Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ireland, continued

Continuing from yesterday's blog about my travels and life in Ireland, here are a couple of pictures of the house I lived in for my final year in the country. From my upstairs bedroom I could see Ballydonegan Bay and further out to the Atlantic. The second picture was taken of the front; the two story portion was my house, and the one story addition contained a workshop with lots of tools and machinery, plus a barn-like space for the cows during the terrible gales that blew all winter. It's kind of interesting having cows living in a sort of duplex with me, but they were nice neighbors. I didn't notice a barnyard smell at any rate.

Looking at the next two pictures, I think I posted the first one yesterday: the Square in Castletownbere looking in one direction, and the next picture shows the opposite direction, and was taken during one of Jeannie's visits.

The next is a road sign, always written in English and in Irish. The next two were taken in the neighboring village of Eyeries, which is a very colorful place.

Here is one of the arches carved by the sea that I spoke of in yesterday's blog:

Donald, Jeannie, and Ara visited me and we took some photos at Dunboy Castle, just outside Castletownbere. The first is of Jeanne and Ara in front of the Castle; the next is a tricky photo of the four of us taken inside the ruins, and the next is Ara and me playing around the ruins.

We visited a stone circle just outside Castletownbere, of which pictures can't do justice. It is an overwhelming feeling to be inside the standing stones.

I will end up with a couple of pub shots. Jeannie and Ara came to visit, and of course you have to visit the pub to see and be seen, but they had traveled approximately 14 hours from Sacramento to Ireland and they had jet lag. While we were enjoying ourselves, someone noticed that Ara had just laid her head on the bar and fell asleep. So of course we had to set a pint in front of her and take another picture. This might have gotten us in trouble in the U.S., but the atmosphere is just different in rural Ireland.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Scenes from the past-Ireland

I lived in this mobile home for the first 3 months of my gypsy sojourn in Ireland. You can't see it from the picture, but if you walk back a short distance, you would see Ballydonegan Bay and the Atlantic ocean plus where the Kenmare River flows from the Atlantic. That's my granddaughter Ara, standing in front. She came to visit me for 6 wks the first summer, and then her mom came for 2 wks to pick her up.

I then moved into this house and lived here for two years. I loved this house, and never had the feeling of peace, contentment, benign spirits, and mischevious fairies as I had here.

The light colored building in the right side of the picture is my house, and is taken from the road coming from the town, Castletownbere, which was about 10 miles away. It had a supermarket, several butcher shops, a library, a doctor or two, many pubs and small eateries, and numerous other little businesses. I managed to get there at least twice a week. In the early days, before I had a car, I either got a lift from someone or began walking. In almost all cases someone local would stop and give me a lift. When I got my car I tried to pick up anyone who needed a lift, and it was common to see high school age kids thumbing a lift. No big deal there, and safe.

This is looking down the driveway from my house, with some of the cows in the front. You can see where my driveway meets the side road (not the one from town). If I needed something from the "shop" in the village, such as a bag of coal or a cannister of gas, or groceries, I could call the shop and the owner would drop off my purchases. He also drove the school bus, and made deliveries from that. The coal and gas would be delivered in a larger truck and Keiran, an employee, would bring it into the house for me. The coal was in 80 kilo sacks, and he would carry one on each shoulder!

TRAFFIC JAM IN IRELAND! You can see I'm taking this from the driver's seat on the right side of the car, and the oncoming vehicle which is (herding the sheep) is to my right. This means in Ireland, England, and I think in Australia, you drive on the WRONG side of the car, on the WRONG side of the road. It is really difficult to get used to, but even more difficult to try to cross a street. You automatically first look to the left because that is where your first lane of traffic will be coming from. In the larger cities where they have an influx of tourists, the street at crossings will have painted in bright big white letters, "Look Right". It is common in the countryside to have your drive interrupted by a herd of cows or sheep. Some people get impatient, but I always just sat and watched in fascination. In this case, I stopped the car and let them go around me on both sides.

This was taken on one of my long walks, and was a real favorite of mine. The sea is at the mouth of the Kenmare River. I don't know what caused this particular rock formation, but there are several in the area. It was the action of the water no doubt, and I took this photo on my way to a spot where the sea has eroded the rocky cliffs into arches. I'll try to find those pictures for a future entry.

This is a typical scene in Ireland, the pub scene. I'm not talking about the fancy bars in the larger cities such as Dublin or Cork, as the best places to socialize are in the small villages and towns.

That's it for today, but I have loads more pictures taken in Ireland that I would love to share. The pictures were scanned, so the detail isn't as clear as it is in the actual photographs. I'm not sure if you can click to enlarge.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I have a working dishwasher!

My son, Steve, came by today and fixed the dishwasher, so it looks like I won't need to buy a new one for a while. He also fixed some of the cabinet hinges and catches, and though I need a couple of replacements, most of the cabinet doors stay shut now.

He took a look at the roof and came up with a plan to find and fix the leaks that are plaguing me - leaks that definitely aren't related to the windows. When that is done, then he will pull the paneling off from around both windows to see what damage is behind it, and when that gets fixed we can put up new paneling sections and I can finally paint the last part of the interior. It's been a long road. I would still like to replace the windows eventually since they are not airtight and I can feel cold air coming in.

He made it so I could put the microwave in the open space next to where it was sitting on the countertop. I have so little counter space it's a shame to have so much of it taken up with appliances. I think at one time this open space housed an oven.

He also suggested I move my cookbooks to one of the cabinets over the fridge and then I can remove the bookshelf from that part of the countertop. The clutter was getting me down, and this will give me a little more space to work with as well as a cleaner look. It will never look like an HGTV kitchen, but it will look just fine to me.

I started a list of supplies I will need to get at Home Depot. The disposal has never worked, and Steve will replace it plus some of the jury-rigged plumbing under the sink. I will buy the most inexpensive disposal I can find, as I don't like to use them although they are good to have once in a while to get rid of food particles that go through the dishwasher. Mostly I run ice cubes and maybe a lemon peel through them now and then.

Last night I thought about feeding him lunch so this morning before I even ate my breakfast I began chopping veggies and started a pot of minestrone soup. It was coming along nicely, but since I didn't have canelli beans this time I decided to use ourzo (pasta). As you may know, in its dried state ourzo is a tiny little thing, so I put some in the pot and then went back and added more. The result was that the ourzo swelled up with the broth by the time the soup was ready, and it was a very hearty soup indeed - hardly any juice! Steve must have liked it because he ate two big bowls.

A strange thing happened when he called me from about 15 minutes away. I didn't realize it at the time, but Lady got off her bed and moved to sit in front of the door. When his car pulled into the parking area across the street, even before he got out of it, she stood up wagging her tail and waiting for him. I opened the door so she could go out to meet him, and I marveled at the mental telepathy of a dog. How did she know he was coming, and how did she recognize his van?

I am so thrilled that Steve, Meg and Liam will be moving back to Sacramento. They rented their house out for the year they've been in Monterey, and I'm glad they will soon be in it again.

I'm pretty worn out just watching Steve work. He also removed the glass cover for the kitchen ceiling light (minus the fan) and found the problem was a loose bulb. He tightened it and for now I have light in the kitchen again! I hope to have the new light fixture installed soon.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

From time to time I mention my black lab, Smoky, and I found a picture of him that I thought I would include in today's entry. This looks like it was taken at Newfound Gap in the Smoky Mountains in summer of 2004. Smoky died in the fall of that year and I've never ceased to miss him.

I changed some of the furniture in my living room, switching a couple of items from one side to another, and I'm not happy with the results. That means I need to switch them back, which is time consuming and I hate to move furniture across the floors. I think I have too many pieces of furniture, whereas I prefer less because it makes the space look so much roomier. I'll deal with it when I get back from my trip.

I don't know what to do with all the photographs I have - bags and boxes of them. Now and then I scan some of them, but no way am I disposing of real pictures that I can hold in my hand. The memories seem so much sharper when viewed from a hand-held photograph as opposed to an inanimate computer screen. I know I'm in the minority here, but I will never change on this issue.

One gripe I have lately is that when you run into people they want to show you pictures on their phone screens. I can't take a decent picture with a digital camera because I can't see the screen, and I certainly can't see a picture on a cell phone. That's the way it is with me, and it must be my eyes because most people close to my age seem to be able to do ok with their phone screens.

After a morning of such heavy rains that I thought for sure my house would flood, the sun is shining and the world looks beautiful. It won't last for long as there is endless rain forecasted for the near future, but I'll enjoy it while it lasts and until the next time we get a brief view of gorgeous sunshine.

I took advantage of the weather and drove to Costco to get gas. It was with trepidation that I pulled into the station, as all along the way I saw prices edging $4.40 a gallon. Costco's was $4.14, and I couldn't believe my mileage - 17.96mpg! I can only hope that it will be even better when I can get gasoline without the ethanol added, as well as figuring the highway mileage. I have no idea why this tankful was so good - I don't drive much, but that wouldn't make much of a difference. It was usually around 18mpg in the east, and it wasn't until I hit the ethanol states that it dropped dramatically.

My long awaited AAA Triptik arrived yesterday. It's ok, but I'm a bit disappointed. The format has changed somewhat - the size and overall look of the pages is different. It used to be long skinny pages, with the route running vertically up and down the page. On the back of each page was a good overview of the area and route. Now they have squeezed more miles in on each page - it looks like to me - and they have also left a lot of things out. One example is that all exits used to be indicated. Some were just indicated by a dot, whereas the larger ones might tell you that gas, food, and lodging were available. That didn't mean that some of the dots weren't exits with gas stations though. Now only the major exits are shown - not even a tiny little dot for the others. What if you have a tire that is losing air and want to get off the highway? Or maybe you need to make a phone call and the shoulder is not a safe place to stop along that section. A glance at the old map would let you know approximately how far you needed to drive. And yes, I know that the GPS has all the information a person would ever need, but I can take a quick glance at a triptik easier and safer than I could fool with the GPS.

I looked through all my old maps and found several triptiks for cross country travel that I've saved over the years. I'm taking them along for good measure - they all cover slightly different routes, and I usually end up modifying the route I plan on taking anyway. I'd better take one for the southwest just in case every other part of the country is under snow, but I sure hope I don't have to drop down that far.

One day soon I need to take my portable vacuum cleaner outside and clean the inside of my car. The canvas covers I bought last year to keep the seats clean from the dog have worked pretty well, although they need a good shaking out and vacuuming. I don't think I have an outlet on the outside, so I'll have to run an extension cord from the house. For all the hassle it's going to be, I think that's why I haven't yet done it. I did launder the big fleece throw I fold on top of the canvas.

I think I will go stand in front of the door and just drink in the beautiful day, while it lasts. There are definitely more rain clouds in the distance.

I just want to add a note here and hope I catch the readers who have blogs of their own. I decided to check my blogger comments to see if there were spam comments to be deleted. Out of 5 comments, only two were actually spam, and the other 3 were from trusted bloggers. I couldn't read anything at all in any of their comments that would come near to being possible spam. I get each comment that is made in a separate email, so I can usually tell if there is spam. I also read the comments in the email version, and rarely look at the blog for them. So I didn't miss them but anyone who reads the blog would not have seen them. I don't know why blogger chose to throw them into spam, but beware if you write a blog that all comments might not appear.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Forward motion

I am getting close enough to departure to realize I need to make some forward motion each day. With that in mind, I took my Highlander to Les Schwab this morning to have the tires and pressure checked. The tires are in great shape but needed air, which they cheerfully took care of.

Then on to the Dollar Store, where among other things I found a set of 4 covered plastic refrigerator containers for $1, which will be good for keeping Lady's canned dog food in during the trip. Each day I can scoop out some to add to her dry food and throw the container away when it is empty. I looked for some type of rack I can put into the cooler to set above the ice and keep foods above the water line, but the store is going through a remodeling and I couldn't find anything. I did get a couple of small plastic baskets to store items in that I need to be able to reach quickly - cell phone & charger, notebook and pens, etc. My maps & motel guides go in the big pocket on the driver's door, where they are immediately available to me. I usually fold the map to the area I'm driving through and then re-fold it to the next section when I'm at the motel. For the bulk of the driving I will use the triptik but it is also essential to have a larger map available in case I want to take another route in case of snow, or just for a change of scenery.

Last night I was setting up for my P.M. stretch, and set down the throw rug I keep beside my bed. Before I could lay the yoga mat on top of that Lady had walked over and got herself comfortable for the next hour or two. I didn't have the heart to make her move, and I ended up doing my stretch later than I had intended, so Lady could stretch out.

I finished the last bowl of minestrone soup for lunch today. I have the ingredients I need to make another batch, and may just go for it. It is so nice to heat up a big bowl for lunch.

I thought I would share something sent to me in an email today. It sure makes sense to me.

"No matter what you are looking at, you can find something wrong with it, something imperfect, something that is not okay with you. Don't worry, if you look hard enough you'll find it.

There is also something 'right' with everything. No matter what you are looking at, you can find something right with it, something perfect.

There remains, then, only one question: What are you going to look at? What are you choosing to notice? What is your perspective?"

Monday, March 26, 2012

Now I'm good to go!

Yesterday I took care of the important half of the gypsy team, and today it is my turn.

I saw Dr. G. and he tells me my eyes are great! He also said there is no exercise I can do that would hurt my eyes, unless there is something that could hit me in the eye. Since I am not into those exercise machines with god knows what hanging all over them, nor have I taken up boxing, I think I'm ok for the jumping jacks. I told him I wanted to get in shape to do some long distance backpacking so he knows what I'm up to.

I left with an appointment for 6 months and a prescription for glasses, which I have already ordered at the Walmart near my house. I really like Walmart Vision Centers, and I got the best pair of glasses I ever had at the one a couple of miles from my current house. I'm hoping for the best, although I haven't really been satisfied with glasses since I've had all my troubles with cataracts and cornea transplants. Maybe this time will be perfect, and at least I am hoping so.

I selected the frames and then discussed with the optician all the choices for lenses, keeping in mind what my insurance covers. I ended up with two options - one at $115 out of my pocket, and the other at $165 out of pocket which included transitions lenses with copper/brown lenses. It seems the brown costs more than the grey (which I have trouble seeing out of). I decided in the end to get the $115 option, but when I went to pay, it turns out that the insurance gave me some kind of extra discount and my payment was only $30! Dang, I would have gotten the transition lenses if I'd realized I would get an additional discount. I'm happy though, because my funds are looking pretty skimpy for such an adventurous trip, and I still need an oil change, prescription refills, etc. The cost of fuel has me very worried.

I'm down to one drop a day in each eye of the prednisone, and the sutures remain, one in each eye. In the end I decided that Dr. G. knows how I feel about the sutures, and if he thinks they should stay a while longer then I'm not going to argue with him. There have been few doctors I trust as much as I do this one, and I'm not going to second guess him. Maybe in six months ...

It is a beautiful sunny day and my spirits are about as high as they can get.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Lady is good to go!

We headed over to Western Feed & Pet Supply this morning for the mobile shot clinic. We arrived first and only had to wait a few minutes until I was given the paperwork to fill out, and then the vet was ready to shoot! This clinic is held under a large awning outside the store, and Lady enjoyed watching all the other dogs in the area.

She got the 5-in-one vaccine plus the bordatella. I normally wouldn't get any of these vaccinations for her except she will need them if I put her in a kennel during the graduation. I usually prepare a page of emergency information when I travel that I keep under the passenger seat visor. This page gives basic medical info for me, i.e., arterial stent implant, and I just make reference to the I.C.E. info which is in my cell phone. I also keep a page for Lady, giving her name, age, and describing her temperament, plus a list of her shots and dates given. I would hate to think if I had an emergency along the way that they would stick her into a quarantine someplace, although I really don't know what they would do.

Back to this morning, she got her two shots and we headed to the car. It was ironic that when we left home she balked and hesitated and backed up several times before she could climb into the back seat of the car. When we left the parking lot after her shots, I opened the car door and she hopped right in like a 6 month old puppy!

A heavy rain started shortly before 4:00 am, and I hate the sounds it makes right over my bedroom. It bothers me more each time, and I don't think there is anything I can do about it. Right now the sun is shining although it is expected to rain on and off for the next week. The paper towels I keep on the windowsills under potential leaks were damp this morning, but nothing was dripping.

I had a comment to yesterday's entry that makes a lot of sense, and I want to thank Judy for making it. She suggested that since I still have a suture in each eye, I should talk to my eye doctor about doing jumping jacks. I see him tomorrow and will ask him about this, and in the meantime I will put the jumping jacks on hold.

Also, thanks to Sherry for the suggestion that I place one of the hotels bath towels under my yoga mat so I can keep up with my exercise and stretch routine while traveling. I really do appreciate the comments and suggestions I get.

NOTE: A couple of hours after I posted this I realized I attributed to someone else the suggestion about my talking to the eye doctor. I have since corrected it to Judy, and I hope the correction is made before Judy reads today's entry.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

It's cold today!

From mid-day when I walked over to the laundry room a couple of times to this afternoon it has gotten much colder, and the breeze has picked up. The forecast for five days beginning today show rain, and while we haven't yet had rain it will probably show up before I go to bed.

I have the breadmaker running and the fine aroma of baking bread is wafting through the house. I have chicken tenderloins marinating in basalmic & rosemary dressing, and the only thing missing is dessert. I nearly went out to pick up something for my sweet tooth, even had my coat on, but decided I would just stay home. The favorite part of the weekends is not getting into my car, although I might break down tomorrow and drive to Raleys. They are closing this store soon and I don't know what I will do for baked goods, as theirs is the very best of supermarket bakeries. I need to attempt using the bread machine to make dough and then fashion my own rolls with it - cinnamon rolls would be my pick.

I did my jumping jacks today and added 5 to yesterday's count, so I am up to 15! I'm going to keep track and raise it by 5 every day. The stretch routine I do nearly every day is called "a.m. & p.m. Stretch" with Madeleine Lewis, and is available at Gaiam.com for about $15 plus s&h. It takes about 30 minutes each for the morning and evening routines, and I try to do at least one each day. The morning stretch really makes me feel terrific, and I think the one great part about it is becoming more aware of my posture. I tend to slump sometimes, but the morning session ends with emphasis on maintaining good posture throughout the day and it really works for me. My muscles get a little sore if I haven't done these routines for a while but that soreness goes away within about a week. I doubt I'll be able to keep up with it staying in motels along the route to NY - I hate to put my yoga mat down on a motel room rug!

When I was doing these exercises last year (when I lived in an apartment) I noticed after a few months that my tricep muscles had become really nice and tight. The triceps is the part of the upper arm that can be like flabby jello. There is a stretch for the triceps in both the a.m. and p.m. programs.

I guess that is enough of an unsolicited plug for Gaiam and their wonderful DVD's. I also have a couple of yoga DVD's featuring Rodney Yee, who is way to advanced for me to even attempt it, but he is so good to look at I sometimes watch the videos!

Every day this week I've looked forward to mail delivery, hoping my Triptik has arrived, but so far I'm still waiting. They told me it would be close to the first of April and I guess that's when I can expect it. I'm looking forward to seeing Dr. G on Monday, and hope I can get some glasses that will help. I know the occasional tightening up and blurring is caused by the one suture left in each eye. I don't know enough about it to argue with the dr. and he knows I would like them taken out. I have heard that several sutures are left in when someone undergoes the full cornea transplant, so I guess I'm not all that bad off.

My bread is ready and I need to go remove it from the machine. It's still about an hour early to start sauteeing the chicken, and if I sneak a slice of warm bread I will undoubtedly eat several slices and leave the chicken for tomorrow.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Weekend coming up!

What a day I've had. After walking Lady and having a quick breakfast I had to get a shower and dressed for the funeral of my cousin. While waiting for the Lasko heater to warm up the bathroom I decided to try doing some jumping jacks. I figured I had exactly enough room. In last Sunday's Parade Magazine, along with the recipe for minestrone soup, was a little section on exercises that are really good to do. There were 3 of them - jumping jacks, the plank position (yoga), and push-ups. So this would be a great time to do the jumping jacks, you know, get the old heart pumping!

I couldn't believe what happened. I couldn't do the jumping jacks, because I couldn't coordinate the arm and leg movement. Have you ever heard of such a thing - when my hands came together my feet were not where they should be. I used to coach a girls' 6/7 yr old soccer team and they could do jumping jacks, for god's sake!

I went to the funeral and did fine until about half way there the sky became overcast. Whether it was coincidental or not, my vision blurred up, but I made it to the church where the viewing and service took place. I stayed for both but decided not to go to the funeral home for the Celebration of Life service, as by that time I just wanted to get back home. Driving from my house to there involved crossing I-80 at one of the most confusing and difficult sections, but I made it ok except for one little close call! I was so happy to pull in to the mobile home park.

I ate lunch and took a nap, then walked the dog. I decided to try the jumping jacks again, in the wide open living room where I have lots of space. (I don't give up easily, although I usually whine a bit before trying again.) Glory be! I did it, I had absolutely no problems and my hands and feet were perfectly coordinated! I'm ok! What would seem like nothing to an 8 year old made me so happy I nearly cried. I did 10 jumping jacks, and then when I looked at the magazine article I saw they recommended starting out with 5 minutes of the exercise. Five minutes would bring on a heart attack I am sure, so tomorrow I will try to do 15 JJ's, then 20, and so on. No way will I ever be ready for 5 minutes of them. As far as the other two exercises, I do the plank position with my stretch routine every morning, and I am getting my upper arms back into shape for the push ups.

So I'm now at another weekend and I need to start cleaning in preparation for leaving my house for a while, as well as getting laundry done and summer clothes ready to pack. It's not easy to pack for overlapping seasons, and just requires taking more clothes. Then there is my car which needs to be cleaned out, oil change, and tire check.

It looks like tomorrow will bring more rain that will continue through the next week. I just wish it would be a nice gentle rain that falls on and off.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Soup is on

I cooked this big pot of minestrone soup for my supper, but as it is now lunch time I think I'll have a bowl for both lunch and supper. I got the recipe from the Sunday Parade magazine that comes with the newspaper, and of course I tweaked it a bit - adding seasonings to make it tasty and a few more of the veggies I like. The recipe called for a can of canelli beans, and I decided I'd try them. The bean itself is tasteless, I think. I normally cook beans from scratch and have to hold myself back from seasoning too much, but my beans sure taste better. The can says it contains 6g of protein, so it probably a good idea to add them to the soup. I also added a pound of good ground beef. I can't wait to try it, although I've tasted the broth and it is wonderful! I hope I'm not too tired of it by the time I finish the last of it.

Sometimes in the evening I watch TV to help me stay awake until a decent bedtime. I am so sick of what's in the news lately that I skip it altogether. Since I only watch a few stations such as Animal Planet, Science, and History channels, there sometimes isn't much to see. I refuse to watch Hillbilly Handfishin' and Pawn Stars, so it leaves me very little. Lately I've watched Searching for Bigfoot (they really aren't seriously searching as the program attempts to entertain rather than to inform), or Ghost Hunters. Sometimes Ghost Hunters looks at some very interesting places, but I've noticed lately that when one of the hunters is startled by a noise, they shout "What the hell was that". I've made a game of seeing if I can beat them to it. I think next time I watch, I will count the times I hear "What the hell was that", and then write a letter to the producers of the show asking if they can't be a little more original. TV is for the most part a gigantic waste of time and brain cells, but when you live alone there isn't much of an alternative.

GMail is at it again. After switching everyone over to their "new look" which I hate, I suddenly found myself back in the old version. Now they are again saying everyone is going to get the new look, like it or not. Well, I don't, and I'm switching everything I can to my AOL account. I hate it when a site changes the look and there is no apparent improvement in the content. I still use the Classic Mapquest, but they too have a new look and each time I use Mapquest there is a notice at the top of the page that I should try the new version. My online banking is the same way - you just get used to the page, where to make an entry and where to click, and boom! It's all different. No improvement or cleaner look - as far as I can tell no better interface. But by god they are going to make you use it, like it or not!

I make changes in my personal environment all the time, so I'm not opposed to change for change's sake. But I want to make the decision myself and not be forced to use something that is less intuitive to me. I'm sure it is to keep programmers busy and no other reason.

Enuf of that! It's after 1:00 pm and I'm still in my jammies. Ya reckon I ought to get dressed?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Another beautiful day, and I made a quick trip to the Sac Food Co-op. It's 3rd Wednesday so I get my 10% senior discount, which usually insures I buy more than I intended to. I found a recipe for an Italian soup that I want to try, so I bought a number of fresh veggies plus organic ground beef. It is basically a minestrone soup, and some of the ingredients are the same as the "Mamma Mia" soup Donald makes.

I'm looking for high calorie, high protein nutritious foods that are super lightweight and that can be carried on a backpacking trip. I'm thinking I might try to get back into backpacking when I return from NY - something like the John Muir Trail or a section of the Pacific Crest Trail, or equivalent. From my experience on the Appalachian Trail a number of years ago, I couldn't carry the weight of the amount of food I needed to maintain my body weight - in the area of 4000 calories a day. I tried hard, adding liquid margarine to just about everything I ate for the caloric and fat value, but it didn't make much difference. I'm going to try to be smart about it this time, and plan well. Eating enough and drinking enough water were really hard to do, and I probably failed miserably at both. The secret will probably lie in carrying lighter gear to allow for more food.

I like having a Mr. Coffee again, although I'll admit the Melitta makes tastier coffee. The Mr. Coffee keeps it warm which is a plus, and it is a simpler process than the Melitta. With the Melitta I filled a large mug with hot coffee, and poured the rest of the pot into a thermos to keep it hot. I'd rather just drink a smaller amount at a time and set the pot back on the warmer. No doubt it will use more electricity but I actually use such a relatively small amount of electricity per month I'm not worried about it.

I am so looking forward to my visit with the eye surgeon next Monday. He is going to write me a prescription for glasses, at the least for reading glasses. I don't need long distance correction, but do need the reading plus something for the 6' to maybe 100' range. It is a real problem for me because I like driving with no correction except when I'm approaching signs, exit ramps, intersections, etc. I'll have to rely on Dr. G to fix me up with something I can use.

I am really feeling great lately. I still often need a nap about 2:00 pm though, and I wish I could get through the day without one. I can if I'm involved in a project or have something to do, so I hope the long distance driving will be good until about 3:00 or 4:00 pm. Time is passing so quickly and I'll be on my way before you know it!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Great weather for a change!

I went to get a can of Chicken Noodle soup out of the pantry, and it looked as if the number of cans increased! I think I wrote that I bought a pack of 9 cans at Costco for $9. Well it seems that it was 12 cans for $9. Good deal. I wish the dog food I bought today was available at Costco, because I just came back from Petsmart with 10 cans of Blue Wilderness dog food for about $24, and it was on sale! I mix about 1/4 can with her dry food, so it will last me a month or more. I'm debating about giving her the wet food while on our trip - even though I cap the can when I put it in the fridge, it is likely to get melted ice water from the cooler seeping into the can. She doesn't like her food as much when it's only dry.

I also stopped at the Red Roof Inn next to Petsmart to pick up a location guide. They say they allow pets except possibly in a few cities where there is a "no pet in motels" rule. I guess it is up to the individual motel whether they charge an extra fee. That is why I much prefer Motel 6, as they never charge extra. I stayed at a Super 8 last year while traveling through Montana, and the cost was pretty high after they charged extra for the dog. I didn't have a choice because the weather was not good and there was nothing else around. Times like that I miss having something I can sleep in - even a van would do. But I'm generally happy with my Highlander and if I didn't have the dog I could probably fit a section of it for sleeping. I'm not sure where I would sleep in it without a dog though - certainly wouldn't stay at a rest area by myself.

I love being back in my stretching and weight lifting routine. Very gentle overall, but I feel much stronger. I really need to start walking around the park again. Can't remember why I didn't keep up with it a month or so ago, but it probably had something to do with my allergies and bronchitis.

Dizzy Dick commented on yesterday's entry about only hearing good things about the deceased at a funeral. That is true, generally speaking. In Ireland I attended a "removal" of a prominent and very much disliked man. After laying the body in the church overnight, as is the custom, everyone goes next door to the pub where the family lays out a spread and buys a round of drinks for all. In this case the relatives of the deceased kept everyone laughing with horrible stories of things he had done to anger people. A niece of his said that only his wife seemed to think he was a good man, and I was glad he had someone in his corner. I knew most people didn't like the man but it was at his funeral that I realized the depth of their dislike. Nothing keeps the Irish from attending the viewing, removal to the church, the pub "service", the funeral Mass next morning, and the burial in the graveyard. It is really a social occasion for everyone but the bereaved.

The sun is pretty bright right now, but the brightness seems to go in and out. Here is a photo I took a couple of evenings ago, and it wasn't taken all that late in the day. The heavy clouds made it seem later than it was.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Trip to Walmart

It's probably the store I like least, but I am looking for shelf organizers and I knew that Walmart would be cheaper than Target or K-Mart. I didn't see anything I wanted, but did wander over to the sporting goods department and bought an air mattress, exactly like the one I had but lost the cap that holds the air in. (In reading the previous sentence I just don't know what to do with it, so I won't do anything but hope it makes sense to someone.) The brand is Ozark Trail, and I also bought an air pump of the same brand name. I think it is exactly like the one I borrowed from Donald but can't seem to find. I know he has a better pump so I haven't been too quick to buy him a replacement.

The mattress is great for car camping with my big tent, and also for those times when I've had to sleep on the floor, although I don't look to be moving anywhere so I doubt I'll need it for that purpose. Since I don't have a spare bed, the mattress would be available in a pinch. I haven't decided whether to take my tent and basic camping needs on my drive to NY. I took it all last year but the weather wasn't good enough to warrant using it, and as you get further east the tenting spots aren't easy to find unless you know about them in advance. I really don't want to tent among a lot of RV's, and there are campgrounds that have no tent spaces.

I was looking for a cheap door mirror but could never find anything even remotely like it. You know - the tall narrow ones that you can hang on the back of a bedroom door? I have one mirror in the house and that is on one of the closet doors, but it's difficult to get a full length view including my shoes. I like to be coordinated when I go out, you know.

Yesterday I bought a Mr. Coffee at K-Mart and saw it today at Walmart for $3 cheaper. That's ok however, because I used my shopper's reward of $7.40 off the price of the coffee maker, so I still spent less than I would have at Walmart.

I got a phone call from Gladys' brother today to tell me about the funeral on the 23rd. The obit or funeral home website said nothing about a viewing beforehand, nor about the Celebration of Life after the church service. For those of you who have always lived in the east and might not be aware of California funeral practices, let me explain. I came into contact with this at Bill's funeral in 2007, and didn't know what to make of it. Now, after the passage of a few years, I think it is wonderful!

Everyone gathers in a room, and in Bill's case this was at the funeral home after the viewing and a short memorial religious service. First the children - in my case our 4 children) beginning with the oldest and down to the youngest get up and go to the podium where they give a short speech of remembrance about the deceased. Then close relatives and friends get up, one by one, and tell their connection with the deceased and say how they were affected by his or her life. Some tell funny stories, and some tell poignant stories that bring tears to your eyes. In fact, funny or sad, the tears flow. At Bill's service, my daughter had thoughtfully bought a case of facial tissues at Costco and had open boxes at both ends of each row.

Hearing the people speak of my ex husband gave me a whole new insight into the man, or maybe it was a recognition of what made me fall in love with him to begin with. As the years went on in our relationship we were friends, but I felt he was always critical of me and loved to get a laugh at my expense. I'm over all that now, but I bring it up to indicate that I never knew how much of a positive effect a man can have on so many people, and the little kindnesses and generosities he gave. His chemo nurse mourned the fact that she was going to ask him to walk her down the aisle at her wedding! I think one of his biggest strengths was that he always listened to people, a trait that made him such a good bar owner.

I will attend the Celebration of Life for Gladys, but I hope I'm not tempted to get up and speak - it's just not my style.

How did I get from Walmart to the California funeral?

I got an email from one of my brothers who attended our grandma's funeral in Kentucky, and he told me they had a celebration of her life as well. So maybe it is more common than I thought. I certainly never heard of it in Cincinnati.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

First I will answer a question about something I wrote in yesterday's post. Dizzy Dick asked if I hike the Appalachian Trail would I start in GA and hike north, or start at Mt. Katahdin, ME and hike southward. I love the southern portion and would prefer to start in Georgia again. However, I already covered the portion from Springer Mtn. GA to Waynesville, VA, the southern entrance to the Shenandoah National Park. I got off the trail there as I could barely walk with the intense pain I was experiencing. Thinking it was a condition that would go away with a couple of weeks of rest, I did that and re-entered the trail at the northern end of Shenandoah, planning to finish the trail and then come back and pick up the entire Shenandoah. The northern end was about 60 miles from my home and thus easier to get someone to drop me off as well as to pick me up if I had to leave again.

So I began hiking and in 3 days arrived at Bears Den Hostel, which is between Falls Church (where I lived) and Leesburg, VA. I decided to quit the hike, got to talking to a man who was doing trail work and who introduced himself as a professor at George Mason University. He offered to drive Smoky and me home after he had finished his morning of trail work, so I took him up on his offer. I gathered up my belongings at the hostel and looked around for Smoky. I found him, already in the back seat of the car!

I went back in the fall with a friend and hiked some of the trail in Vermont, plus I had already done quite a few miles in PA and MD, so I reckon I have chalked up about 900 miles in total - probably about 750 miles in one stretch. I believe I would like to go back to Waynesville, VA and get on the trail going north through the Shenandoah. If I could deal with it, then I could keep going to Harpers Ferry, WV, and from there I would just set short goals. I'm not deluding myself that I could backpack the 2170 or so miles in one go.

I'm going to get myself in shape no matter what, and to that end I have gone back to my exercise routine. I use a yoga mat, and have always laid it on padded carpeting. It's a little different on a wood floor, and I will probably look for a carpet runner or something I can set the mat on, since I have no natural padding and I need help. When I unrolled the mat on the floor last night, Lady immediately walked over to it as she thought it was for her. Nervy dog - I was sorry to chase her off of it, but I reason that I don't get on her orthopedic dog bed even though it probably wouldn't bother her at all.

The poor dog is really bothered by arthritis. I was giving her glucosamine and chondroitin which seemed to help a lot, but I can no longer afford the dog food plus expensive tablets. I can either choose a lower quality and cheaper dog food, drop the high quality wet food, and get the tablets, but I can no longer do it all. Being a person who tries to eat high quality food myself, almost all organic, I hate to give my dog anything less than the high quality dog food without all the fillers and chemicals. It's a good thing I no longer have to feed children, although I buy only organic snacks and fruit drinks for my grandchildren's visits.

I read in the Sunday paper this morning that my cousin, Gladys, had died. Her funeral is next week, and I don't know if I want to go to the church service or just to the cemetery. I really don't want to go into a church! At any rate I am glad she is no longer suffering.

The sun is out today although the forecast is for more rain. It's easier to deal with the rain when it is interspersed with sunny periods. I may go out this afternoon but can't narrow down what I want to get. What I really want is to get a box of brownie mix, although I have ingredients to mix up a batch from scratch, and it is easy and quick and tastes better.

I think I need some comfort food because I'm tired of worrying about the leaky windows. The rain must be getting in somewhere and flowing down to the low points which are on both sides of the house by the windows. It's starting to get me down because finding the problem could take a lot of time and money. Or I could try replacing the entire roof and have proper rain gutters installed, but I think I would have to finance it and I can't stand the thought of financing. If I considered borrowing money I would use it to buy an RV for extended trips - never to live in full time again though.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

When it rains, it pours!

The rain yesterday just didn't let up, and the opposite window, on the driveway side of the house, began leaking really badly. I knew there was severe water damage to the paneling, and one reason this is the last room I'm going to paint is because I have to replace sections of paneling. I needed roller skates to get back and forth between windows, the wads of paper towels got soaked as soon as I got them into place. I did place cups to catch drips, but I think on at least one of the windows there was more rain coming in at the lower part of the window.

This morning was clear and the sun came out, so I got the ladder out, the plastic sheeting, and the duct tape, and I have a fine looking redneck fix!

The window that has been leaking all along has this ugly slat-type awning, which makes it difficult to do anything there. When Donald caulked the window he had to get on the roof to access the top of the window. Another problem is that there is gravel on this side of the house, and I don't feel comfortable moving the ladder around on it, nor does it feel steady. The other window was easy enough to cover as it is on the driveway side and the ladder was steady.

Lady wasn't out long this morning when she stepped on something (?), and has been limping pretty badly and she absolutely won't even let me look at it. When we went out this afternoon she didn't limp quite as much, but it is still bothering her.

My daughter and her family flew to Florida last night for my niece's wedding next week, and she called me this morning to tell me they arrived safely. I had asked her to call as I would be worried until I heard from her. A mother never stops worrying!

Autumn is excited about being the flower girl. During this week they plan to visit Disney World and other tourist traps in the area. I'm a person who wouldn't go near a Disney park, although I did take my two youngest sons with me on a business trip to Tampa back in the 1980's, and we spent a day at Epcot, visited Sea World, and Busch Gardens. I think we all preferred being at the motel in Cocoa Beach, where the boys loved the beach access just in back of our motel. I don't know what Cocoa Beach is like now, but then it seemed to still have a 1950's look and feel about it, and we absolutely loved it. Cape Canaveral was a highpoint as well.

I think yesterday's post mentioned that I have Springer Fever and long to backpack the Appalachian Trail again. I've decided that I will attempt it next year - 2013 - and if I still feel this way in the fall, I will begin to get the gear together. I couldn't count the times since 1997 and now that I've made this decision, but it gives me something to look forward to. So you can believe it when I actually do it! And laugh at me if I don't.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Forget the RV-how about an Ark?

For being dry most of the usual rainy season, nature is trying to catch up in a week or two. It's slamming down right now, but not with the heavy winds of a couple of days ago. I'm still having problems with the window leak, but it isn't from the roof this time and I'll just have to replace that window sooner rather than later. Maybe that's why something has held me off from buying my dishwasher, and I'll probably use all my gift cards to get a replacement window.

With RV style gutters on this house the rain just pours over the small lip that is supposed to serve as a gutter, and washes down the window. Not sure if a replacement will hold up to that abuse for long. It brings back memories of living in a 5th wheel and watching the rain flooding over the windows.

Lady didn't waste any time at all this morning - did what she had to do and walked back toward the gate. I don't think she cares for being in all the rain either. I remember walking for days in rain while on the Appalachian Trail, and my black lab, Smoky, would be dripping rain. When his fur dried it was soft and shiny from the rainwater rinse! I can't believe I let him in the tent with me, and it was a small backpacking tent, but I guess I was as wet as he was.

I remember stopping for lunch at a wooden lean-to type of shelter, and my boots were overflowing with water. I decided I wasn't going to budge until the rain stopped, which luckily was the next morning. The shelter had the reputation for being haunted but it sure didn't bother me. That was probably the most miserable time I spent on the trail, although there were several periods of constant rain for a week - you just slog through it. I had a good pack cover which kept my sleeping bag dry. This is the time of year I get "Springer Fever", which is a sort of hitch itch for backpackers leaving the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail - Springer Mtn, Georgia. I know I couldn't get very far but I always yearn to be back out on the Trail - total and absolute freedom. Of course when I hiked it, we had freedom from all the technological crap that rules our lives today. I didn't carry a computer, cell phone, or GPS, and if I got lost it didn't take me long to find my way back. Usually I just followed my dog and his internal GPS never failed. God help me if I had to depend on Lady!

It's time for me to get back to work. I'm trying to put things away in places where I will find them again (yeah right!), and trying to figure out how I can assemble a portable desk - not to write on, but something to carry note pads, pens, pencils, and all the little items you need while driving on a long trip but want to reach for and find right away, not having to grope through a purse or pack. I have a nice Samsonite shoulder bag with a gajillion pockets and even a section for a laptop, but the bag is heavy, even now when it's empty.

I did a lot paper shredding this morning and miss my two little helpers. I'm finally getting rid of old real estate transactions, such as the condo I sold in 2003. There are many more folders I can eliminate, if I can call up the self-discipline to let old stuff go. I got rid of old college records when I left Northern Virginia, and then had to get copies of transcripts from several places when I took classes in Asheville. I doubt I'll ever go back to school, but I'm holding on to the important records this time, just in case. North Carolina seemed to be different than any other place I've lived - tuition was completely waived for senior citizens, even for credit courses.

I just went through more papers and found pictures of my 5th wheel interior. It really was a lovely living space, and while I enjoy expanding into several rooms now, I didn't ever feel cramped living in the 5ver - except when I had to step around and over dogs. If I was ever tempted to get another RV, it will be when Lady goes over the rainbow bridge.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Trying to stay afloat!

After sitting around most of the morning trying to stay warm, I went back to Costco to pick up the prescriptions called in by the doctor yesterday. I seem to have no self-control there - spent another $60 + $30 for the prescriptions. Remember how difficult a time I had finding good old-fashioned Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup? Well Costco had a 9-pack of it for $9, so of course I bought a pack, plus some organic crackers WITHOUT sugar! I had a can of soup when I returned home and it was just what I needed after being out in a chilly driving rain. I felt so good I lay down on the couch under my warm throw and fell asleep!

I don't mind a day or two of rain once in a while, but we will have rain until next Monday, when the forecast is for cloudy. I'm ready for the east, and when I get back it will be in the middle of a hot and dry summer. I'm hoping I can find some time to go camping, maybe at Mt. Shasta or back at Lassen.

I got out a frozen salmon filet for my dinner tonight but not in time for it to thaw adequately, so I will probably scramble some eggs. I have no bread or tortillas on hand to go with the eggs, and I should make a loaf tomorrow. I'm trying to use up a lot of the food I have on hand before my extended travels, but don't have much to make just a simple meal.

The leaks around the window are driving me crazy. I think there was probably something like spline along the edges of the windows that created a seal when they were closed. The windows don't close tightly - a problem in a number of windows in the house. The crank to open and shut them is gone, and although I was left with a bag of several extras, I can't get them to work. I must be missing part of the hardware and don't know enough about how it should work to understand what might be missing. So the windows are closed but not sealed tightly, and the rain is seeping in. I'm going to hang some clear plastic over the entire window if the rain stops long enough for the outside of the window to dry out enough to hold the duct tape. It's a very large window that will be difficult to do by myself. The rain has let up for a bit, but it is also close to getting dark outside, and I don't see well enough in the dark to get on a ladder and fool with hanging a sheet of plastic. I tend to overstretch on ladders to begin with instead of climbing down and moving the ladder a few inches.

I went to bed early last night but paid the price by waking up during the night and having a difficult time getting back to sleep. I could hear drips everywhere, and I hope they were all outside. The DirecTV dish is right over my bedroom, and I can always hear rain plopping on it, plus the various vents and whatever else is up there.

If I'm going to scramble those eggs I'd better do it now, or else I'll be grabbing a handful of pretzels and calling it supper.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I've had a good day!

I ordered my Triptik, and visited my doctor. She was very agreeable today, but convinced me to see a hematologist, which I will. I didn't realize that the hematology dept. is supposed to get the referral (which they did), then evaluate it and call me to set up an appointment. So I called the number given to me by the doctor and nearly dropped to the floor when they answered "Cancer Dept"! I talked with the person on the other end of the line, and it seems that the two departments are in the same building, or maybe in some way connected. I made sure I emphasized to my doctor that under no circumstance will I ever agree to chemotherapy or radiation, so I hope she isn't sneaking something in on me.

The main thing is that today I feel absolutely wonderful and healthy! I'm also very happy and am not going to worry about anything but plan to enjoy my life as long as I am in this plane of existence.

I knew if I left my vehicle dashboard clock alone it would sooner or later tell me the correct time, and it is now telling the correct time. Before long I'll be having to add an hour every time I go through a new time zone. When that happens I have to get out the user manual to see how to do it. My Jeep Grand Cherokee was so user friendly - great dials and easy to figure out features. I have always missed that Jeep.

I still have a problem with water leaking in one of my windows. The outside is caulked so it isn't getting in that way. I think it's the metal window frames - maybe there is some sort of sealant that has worn away? The bottom right hand corner is moist, and I folded up a paper towel to see if it got damp, and sure enough it did. Replacing that window is going to be the first thing I will take care of when I return this summer. There will always be something!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Costco-Just a couple of items

Isn't that what everyone says when they go to Costco? I wanted to get two 3# packages of coffee beans, which I figured out would cost me about $40 and I'd be out of the store. $173 later I pushed my cart out. I got the coffee beans and also a couple of pairs of capris for myself, treats for Lady, a couple bottles of wine, some vitamins & supplements, and a package of underwear. I'm glad I got the capris because by the time the temps get high enough to wear them, there won't be any on the shelves. I also bought a book by Stephen Hawking, and I think it's going to keep me interested to the end. It is a complex subject truly written in layman's language.

I stopped by a Motel 6 and picked up the current Location Guide, which I've used to figure out my stops on the way to NY. I think on my way to see the doctor I will stop by AAA and order my classic Triptik and maps. I'm going to drive a direct route to NY and might take more time on my return trip and get off the interstates.

My visit to the doctor is to get a new prescription for some meds I'm running out of.

I have a few more pictures to post of my paint job, and then I'm not going to mention it again. I am certain the blog's readers are as sick and tired of the subject as I am!

Here is my helper, Jeannie.

Here is the space for which I thought I lost the cabinet door. For the rest of this week I need to empty and put away all the junk I've collected in this space

And finally, the refrigerator wall. I have finished the painting and will hang the cabinet fronts tomorrow. Notice that it looks like the fridge is not level. The level shows it to be perfectly ok - it's the walls that are out of plumb.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Thought I was losing my mind!

But I found it again. Jeannie came over yesterday and painted some more of the kitchen, and I had taken down some cabinet fronts that I painted. I was looking at the painted fronts a while ago trying to figure out where each one goes. I stood in front of the stack of cupboards they go back on, and kept counting the spaces, walking back to the fronts and counting them. I was one short! Panic was about to set in, and I even went outside twice to where I had scrubbed the fronts with the hose and a bucket of solution.

I looked at it all one last time to figure out which one I would leave out until I could figure something out, then realized one larger front covers two shelf spaces! I'm still sane, can still count, and I'm not losing my mind! Don't ask me why I didn't figure it out sooner since one of the fronts is about double the size of the others.

Looking at the paint job done by Jeannie, I'll have to say she is really good, and it reminds me of how precise I used to be.

I finally got the results of my blood tests with a message from the doctor. Much of it is pretty good, except my blood counts. She wants me to see a hematologist, and if anyone has been through this please write and tell me what it involves. Are there additional tests they do, and how invasive are they? What might they be looking for? I googled it but didn't really find what I wanted. I certainly wasn't looking for scholarly articles with no words under 3 syllables, nor did I want articles that are too general in nature.

I used to google a lot of things, but I'm getting so paranoid about Google and the info they save on searches, email contents, etc. I did set my preferences that I did not want them to keep my information, but I don't believe that matters to them and they will find a way around it. With that in mind, I've been googling less. I remember years ago when there were many search engines, each with its own specialization, i.e., Lycos, and others. They may still be around, but way back in the shadows of Google which has grown too big in my opinion.

Earlier yesterday morning Jeannie and I took all the recycling in and both our cars were filled with bags of bottles and cans. I'm glad to get that stuff out of my way.

On Friday afternoon Susan dropped by to say goodbye as she was leaving for Arizona the following morning. I wished her the best, and according to her blog, the trip started out fine, but trouble developed in Southern CA with the 5th wheel hitch. Fortunately, her son was driving with her and got them back on the road when trouble developed with the truck brakes. I'm anxious to read her next post and hope she arrived at her destination without more trouble.

This weekend has gone by really fast, and I'm going to enjoy planning my travels. I don't want to jump the gun because weather is so unpredictable, although I have a copy of the 2012 Old Farmer's Almanac which has a pretty good forecasting track record.

Friday, March 9, 2012

I'm at it again

My daughter mentioned that she would try to get over this weekend and help me paint. I doubt she will be able to do it because of all that demands her attention on weekends, but I wanted to have something ready to paint just in case. Removed more cabinet doors and primered a whole lot! The side door is in really bad shape - the laminate is cheap and the top layer bubbles up all over the door. A big part of the door is a long narrow jalousie window, that doesn't open. I have some extra handles and tried one, but something is missing from the hardware. Maybe Steve will be able to figure it out.

There are a number of windows all over the house that can't be opened. I want to just live with it if I can, because the rest of the year I will be able to do one of three urgent replacements: 1) the windows; 2) the bathtub; and 3) the kitchen sink and countertops. I would be completely satisfied with the house if I could get these accomplished, although no doubt I'll find more things.

Regarding the comments from my blog yesterday - the one about corn sweeteners - I thank each of you who took the time to add your comments. There must be some complaints from the medical profession, no doubt, about corn syrup and hi fructose corn syrup. Last night I heard two different commercials featuring a person purporting to have done a lot of research and found that our bodies can't tell the difference between corn sweeteners and cane sugar - it's all sugar to our bodies. Well duh, we know that, but is there a NEED to add sweeteners to every type of food product sold?

I don't have a problem with sugar as I use very small amounts of organic sugar on my strawberries and in oatmeal (when I eat it). Of course if I bake I use it, and my bread recipe calls for a tbsp of sugar, which I understand is necessary for the yeast to react properly. Since I can mostly control how much added sugar is in my diet, as long as I stay away from processed and packaged foods I'm ok.

One aspect that I think has to be considered is the farmers who raise corn. With all the hunger in parts of the world, most corn goes to feed animals, and much of it goes to the companies producing corn sweeteners. Most of it is genetically modified - GMO.
I know that farming can be extremely difficult, with the unknowns such as weather - too much or too little rain, etc. If farmers didn't grow corn to be used for sweeteners, what else could they grow that would enable them to make a living. I sure don't have the answers, but like Dizzy Dick, I am always wondering about something.

Does anyone know why painting would make a person thirsty? I can't seem to drink enough water when I paint, and it happens every time.

One of the things Jeanne is going to do this weekend is to take her recyclables to a local place that buys them back. I save my cans and bottles for her, as she puts the money received into a savings account for the girls. She hasn't taken the stuff for absolutely ages - in fact the last time we went was when I fell off the tailgate, so it was at least a year ago. My beer cans are adding up, and when I meet her there with my beer cans and wine bottles she had better not make a smart-aleck remark since it's over a year's worth! Of course I can always comment on hers and Donald's marguerita mix!

If you remember yesterday I "washed my car". Well I saw same vehicle in the sunlight today, and I can't describe what a crappy job I did. It looks pretty good in the shade though.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Food choices

I just read the blog "In the Shadows", and thought I would add an experience I'm having with food. As I've written before, I rarely buy packaged foods, although you are really stuck buying such items as crackers. In her blog, Shadowmoss describes the difficulty in eating what is good for you while living in Honduras.

Upon hearing that I haven't felt well, Jeannie brought me a container of soup that Donald made, and it is so delicious and nourishing. But I like crackers with soup, and I have a box of Keeblers buttery crackers on hand. They are sort of oval shaped, and taste good with soup or slathered in peanut butter. I have avoided reading the ingredients because I knew I'd be turned off, which I certainly was.

The ingredients in these crackers include: sugar, corn syrup, and high fructose corn syrup! Is that a triple whammy or what? If a person was trying to control their weight, much less their nutrition, they would have a difficult time justifying this innocent, delicious tasting little cracker that contains basically wheat flour and sugar!

There is a brand of organic crackers that I buy most of the time, except the price is high and the amount of crackers is few, which is why I succumbed to the invitation of the Keebler Town House Light Buttery Crackers to "buy me". I will not buy Keeblers in the future, and I am contemplating writing to the company and telling them I don't understand the necessity for three different kinds of sugar in their crackers.

When Jeannie brought me the soup she said she will try to get over this weekend and help me with the painting, so I took a few more cabinet doors down and cleaned them plus a couple of short wall spaces. I should probably just do all the cabinets at once, but I just don't have a place to line them up as they are undergoing the various coats of primer and paint.

I also sort of washed off my Highlander so that I can apply the new license plate stickers. I say "sort of washed" because I am in no way claiming to do a decent job of cleaning my car. In fact, as I have noticed with the painting, I am able to be completely satisfied with a sometimes half-assed job! Chalk it up to getting older I guess - if I can't see the imperfections very well, then I'm happy.

I'm happy, I'm well, I'm healthy, I'm prosperous, I'm pretty, I'm tired!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The incessant wind

I'm getting pretty tired of it, and we don't have it as bad as some of the folks in the southwest have reported it. I was driving to the store yesterday, and noticed a lot of workmen doing road work on Folsom Blvd. It must have been a really heavy gust of wind that took one of the men's hard hat off and blew it down the road! I wonder if he had it on properly because it doesn't seem it should come off easily, but I guess that's how strong the wind can be.

I went to a local lab this morning to get blood drawn. The woman doing it was terrific - I couldn't even feel the needle. Maybe because the tourniquet around my upper arm was so tight, but I didn't mention that when I complimented her. I had asked my doctor if I might need B-12 shots because I can't shake the fatigue. The deep cough is getting better although it is aggravating in the middle of the night. The doctor ordered several things to be tested, and I should hear in a day or so.

I was corresponding with my brother in Milwaukee, and wrote this to him today:
"I've really been feeling terrible lately, but the other night I watched Wayne Dyer on PBS. He emphasized that if you go around saying you feel bad, have no energy, are too poor, etc., that is exactly what you will experience. Since then, I've been saying things like "I am well; I feel terrific; I have energy; I am prosperous, etc." I began feeling better almost immediately, although I'm still waiting for prosperous! Actually, I have learned to appreciate the abundance I have - it is everything I need, if not exactly everything I want."

So I probably could have skipped the blood test, but I guess it's just as well to have it done. It isn't going to keep me from my trip if I can drag myself into the car, and there is very little in the way of more tests or treatments that I would agree to.

A few days ago I called the hospital to see if my cousin was still there. She wasn't, so I called her cell phone and she answered, although I could barely understand her. She couldn't talk much, but I did get that she had pneumonia. If she's at home with pneumonia I don't see how she could still be alive, but I haven't heard anything yet.

So in the words suggested by Dr. Wayne Dyer, "I feel great! I have energy! I am well! I am prosperous! I am pretty!" Haha, I just thought I sneak the last one in there. If it works for well-being and energy, it might work for prosperity and pretty!

Monday, March 5, 2012

No more work today

I've done all I plan to. I hung the four cabinet fronts which gave me a bit of trouble. I numbered them with a sharpie as I took them down, but I still screwed it up and found I had a couple of the handles on the lower portion, and a couple were at the top. So I had to take down two of them and reposition them correctly. I had also attached some of the hardware in reverse. Corrected that. I also had to switch hardware on a couple of the cabinets because they didn't match the holes to attach them - the next time I guess I should number the hardware as well. You can see that some of the door catches are in need of replacing and won't stay shut correctly. That's a job for one of my sons.

I washed the big window, hung the screen - a major job in itself, got the mini blinds up and finally the curtain rod. I liked it much better with nothing at the windows, and just the light coming in to brighten the room. I can tolerate sheer or lace curtain panels, but nothing room-darkening for me. My daughter wondered about people being able to see in the windows. I've walked around this park, and can't see in anyone's house, and being that it's a 55++ crowd living here, no one is moving around outside after 9 pm anyway. If I could live on a mountaintop I might consider a glass house!

Here are the cabinets across the front of the kitchen:

This is the big window:

And here is a shot of a wall and cabinets that haven't yet been repainted. You can see a slight difference in the color of the walls - mine is a lighter shade and slightly more yellow:

Most striking to me in every room I've painted so far has been the ceiling. Covering over the darker paneling with white paint seems to open up the rooms and everything is so much brighter and cleaner looking.

I still don't feel well at all, and wonder if I'll ever be back to normal. I think I will see if my doctor will order some blood tests that I can have done at the UC Davis local clinic. I'm not driving downtown and paying an exorbitant amount for metered parking if I can help it. And I will never go back to the center with the parking garage! When I went to Lowe's just about three miles away, I noticed a new building still under construction that will be a UC Davis Medical Center. I hope I can transfer to a doctor there - free parking right in front. I might be more amenable to going to the doctor if I could just drive close by and park in front of the building.

I sure need to get traveling so I have something different to write about, but I can't even plan my route yet as the weather is so likely to change. The damage from the recent tornados is heartbreaking, and I hope calm and good weather comes to the Midwest soon.

Friday, March 2, 2012

What's happening at the grocery store?

I am feeling like absolute crap, so I decided to make a run to the grocery (a drive, actually) and get some Campbell's Chicken Noodle soup for my lunch. You remember it, the kind of soup Moms used to serve their kids, and nothing tastes better when you're not feeling up to par? I spent 10 minutes at the Campbell soup display - NO, I don't want lo-fat chicken noodle soup; I don't want Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup; I don't want Heart Healthy chicken noodle soup! I just want the stuff most American kids have grown up on. I finally found it hidden on the bottom shelf, and I have to tell you it hit the spot for my lunch.

Then I decided I want some macaroni & cheese, so I looked in the entire row of pasta for elbow macaroni. They have every pasta known to man on those shelves, including whole wheat versions of all the pastas, quinoa versions, etc. Where's the Muellers Elbow Macaroni? I finally located a small bag of DaVinci elbow macaroni so now I can make my mac & cheese.

Some Tilamook cheddar and a 30 pack of Miller Hi Life rounded up my purchases because I felt too weak to continue. The chirpy cashier asked me how my day was going, and I said "OK". She kept pushing me until I finally told her I've been painting and am getting pretty tired of it. She answered, "So that's what the beer is about?" What a smart aleck!

It has taken me all day to clean 4 cabinet fronts and get the primer on, and I'm going to call an end to the painting for now when I get them hung back up. I'll be at a good stopping point. I hate to leave the kitchen unfinished, but it will just have to wait until I feel better, or get back from the east, whichever is sooner.

A few posts back someone asked if my mobile home requires a license plate, and the answer is "NO". I have a piece of paper that says "Registration Card", which is good until March 31, 2013.

I hope everyone has a good weekend - can't believe another one has rolled around already. Time is surely speeding up.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Giving up on power tools

I tried once more to use my power drill to attach the cabinet hardware, but the drill bit was too large. The other Philips bit I found didn't seem much smaller, so I just decided to do it the old fashioned way, by hand. I'm just giving up on power tools altogether.

Here are three of the cabinets that are finished. I think they look pretty nice, although that white is going to show every little spot or scratch. Because of the rain I haven't been able to take the other 4 cabinet fronts outside to clean them for painting, but I did get all the hardware off and it's now soaking in Pine Sol/Dawn solution.

Once in a while I watch HGTV House Hunters or Property Virgins, and always laugh about the young people sniffing in disgust at a kitchen with laminate countertops, or painted cabinets, or appliances in anything other than stainless steel. Where do these folks come from that they expect their first house to have it all. What is there left to achieve? I think wooden cabinets are truly lovely and rich looking, but I'm sort of enjoying the retro look of my place. Good thing I'm enjoying it because I sure couldn't afford much else. One thing I do look forward to getting in a few months is new countertop and stainless steel sinks. The porcelain sinks are so pitted and crappy that I can never get them to look or feel clean. The countertop is in bad shape as well, especially the burn spot next to the stove. According to Yvonne, her son fried everything he ate, and it looks like he spilled hot grease which bubbled up the countertop.

I really feel terrible, although I'm able to do a little at a time. I just hope the cough goes away so that I don't have to see a doctor.

A couple of readers have asked about the leaks, and I've been checking the areas where rain always caused drips inside. It looks like there hasn't been any water dripping, but I'll keep looking now and then. Yesterday's rain was really heavy, and today it is raining off and on. It's too overcast for me to be able to work though. You can see the hardware on the cabinets is dark, and trying to find match the screw to the screwdriver is like working in Braille. I just have to tell by how it feels. I'm not sure that problem with my eyes will ever get any better. I need lots of light, preferably sunlight, in order to see small details. Could it be old age creeping up? I'll have to write it down so I remember to ask the surgeon when I see him on the 26th of this month.

I went back a couple of hours after I wrote the first part of my blog and checked the windowsill for leaks. It isn't dripping, but there is definitely moisture on the lower right still. It's not dripping from above as it did before, but is from another source. I'm not sure what I can do about it, and it is probably not from the roof this time.