Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Thursday, September 30, 2010

OK, I should have gotten the whole story!

I obviously didn't read it far enough - we are our dogs' best friends and only pack members they will ever need. Although I only read a short paragraph on the cover, which was probably a "teaser", it no doubt was contained in the book how we should act to take the place of the pack in our dogs' lives.

I still think my dog would like a doggie friend once in a while. Just as a married woman's world is complete in her husband, she likes to get out with the girls now and then.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Costco; dog behavior

I was there at 10:00 a.m. when they opened, to renew my membership. I got the dates mixed up as it wasn't due until Nov. 1, but I went ahead and paid another year. Specifically went to get Biotin, a supplement I take to keep my hair and nails healthy, and found they don't carry it, at least for now. Their stock items are always changing. Other than that I wanted to get their Spicy Artichoke-Jalapeno dip, which is really dynamite. It comes in a pretty big container so I will have to find someone to share it with. I got a 40# bag of dog food, and I'm glad my arms are getting stronger!

I browsed the books and found a couple I nearly put into the cart until I remembered I can't read very well :~( One book was about dogs and covers the pack mentality, etc. I was intrigued to read a short paragraph, "What do dogs really want?", and found the answer to be "They want to be with other dogs." That made me feel really sad because I'm sure Lady would like to be around other dogs once in a while, but I don't trust her enough to bother with it.

She is a dominant female but gets along with most, but not all, male dogs. Some females are ok as long as they aren't extremely dominant; I have seen the result of a couple of fights with the dog next door to us in NC. The dogs that came to visit the neighbors were all intimidated by their dog, so I know it wasn't just Lady.

She has a particular problem as well with small yappy dogs, whose best defense is a good offense. They start posturing, barking, and challenging, and Lady is ready to react. So apologies to all those with little dogs (probably most RVers), but I keep my big girl away from them. Lady was about 2 years old when I got her so I don't know anything about her early life or training or experiences, and I don't take any chances. I see her look longingly at big male german shepherds and wish I could socialize her, but at this stage it isn't likely to happen in our present situation. Back in the mountains, she found a huge black lab who lived up the mountain, and when he came down to find her I could never get her back home until she decided to return.
If and when my eyes improve I am going back to find that book!

I bought two bottles of Gewurztraminer wine, and the eyes didn't even have to look to be able to open up one of those bottles. I'm enjoying a glass now. And I bought a pair of tights that are really pretty, made in USA, and comfortable. I don't think I would be happy with mid-rise tights, especially if I want to use them for exercising. Can anyone tell me why they make any women's pants in mid-rise?

It's 99F at 4:30 pm, so it's a good bet it will top the century mark today. I am really tired of this weather.

Tomorrow my darling granddaughter, Ara, turns 21! I didn't give her too much advice (just a little) about drinking too much. What kind of a celebration is it to get so hammered you spend a big part of the evening throwing up and feel like hell the next day. I'll never understand it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Upstairs neighbors

There was a firm knock on my door yesterday afternoon and it was the girl from upstairs. She was very apologetic and said that she brushed my truck pulling out of her parking space, but she said there were no dents or scratches that she could see, but that she just wanted to tell me. I tried to get a look when I walked Lady, but couldn't see anything at all. My truck is so dirty it is held together by the pollen and dust, so I need to wash it and then see how it looks, but I really don't think there is anything I would complain about, and I thought it was nice of her to tell me.

Several weeks ago I was walking in between our vehicles and saw a crease in the side of her white Expedition and some black paint in the crease. I was so worried that I had caused it, but I stood there looking and looking, and could see no way that my vehicle could create a crease in hers in the location it was in, which was higher than my wheel wells. I looked up and saw her sitting on the steps and told her I was worried I caused it, but she said that it had happened several months ago and she never got it fixed.

In many ways they seem to be a bit quieter upstairs lately, although I think a slight change in my attitude could have something to do with it. I can't change the design of the building, and they can't either. It's not fair to ask them to not watch TV or talk just because I go to bed early. If I absolutely have to I will use the earplugs only I just insert them as far as necessary, and not like the instructions say.

From the time my kids were little I have been told by many people that they are some of the most polite kids they had ever known. But being polite and listening to music or talking loud don't necessarily have anything to do with the other. So in the back of my mind I've always wondered if any of my kids annoyed their neighbors. I'd be a fool to say absolutely not, so I'm determined to give these two a break and figure they just don't realize how their behavior sometimes comes across.

In the long run I'd rather have an honest person living there who would own up to a mistake than someone I couldn't hear once in a while.

On another note, could anyone imagine that with the outside temp being 100 yesterday, my apartment was nice and cool all day and I didn't even have to turn on a fan. I have a couple of windows open in the living room, and I closed the bathroom window about mid-day because I could feel warm air blowing in. When I walk Lady and hear all the air conditioners running, I'm glad I don't have their electric bills - I still am paying under $30/month for a totally electric apartment. Today the forecast is for 103! Yuk, I can't wait for some cold weather.

Jeannie offered me a great big zucchini that her neighbor had given her, so I decided to make zucchini nut bread yesterday. I made just one loaf and it turned out well, although one slice is almost too much sweetness for my taste. I barely made a dent in the zucchini, so I'll be fixing it every way I can think of - lunch will be grated zucchini in scrambled eggs!

I would like to say a big thank you for all the comments on air cards, MiFi, etc. I will try to hold out and not have to pay a cancellation fee, but I doubt I'll make it. I just wish I could find somewhere exactly what I need for the MiFi to operate well. I believe the basic package comes with the MiFi card, a charger, and some other kind of cord that I can't remember now. As long as I can plug it in to electric here at home I won't worry so much about battery life. For some reason I don't have nearly as much battery life on my Mac as they advertise, but it is probably the way I have it configured and just don't know any better.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Three days of hell . . .

. . .before the temps go down to the lower 90's, if indeed they do. It is difficult to read other blogs from folks who are experiencing cool weather once again, but then Sacramento has had a mild summer, heat-wise. Fall is going to be a scorcher though.

I did very well with the 2# weights that I'll be using this week. Next week I'll put a 2# and a 1# together, and see if I want to go any higher. The 2's today were just enough to let me feel it.

I also did a few leg stretches, and decided to order a DVD that has AM stretch and PM stretch, with Madeline Lewis. I had the videos which are still in storage in Asheville, and I had thought about having them converted to CD. But not knowing how long it will be until I can get them and wanting to get started with them as soon as possible, I just ordered the DVD with both morning and evening stretch sessions. They are so good to do - nothing strenuous as you go at your own pace, and I felt terrific all day long when I used to start the day out with half an hour of stretching.

An extra reason to watch these programs is that they are filmed in the Canadian Rockies - Banff comes to mind, but I'm not sure exactly where. The exercises are demonstrated outdoors with the stunning backdrop of the mountains.

I don't think I'm going to lose all the wrinkles and crinkles as time has done a good job of letting me know how long I've been around. But I want to feel better, look just a bit better, and have a feeling of well-being that exercise usually brings. Wasn't there a Garth Brooks song that goes "I'm too young to feel so damn old"? Well, I am going to do something about that.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

You just can't take pictures of a large group, especially one that includes wiggly little children, and catch everyone at the exact right moment. Here are two group photos of the family in their tie dye on our recent trip to Apple Hill.

I was at Jeannie's house this afternoon and caught this picture of Donald reading to his two little daughters.

They wanted to do some miscellaneous shopping but I decided it would be easier to stay at home with the girls. That was a wise move and the baby took a nice long nap, and I got to cut out paper dolls with Autie. I sent her an old-fashioned paper doll book last Christmas that I bought at Ft. Pulaski. It featured girls, their hair styles and their clothes from approx. 1854-1861. Being the old fashioned kind, they aren't perforated so I have to cut each item by hand, and can only do a few at a time. I thought her mom would have had them all cut out before I even returned to Sacramento, but the wise woman left it for the old woman who sent the dolls in the first place!
It brings back memories from when I was a kid, but I am going to look for the newer model perforated dolls & clothes.

We also read many, many books. Three year old Autumn did most of the "reading", as she has such a phenomenal memory she can hear a story once and repeat it from then on nearly word for word (and what she doesn't remember, she makes up.)

I had a nice afternoon and now I'm so glad to be in the quiet of my own home. I am so ready to be traveling somewhere in cool mountains.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mayfield, Kentucky - 2nd post Sat. 9/25

I forgot to mention this when writing my blog this evening. Looking at the Site meter stats I see that I had a visitor from Mayfield, Kentucky. If your family is from Mayfield we well might be related. Please drop me a line and say "howdy".

Air cards; Costco

Whenever I've raised the subject of air cards some folks say that they have had great service with Verizon. I will probably get a Verizon Mifi, but will never get another air card. The part that plugs into the computer has come a bit loose, and if I want to set the computer on my lap it invariably disconnects. Sometimes I have to push the card so that it isn't angled away from the part that plugs in. USB's may work fine if you can just plug them in, preferably to a desk top, and don't have to move around much. I'm on my 2nd air card in less than 2 years and I don't think I'm that hard on it, so I think the design and the quality are both lacking. The card is simply too heavy to hang on the small plug.

My selection will no doubt be the credit-card size Mifi which doesn't have to be physically connected to the computer. Also in answer to one comment I received, I believe the 3G store sells an antenna for the Mifi, although I don't know if there is a port on the card itself - that would be a negative to me if there is. While I was waiting for delivery of a replacement air card last winter I was able to use a neighbor's Mifi, and it worked fine without her having an antenna.

Finally, in response to one more comment, I don't think the air card sends out a signal that can be picked up on another's computer. For one thing, on the Mac I "turn airport off" when using the air card, so I have no signals coming in or going out. Not sure exactly how the air card works though, from a technical standpoint.

Now for a small plug for Costco. About two weeks ago I started using Muro 128 5% solution in both eyes, 4x a day. I bought it OTC at my regular pharmacy, and it cost $22.50 for 1/2 oz. Since it is OTC I don't get my special BCBS rate but have to pay the entire cost. Today I bought the same drops at a Costco pharmacy for $22.50 - but it was for a full oz. I have switched pharmacies since my visit to the doctor, but I'm wondering if I should just use Costco while I am in the vicinity. I just love that store!

I took a couple of pictures today that I'd like to share. Miss Perpetual Motion does take a break now and then! (That is a little butterfly tattoo on her cheek - easier and quicker than face painting!)

Friday, September 24, 2010

The mercury's climbing . . .

. . . up into the 90's for the next 5 days, and uncomfortably close to 3 digits for some of those days. I still can't complain about my apartment, which is cool day and night, but I don't like to be out in the afternoon which limits my mobility even more than it already is.

I baked the loaf of bread a couple of days ago and it was delicious. I have found that bread machines seem to make a more dense loaf, but maybe that is due to other factors besides the machine. Now that I'm developing some muscles in my arms, I am about ready to try making bread the old-fashioned way. It sure worked for me in the l970's, and I hope I can come close to the way I want it to be.

As for exercises, I've completed the week and now have a two-day period of R&R. Next week I will try the 2# weights and see how that works. I am very pleased with the results so far.

My recent post on the problems with buying a new GPS were meant half seriously and half in jest. If I can go back to RV living and traveling I will probably want an updated system, or at least will try again to get updated maps for the one I have. But most likely I will keep my old GPS because it has enough features I never use without adding a few dozen more that I don't want or need.

All I really need is someone to call out to me, "In 2 miles exit left and keep right". That gives me a good picture of what I will need to do without waiting until I get there and have to do a quick job of reading and mentally processing a dozen signs. For this purpose a GPS is a godsend to a solo driver.

It has been my practice for a number of years to travel with a box of maps - state maps, regional maps, US map, and many maps of the National Forests. Even when I traveled in my Jeep I would carry this box into the motel room with me in the evening and pore over my route taken for the day and what I expected to do tomorrow. I folded the appropriate maps and highlighted the route so that I could pick up a folded map and see exactly where I wanted to travel. I continued this practice with the RV, and I believe I took a picture of a campsite last year in Alabama with the box of maps sitting on the picnic table. In nice weather I love to sit outside and spread out the maps, and Lady always enjoyed being in the fresh air too.

So I could never abandon something that gives me so much pleasure as the stock of paper maps I keep, but I would be bull-headed to rely on paper maps alone at this time of my life when there is a device to assist me when I need a bit of assistance.

After a short period of time with little or no trouble getting connected to the internet, the past few days have been terrible. In the mornings the connection doesn't hold so I usually carry the laptop, antenna and mouse out to the patio where it is slightly better. But even then I have problems. This morning I couldn't leave comments on some of the blogs I read. I always think I'll go back and try later, but usually end up forgetting which ones I need to go back to.

If I can hold on until the beginning of January, my contract with AT&T will be up, and I can get something else. That something else looks to be the MiFi, although I don't expect good service from anything these days. What has happened to this country, when you can't count on things working the way they are supposed to.

I the end I will probably go with MiFi which will cost me close to $70/month with a 2-year contract. And then I will no doubt have to buy an antenna to get decent coverage with it. I sometimes wonder if it is worth it. I spend so much time on the computer every day I suppose it is well worth it!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Selecting a GPS

I just looked at Garmin's website to see what is available at a moderate price. I counted 46 - that is forty-six models of Nuvi, and most of them have the following features:

This is a very affordable model at $159.
nĂ¼vi® 2250 - Affordable, get-around-town navigator preloaded street maps for North America, lane assist, myTrends™, optional lifetime traffic, speaks street names, Where am I?, photo navigation, ecoRoute™, pedestrian navigation options

What is "optional lifetime traffic"? I've had just about enough traffic for my lifetime, but they DO say it is optional. Lane assist is good, but what are "myTrends"? Spoken street names is a feature I definitely want. "Where am I?" If I need this feature I am definitely lost, and I try to not get THAT lost. I can barely take my eyes off the road long enough to glance at the screen, and I'm not sure if photo navigation would be my safest bet. I'd like to know more about ecoRoute, but don't think I would use the pedestrian navigation options.

If I am willing to spend $239 I can get lifetime maps in addition to lifetime traffic. You get the picture - 46 different models of Nuvi alone to choose from, with varying levels of complexity, including 3D terrain maps and speech recognition, neither of which I can figure out why I would want in a GPS.

What I do want is to get rid of the crabby woman who currently directs me, and get a sexy man's voice, preferably with an Italian accent!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Feel Good!

Just like James Brown sings. Not too sure why, but I do feel great.

Today was an exercise routine day, and I am so enthused about it that I wish I didn't have to take rest days. But for now I will follow the recommended routine that seems to be tailor-made for me. I have never liked exercising except for walking, but for some reason it resonates with me now. Probably because I'm starting to look like a prune or a raisin, all wrinkly, and I want to stop that train right in its tracks! As an added benefit my posture seems to be getting better as well.

This morning I drove downtown to have blood drawn. I had written down the directions from Google Maps and it looked easy enough. The Garmin had a different route in mind for the last few miles, and I went her way. Easy as can be, and I even found a parking spot. The parking is all metered, of course, and is expensive enough. I used a bunch of my laundry supply of quarters.

I didn't like having to get back on the freeway to come home, but just followed directions and again, it was easy as can be. I think the time of day is a factor. When I got off the freeway onto Mather Field Road I decided to drive past Bill's (my ex) old house. The new owners have changed some things so it doesn't look exactly like what I was used to seeing - there won't be any reason for me to drive by again. I'm glad in a way - the first time I drove by after he died and the house was sold was pretty difficult.

Today's agenda included a grocery stop to pick up bread flour and yeast, and the ingredients are in the bread maker right now. If all goes well I will be having bread and butter for dinner. I should find an extra ingredient or two to go along with that, I suppose. On Monday and Tuesday I had the sole filets, and they were delicious! I gave Lady a couple of scraps that stuck to the pan, and she was in doggie heaven!

I'm thinking of getting a newer GPS system, but I get along with this one fairly well and hate to get anything that has a lot more features that I won't use. I think I'd like to have the voice call the street name for turns - they are printed up at the top of the screen but I can't read them now. I also can't read the speed limit or how fast I'm going. That is important to me especially when traveling, but I will have to see if I can just position the unit a little closer so that I can make it out. I doubt if I've used the Points of Interest feature even five times since I've owned the GPS, and the results were not satisfactory at all.

I think I can get a nap in before the bread is ready. I really shouldn't do that because I then stay up later in the evening.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Another day gone

I certainly didn't accomplish much today except to schedule the two tests the doctor suggested, and they will be on November 9. I'm used to being able to get any kind of appointment or test within 3 weeks (NC), so I don't think much of this waiting around. But I'm obviously not going anywhere, so why do I mind.

Tomorrow I have to return to have the blood work done, so I will take care of pharmacy and grocery stops along the way. I used to run out at the drop of a hat, but it's nice to have a tank of fuel last several weeks to a month, and when I don't drive out I don't have to back into this parking spot again. Also, I'm not spending as much money.

The weather is in the mid 70's today and is a beautiful day. Early this morning the forecast was for several days in the 70's, but by this afternoon all that is changed and the predictions are to get up to the high 80's and even into the 90's by the end of the week. Will we ever get back to some decent - in my mind - weather?

A comment on my blog yesterday from Dizzy-Dick asked why I wanted to downsize. I have several reasons, first being that I haven't been able to do the kind of camping I like in the kinds of places I like, due to size restrictions. I have often driven along a highway or interstate and realized I should start looking for a place to stop. In the west especially, there are lots of national forests with small campgrounds, but many are 10 miles or so off the highway. I have never wanted to haul that 5ver back some little road only to find I can't fit into a space, and then have to turn around and come 10 miles or so back to start the search all over again.

Many of us who start full timing don't really understand our complete preferences when we begin the life. I thought I could adjust to big, groomed parks with lots of amenities. It just isn't my style, it turns out, although I don't mind it once in a while. I'm a back-to-nature under the trees sort of woman, as well as more of a minimalist than many RVers. At least most of the time. The 34+ ft. 5th wheel is very nice inside and has lots of space and storage, all of which were appreciated by me. But I found I would trade off some of that space and comfort for some space and comfort out in the forest, in a spot more to my liking, to say nothing about wanting a smaller and easier-to-handle rig.

The great part of the RVing lifestyle is that it accommodates so many different types of folks, their likes and dislikes, rolling homes, etc. There is no one perfect way that will please everyone, and that is what makes it so perfect!

I travel alone with a fairly large dog, so all the space was unnecessary for me, as would be a 2000+ sq ft. stix 'n brix. I don't need a lot of space, while there are many couples, some with kids of varying ages, many with at least one pet, who really need the room.

Speaking of space, the two areas in the home that I like extra space are the kitchen and the shower. Unfortunately, and this is my opinion only, every RV I've ever seen is lacking in this regard. Lacking from the standpoint that they don't have the space I like to have in these areas - not lacking from any fault of design. The space in even a large motorhome or 5th wheel has to be economical and downsized.

I read enough blogs to know that many of you cook gourmet meals in your RV kitchens. I never could do that without splashing water all over the place, vegetables flying from the chopping board, grease splattering in hard-to-clean spaces, a fridge that was too small to comfortably hold the foods I like to have on hand, and a freezer that was constantly needing defrosting! The problem lies with me then.

Comments welcome.

Monday, September 20, 2010

What a difference . . .

. . . 5-1/4 oz. makes, when you are talking lifting weights! The soup cans were a piece of cake but today I started using the 1 pounders. I printed a schedule off the internet for a weekly regimen, 4 basic exercises (on days 1,3,&5) which cover all the major upper body muscles in one week, and with days of R&R in between. I am relieved to have it over with for today and glad I can rest tomorrow. On Wednesday it will be 4 completely different exercises, and all are done with a lot more repetitions than I was doing with the soup cans. I hope I don't get muscle bound! Next week I will up it to the 2 pounders, and we'll see where I stand after that. Right now my arms are killing me.

I had a very good visit with the doctor this morning, and am so glad to have found her. She is having a re-test on the metabolic panel as she thought my potassium level was at the max last time. (I took in the results from my test, and she made a copy of them.) She called in the prescriptions I asked for, and wants me to schedule a mammogram and bone density scan, which is fine with me. I knew I was getting shorter - from 5'6-1/2" a few years ago to 5'5" today. My blood pressure was excellent and I tipped the scales at 121# with shoes on! I am healthy as a horse and can't figure out why I don't have more "get up and go"!

She also answered a concern I had with the large white patches on my shins. I was worried they might be vitiligo, which is a loss of pigment in the skin. It is more likely to be a result of the nasty fall I took last year, when Lady & Mandy both wrapped their leashes tightly around my ankles and made me nearly kill myself. One leg definitely took the hit but both were pretty bad, and the white patches are worse on the right side. I remember that day very well, and I would have gladly given both dogs to anyone who would have had them. They were all excited about two big aggressive dogs on leashes further up the lane.

This doctor is fine with me traveling, and told me that I can contact her via email if I am out of town and need to consult her, and that I can view most of my records online. She is with the UC Davis Medical Center, and I think I'm going to like them. When I left the receptionist handed me a printed copy of today's visit summary, which is really handy. We didn't discuss my short term memory, but this summary will enable me to go back and see exactly what was done today without straining any brain cells.

Some of the burn is abating from the exercising, but I think I still need to lie down on the couch for about an hour. I'm looking forward to supper tonight - on the way home I stopped at Whole Foods and bought a pound of sole filets. There are quick and easy to cook - nothing fancy - I just fry them quickly in olive oil & butter, and season with Lawry's seasoned salt. That and some fresh veggies and I will probably overeat, which I rarely do.

Speaking of overeating, I brought home Jeannie & Donald's bread maker, and am going to make a loaf as soon as I get the ingredients I'm lacking. If it is halfway decent I will probably eat most of it with butter, and that will be a meal for me. Maybe I can put a few pounds on.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lifting weights & tie-dye

I went shopping this afternoon with Jeannie, Donald, and their two little girls. We first went to Play It Again Sports so that I could get some small hand weights. Used but look-like-new cost $.49 per pound, so that 2 each of 1# and 2# set me back about $3.00. Later at another discount sporting goods store I saw the exact same 2# weight for $5.99 EACH! So now I can start out with the 1# and work my way up to 4#, and I sort of doubt I will be going any higher than that, although you just never know.

My eyes are seriously bad now, and exercise may be one of the few things I can do for recreation. What a predicament! I think the severity of swelling wasn't apparent as long as I using the after-surgery eyedrops. I will just hope the saline drops will begin to work soon, as it doesn't matter how I'm willing to camp - 5th wheel, truck camper, or tent, I'm sure not driving more than a few miles anywhere.

A word about the tie-dye shirts. At one of Meg's baby showers each guest had the opportunity to decorate a little "one-sie", and Sarah did a tie-dye. Then it just grew from there that we would make tie-dye t-shirts for the entire family and have a group picture taken. Steve has been a long time fan of Jerry Garcia, so the tie-dye sort of fits in. He and Meg went to a Halloween party one year dressed as hippies, and they looked absolutely great. So the theme was a perfect one, and Bill was "up there" laughing his head off at us, and probably glad he didn't have to wear a shirt. He would have, though. I never wore tie-dye when it was in fashion, so I wasn't exactly loving the idea of it, but it turned out to be such fun and I'm glad I did.

I have an appointment tomorrow morning with a doctor that was recommended by one of Jeannie's work colleagues. I am hoping it will work out that I finally get someone I can feel comfortable with, as was my old doctor in Swannanoa (NC). I have a couple of issues that I'm concerned with, and I am glad to finally get a chance to either worry more or just forget about them.

I did solve the problem of leg cramps at night, at least I hope it is solved. I do the wall push-ups before going to bed, which stretches out the back of the calves, and since I've been doing that I've been sleeping for longer stretches at a time and have no leg cramps throughout the night. Could that be better than potassium supplements?

I need to turn in early tonight so I can wake up before dawn - get the dog walked, take a shower and dry my hair, etc. Donald is driving me to the appointment as the medical center is in a part of downtown that has very little parking. I don't even think the light rail runs nearby or I could take that. The problem with a very early appointment is that I will be running into commuter traffic, and I don't think I could face that with my sight being how it is now.

A note to Guy who wrote me about a week ago regarding Stillman RV Park: I have often thought about this park, except that it is not near any of my kids and is in a part of town that is unfamiliar to me. I'm still hoping to sell the 5ver, but we'll see. I signed a 90-day consignment agreement, so that will possibly take care of up to mid-December. That would work out fine if I should have to take it back - I would just spend Christmas with my kids and leave shortly after that. A lot depends on my visual acuity however.

Well, wish me luck and tune in tomorrow.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Apple Hill

Yesterday Bill would have been 69 years old. (He was my ex-husband and the father of my kids.) Since his death a few years ago, the kids here in CA have always made an excursion to Apple Hill. This was a place we found in 1984 when we were all living in CA, and we went back several times a year and whenever we had visitors. It is just east of Placerville, probably about 3000-3500' in elevation, and is the site of huge orchards, vineyards, and christmas tree farms. The farms all belong to a co-op and there are somewhere over 100 different farms involved in the tour.

We have always gone to two farms: High Hill Ranch, which has the best caramel apples you could possibly find, as well as great apple cider, fritters, and pie. Boa Vista Farm was our second stop, where we enjoyed the corn dogs - best ever! They also seem to sell a lot more produce, and you can find just about any fruit and vegetable imaginable there. All the farms I've ever been to are heavy on vendor booths, and sell every kind of thing you can imagine - books, wood carvings, glass, candles, and so much more. I usually browse for a few minutes but don't find anything I can't live without.

So the kids, their families and I met at High Hill Ranch yesterday.

After eating the requisite caramel apples and other delicious offerings (I had a slice of warm apple pie with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream), we sat around relaxing while the little kids enjoyed running in the grass and down to the lake. One of the guys always ran to the lake with them just in case one fell in and had to be pulled out.

There was a pony ring, and I feel so sorry for those ponies. What a life! The girls loved riding though.

As sort of a joke we all wore tie-dyed t-shirts. Donald and Joe were a little embarrassed at first, but they were good sports about it. While we were there a busload arrived and when the folks got off the bus most were wearing tie-dyed shirts!

As Donald was trying to set up his camera to take a picture of the whole group, a woman offered to take the picture for us. I didn't have my camera handy, but she took pictures with two of the cameras so I will post one if I ever get a copy.

This morning Jeannie and I walked for an hour at Mather Field, and we are planning to get back to a routine since fall will be here soon and, hopefully, some cooler weather. I feel a lot more energetic when I walk regularly.

I will try to get over to "Play it Again Sports" tomorrow to get some weights for my exercise program. The 10-3/4 oz Campbell soup cans just don't do the trick. I hate to buy them when I have 2 different sizes back in storage in NC, but they are plenty cheap at Play it Again, at least they were at the store in Asheville, much cheaper than Walmart!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A First for me!

I was so excited last night I could hardly go to sleep. Here's what I did for the first time in my life.

I have been doing some light exercises for my arms and upper body strength, in anticipation that I might have to go back to the 5th wheel. That bar isn't easy to pull, and I've always just barely been able to maneuver it. So I use two cans of Campbell soup as hand weights and do a few exercises in the morning and evening. I took Sunday off during the two week period I've been exercising.

Another exercise I do that is supposed to strengthen shoulders and upper body, is called something like "wall push-ups". You stand back from the wall just a bit, arms stretched out at shoulder height, and do the push-ups against the wall. I read on a website that you do this "until you can do the regular push-ups". Hmmmmm, I thought. I was always under the impression that women couldn't do regular push-ups. (I was raised in "that era" and this is just one of the few ideas I never threw off.)

Last night just before going to bed, I decided to see if there was any hope of me ever doing a regular push-up. I shoved Lady out of my way (she is always in my way), got down on the floor and actually pushed myself up. I was so excited and then began to doubt I actually did it, so I tried it again. I DID TWO PUSH-UPS! The real Army kind! I was whipped, I'll tell you, but I managed to get off the floor and crawl into bed.

I kept waking up from the aches in my arms and shoulders, but I just smiled and told myself, "No pain, no gain", and fell back asleep.

I would like to thank Anonymous, who made a comment on my blog yesterday, saying that it takes a little while before the eyedrops make a real difference. I'm relieved to hear that, because after a day of using them I was expecting some sort of miracle. If I could only learn how to exercise patience.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Nothing new

After reading Al's blog (The Bayfield Bunch), I am still laughing. All original thoughts I might have had have flown right out of my mind, so I will keep this short.

One day using the eye drops and I don't notice anything except that they sting when I put them into my eyes, but not that bad. I am definitely having trouble reading anything in print off screen, and it seems to be getting worse on the computer screen. I can enlarge print but can't seem to make it more bold, so if anyone has a solution to that I would like to know. If this is what the rest of my life is going to be life I might just scream! It makes the thought of "transplant" seem easier to consider though.

I decided today that maybe I should forgo looking at paper maps (which I can't see very well) and try online search. Well, that doesn't work either as I can't make out the print on screen any better. Amazingly, my distance vision doesn't seem to be as affected, and I can see to drive quite well although I doubt if I would pull a 34' 5th wheel ever again.

My son in New York called this evening and said they have had lots of deer grazing in the back yard today, including a buck, and approximately 30 wild turkeys this morning. Fall must be on the way, and I wish I was in NY right now. It's time to get out and make some short trips, which I hope to start doing in October. Maybe I can get a decent picture to exchange for my blog's long-time header photo.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Where do I begin?

As usual, I spoke too soon in my last blog entry. I have complained all throughout my recuperation period of blurred vision, off and on. It finally cleared up and I was declared fully reovered from the cataract surgery. The glasses I ordered finally came in last Friday, and what a disappointment! About a week ago the blurred vision had came come back, not constant and not much of a detriment to driving, but annoying in that I still can't read very well.

I stopped by the eye clinic and saw the doctor, who found I had a condition whereby there is an accelerated loss of cells that draw moisture off the cornea. I was diagnosed with this condition 20 years ago but have never had a problem with it, until now. The doctor was encouraging, and said that although the disease was present in both eyes, it certainly was not the worst case scenario. He proposed to treat it with saline drops 4x a day, and more often if I need it, and he will monitor the condition. My follow-up appointment is December 10, and I thought I would be miles away by December 10.

I've decided to stay here for now, and depending on how things are in December, I might start traveling again. By then I may as well complete the term of the lease, as it would cost me two month's rent to break it, and the lease expires the end of March. If I feel like it I will just vacate and go back to full time traveling. I will just have to wait and see what happens. But in the meantime, I am in a very good spot for accessing year-around camping, and I hope to do some of that very soon. This latest development really put a damper on my eagerness to do anything, though, and I will have to see how I react to the eyedrops. Of course, the pharmacy with its usual efficiency doesn't have the product on hand, so I have had to wait until this afternoon and hope they get it in.

I don't know why all this is happening to me, and with this particular timing. It seems that when I'm not supposed to do something a roadblock appears, and I guess it keeps me from making terrible mistakes. I trust the Universe to keep me on track, and will deal with whatever comes my way. The doctor touched one of my big secret worries, and assured me that my eye disease will not result in blindness. It is possible that in the future I will have to have a transplant(s), but probably not the entire cornea. They now can transplant the channel that holds the cells, which is at the lower part of the eyelid. He said the operation is safe and quick, and effective in almost all cases. I'll accept it if it comes to that.

I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to live the full-timing life that I did, and really hope to get back to it, but it may come down to part-time travel. Right now I am certainly down, but don't count me out yet!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Moving, sort of

I can't say I'll be on the road again, but I'm moving. I gave my notice yesterday to break my lease, and I plan to be out of here at the end of September which is JUST 3 WEEKS! I should be getting the 5ver back on October 2nd, which leaves a gap of 2 or 3 days where I will be homeless again. Dang, I might as well set up a cardboard box under a bridge!

I thought I had a place where I could move my belongings and make that my "base camp" but I don't think that is going to work out. So now I need to scramble and get everything packed so I can find a place to store it until I get my 5ver and make a decision on it. A couple of commenters have rightly observed that I had a falling out with that 5ver, just a year ago today in fact, and I will never have the same feeling about living in it. But it is a place to live, and I can move when I feel like it and not have to break a lease. I wish I had a viable option and plan, but I don't. As they say something like "better to stay with the devil you know than one you don't."

After 2 beautiful days in the 70's, it's going back into the 80's tommorow and will no doubt soon climb above 90. I've been wearing jeans and long sleeve tees, and love getting back into cool weather clothes. I'm ready for real cold weather clothes!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I accomplished a lot of small things today, and am ready to go to sleep but it's only a little after 8:00 pm! First off, I got an appointment to see a doctor on the 20th of this. Yes, that messes up the possibility of an extended camping trip, but since I will run out of my prescriptions the end of September, I hope this doctor will be willing to write me new ones.

I have two grandchildren with September birthdays, and I got the present shopping finished and ready to go. That's a relief!

I returned a couple of books to the library and found three that looked interesting and are also in large print. I've already started the first, Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol". The locale of his first two books was Paris/London/Scotland (Da Vinci Code), and Rome (Angels and Demons). This one takes place in Washington, DC and being so familiar with that city I am anxious to get into the book. I would really like to go back to DC for a visit, but the thought of the traffic there just freezes me into inaction. I had enough of driving in that traffic to last a couple of lifetimes. I would park somewhere and take the Metro everywhere, of course, but even the Metro can be crowded any time of year. I'm in total admiration of any RVer who drives within 30 miles of the place.

I was able to cross a bunch of errands off my list - now if I would just get the call to come over for my glasses, I'd be happy! Actually, I've decided to be happy with whatever. I can't do a thing to speed up what is going to be, but I will soon start getting nervous about having my 5th wheel back. What should I do first? I will have to arrange for space in the storage lot for one thing, and hope I can find something with fall closing in. Transferring things back to it is a daunting task and I will worry about it tomorrow!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Trying out a new chicken recipe--2nd post Monday, Sep. 6

Thanks to Rick, of Rick & Paulette's RV Travels, I had an easy time deciding what to cook for dinner. You can get his recipe for Italian chicken by following the link to Rick's blog, Sep. 6, 2010.

The ingredients are simple and I had everything on hand except the salad dressing. I could have used balsamic vinegar, but opted to follow the recipe the first time. Besides the chicken, you will need Italian Dressing, a can of diced tomatos, salt and pepper to taste, and grated parmesan cheese to taste. THAT'S IT! My compliments to Chef Rick.

The chicken was moist and tender, and as flavorful as I have ever tasted. I served it over spaghetti, which worked well for me because I quit using red sauce on pasta a long time ago. Usually I douse it liberally with a robust olive oil, some seasonings, and a skillet of lightly sauteed vegetables of whatever I have on hand, plus a lot of fresh grated parmesan and sometimes some shredded mozzarella. The trick is not to skimp on the seasoning, including salt and pepper, but that is my own taste and others may vary.

To get back to Rick's recipe, I set a beautifully cooked chicken breast with the diced tomatos and cheese on a plate of spaghetti. I spooned lots of the juice which was the Italian salad dressing over the spaghetti, making sure to cover it well. Mmmmmm. Cooking the dressing softens the taste a bit, so the combination of chicken, tomatos, and dressing provided a smooth melt-in-your-mouth experience. I happened to cook exactly the right amount of spaghetti, but if I had made just a little bit more I would have eaten another plateful plus an additional chicken breast. It was that good.

I thawed 4 chicken breasts so that is what I cooked, and I'm looking forward to having leftovers for a couple of days. Again, my compliments to Rick. One of his readers suggested that he might come up with a cookbook, in addition to his book on computer tips, which are descriptive but concise and to the point, easy to understand and follow, and he even answers questions if you don't quite know how to proceed. (The computer tips are also available on Rick's blog, and you can download and print them out for future reference if you like.)

Lastly for this topic, I would like to recommend Drew's organic italian dressing if you have to go out and buy dressing. Like all Drew's products, it is superior to other brands on the market. If your grocery has a special section for organics, that is where you'll find it, as I do at Raley's or Bel Air in Sacramento. But for cooking, I think any brand would be fine.

Some electrical issues, plus a bit of shopping

I have had problems charging my camera batteries: My original charger (Energizer) didn't work properly in my rig and I thought it was broken but held on to it anyway. I bought a new one that charged much more quickly (Kodak), and it worked fine in the rig but not here in my apartment. So, desperate to charge up some batteries, I got out the original charger and set it to work overnight. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the green light this morning! It must be the difference in electric connections between here and the 5ver, which I have never understood, although it seems like either of them should work when I'm hooked up to 30 amp electric. I will keep both of them for the time being, but it's nice to have 4 charged up batteries on hand.

My hair dryer was the other small appliance that has given me trouble for a long time. It kept switching off and messing up the circuits in the rig if I forgot and tried to run it while the Lasko heater was on. I noticed it doing the same thing here, but first thought it was competing with the bathroom light/fan combination for electric. Then I discovered it shut off and the grille where the hot air comes out would be too hot to touch. So this morning I bought a new hair dryer.

While I was at Walmart (Costco was either closed today or opened later than their usual week-day opening), I found a display of personal fans (9" blade) for $5, so of course I had to buy one. This insures that a cold trend is in the works for Sacramento, and everyone can get out their long pants, sweaters, fleece jackets, etc. I actually don't need a fan as the temperature inside never rises to an uncomfortable level, but it feels stuffy sometimes with no air moving around. I really blame it on the dog, who has a strong doggy odor to begin with but which is getting worse. Oh well, she is getting old.

Then in order to try Rick's recipe for Italian chicken that he posted in his blog today, I had to buy some Drew's Organic Italian Dressing. I have 5 other flavors on hand but no Italian! The chicken is now thawing and I think I will serve it over pasta tonight.

Now I need to clean and refill the hummingbird feeder. I boiled the water this morning and probably added more sugar than usual, so the birds should really be fighting over it.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

New Cooler

My Coleman 52 qt steel belted cooler arrived last week and I picked it up today. I like the drain, which my old cooler doesn't have, and the lock which certainly looks to be bearproof! There is no advertising on that however, and the bears get smarter all the time.

It isn't nearly as difficult to lift as I thought it would be, but it's still empty. I will no doubt hoist it into the truck bed and fill it from there, adding the ice last. I will also carry my old cooler along to keep beverages in, so I'm not opening the lid on the big cooler quite as often.

I have been wanting this cooler for a long time now, and have watched the price go down little by little. Finally it reached a price acceptable to me, plus free shipping, so I jumped on it, and I'm glad I did.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I feel like a limp dishrag lately, and I'm having allergy or sinus problems to boot. Since I lie awake for a long time in the middle of the night, I tend to nap during the day which doesn't make for an interesting life. About 3 more days in the 90's and then it will drop to the 70's, which is what I love best. To think my entire summer last year was in the 70's range!

I believe the Old Farmers' Almanac 2011 version has been released, and I will get one first chance. I hope I'll be able to read it and to get some long-range predictions so I can decide where I might want to spend the winter, if not here in Sac.

Several people have commented on my vision problems and suggested a magnifying glass. I had a great magnifying glass that I used for genealogy - enlarging old census records, etc., and I often used it for small print such as the telephone book, Woodall's directory, etc. I lost it somewhere during the past year and I'm sure it is in the rig, no doubt behind or under the sofa. I shone a flashlight numerous times trying to catch sight of it, and even opened out the sofa in an attempt to fish it out. No luck.

So I bought another one since I've been in Sacramento, and it is so absolutely terrible I can't even use it. I think the first one came from Office Depot, which isn't convenient to where I live now, but over closer to Cal Expo. I wish I could find my original lens, but I don't know if I can pull the sofa out a bit. I tried and it didn't budge.

I've had very sporadic internet and phone connections the past week. Fortunately I can get online now and then and get up to date with email, news and blogs. I could just skip the news and be better off.

I will probably spend some time tomorrow with family, which becomes very precious time to me when I think about traveling again.

I am adding a little postscript here before very many folks read my blog today, to say that several times lately I make a comment to someone's blog, go through all the motions to get it published including typing the silly dumb word, but POOF! The comment form is gone, the comment is gone, and I don't know what happened.

Friday, September 3, 2010

I just want to scream,

and cry, and throw things, and fall on the floor - do I sound like a toddler? I called the Vision Care place, and of course after 8 days my glasses aren't in. They told me probably mid-week, next week. Why does it take so much longer to get anything in Sacramento (and I'm assuming just about all of California) than anywhere else in the country. Your prescriptions? Well sorry, we don't have that in stock, you should come back in three days.

It is now 99 degrees and has been hot all day long, so I won't go pick up my new cooler, even though it would probably help my mood considerably. The real disappointment is not getting the glasses. I'm planning a camping trip in just over a week, and so far I can't see the fine details of the maps well enough to do much planning - actually I can't do any planning at all. And yes, I even broke down and looked online, and that is worse than I thought. I might check to see what comes from a Google search on a particular campground or area, but I certainly couldn't make a decent decision with the vague information to be found online, nor can I look over a broad area of a national forest, for example.

Oh well, if I don't leave 10 days from now, I will leave in 15 or even 20 days.

I had a difficult time sleeping last night, and lay awake from about midnight to 3 am, partly due to the stompers upstairs, who had a friend over.

I disconnected my desktop computer this morning and packed the monitor away. Now I have to figure out a place to store the desktop unit, as well as decide what to do with my old printer. I was hoping that Staples would recycle the old one, and they would, but there is a recycling charge for the service. I hate to see it end up in a landfill, but I'm not going to pay for recycling it. I really believe that stores making money selling you stuff should have to take the old stuff back for recycling in the case of electronics, and I also believe they should have to allow you to leave all the excess packaging behind in recycling bins in the store. Maybe I could drop the printer off at Goodwill - possibly some technician could clear the paper jam and find a wonderful printer that will last a long time.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Time with my grandson

I spent about 4 hours today just holding my little baby grandson. What a joy he is, and he looks just like his daddy did at that age. Looking at Steve now you would never believe he could have started out so tiny! I told Steve I was going to have Liam's picture printed up and then draw a mustache and goatee on it to see what he will look like about 25 years from now. It was really sweet having a low-key visit with just Steve, Meg and Liam.

It was also sad to see their doggie, Rocco. He is just skin and bones now (he is pictured with Lady on a photo from our camping trip at Sly Park just a month ago). Steve now has to carry him up and down the steps into the back yard, but his tail still wags furiously. I'm so glad he is here to meet Liam, but also sorry he won't be around for Liam to grow up with. I have never known a dog with a sweeter and more friendly nature.

By the time I got home Lady was REALLY ready to go out - about 2 hours after her normal afternoon walk time. She is such a good dog that way, but the day will come when she won't have such control. She is showing her age in the way she gets up and down in her bed. I won't ever have another pet when she is gone.

It was a dollar short of the predicted 100 degrees today - only got up to 99! But at 9 pm it is still 86, which is a long way from getting cool enough for me.

I am so hoping to get a call from the optometrist tomorrow - they told me 7 to 10 days for my glasses, and tomorrow will be a week. I hope they don't mean 7 to 10 business days, but that is probably the way it is. I hope I'm not putting too much faith in these glasses working magic for me, but I really need to be able to read again. I just can't seem to hold on to a good mood with my eyesight being the way it is, but I'm thankful I can see much better for driving now. The surgeon told me I don't need glasses for driving, which is great.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Just a quickie

I took two Benadryl tablets before going to bed last night, and I slept pretty well. I'm not even sure if there was noise coming from upstairs, but if there was I certainly didn't let it bother me.

The trouble is that I have been sleepy all day long, and have napped off and on for the entire day, so of course I have nothing to blog about.

Tomorrow I think I will be babysitting the new grandson for a few hours, so I'm either going to have to tune out any noise or just use the #*/^& earplugs!