Patti Ewald, Times Staff Writer

Patti Ewald

Patti Ewald joined the Tampa Bay Times in January 2012 after working as a correspondent covering Gulfport for two years. She is a features writer and the editor of the monthly LifeTimes section. A graduate of Ohio State University, she has a hard time rooting for the Gators, but beyond that, she loves everything Florida. She's a lifelong journalist — having last worked as the managing editor of a suburban Cleveland newspaper before moving to Gulfport in 2008.

Phone: (727) 893-8746


  1. 1957 Pillsbury Bake-Off finalist had picture taken with Ronald Reagan

    Human Interest

    The first time 87-year-old Lorraine Edie saw color television, she was on it.

    As a finalist in the ninth Pillsbury Bake-Off in 1957, Edie had been invited to appear on Meet the Millers, a popular Buffalo, N.Y., talk show.

    Though her recipe for Whole Wheat Caramel Rolls didn't win, she still has fond memories — especially every year around Bake-Off time — of competing in Beverly Hills, Calif., for the then-grand prize of $25,000. This year's Bake-Off, the 47th (there was not a bake-off every year), will be held Nov. 2-4 in Nashville, and the grand prize winner takes home $1 million. ...

    The inside cover of the “Pillsbury’s Best 1,000 Recipes Best of the Bake-Off Collection” shows a photo of the crowded Bake-Off cooking area. Lorraine Edie, 87, of Dunedin was a contestant in the 1957 Pillsbury Bake-Off. She still has the official Pillsbury apron they gave her.
  2. When it comes to senior moments, use your age wisely

    Life Times

    The other day, I walked into the kitchen and noticed the cats' water dish was almost empty. I grabbed a glass out of the cupboard, walked over to the sink and filled it up.

    I turned off the faucet and momentarily forgot why I had filled the glass with water. Then I walked into the living room and dumped it in a potted plant.

    When I returned to put the glass back in the kitchen, I once again spotted the nearly empty cat bowl. ...

  3. Tampa Bay Bake-Off finalists give secret to winning $1 million


    Two Tampa Bay area women are once again so close to winning $1 million they can almost taste it — or, at least, smell it in the oven.

    Marie Valdes, 55, of Brandon and Anna Zovko, 81, of Tampa are among the 100 finalists who will compete for the grand prize money at the 47th Pillsbury Bake-Off on Nov. 3 in Nashville.

    And they are also among the 45 of those 100 who are have been there before. Though it seems as if it would be a long shot to be chosen twice — let alone three times, as Zovko has been — out of the tens of thousands of recipes submitted to every contest, Pillsbury said, nearly half the winning entrants seem to know the secret of getting to the top....

    Spinach Dip-Stuffed Garlic Rolls made by Marie Valdes of Brandon.
  4. Jane Goodall asks you to think about what you eat, buy and wear (w/video)

    Life Times

    Jane Goodall no longer spends her days crouched on the floor of a rainforest studying chimpanzees making tools, raising their young or folding branch over branch to make nests in which to sleep high in the trees.

    The 80-year-old scientist now spends 300 days a year standing at podiums, sitting in boardrooms, and addressing groups of people, young and old, about the importance of doing everything we can every day to preserve and save the earth....

    Jane Goodall gets a hug from Wounda, who was nursed back to health after a serious illness, upon her release at an island sanctuary for chimpanzees in a river in the Republic of Congo.
  5. Lipstick is part of her makeup; generosity is part of his

    Life Times

    Doc was shopping for shirts and ties back in the Big and Tall department.

    I was excited to help him — for about seven minutes. Shopping for men's dress shirts is about as fun as emptying the dishwasher.

    "I'm going up to the makeup counter. Come get me when you're done, okay?" I told him as I went scurrying up to get my Free Gift with purchase, a marketing strategy so brilliant cosmetic companies do it on a regular basis. ...

  6. Neighborhood Profile: Meadow Pointe, Wesley Chapel

    Neighborhood Profile: Meadow Pointe, Wesley Chapel, Pasco County

    Home and Garden


    When Thomas Wolfe wrote You Can't Go Home Again, he obviously didn't know Nicole Nodal.

    The registered nurse and work-at-home mom grew up in Wesley Chapel so, after a short stint in New Tampa, the then-pregnant-with-her-third-child Nodal moved back in 2009.

    She chose Meadow Pointe. It's not the exact neighborhood in which she grew up but it was the neighborhood in which many of her friends lived. It was familiar. She was home....

    Nicole Nodal and her daughters, Bella, 8, Kaylin, 10, and Grace, 4, say they love living in Meadow Pointe, a large community east of Interstate 75, just over the Hillsborough line in Pasco County. Nodal moved to Meadow Pointe in 2009.
  7. Dad fights way back from stroke with pluck and laughter

    Life Times

    My dad had a slight stroke — an oxymoron if ever there was one.

    He's recovering from the cruel trick his 81-year-old body played on him, rendering his left arm and leg almost useless. Six months later, that hand and foot still seem to have minds of their own but the 6-foot-4 father of five with a heart of gold and a full head of silver hair will not be defeated.

    When he reaches for something with his left hand, it's as if he's a human claw machine, his brain deliberating its movement the way in which one determines the direction to move the claw hovering over a pile of plush toys. When his hand hits its mark, it clamps on just the way the claw does....

  8. A bike tour of all 50 states? Retired teacher, 71, did just that

    Human Interest

    Dressed in a blue Bike Around Kansas souvenir T-shirt and capri pants, Dianne Franz, 71, moves her 5-foot-9 frame gingerly about her tidy Palm Harbor condo.

    The retired middle school teacher, originally from Long Island, points to a map of the United States that takes up most of one wall in her study. It's dotted from east to west and north to south with dozens of yellow Magic Marker lines — and that's what she wants to talk about....

    Franz takes a photo break in the Rocky Mountains of central Colorado.
  9. Things to do for August

    Life Times

    Mr. Maddon Head

    Get your Joe Maddon Mr. Potato Head when the Tampa Bay Rays take on the Anaheim Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg at 7:10 p.m. Aug. 2. You can put him on the shelf next to your Joe Maddon Bobblehead and your Zim Bear. Find tickets at

    Ready for some football?

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers preseason football, that is. The Bucs take on the Miami Dolphins Aug. 16 and the Washington Redskins (this may be the last time you can see them under that name) Aug. 28 at 7:30 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium, 4201 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. Tickets are available at

    This Florida panther cub sure looks like he wishes he was invited to join in the fun at WaZoo.
  10. Sarasota artist talks about dad, works in PBS documentary

    Life Times

    “Art is long and life is short."

    That's how Gale Fulton Ross, 68, an acclaimed African-American artist in Sarasota, begins Baby Artist, a PBS documentary about her life. Baby Artist is the nickname her father, Herman Fulton Jr., who was an artist and designer himself, gave her when she was growing up.

    In the film, she talks about her dad and the depression that led to his suicide. She said he was the original designer of fins, popular on the back of cars in the 1950s, and it is her mission to see that he gets credit for it. ...

    Artist, educator and philanthropist Gale Fulton Ross, featured in a WEDU documentary, began her career as an art historian. See her works at
  11. Neighborhood Profile: The Pink Streets, St. Petersburg

    Home and Garden


    Some swanky neighborhoods are so pretentious they seem to have "rich person lives here" signs in the front yards.

    Others are quietly swanky. People lived tucked discreetly away in hidden treasures without telling the world they can afford to do so.

    The Pink Streets of St. Petersburg, located on the most southern tip of Pinellas Point, is one of those places, and Nancy Appunn, the 82-year-old retired owner of a marketing agency, is one of those people. From her mid-century home on the shore of Tampa Bay, she and her little-dog-of-unknown-lineage, Lulu, have a 180-degree view of the bay with the Sunshine Skyway in the middle of it. Paradise found....

    Nancy Appunn looks out over Tampa Bay from her home in St. Petersburg’s Pink Streets. “We’ve had plenty of great parties here,” she said. They included her 80th birthday bash with a band that the deck accommodated along with the guests.
  12. Seniors take to the road while feeling at home in their RVs

    Life Times

    It's the time of year baby boomers take to the road driving or dragging RVs. • Moving down the open highways with their homes on their backs. Human turtles off to see their kids or see the world.

    Industry reports that credit boomers with the explosion of RV travel — manufacturing of RVs in the first quarter of this year was up 13 percent and that of motor homes up 31 percent over the same period last year, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association — aren't hard to believe judging from the clientele roaming in and around the hundreds of vehicles that were on display at the Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall on Thursday, the first day of the Tampa Bay Summer RV Show. The only people who appeared to be under 50 were the people selling the vehicles....

    Moose spotted by Robin and Mary Murray, who retired in 1991 from GTE and hit the road. They’ve been as far north as Newfoundland and Labrador and as far south as Mexico.
  13. Still turned on to idea of sex

    Life Times

    Women over 50 like sex.

    Now, that's a news flash. To everyone except women over 50, that is.

    "There's this popular public perception that as women age, sex becomes unimportant and that women just stop having sex as they get older," said Holly Thomas, a University of Pittsburgh researcher. "From our study, it looks like most women continue to have sex."

    For four years, Thomas tracked 354 women ages 45 to 60 who said they were sexually active. One in 10 ranked sex as extremely important. Half said it was moderately important. At the end of the four years, 85 percent of them remained sexually active....

  14. 5 Things to Do in July

    Life Times

    Hey, 'Big Spender'

    That's just one of the familiar songs in Sweet Charity, based on the Neil Simon book, being performed July 18 to 27 at Carrollwood Cultural Center. Charity Hope Valentine is a dance hostess who always gives her heart and dreams to the wrong man. $18 to $24. See for exact times and dates.

    Inventing van Gogh

    Jobsite Theater at the Straz's Shimberg Playhouse presents a haunting drama about the making of art. Patrick Stone, a contemporary painter, is hired to forge Vincent van Gogh's final masterpiece — and finds himself squaring off, across the years, with van Gogh himself. It runs July 9 through Aug. 3. Tickets start at $28. 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. See for exact times and dates....

    FILE - In this June 28, 2013 file photo, a server grabs a beer while loading a tray at Hale's Ales brewery and pub in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. In a rule change, announced in June 2014 by the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, federal officials have simplified parts of the approval process for bringing new beers to market. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File) NY638
  15. Meet GF Joe, gluten-free baker and cookoff show participant

    Life Times

    There's show biz in his blood and gluten-free biscotti in his oven.

    And finally, Joseph Camerieri, a 50-year-old from Clearwater with a Brooklyn accent and the energy of a battery-run bunny, got a chance to marry the two.

    He fought with the fury of a grilling wildebeest Sunday on the premiereof Home Chef Showdown, a summer cookoff series on ABC's digital Live Well Network. Camerieri was chosen over hundreds of home chefs because producers liked his energy and the gluten-free angle in the videos he submitted, said Cindy Connors, the show's co-executive producer....

    Joe Camerieri preparing to bake gluten-free sesame sticks for the 5 Questions With feature in LifeTimes.  Joe Camerieri, a baker of gluten-free products (biscottis mostly), has been in cooking contests, most recently on an online cooking show.