tile and plumbing showrooms around town.






First Disappointment: the turquoise ceramic subway tile I wanted was nowhere to be found. Worse yet, the only subway available was outdated, faux travertine, limestone, or marble. Flashback - 2002. Second Disappointment: the quartz selection was limited.


I could have purchased my desired materials directly from the manufacturers but it was too risky - should any be broken or the wrong material be sent. I needed A LOT of tile to reach the tub's 9-foot ceiling and also cover three walls of wainscot.


Enter Plan B: Nixed the tile. Hello, wallpaper.


I then looked for a new vanity and plumbing fixtures. Third Disappointment: mostly everything was out of stock.


Fourth: my current slab tub surround called for a 3/4" extension at the valve - that may or may not exist. Even if plumbing fixtures were in stock, would they fit? (Can't tell until the slabs are demo'd.) If they didn't fit, then what?


Fifth: Contractors were busy, busy, busy and, therefore, padded their bids a laughable amount.

Plan C: Painted the old vanity and the tub slabs. My new friend, Mike, replaced the medicine cabinet with drywall and installed a new vanity faucet. (Found one and I'm temporarily okay that it doesn't match the tub/shower fixtures.) The original light fixture was 2" off-centered on the faucet and mirror. Learned that Mike is as finicky as I am so when he installed the fixture I had lugged up from my old Napa home, he was careful to center it.


There's only so much one can ask a new friend to do. Jackhammering floor tile is not one of them. So, I gambled on Angie's List. Got two bids and selected one that replaced the tile with the same wood that I had just installed in the rest of the house. (6" maple plank called "burnished brown." It's not red as it appears in these photos. Not gold either but a beautiful, soft brown.) I even painted the little mosaic table that I found at Ross in Napa 20 years ago.


Humble brag - not so humble - I installed the wallpaper myself including the electrical and light switch plates while matching the pattern repeat (as mentioned, I'm finicky. Besides, it really wasn't hard to do.)


Somersett is farther from the beach than I'd like. I'm an ocean girl more than a mountain one. So, I created my own beach/tropical vibe using this pattern by Tempaper. I also used BB Frösch Paint Transformer to paint the quartz countertop and tub surround (about 5 coats.)

You guessed it ... You can read about both of these products in my archived columns. Scroll to the bottom, click on the purple button and search for "The Mystique of Chalk Paint" and "Add Loads of Style to Your Loads of Laundry."


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