Feng Shui and Downsizing

My house in Spring Creek, Nevada has breathtaking views of the Ruby Mountains. From the back deck or up in the loft I can see the full 180 degrees of the Ruby Dome and the Ruby Mountain range on either side of the glacier. From the front, I can see 180 degrees of the Elko mountain range and from my bedroom window I see the hills to the south. When the neighbors from the pit of hell, who lived directly across the street, moved in November 2020, and David moved in, the cul de sac suddenly became a peaceful and glorious road to walk and just relish.

In July 2021, Brian and his dog, Little Man, were attacked by pit bulls and I had them move in since I had the house to myself and the Notorious Doc hated my house and wanted to stay in Vegas. With Harry dead, I thought I’d stay. I hate the idea of moving. Then in December 2022, Brian moved in with a “friend” in Elko and the house was suddenly empty. Little Man had bonded with Auggie and Belbel so he’s here with the cats. Having never had children and no family except for my elderly cousin back East, I suddenly experienced empty nest syndrome. The endless storms drove a knife through my soul. I couldn’t get out of my driveway.

And then it really hit me.

There’s nothing to do here unless you can hike, which I can’t. Fish, which I wouldn’t mind, except I can’t stand and fishing requires some standing, hunt which I’ve never done, gamble which I can’t afford, drink which I’ve never done, and party which for someone like me is equivalent to spending 1,000 years in a torture pit in Hell.

Prior to moving to Spring Creek, I used to get in my car and drive and find a Korean or Thai or Greek or Vietnamese or Indian Tandoor or Chinese dim sum restaurant and chow down. I’d go looking for a museum or archaeological site or old lighthouse to explore. I’d search maps for lakes and drive for a couple of hours just to walk around and chat with the waterfowl. Flower gardens and arboretums were a must!

Elko County has none of those things. One museum, yes, and there’s some ghost towns but nothing to write home about. And home is what I suddenly realized I did not have.

So, I started searching all of Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Colorado, northern New Mexico, and finally Tennessee for a place to live where I would feel ALIVE again. Some place with four seasons, breathtaking fall foliage, flower gardens, lakes, creek, historical museums and old stately homes from the 1700s and 1800s. And RESTAURANTS. With less snow, and a lower cost of living. And bearable summers. I can’t tolerate the heat.


LOW Crime – This is almost impossible in 2023. The United States has very few safe communities. Property crime is bad everywhere and violent crime plagues even rural small towns. I would no sooner find a house, then pull up the crime map to find it was in an area with a lot of murders, drive by shootings, break ins, car thefts, muggings, and drug use. One lady told me that I’d have to find a place to live and ADAPT and GET USED to crime. I did not respond, but what I said in my head rhymes with Duck U. I am NOT going to GET USED to hearing sirens and finding out my neighbor just got shot and the guy down the road had his car stolen. THAT is why I refused to move to Las Vegas in 2016.

NO TORNADOES – I found that Tennessee had the lowest property taxes and the best fall foliage and a lot of lakes and historical sites and RESTAURANTS, BUT parts are in the tornado belt. A LOT.

NO HURRICANES – When I was in first grade, Westfield got a direct hit from Hurricane Esther. I remember trees being ripped up and roofs being blown off. Our tree got ripped right out of the ground and the root ball was pulled out. In San Benito, Texas, we no sooner had moved in than Hurricane Emily struck. We could not afford Windstorm insurance and I was terrified we’d lose the roof. The sound of a hurricane is terrifying. The area flooded, but the roof held. Then in 2008, Hurricane Dolly struck and we lost a roof tile. The flooding was horrific – our house stayed dry but the culverts flooded and we lost water and electricity. Texas State Technical College in Harlingen where I worked took a direct hit – some day I’ll tell that story, I predicted it would and everyone blew me off. Over $450,000 worth of damage, Oh, well.

NOT IN A FLOOD PLAIN – You’d think developers would NOT build near a creek or river or on a wetlands or swamp BUT they couldn’t care less. Realtor.com now lets you click on the map for a property and click on FLOOD or FIRE. I currently live in an area that gets wildfires. They’re frightening and the smoke chokes the area for weeks. My house is in a good area, others are not. And there’s no risk where I am of flooding BUT the properties I found that looked FANTASTIC invariably got BLUED out when I clicked on FLOOD.

For example:

This lot is in my price range and it’s 0.72 acres (2913.737 square meters). I’d prefer an acre but this would be okay. And some of you might say “WELL, only the back yard will flood”. That’s assuming you trust a FEMA map. I do not. And if you’ve ever had to live for a month with receding waters and ponding and mosquitos, then you can tell me to grin and bear it.


A slope does not have the “footprint” for a ranch and two car garage and a SLOPE is LOUSY Feng shui! Alex Stark details every tiny detail for choosing a building site. This is just a small extract from a very long long article.

Moni Castaneda Feng Shui for Us – Nine Steps to Feng Shui® warns about houses with a kitchen design where the SINK is opposite the STOVE. The house where the late Harry Leo Duran preferred to live and use as an office rather than my house had such a kitchen. It causes fights and we fought a lot in that kitchen.

This is a kitchen I found in a house I cannot afford. But the design layout is one I want. And it’s just gorgeous to look at.

The sink is under a window and the stove is to the side. I personally do NOT like stainless steel, but in this kitchen I must admit it’s rather striking. The center workspace isn’t so large that you can navigate – mine is huge. The clean white cabinets and steel hardware make a nice touch. But wait until you see the next photos. Of course, it’s one of those $800,000 properties.

So, at least I found a kitchen design to covet minus the stainless steel and granite. Granite, I found is a pain to clean.

Maryville, Tennessee meets ALL my criteria EXCEPT I cannot find an affordable existing home, nor new construction, and so far, I cannot find a lot that isn’t on a slope and doesn’t flood!

It’s rated as SAFE. There are no recorded tornadoes, low property taxes compared to most places – Crossville is lower – within driving distance of Knoxville and Gatlinburg and the ATLANTIC OCEAN! Drawback – it gets muggy.

NOT that I would live in the center of town but using the Blount County Public Library as and anchor:

 508 North Cusick Street, Maryville, TN 37804 

TO: 17 miles (24 minutes)

Pero’s of Rocky Hill, 7706 S Northshore Dr, Knoxville, TN 37919

I have NOT had veal parmigiana in 23 years. My parents, grandparents, my Aunt Dot, and I ate it at least twice a month back when I was growing up. It was my dad’d favorite dish next to Chicken Chow Mein.

Spanakopita! Pero’s has my favorite puff pastry stuffed with feta!

It was in the early 70s when I had a gyro for the first time. I was instantly addicted. I never EVER tried drugs – not even marijuana. I can’t tolerate prescription drugs – get all the side effects. BUT FOOD for me either triggers a craving for a lifetime or not. GYROS are a craving and I haven’t been able to get the real thing since I left El Paso. Every Wednesday before I taught a night class, I stopped in a Greek restaurant in what was basically a slum, and gorged myself. Same in Atlantic City. There was a narrow, dark, seedy bar on the boardwalk about as far from the casinos as the boardwalk went and they had the BEST Greek food you could hope to find. I do NOT know to this day, how I didn’t end up getting mugged. The clientele were scary looking men and the owner would see me come in and he’d have a hot plate in front of me almost before I could sit down. I never saw a single tourist in there. I never saw a single middle class person in there and rarely another woman. BEST food though if you don”t mind eating with people who look like they wanted to cut your throat!

TO: 1.6 miles (6 minutes)

Lemon Grass, 912 W Lamar Alexander Pkwy, Maryville, TN 3780

TO: 19.8 miles (26 minutes)

Q Korean Steakhouse, 8851 Town and Country Cir, Knoxville, TN 37923

The list goes on. And downtown Gatinburg is only 38.8 miles (65 minutes) to the Fudge Shoppe of the Smokies! Years ago when I lived in Smithville, New Jersey the Notorious Doc was asked how he didn’t worry about his wife living 50 miles south – wasn’t he worried I’d cheat on him? HELL NO! He told everyone that if he wanted to know where I was, he could call up the YE OLD FUDGE SHOP in the Smithville Historical Village or get a phone book and search for fudge shops on the boardwalk and he’d find me. Adultery was not something he feared. He was more worried I’d over dose on chocolate.

I talked to a realtor yesterday who is going to search for a lot. She works with a building contractor who has ALREADY built a barndominium. I had a consultation with American Bardnominiums and I got a quote from Hansen for a house like this one.

I have a quote from Hansen for a house and a workshop where I could have a FitMax IPOOL, craft room, and exercise room.

I just have to manifest a home where I can live with three dogs and three cats and relish every waking minute! Considering the Notorious Doc did not live to murder me. I think I can pull this off!


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