Yes You Can

June 14, 2020

“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
~ James Baldwin


I’ve always been what used to be referred to as “girly”.

I’ve liked dressing up and using makeup since I can remember. Before I was old enough to wear actual makeup, I tried putting Close Up red gel toothpaste on my lips as a make-shift lip gloss while pretending to do a cosmetics commercial in the bathroom mirror. I chose cheerleading as my physical activity in High School, not out of a desire to be one of the “cool” kids, but to free myself from the years of humiliation in elementary school of being picked last or next-to-last for playground sports teams.

However, growing up with a single mom meant that if something handy needed doing, we had to figure out how to do it ourselves. This, combined with an innate curiosity about how things work, has gifted me with a can-do spirit of sorts.

So, when my DVR recently began making an unusually loud whirring sound, I did a quick search and found that the fan probably needed replacing and the replacement part was available for purchase on Amazon. There was even an instructional YouTube posted by the seller on how to take the DVR apart and do it yourself. Phrases like, “remove the motherboard” and “Torx T-10 screwdriver” would normally make my head spin, but the idea of spending $30 instead of $300 filled me with determination.

When the part arrived I set my DVR up next to my laptop and tools and carefully followed the video instructions. Having been a latch-key kid, I remember being bored one afternoon and taking apart the family radio at age 12. After putting it back together, I had to hide a leftover part so that I wouldn’t get in trouble (never did figure out what the mystery part was for, since the radio worked without it). With that childhood memory still vivid, I carefully labeled each of the screws, nuts and bolts after removing them with name and location.

I completed the fan replacement, crossed my fingers and plugged my DVR back in and flipped it on. Everything worked and was back to normal. The silence of the newly-installed fan was triumphant.

If I hadn’t succeeded I still would have learned something about the limits of my do-it-yourself talents and called the $30 spent the price of that lesson. Instead, this time anyway, I was able to enjoy the feeling of successfully making something work. I’m probably still not gonna catch a fly ball, score the winning goal or spike that volleyball over the net (or even in the right direction). But, if the fan inside of your DVR needs changing, I’m a solid pick.

Big or small, simple or systemic, you never know what changes are possible until you try to make them.


Nectarine Caprese is a tangy-sweet twist on a classic first course.

Nectarine Caprese
Summer is just about here and summer fruits are back in season. This twist on the classic caprese salad, traditionally made with fresh tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella, is an absolutely delicious and simple to prepare first course. As with the tomato version, the key here is the quality of the ingredients. You’ll want fragrant, ripe, organic nectarines, fresh organic basil and good quality, authentic smoked mozzarella – the kind from small farms with happy and healthy cows.

Balsamic glaze is thicker and sweeter than balsamic vinegar, traditionally used to top cheese or ice cream. You can find it in the vinegar or sauces section at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, any well-stocked grocery store or online.


8oz ball of smoked mozzarella cheese
4 to 5 ripe nectarines
32oz or more of fresh basil leaves
Balsamic glaze, for drizzling
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of salt


Cut the mozzarella ball into sixteen 1/8-inch slices
Cut the nectarines into twenty 1/8-inch slices

I find it’s best to arrange the 4 servings separately, each on its own plate.

For each serving, arrange 5 nectarine slices, 4 cheese slices and about 8oz of the basil leaves in alternating fashion, using a spiral pattern: beginning with a basil leaf, then nectarine slice, then another basil leaf, then cheese slice, then repeat the pattern.

Drizzle the salad with balsamic glaze and lightly season with salt and freshly-ground pepper.

This is nice accompanied by a sweeter nut or fruit-based crispbread or even a graham, rather than a salty cracker.

Serves 4

3 Responses to “Yes You Can”

  1. Beth Mercurio

    Cute story, Gina! Congrats on daring to fix something like that!!😊

  2. Marie

    Yes!!!! What a feeling!

  3. Astrid

    Gina! This was such a great, great story!!! I know how creative and industrious you are, so this story was just another example of your tenacity. Being a single mom and having to learn to fix some stuff when the boys were too young, brought back memories. Lol

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