Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Trouble with my hearing

I have suspected it was coming on, and is a result of stuffing earplugs into my ears every night. Last night was the final straw, and I knew it was. I refuse to complain to the management or to the folks upstairs, because it certainly isn't their fault their living room is over my bedroom. Also, I can tell they try to keep the TV low, but when everything else is quiet it is hard to ignore any kind of noise. I think I will try taking a Benadryl tonight and hope it helps me sleep, although I doubt it will.

I went to Rite Aid this morning to see if I could find some kind of eardrops that would help. I bought some and I don't know if they help or not. I tried them in one ear, and if it is better tomorrow then I will do the other one. Meanwhile, I'm thinking of finding out what is involved if I break my lease, possibly in October or November.

If I do that, then I will head to Yuma AZ where I will park my rig and walk across the border to a Mexican pharmacy. The heck with American doctors that want you to have every test known to man just to write a couple of prescriptions you've been taking for years. I have been looking online to see if I could just order the Rx that way, but the prices are much higher than what I pay here in the US. I wonder who is making the extra money on that - and I'll bet it isn't the Mexican pharmacist. One Rx I take costs me approx $40 for a 90 day supply, and it would be $58+ for a 30 day supply from the Mexican place. I have good insurance coverage here, but it's the doctors I have problems with.

I will gladly welcome any recommendations for purchasing prescription drugs from Mexico.

I only made the trip to Rite Aid for the ear drops and have stayed in the rest of the day. I think I'm still tired from the weekend. I will add Rite Aid to the list of places I will no longer do business with. They wanted me to apply for their bonus card so that I could get sales prices. Imagine that - have a sale but limit it to the folks who have the card. I haven't been inside a CVS store for years because of that. It turned out my item wasn't on sale, but since it was a Rite Aid product I could have gotten 10% off. No thanks, I won't ever be back. I should have left it on the counter and gone gone to K-Mart or Target.

The temperatures are going up to just short of the 100 degree mark for the next 5 days, which always sends my mood to the basement!

I got an email from the volunteer coordinator at Lassen, and she said that every single reservable site in the entire park is booked for the Labor Day weekend. I will just stay put until the following week when most folks will be storing their RV and camping equipment for the winter, kids back in school, etc. I am so ready for a trip!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Looking at maps

I decided to quit searching and getting myself annoyed, so I went to AAA this morning and got a set of CA maps plus camping maps for northern and southern CA. I didn't realize they had the camping maps, and they seem to be pretty nice. The only thing is that the print is a medium gray on white background, and I don't know who can read that easily but I sure can't. I looked briefly with a flashlight shining on the section I'm interested in. Maybe when my new glasses arrive I will be able to read anything and everything!

I'm making my list (and checking it twice) of items I don't want to forget. One thing I just can't wait to get is the new cooler I ordered from Cabela's. It is the classic style Coleman, made in the USA, and is a 54qt steel belted model. I've read reviews that claim the ice lasts anywhere from 3 to 6 days, and I suppose it depends on how often you open the cooler, plus whether everything is already chilled when it's put in. The biggest problem will be to lift it, but if I put the empty cooler into the truck bed and then add everything at that point, I will just leave it in the truck and access it from there. I sure hope there aren't any bears that will tear up my new cooler.

I've decided to go to the El Dorado National Forest and look for a suitable place to camp. There shouldn't be any problem finding a spot if I go in mid-September. I may end up using a campground if they are relatively empty by that time, but I'll keep my options open. Thanks to Laurie & Odel for recommendations of some good locations in El Dorado Forest. Although I travel alone nearly 100% of the time, this will be the first time I've camped alone since 1997 on the Appalachian Trail. I wish it was as easy now as it was then - carrying everything needed in a backpack. Why does it have to be so complicated to do something as simple as setting up a tent in the woods.

Since the Bayfield Bunch recently bought a spiffy Jeep Wrangler, I see more and more of them on the road, and the more I want one! I love Jeeps, and there is a particular style I am just crazy about, but unfortunately there isn't one in my foreseeable future. Dang! Probably the only thing I could tow with a little Jeep would be a teardrop camper and I couldn't fulltime with one of those. I am fairly certain that I'd like to continue fulltiming, but will probably change my mind numerous times before the apartment lease is up (end of March 2011).

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I don't know how I'm still moving

Amy and I watched the two little girls from about 2:00 yesterday afternoon until 1:00 am this morning. I stayed awake, and even drove myself home although parking the truck in the dark was not easy, with the big Ford parked next to me.

This morning I got a few items from the local farmers' market and just put everything in the fridge, except for washing the grapes which I'll be nibbling on all day.

I've spent at least an hour this morning hunting for my California maps, specifically the Central and Northern maps. I can't figure out where I want to go for a few days, or even when, especially with Labor Day coming up. I may just wait until after that is all over and the parks and campgrounds are empty. Actually I still think I would prefer to find a free spot in one of the National Forests to throw down my tent for a couple of nights. The only drawback is that I have no clue where the pot farms are located, but I'm unlikely to get that far into a remote area.

I was thinking that since I'm not pulling an RV I could drive my truck across the Coastal Range mountains towards the Pacific. I don't think I would go all the way to the ocean, but it is a possibility. Times like this I almost wish I was married so I could plan and enjoy the trip with a partner. I hate to even think a thought like that, and certainly wouldn't want to say it aloud!

Half a day later I never did find the maps I've been looking for, but I did have a nice long nap.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Welcome to my newest grandson

I'm tired tonight so I will make this a short entry. My grandson, Liam Michael, was born at 5:13 this afternoon, weighing in at 7# 3oz. He is beautiful, of course, and his expressions go back and forth between looking like his mama and his daddy. I am so relieved everything is ok and he is finally here.

Tomorrow I will have a pretty busy day of it. Jeannie & Donald are going down to the Bay Area with Joe and Sarah to see a baseball game, and then to Ghirardelli Square after the game. It is sort of like a double date and will be nice for them to go out for a few hours without the kids. I am watching Jeannie's two little girls, and my sister Amy is coming over to help and keep me company, thank God! I will be ready for a camp-out in the woods next week!

I wish Liam's face was a little more clear on the picture, but he is bundled up. It feels so good holding a newborn again.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Here's Lookin' at You, Kid!

It has been a long day and it's only about 6:00 pm! I was up very early to get ready for my visit to the eye surgeon. I am now declared healed, although I think there is still a slight bit of swelling, but it isn't affecting my vision as badly as it was. I was making an appointment to see someone from the Optometry side to get a prescription written and filled for glasses. When they checked the insurance I have for that, they found they weren't with that company.

My Blue Cross/Blue Shield is under the federal employees plan, and I pay an extra $9 a month for a supplemental vision plan that covers an eye exam and new lenses every year, plus new frames every two years. So I went to Wal Mart, but the Optometrist is off on Thursdays. I came home and looked at the Preferred Provider list for this area, and the first one I called could get me in next Tuesday. I called another provider who told me if I could get there by 11 am they could see me. I made it right down to the minute. I got the exam and prescription, and ordered the glasses. I have to pay extra for a couple of items including Transition lenses (they get darker/lighter depending on the sunlight) and premium scratch resistance. I am very hard on eyeglasses and scratch them, drop them, lose them, etc., so I decided to pay extra. My out of pocket cost was to be $215.

After I got home, and 20 minutes into my nap, they called and told me that this was the off year for getting new frames, so now I have to pay for them as well. It will be worth it if I can read and see better. I decided on bifocals (no line) because it will be much more comfortable on a long trip - I can glance at a map, the GPS screen, the dashboard, etc., without a problem. They will also help my night driving, even though I have no plans to drive at night if I can help it!

I stopped by Jeannie's on the way back and talked to Ara while she was packing. Trying to get a huge suitcase packed plus a large carry-on backpack left her with no recourse except to have her Mom mail her a box. She has decided she wants to simplify her life and get rid of some things she doesn't use all that often. Does she sound like a future Gypsy?

I think my newest grandson will be arriving within the next day or two. I will be so happy to see that little boy! But he will arrive before my new glasses do.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

More on organic foods and farmers' markets

This morning I received notice of a comment from Steve, regarding an entry from a couple of days ago about buying organic produce from farmers' markets. Since most folks don't go back to a post to read additional comments they might have missed, and because I believe in this subject so passionately, I am including it in today's post.

Steve has left a new comment on your post "Heat Wave!":

A big difference between Farmer's market and Co-op produce and produce from many of the grocery stores, Costco, Whole Foods and even Trader Joes is how they pick it. Farmers that sell direct to customers or even direct to small stores like Co-op's pick the produce when it's ripe. Most of the produce on the supermarket shelves (even organic produce at places like Whole Foods) is picked early and "scheduled" to ripen in coolers, the back of the truck and in the store. This process takes away from the taste but adds to the shelf life. Also, if your concerned about the price buy smaller fruit and veggies. An organic apple has 10-30% more nutrients than a conventional apple and many times the apples are smaller. Smaller fruit also have less water so they have more flavor. Taste the difference between a small zuke or yellow squash and a large overgrown one and you will be sold.

Steve has spent his career working in the organic food industry, and has visited many farms, ranches, etc., so he knows this subject and has seen the good and the bad when it comes to food production, marketing, and business practices.

Another hot day coming up but I can't just stay in my apartment all day long. Ara leaves for college in PA tomorrow, so I will try to get over to Jeannie's and spend some time with my all-grown-up granddaughter.

That's it for now, but I may be back later.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


It's the only way I can describe the weather today, at least from my point of view. I just walked Lady in 102F, and it's going up to 106!. But then there will be a gradual decline in temps until Sunday, which is expected to reach 75! Fortunately my apartment is still cool enough. I'll take 75 degrees any day.

I ran a couple errands early this morning but the hint of a hellish day was already evident. My truck A/C works perfectly and cools very quickly, and I use a sunscreen in the front window when it's parked. That helps a great deal.

There is simply nothing else to write about, and I am sorry my blog today has turned out to be merely a weather report. Even the hummingbird seems to be resting in the shade. He was out this morning, hovering near the feeder and it seemed he was calling on me to take his picture!

I get an individual email every time someone leaves a comment on my blog. With most, if I try to reply I get the name of the person sending the email, followed by
noreply-comment@blogger.com> in the REPLY TO address block. So I don't know how I can respond - if I leave an answering comment in my blog it is doubtful you will go back and see it. I have made my email address available: gypsy97 at gmail.com, so if you make a comment that requires an answer from me, please write me an email so I can reply to you. I'm not ignoring anyone who asks me a question, but I just can't reach you by email unless I have your email address. Thanks.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Heat Wave!

This kind of day saps all my energy, my appetite, and my inclination to move off the couch. It is 95F at 5pm, and going up to 99. Tomorrow will be 106! I knew this was coming when I joined all the folks crying about the cold winter we had, but I promise to not complain about cold ever again.

The morning was peaceful and cool, as most mornings in Sacramento are. The hummingbird entertained me, and tried his best to move to where I could get a fairly decent photograph, but with the patio overhang and the tall wooden fence, plus the shade trees, there just isn't enough light. I tried to stand by the gate and get a better shot, but he kept getting spooked by something, and I realized it must have been my camera reflecting flashes of sunlight on the beams of the patio cover. I will just give up on photographing him and enjoy his visits. It is uncanny how he responds to what I say to him, and no, I don't think I'm certifiable, as yet. If plants respond to love, then why shouldn't animals and birds.

I tried twice to load a picture, and I did it the same as I've always done it. There is no picture/html. That's all I need!

I'm not sure what happened, but I started an entirely new post and uploaded the photo, then copied/pasted the html into this entry. It worked so I won't complain anymore about it, but I'm hanging by a thread with Blogger!

I just read Pidge's blog for today about the lack of taste and quality of produce, and would like to relate an experience I've had.

Two Sundays ago I went to the local farmers' market and bought quite a bit of squash, of several different varieties. I was digging through the produce drawers of my fridge this morning and found a single small zucchini that I'd forgotten all about. I chopped it up along with a tomato that has been sitting there for at least a week, and threw them into a dish I was preparing for my lunch. I was stunned at how fresh the zucchini looked and felt and tasted. Even when buying organic zucchini in the grocery, it starts to get soft spots within a few days, which indicates they are picked days if not weeks before appearing on the grocers' shelves. My advice to Pidge and everyone else is to buy organic, and buy from a local farmer where possible. As I mentioned in my comment to her, they don't put chemicals into the soil and in and on our food to improve the taste.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

More on the hummers

I've been watching hummingbirds this morning. At one point there was a tiny little guy at the feeder when the "owner" came over. He wasn't nearly as aggressive as he usually is with another adult bird, but he let the juvenile know in no uncertain terms that he was infringing on his territory, and the baby flew away.

I was sitting on the patio when he again came along, and as the feeder is almost always in shade it makes him look dark and colorless. I said to him, "I think you are pretty even if you have no color". Can you believe he left his perch, flew into the sunlight where he hovered and turned this way and that, allowing me to catch the snatches of beautiful gold and red colors in his plumage! Then he casually flew back to the feeder and picked up where he left off. I think I am becoming a "hummingbird whisperer".

I know the weather is ever changing, but I was growing accustomed to the wonderful temps that Sacramento has experienced this month. Tomorrow that will all come to an end and we will see triple digits for a while, which is more normal for this area. It is also why I have always disliked summer in Sac. Maybe this calls for a day or two of camping up in the Foothills.

I'm having problems with Blogger today. While other programs load quickly, the Autosave function is not working, nor can I load and read blogs of other folks. So I will see it it publishes, and save anything else for tomorrow's entry.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

New Printer

I forgot to mention that I bought a printer a couple of days ago. I got it at Staples, and probably paid $10 or $15 more than I anticipated, but it's what I want. I would still like to have an all-in-one that scans, copies and prints, but unless I get a refurbished model, the newer ones have too many gadgets on them that I don't want.

I got a Brother Model HL-2140, to replace the HL-2040 that was jammed. It is a laser printer, B&W, and very fast. There are rare times when I might like to print something in color, but they don't warrant the extra cost - at least for me. I just hope this printer will be as easy to set up, install, and use as the last one.

Ok, it is now all installed. I would say it was a bit more complicated than the old Brother printer, but in reality I know I'm just getting older and have less patience for installing anything. I want to turn it on and use it, right now! I thought I had followed the instructions implicitly, and printed a couple of test pages that came out fine, but when I tried to print a 2-page document I got a message saying the "back door open-printer offline". Duh, the test pages wouldn't have printed if a door was open. I went over the installation screens again and found one little item I had neglected to click on, then rebooted the computer, turned off and unplugged the printer, and then turned it all back on. IT WORKED!

Thanks to all who have commented on my recent case of the blues. It is probably hitch-itch for the most part. Maybe after my new grandson is born I will spend a few days camping somewhere quiet and peaceful. That should renew my spirit, at least until I have to return to the city.

I have spent much of the morning researching remodeling jobs in RV's, specifically flooring and computer workstations. If I have to go back into my 5th wheel I definitely don't want carpeting, and I figure I might as well tear out the E Center and replace it with a computer desk. I thought about that when I was living in the 5ver but held off tearing out the very nice cabinetry of the E Center, thinking if I ever wanted to sell the RV most buyers would want a place to put a TV. Well having the beautiful E Center certainly hasn't sold the RV after nearly 3 months on the market, but I still have one month to go.

I am so aggravated with myself for waiting too long to lease a MiFi, and it is no longer available. 3G Stores had offered the MiFi for a reasonable cost, but you leased it from a company (other than Verizon), and approx. $10-15/month cheaper. You signed no contract, but if you canceled the lease within two years you were required to return the equipment. Why oh why did I think I would wait until my contract with AT&T had expired so I wouldn't have to pay an early termination fee. 3G Stores now says that the company couldn't keep up with demand, plus Verizon was unhappy about it as they would rather get the extra money on a contract. I think the 2nd part of the explanation is the real story.

So now I will have to pay Verizon more and sign a 2-year contract if I decide to get the MiFi. I have about 4 months to go on the AT&T contract and I don't know if I can make it. I have so much trouble with it, which is partly to do with where I live, but that isn't a good excuse in my mind. AT&T service is simply awful, and I'm not sold on Sprint for traveling all over the US. Plus Sprint devices are made by Sierra Wireless, which what my AT&T aircard is. I used to get the little AT&T Communications screen which was much nicer than this Sierra Wireless thing, so I want to avoid it the next time.

I have to ask myself if I really want an internet device at all, or whether I could get by with WiFi where available. These techno conveniences get you to thinking you can't live without them, whereas in fact you did live without them for the biggest part of your life (mine, anyway), and lived just fine.

Friday, August 20, 2010

It's in the Stars!

I don't know exactly what "IT" is, but it's there all right, and it's pulling my mood way down. I have nothing to be sad about, nor do I have a reason to be getting so upset, mainly with drivers on the road, but also a lot more. I'm not "coming down" with something and I'm healthy as a horse. I need to go find a rock to crawl under for a while. I'll snap out of it before long.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I should have blogged early in the afternoon yesterday, but took a nap instead. Then later on in the day I just didn't feel like writing, because for some unknown reason I felt sad. Don't ask me what I felt sad about because I just couldn't say.

I watched Arianna in the morning and for the first hour she was a very unhappy camper. Then things started to pick up and we had fun once she got back to her normal self. Earlier she wanted to go out on the porch, and you can see from the pictures that she was unhappy when she looked over to where their SUV is usually parked. It went from bad to worse for a while. (She looks so much like her mother at that age, it's kind of scary.)

Thanks for the comments regarding my 5th wheel which is on consignment at a local RV dealer. One of my readers wrote that I ought to post it just in case another reader might be wanting to get into the RVing lifestyle, and wouldn't be too far away to consider it.

I'm already thinking of things I'll have to give up if I must go back into the RV, and first is the dishwasher. I didn't realize I missed it that much, but after more than a year without one my dishes, utensils, etc., were beginning to look a little scruffy. Anything I wash by hand now is cleaned with Ivory Liquid, which I prefer a thousand times over Dawn. I will never go back to Dawn! The smell was awful enough, but I was never happy with the sudsing or cleaning power.

Although I have an apartment size fridge, I will certainly miss the extra room it gives me, especially in the freezer area. And the gaskets stay in place on this one!

The water pressure in my large shower is the greatest, and of course I will miss that, as I will miss a real toilet that flushes by merely pressing on a handle. And being able to use two ply toilet paper is really luxurious!

Most of all I will miss my comfortable bed. I never wake up with a backache after sleeping on it. I've offered it to Jeannie for their spare bedroom which has an old mattress that has seen better days, with a caveat that I can visit her from time to time and get reacquainted with the mattress and springs. Of course she agreed.

I've picked up a few extra items but shouldn't have difficulty getting all my original stuff back into the 5ver. Now if the 5ver sells and I get a truck camper or small trailer, it will be a different story! I was so looking forward to being able to travel the back roads and not have to worry about fitting into campsites or finding pull throughs, nor about having to turn around on a narrow road or fit under low bridges. I have never removed the 3x5 card printed with a big 12'8" in black marker from the sun visor of my truck, but I was looking forward to replacing it with an 8'something!

It's all speculation, but it keeps me going. And I'm again looking at NPS volunteer jobs with campsite and full hookups furnished.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My 5th wheel

A reader has suggested that I post a link to my 5th wheel, which as you know is on consignment with a local Sacramento dealer. Here it is:
Just scroll down to the 5th wheels, and mine is the 2004 Hitchhiker II. There are 16 photos if I remember, plus a video, although sometimes my connection is too slow to properly run the video, but if you have a decent connection it shouldn't be a problem.

So if anyone out there is looking for a used 5th wheel, this one is on the lot at RVs of Sacramento, on El Camino Ave. - easy to get to location.

Later on I may post another entry for today, so please check back.


I watched the little girls this morning while Donald took Jeannie in for a couple of medical tests. They were just about perfect and I had a lot of fun with them. Little 1 yr old Arianna has learned how to spit, and she does a fine job of it. We were out on the front porch and I saw her in that toddler stance, legs apart, and she leaned half way over (not all that far for a toddler) and spit a couple of times on the concrete. Then she leaned over even further and smeared it around with her fingers. Then did the whole thing all over again. I don't know who taught her how to spit, but she is really good at it - not something you expect to see from a one year old though.

Tomorrow morning Autumn has a medical appointment, so I will be watching Arianna again for a couple of hours. She wears me out but keeps me from getting too old at the same time. Wonder what she will come up with next?

September will be here before you know it, and I had planned to leave for NY sometime after the first week in Sep. I am reconsidering that trip now as I don't want to go across country having to rely on public showers, restrooms, and/or motels. October will be getting too cold along the route I want to take, so I think I will just wait until maybe March next year. I will just have to pay a month on the lease that I won't be here for, but it will be worth it to gain my freedom back.

I still have hopes the 5th wheel will sell, but if it doesn't then it looks like I'm stuck with it! I had really hoped to be able to go places that I can't go with that big RV, but I'll just deal with what I have to. And as every RVer is fond of saying, plans are written in ??? In the meantime I wouldn't trade for all the world the fun I'm having getting to be around the grandchildren here, but I sure do miss those boys in NY and can't wait to see them.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lady is doing much better this morning. I am running in and out to the laundry and must not have secured the catch on the patio gate when leaving, and I leave my front door open in the morning to catch the coolness and air out the apartment. When I walked out of the laundry room I was shocked to see her there waiting for me. I'm glad she didn't decide to explore the complex! I'll make sure her paw is ok for the next day or two and then maybe we will go for our long walk. The weather forecast is calling it hot today, 96F, and only a few degrees lower during the rest of the week. I will be so glad to see autumn weather arrive.

I drove to K-Mart to look at printers as their ad featured two that I am interested in. They didn't have many printers, but everything they had was sealed up in its box - nothing on display. I guess the stores like K-Mart and Target have to take space from somewhere in order to become grocery stores, as they seem to be doing. I would definitely not shop at K-Mart, Target, or WalMart for my groceries, unless there was nothing else for miles around.

So I still need a printer, but I'll go to Staples or Office Max next time - to my knowledge they don't carry food, although Office Depot has always had certain food items on the shelves.

I now realize I live under the big top of Barnum and Bailey's circus, as that's what it's like around here sometimes. Last night as I was ready to go to bed around 9:30, I heard two very loud voices from the open window. One was the lady upstairs, and the other was the guy who lives across the way from me, and he was totally sloshed. He was crying out in amazement that he couldn't carry his can of beer between my F-350 and her Ford Expedition, and he spilled some beer when he ran into one of the mirrors. I'm not sure whose mirror he ran into but mine looks ok.

Then they began to discuss how big my truck is and how much room it takes up - how she has trouble parking her Expedition, etc. I wanted to shout "Then go park somewhere else", but I'm not getting into a p*ssing contest with anyone.

And just now I heard the two guys--"upstairs" and "across the way"--discussing drinks. I can't believe it when I heard upstairs recommending some kind of spirits and then the other fool agreeing to try it. He gets hammered enough with beer and I can only imagine what he will do on whiskey! Probably try to get into a fight with my truck. Was it an old Rolling Stones song that had the words "We Gotta Get Outta This Place, if it's the last thing we ever do". It's still sort of comical to me and I hope it stays that way. I also hope they don't push me over the edge.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday rolls around again

It seems like the weeks are flying by, and that means my life is flying by as well. It's a good life, though.

I dashed over to the local farmer's market this morning and was probably back home half an hour later. I knew what I was looking for, but sometimes you see the beautiful produce and end up with more than you planned. There were some baby beets that looked appealing, and I'm cooking them right now. I picked up some grapes and strawberries for the next few breakfasts, so I will look forward to getting up in the morning. More corn, little red potatos and a couple kinds of onions rounded out my purchases.

Lady is limping this morning and I'm not sure why. There is nothing that I can see that would make her do that except her nails are probably a little too long. She fights having them trimmed and it takes at least three people to hold her down while the 4th person trims them, so I put off having it done. For being such a sweet dog most of the time, she is a real PITA when it comes to seeing a vet or a groomer. I always have her muzzled which adds to her stress, but I don't trust that she wouldn't snap at someone in her state of panic.

I just finished peeling and slicing the cooked beets, and added a little butter, salt & pepper and they are delicious! My rosy fingers look like Autumn has gotten to me with her markers though. Most of it washed off, but not all.

I want to specifically thank two of my readers for coming to my assistance with stitching my photos together yesterday to make a panoramic view.

Rick sent this composite:

Another reader, Sean, sent this one:

You guys are brilliant, and I still can't figure out how to do it myself. I tried with Hugin, a program that was downloaded for the Mac, and I was able to get everything in the order I wanted it, but couldn't figure out how to place some kind of "points". I will have to try again when I am in a state of mind to fool with it. I may end up buying a disposable panoramic camera for my next trip!

And another reader, Pidge, sent me a pano that she had taken and stitched together herself. I admire folks who can do this kind of thing easily.

I don't know whether to be sad about it or not, but in my younger years I could do anything I tried to do. From the early to mid 1980's and for the next 10 years, I was the person the others came to with computer hardware and software problems. I even came up with a fix one time that a perplexed IT person came to discuss with me - I can't remember anything about it except that the answer was pure logic, and he was stunned. What happened after those golden days and years?

I think when I retired I began to let go of all the things in which I strove so hard for excellence, and decided to devote my time and attention and brain power on things I was interested in and that made me happy: how to set up a tent; map reading and orienteering; all forms of travel and immersing myself in other cultures; spiritual quests (no, not religious or religion); and a lot of other things right up to learning how to be a full time RVer. I think I met my match on the last one and tried my best, although I believe I am as good at full time living in an RV as anyone else, I just can't deal (or don't want to deal) with the maintenance. (Hitching a 5th wheel was never on my list of things to excel in, but just something I had to do and never cared for.)

So where am I going with this? I think the answer just came to me: save yourself the aggravation, Marty, and buy a disposable camera that takes panoramic pictures! I'd say that is the best solution for me, all the way around.

My granddaughter has a friend from college who is from Philadelphia and visiting California for the first time. She brought him by to meet me this afternoon, and I like him very much. He is the kind of person you can converse with easily from the time you are introduced, and he looks you straight in the eye. They are leaving for Yosemite tomorrow for several days of camping and hiking. Oh, to be young again and be able to do that. I had planned to give her the tent and sleeping pads, and ended up adding my whistle and Swiss Army knife to the lot. No one should go out into the outdoors without a whistle, and a pocket knife can come in handy as well. I've already supplied her with a compass and small flashlight - the one that I could hardly figure out how to put the batteries in. I know she would do ok without the extras, but Grandma feels much better knowing she is prepared.

They will visit Steve this evening as he has some info and maps for them, and I'm sure he has a few items for their safety and comfort in the wilderness. He and I are both dying of envy. Here is a picture of Ara and Dylan (I forgot to ask him if he spells it like the poet or the US Marshall). In the picture, the yellow cord around her neck has my whistle attached to it!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A drive to the Sierra Foothills with Susan

Susan picked me up a little before 8 am, and we were on our way to the Foothills, destination Bassi Falls - about 60 or so miles from here. I did get to try out the panorama setting on my camera, but it looks to me like I still need some software to "stitch" the 3 photos together. I'm not sure I will take it any further. Here are the 3 I took in succession, but I don't think I can set them up side by side in my blog.

We followed some fuzzy directions to get to the falls but never were able to find it. The creek pictured here was all but dry, so I imagine the falls would have been unimpressive also.

I have difficulty seeing the screen on the camera to begin with, but with the glare of the sun it was impossible, so I had to literally point and shoot.

All in all it is an area I love, not far from home, peaceful and quiet among the tall trees, and with mountains not too far away. The sun did get hot by mid-morning. Here is another shot I took from US 50, although I'm not sure if it was going or coming.

It was a fine day, and I got home in time to give Lady some much needed attention. Now for her walk, and then I get to put my feet up and rest.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Better days are here!

After the day I had yesterday, Friday the 13th was a welcome event! I have always had very good luck on Friday the 13th, and this could partially be due to the fact that I love the number 13 and expect any day with that number to be a fine one.

I spent the morning watching my youngest granddaughter (Arianna) and visiting with my oldest (Ara). The baby is so cute and funny - really has a terrific personality. But when she sees or hears her mom or dad when they return, she turns into a screaming little kid until one of them picks her up. All in all I had a fun morning.

Steve returned my truck today and I feel reconnected with an old friend. Reading Tioga George's blog about changing the brake fluid, I realize I haven't done that in the two years I had the truck, and I truly doubt the previous owner worried about it. So my next oil change I will ask if they think I need it changed. Fortunately the garage owner who services my truck when I'm in Sacramento is just as likely to tell me I don't need something as to tell me I do. I found a mechanic like that in Asheville, and also in New York, so I feel more trust in them than I would in a dealer's service department.

I don't know how dealers can keep their customers, the way they bilk people for unneeded work and procedures. Even if I bought a brand new vehicle, which I'm not likely to do, I wouldn't take it back for service. (I don't mean to step on anyone's toes, so my apologies in case I have a reader who is with an auto dealer service department. I have no doubt there are qualified techs in those places, but I would be willing to bet they are required by management policy to do as much as they think the customer will pay for. I've been burned before, but no more.)

Tomorrow I will try to take some panoramic pictures. I just haven't had the opportunity so far, and hope it works reasonably well.

Next week I have something to do on Tuesday, but the rest of the week I am going to stay in bed at least until 8 am, take long naps, and be as lazy as I can. If I feel like it I might even take the dog for a long walk down along the river. I have neglected her the past few weeks, so I'll have to make it up to her, and letting her sniff every plant stem and blade of grass for a mile or so should get me back in her good graces.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Do I cry or laugh

I can either cry or I can laugh, so I choose laughter. My day began when I walked Lady past our apt. complex and was passing the apartments next to us. Just about everyone runs their automatic sprinklers early in the morning, but there has been a malfunction in the adjacent complex's system. Sometimes they point out across the sidewalk and into the street. I thought, aha, I will walk up over the grass behind the malfunctioning sprinkler.

I did that but at that point, the next sprinkler was at the end of its arc and pointed straight at me. I got a sharp spray full in the face, my clothes were wet, my hair was wet, and my dog was wet. I think I let go with a bit of profanity and when I took my sunglasses off to shake the water off them, I saw a young woman coming over who said she would try to fix it. She wasn't part of the maintenance crew and looked like she was going to work, but darned if she didn't straighten it out! But by this time I was soaking wet, and it was down close to 50F, so I began to get really cold.

I should have come home and gone back to bed at this point, but I was planning to walk with Jeannie mid-morning, since she had taken the day off work. She nearly always runs late, and ran into road construction on one of the side roads we always take between our two homes, so she was further delayed. This put us out walking at Mather Field when it was really starting to get hot. I lasted about 40 minutes and then found a bench in the shade, panting and red-faced.

I went back to her house and watched the two little girls while she and Donald went to an exhibit in town that I saw last year and really hoped they could get to this year (Bodies Revealed). I kept a sharp eye on both kids, but I looked up and saw the baby with a green or blue mouth - she was sucking on a Crayola marker. I ran her to the sink and tried to rinse it off, getting color all over myself in the process. I took her back to the living room, and a few minutes later saw Autumn painting her toenails with black marker - a closer look showed she had also marked up the baby's arms and legs, but the colors didn't wash off this time. I'm frantic!

The parents finally got home and I was ready to come home myself and walk the dog. Because my computer refuses to keep a connection inside the house I brought it out to the patio where it seems to work fine. Then I realized I'm hungry as it's suppertime, and fortunately I had a leftover stuffed pepper which I reheated. I was carrying the plate, along with a full disposable plastic cup of beer outside, got to the doorway and realized I left my glasses inside. I can't read the computer screen without glasses, so I went back to retrieve them.

This time I get to the door carrying a hot plate of food, a full glass of beer AND my glasses. Opening the door I dropped the beer! The plastic glass broke on the tile entryway, and I lost every drop of beer. I ran to get a roll of paper towels and then saw Lady outside looking in the door, deciding to stay out of my way. I would never give a dog beer, but I found myself wishing she would help me out and lap some of it up. She wasn't getting near me - it was like she was waiting for the explosion.

A half roll of paper towels later I had the beer mopped up, poured myself another one in a new paper cup, retrieved my plate of food, and came back outside. I calmly ate dinner and then got back to the computer. As soon as I finish this blog entry and my beer, I think I should go to bed, but it's only 7:30 pm and still daylight. To look on the bright side, most of the time I spill beer it is on a computer keyboard, so I'm improving.

So goodnight everyone, and may your evening be uneventful.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Campgrounds, photography, and other things

I just received a comment from Sandie, of "Where are the Dixons Today". She responded to a comment I left on her blog about wanting to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder places in De Smet, SD, and she had a tip for a good campground at Lake Thompson State Park. I have read numerous recommendations in blogs for areas that I hope to be travelling to, and it just came to me that I need to start writing these places down in a location I will be able to find them. Where better than directly on the appropriate Triptik page? Now I need to go back through a few other blogs and see if I can find other good camping spots.

I also received this email from Theresa of "Roadrunner's Travels". I am able to get on Google, using my cell phone, but it will not let me post. I can read blogs, and my mail, but when I try to go to the
dashboard to post, the software blocks it. I am trying to resolve the problem.

If anyone has had a similar problem with Google please let me know if and how you resolved it and I will pass the info along to Theresa.

I thought Rick had an excellent post today about a program that helps you to create panoramic photos out of several individual shots. The program is called Autostitch and it is available free in a demo version (no expiration on this version so it's basically FREE!) I looked at the website and found that Autostitch is available only for Windows. That led me to find a program called Calico that will work for the Mac, and which has a free demo version available.

In the meantime I did something I do only when all else fails - I got out the user guide for my camera and looked up "panorama". I had to take the book out on the patio to be able to read it in natural light - all the words blurred together indoors - and although it was cold out there this morning I stayed and read long enough to find that I have a feature on my camera that will stitch the individual shots together. Now I need to find a subject to photograph and try this out. It may be so involved and aggravating that I will just drop it, but I hope it's quick and easy enough that I can use it especially in my travels.

Anyone who has ever traveled anywhere knows that a photograph simply cannot capture the grandeur and beauty of some sights. Mostly I try to imprint the scenes on my memory, but being able to keep a panoramic photo would be a help. Some things are just too beautiful and awe-inspiring though, and even if you can capture a good photograph, it never does it justice.

Steve borrowed my truck yesterday and I have his "little" Matrix parked in my spot. I pulled it forward into the spot because I couldn't see to back in. Every day lately a huge vehicle is parked in the spot next to mine. Catch the irony of my complaining about a "huge vehicle", next to my 1 ton with duallies! At any rate, one day it is a large Ford whatever, another day a Chevrolet behemoth, and yesterday and this morning it is a Chevrolet Suburban. The matrix is just too small for me to judge where I am, and to back around one of these large vehicles.

We had a Suburban when the kids were little and I drove it around like it was a VW Beetle! I don't even remember having difficulty finding a parking spot or pulling in to one.

I've been at this computer long enough for a while, so I think I'll see if the patio has warmed up any and do what I most enjoy - look at some maps and dream.

I'm going to add a short note to what I already posted a bit earlier today. I was reading Rod's account of his visit to Telluride, which was overrun by folks waiting for a Phish concert. I decided to see if I could listen to samples of their music on Amazon since I really didn't recall ever hearing them, although I know the name. I actually think they would appeal to most bloggers as it definitely isn't hard rock or heavy metal, but a light sound and you can actually understand the words. I can't say I would want to buy a CD or listen to them often because I prefer acoustic instruments - those that don't get plugged in to an electric socket.

To hear samples, go to amazon.com and select Music, then enter Phish. The first album that will come up will probably be Joy, so click on the title which should take you over to the option to listen to samples. I think Rod had an excellent blog today with some great pictures of Telluride, and it's worth a look-see if you haven't already read today's entry. And if you've never heard of Phish and don't think you would like their music, take a listen to some of the samples.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Camera Settings

My brother, Bill, wrote me last night after reading my post about the camera I'm using, and the seemingly long time between pressing the button and the click of the shutter. He suggested setting it in sports mode. Our camera models are a bit different and I clicked on a Menu button, and then looked for the icon (hate those things) of an athlete running. It could be a stretch of imagination (mine anyway) to see an athlete running, but I picked it out by the process of elimination.

I also had several comments to the effect that I should hold the button part way down until I get the shot I want and then press it the rest of the way to take the picture. I tried that and found that after I switched to sports setting, the picture snapped instantly. Bayfield Al suggested that I experiment with taking photos of Lady, and I took a couple this afternoon on our walk.

I thought I would include them, because this is what she does on her morning and evening walk - twists and turns and really enjoys herself, getting a good backscratch in the process. It's funny how most animals do this, and they love it.

This has turned out to be a pretty nice day. Though the forecast was for the upper 80's, I don't think it ever got that high. I've had the door open all morning - vacuumed and sprayed Febreeze all over the apartment in an effort to get rid of the strong doggy odor. It worked for a couple of hours, but now all I can smell is dog!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Another day away from home

I owe Lady big time for leaving her for the second all-day time in a row. Donald borrowed my truck early so that he could help his mom move some of her stuff to her new house, so I drove it over there and went with the girls (Jeannie and her 3 daughters) to the farmer's market. We decided to try one that is very close, just a couple of miles from her house (and from mine, as well). It is a much shorter market day than the bigger ones, and they have a lot fewer stalls, but much of the offerings were the same - all organic produce that is in season here.

I bought a lot of veggies that I am too tired to start cooking tonight, but the next couple of days I'm going to eat really well. I even found fresh kohlrabi that I love but don't see very often. Cooked simply, it is delectable!

A trip to Costco specifically for the purpose of Jeannie buying an Olympus camera that was on sale - ending today - found that they had sold out of the cameras and didn't think they would be restocking them. Calls to other Costcos in the area, plus a search online, showed she just couldn't find that camera. Then she started reading reviews and saw that several people complained that there was too much of a gap between pressing the button and taking the picture. This is a problem I have on my Nikon Cool-Pix, and I notice it especially if I'm trying to photograph a baby, my dog, or a hummingbird. I take the perfect shot but by the time the shutter opens to snap the pic they have moved. I take many photos that I delete because of this, and I'm sure I should be changing the settings to rectify this problem. The thing is, until I can get good reading glasses I can't make out the print in the instruction book!

We hit several other small specialty store for various items, and Donald returned home with the truck at 5:30, so I left immediately to come home and walk Lady. I'm going to try to stay home for the next week if possible, and I need to catch up on vacuuming (and cooking). But I had a wonderful day with the girls, and I cherish these times while I have them. I want to be on the road very badly, but I feel so cared about when I'm with family that I have to be happy while it lasts.

I didn't even turn on my computer before I left this morning, so I had lots of email to read, and now I will get started on reading the blogs. Just hope my connection stays with me for the duration!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Another baby shower

Jeannie, Sarah and I drove up to Yuba City to Megan's mom's for a baby shower today. Another fine table of good things to eat, and of course seeing the beautiful baby presents, as well as meeting many relatives that I saw at Steve & Meg's wedding. I got back home just a little before 8 pm and Lady was ready to go out the door. She usually gets a walk around 4:00, and she is a very good dog as far as control goes.

I'm too tired to worry about supper and I probably snacked enough that I don't need it anyway. I'm just going to kick off my shoes, put my feet up, and enjoy a cold one!

Friday, August 6, 2010


My internet connection held for a little longer yesterday evening, so I checked my air card usage. I used 4455 out of 5120 "whatevers". I always have problems converting from bytes to kilobytes to megabytes, and now I have to deal with gigs! That was running it pretty close, but now it's set back to zero to start out a new month. I usually never use that much of my allotment, but listened to a number of chapters of an audio book about Dec. 21, 2012, the end of the Mayan calendar. I also discovered Pandora internet radio as well as how to access my favorite bluegrass music station from WAMU in Washington, DC. Good thing I mostly stay away from videos.

I went out for a brief jaunt this morning and was surprised at how much traffic was on the roads at 10:00 a.m. Well it's Friday, "Furlough Friday" as is the case, when the state workers have to take a day off work without pay. That explains the extra traffic at least, and I am thankful this week is drawing to a close. What a week it has been - tempers have been flaring and everything seems to come out wrong. I'll be glad when things, and people, get back to somewhat normal. Maybe my computer will follow suit.

It's amazing how many good deals on small RV's I can find when I can't follow up on anything. Will the albatross ever sell and allow me to pursue my dreams?

Now I will end before I put my foot in my mouth, and wish all of you a good weekend.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It must be the solar flare activity

I haven't been able to maintain an internet connection for several days now. It is so sporadic, and when I can get online I can't even get my email read until I'm getting kicked off again. So much for technology! Aside from being aggravated at the time I've wasted trying, I can't say my life is any different than when I'm online all day long.

I haven't been feeling well lately, and the worst was last night. It's acid reflux that I get now and then. I found some old Prevacid tablets, about a year past the use-by date and took one. Then I took an old prescription that I had gotten several years ago for a muscle spasm in my back. Then another prevacid - all of these with about an hour. They didn't last long and I felt better so was able to go back to sleep. Then the Stompers from upstairs began their nightly antics and I had to use the ear plugs.

(Before I get any un-needed (and unasked for) medical advice, I will tell you that I am aware of the fact I shouldn't mix medications nor should I keep old prescriptions. I hurt too badly to care.)

I think the Stompers probably work in a restaurant or bar setting where they have to speak loudly to be heard over all the noise. They just can't switch it off at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. when they are sitting out on their little landing smoking cigarettes.

Speaking of cigarettes, I'm getting really strong cravings lately, and I think they are worse when I'm not feeling well.

To top off my night-time fun, the dog got sick, twice. Of course she can't do it in the kitchen or the bathroom where it would be easy to clean up. The second time was at 5 am and I just threw her out to spend the rest of the night on the patio. Needless to say I didn't get a whole lot of rest last night.

Life just has to get a little better, but I'm tired of waiting for better days.

By the way, I finally was able to stay online long enough to post this by carrying the computer, air card, antenna, etc., out on the patio. It's too chilly to stay out here long though, and pretty soon it will be too hot. So I'll say adios for today!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Another kick-back day

Although I did nothing yesterday except stay quiet, I am more tired today. I guess everything is slower at my age, and it takes an extra day for the exhaustion to catch up with me.

I had to go by the eye clinic to ask for a refill on eye drops I am supposed to use 4 times a day. I can see a great improvement in my eyesight, except that reading gets blurry. I hope and pray glasses will fix that.

While so close to my son, Joe's house, I stopped by and had a nice visit with him and my two granddaughters. He is between school terms and wasn't cramming for a class. The girls are so sweet, and Kiera, the baby finally let me hold her. She is a daddy's girl right now, but she even fell asleep for her nap while I was holding her. I guess I haven't lost my touch. Every time I'm around the kids I wonder how in the world I raised four of them. My kids wonder the same thing, and it's good to know they think back and realize how I devoted those years to them. At least I hope they realize it.

My internet connection is so bad, and especially with blogs it seems to time out just when I'm trying to leave a comment. I am up to 4200kb on my 5gb limit on the aircard, but I should be able to make it to Aug. 6th when it rolls over to a new month.

It is getting more and more difficult to read some of the blogs and hear about the beautiful weather in Montana and Wyoming, as well as the cool mountain tops in the Hill Country of Texas. I'm only remembering these two at the moment, but there are other places on the continent where I'd love to be. Gumo's blog got me to thinking about stargazing and astronomy, and Don and Pidge have me longing to finally get to see Montana. And Laurie and Odel are enjoying the UP of Michigan, which I'm hoping to get to in the near future. At least I can travel vicariously in the blog world.

Another kick-back day

Although I did nothing yesterday except stay quiet, I am more tired today. I guess everything is slower at my age, and it takes an extra day for the exhaustion to catch up with me.

I had to go by the eye clinic to ask for a refill on eye drops I am supposed to use 4 times a day. I can see a great improvement in my eyesight, except that reading gets blurry. I hope and pray glasses will fix that.

While so close to my son, Joe's house, I stopped by and had a nice visit with him and my two granddaughters. He is between school terms and wasn't cramming for a class. The girls are so sweet, and Kiera, the baby finally let me hold her. She is a daddy's girl right now, but she even fell asleep for her nap while I was holding her. I guess I haven't lost my touch. Every time I'm around the kids I wonder how in the world I raised four of them. My kids wonder the same thing, and it's good to know they think back and realize how I devoted those years to them. At least I hope they realize it.

My internet connection is so bad, and especially with blogs it seems to time out just when I'm trying to leave a comment. I am up to 4200kb on my 5gb limit on the aircard, but I should be able to make it to Aug. 6th when it rolls over to a new month.

It is getting more and more difficult to read some of the blogs and hear about the beautiful weather in Montana and Wyoming, as well as the cool mountain tops in the Hill Country of Texas. I'm only remembering these two at the moment, but there are other places on the continent where I'd love to be. Gumo's blog got me to thinking about stargazing and astronomy, and Don and Pidge have me longing to finally get to see Montana. And Laurie and Odel are enjoying the UP of Michigan, which I'm hoping to get to in the near future. At least I can travel vicariously in the blog world.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A day of chilling out

I was exhausted last night after the baby shower ended, and I decided I was going to just vegetate today, which I've done.

The shower went very well and everyone had a great time. It was a coed shower, which adds a really nice dimension to the party, and a number of folks brought children so we had a full house. The cake, made by Donald, was one of his best to date, in my opinion. The taste and texture were wonderful, and he made the decorations as well, including the carousel animals.

I didn't take many photos because much of the time I was joined at the hip with a one-year-old granddaughter, and I loved every tiring minute of it!

I had a number of compliments on the crab dip and the meatballs. One of the guys was popping a meatball into his mouth, with a this-is-heaven expression on his face, and said, "Mmmmmm, these Kirkland meatballs are really good!" (Kirkland is Costco's ready made & cooked brand). Steve happened to be right there and told him "Those aren't from Kirkland, my mom made those herself!"

Steve & Megan got lots of nice baby gifts and the party was a great success. Now Jeannie and I are going to another baby shower for her at her mom's house in Yuba City next Saturday, and I will probably enjoy the food more because I don't have to fix anything. When I cook I don't enjoy eating it, usually. There were other delicious dishes, of course, that I didn't fix myself, but I was too keyed up and tired at the same time to really taste anything (except the cake). The cake was superb!

I threw chicken and some vegetables into the crockpot today so I will have a balanced meal tonight and probably for a few more nights. I know I'll be ready for pork chops when it's all gone!