Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Grandparents' breakfast at school

I just returned from having breakfast with my grandson and his other grandma at his school. Things are sure different at the schools than when my kids were small. There was a lot of great food - baked goods, fruit, juices, etc., and we had a good time.

Lady is way off kilter although she seems to be managing. I can't wait to get her home and try to see if I can have my dog back to her old self. I'm pretty sure I'm going to drive the straightest and fastest way home, making a detour around Park City & Salt Lake City, Utah, and Reno, Nevada. I don't ever want to have to drive through any of those cities again!

Speaking of Lady, I've been having to take her out a lot lately, and we have to take a long flight of wooden steps down from the back deck. She has to make it down without stopping or slowing down, whereas I need to go slower and make sure I'm putting my feet in the right place. I used to let go of her leash and she would wait for me at the bottom. Well, clever dog that she is, now kind of ignores me and I start down the steps by myself. When I'm half way down, about a leash-length, she starts down at a quick pace and we reach the bottom of the steps at about the same time. I would never have thought about that, and wouldn't know how to train her to do it, but she came up with it completely on her own. Day by day I am more amazed at how a dog's mind can work. By the way, we struggle up the steps together, like a couple of old ladies!

I'm tired and just want to be home soon. Six more wake-ups.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A week to go

Eight more wake-ups!

Lady is slowly recovering from whatever ails her. I thought she might be dying at one point after I removed the tick collar, but she is slowly regaining her strength and interest in what is going on around her. She is still an old dog and I'm going to have to watch her more closely as I think her eyesight, sense of smell, and hearing are all waning. She is eating well, although I'm feeding her lightly for the time being. What really surprises me is that the lady who so highly recommended the tick collar keeps one on her Yorkie year around. I guess she got used to it at a young age.

I would like to thank everyone who commented on this situation, plus the information you sent me. Now if someone could tell what was wrong with me to begin with to ever have put that collar on my dog when the treatment I've always given her works just fine. I forgot my first rule: IF IT AIN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT!"

Friday, May 25, 2012

Lady problems, AGAIN

Lady has definitely not been right lately, and I can trace her problems back to the time I left her at the kennel, which was a day after I put the Preventic tick collar on her. Yesterday I removed the collar and hope she will get better. She has thrown up, plus has had diharrea for the last week or so. She had an accident in the bedroom two nights ago, which has me really bummed out. Yesterday she was nearly staggering while walking down the driveway, which probably worries me more than anything.

The bottom line is that all my recent fantasies about the route I'm going to take back to CA could fall by the wayside. If she isn't better in a couple of days then I'm going to hop on the most direct and quickest route home, although I may have to find a detour around Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah, two of my least favorite places to drive through.

Now I have to get some Frontline Plus on her because the ticks are unusually thick this year after a mild winter. If any readers have experience with the Preventic collar I would like to hear them. An internet search for side effects of the product mentions allergic reactions, and I haven't noticed any except for what seems like more panting than usual. Of course the problem could be something she picked up at the kennel although I doubt it. They may have overfed her and certainly gave her too many treats. I left her own food and treats with them and nothing was returned, even though I had given a little more than what she would have needed.

I'm down to eleven more wake-ups before I leave and am getting the normal anxiety, low attention span, and a jittery feeling about everything. God, I am so ready to be going.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Views I will soon be missing

I never tire of all the trees, grass, and greenery! The picture below was taken of a neighbor's yard, and I love the beautiful symetrical pine tree in the center of the photo.

Since I had planned to drive a different route back to CA I didn't bring a couple of maps I will be needing, so I called the AAA in Sioux Falls this morning. The staff there is so pleasant and helpful, and the maps are on the way. Not that I really NEED them, but I enjoy looking at the details.

Several folks mentioned Microsoft Streets and Trips, and I've often heard positive comments about it. I never got into it since I have a Mac, but I notice there is now a Mac version. I still prefer opening the maps and getting the big picture, and putting a tentative route together in my mind. I've found it just as easy to do a Google search for something like "Mileage Aberdeen, SD to Miles City, MT", and the answer comes back immediately. Too far? I just pick another ending point and repeat the process. I really don't need Mapquest either because it isn't always possible to move the route to entirely what you want, so I end up improvising along the way. Whatever works and is appealing to the individual user!

As Billy Bob is fond of saying, "Boy howdy let me tell ya", I had a fine southern style meal last night at Cracker Barrel! You wouldn't expect to find good shrimp and grits in NY or anywhere outside the Southeast, but I tried them and they were delicious! I was taking a chance though.

The big question this afternoon is "will there be a T-ball game at 5:30?" The fields are certainly wet and even though the rain stopped about an hour ago, I can't imagine them being in any shape for little boys who would just as soon kick clods of mud as they would kick clouds of dust. I can deal with a T-ball game now and then, but lord deliver me from soccer! I loved soccer when my kids were starting out as first graders, but now they start the kids as young as 4, and they don't have a clue what is going on. Of course there is usually one little kid who is ready for Manchester United (and it's usually a little girl).

Fourteen more wake-ups!

Monday, May 21, 2012


Rather than having an "AHA" moment it was more like a "Well DUH" moment when the light bulb came on. I have spent days poring over maps, using the new Mapquest, figuring mileages, hours of driving time, preferred routes, etc., when it finally came to me that I never follow any plans so why stress over them. I have dozens of Triptiks with sections I've never driven, many iterations of Mapquest, and all those trips that are still in my head. So now I've decided on a tentative route and stops, written them down with pertinent information I'll need if I decide to stick to any part of it, and between paper maps and my Aussie friend who resides inside the Garmin, I will do just fine. And if I get lost? I can't stay lost for long and I'll make the best of it if I do.

A comment on the new and improved Mapquest: in some ways I really like it. I registered so it would keep certain info in memory, and supposedly would be necessary to call up previous maps. I recorded my userid and password in a file where I keep all those ridiculous words, but when I went to retrieve a map it asked me to sign in again. Then it didn't like my userid or password. No problem, I clicked on "Forgot password?" I couldn't believe all the info they wanted - my email address wasn't enough. They needed to know my date of birth, city of birth, mother's maiden name, # of children I had, and just about everything except the last time I had sex! Really!!!

I can't say but you can imagine how irritated I was with all this, and I never did manage to sign in. From now on I will just create a new map from scratch every time, and forget about the benefits of signing in. And while I'm at it I will wean myself off Mapquest. It always wants to route me out of the way to stay on interstates (as does the GPS), so the paper maps will be my best friend on the trip.

The past weekend has been absolutely perfect weather-wise. Now we are to have a week of rain, and it looks like it will start any minute - probably while I am making a run to the Post Office and drugstore.

Just 15 more wake-ups until take-off!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Nothing to post about

I haven't really done anything of note lately, but I did get the recall fix on my car and an oil change. I could have driven another 1500 miles before the oil was due to be changed, but the trip will be approximately 3200 miles. I'm ready to go now, but will be here for another 2-1/2 wks.

Lady finally got to see Bosley again. Unfortunately she is more interested in him than he is in her. That's the story of my life too! Oh, and the black lab(?) female next door and Lady used to growl and want to fight, but by now they are both too old to worry about past differences. They just walk around each other, sniffing, but their hackles aren't even raised.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Graduation weekend

My granddaughter is the 5th one back on the left. There were about 350 in the graduating class (out of 500 who began 4 years ago). It was a very nice ceremony and a beautiful sunny day. I forgot to put sunscreen on my shoulders and got a burn that is getting better by now.

The close up photos I took of her in her cap and gown are on my film camera, but Sandy took this one on her cell phone:

The surprise of the day was the appearance of my youngest son, Joe. I had no idea he was coming. He is Ara's godfather and I'm so glad he was able to be here.

In the evening we spent some time back at Ara's apartment, and Joe and the boys engaged in the game of "fight". It was sheer pandemonium! Nothing got broken and no one was hurt, and even Joe survived taking on 4 kids - the 2 boys and the 2 girls (who held their own by the way). Joe is in school as well, and was able to take one of his finals a day early so he could leave CA on Friday, and he is going back to two more finals - one today and one tomorrow.

We were in a beautiful part of Pennsylvania, as is most of the state.

As for the trip from NY to PA and return, I was glad Sandy did the driving. Even though we made several stops for the boys to stretch their legs and for lunch, I could barely sit any longer. This morning I bought a small pillow to sit on for my drive back to CA, and I sure hope it helps - otherwise I don't know how I will make it. I just don't understand why I can't sit for that long as I have traveled so much in my life and it has never bothered me before now.

Lady was happy to see me this morning, and I was happy to see the old girl. The folks at the kennel raved about how good she is. I sent over more food and treats than she actually needed, but they were all used up. They must have added more wet food to her bowl than I do, and I'm sure they fed her more treats. If it made her happy it's ok with me.

I am tired so I don't know when I'll post again, and I'm not sure when I'll get all the blogs read that I usually keep up with.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Missing Lady already!

I just dropped her off at the kennel at 3:00, and two hours later I'm thinking I should be taking her for a walk or feeding her. By the time I pick her up on Monday morning I'll be savoring my freedom and hate to give it up. I just hope she behaves herself.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Egret or Heron?

I saw one yesterday when I was coming across the bridge over the nearby creek. I was describing it to my d-i-l, and she said it comes here every year, the lower body is blue, and it has a distinctive call. She also told me about an incident a couple of years back, when the bird thought he had arrived at an All-You-Can-Eat Buffet!

The neighbors down the street had a beautiful koi pond in their front yard, and when they realized the bird had partaken of a fine meal, they covered the pond with a screen. Evidently some of the koi were quite large as they had been nurtured for a long time. My d-i-l described it as a real blood bath. Somehow the bird got through the screen, and even though the koi fought back, the heron/egret and possibly some of his fellow travelers ate every last fish in the pond! Nature isn't always pretty.

Of course I didn't have my camera with me but now I've been making sure to take it every time I go over that bridge. I wish I knew what sound it makes because I've heard a couple of bird calls that are new to me. Today I've crossed the creek a couple of times and decided to get a picture of it without the bird. This is looking upstream and the bird in question was on the right under some overhanging branches.

This is looking downstream. No bird there, either.

During my travels you might remember that I bought an I Pass, which I have been glad to have when going through all the toll booths from Illinois to here, as well as on the bridge over the Hudson River. In this month's New York Car & Travel (AAA) magazine, there is an article on how some states are ripping travelers off by charging a higher rate (30% and more) for out-of-state issued passes. New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maine and West Virginia are states that gouge drivers just traveling through. I haven't driven through any of these states, so I can't attest to what they do, but I feel like I paid much less, overall, in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and New York. I wanted the pass mainly for the convenience, and the break I have received in lower tolls has been icing on the cake. I'll stay off NJ & WV toll roads, however, and I don't plan on driving through NH or MA this year at least.

I just bought my grandson a present for his 6th birthday - a batting tee. He needs some practice outside what the team is able to furnish, and the salesman at Dick's Sporting Goods was very helpful in explaining how the tee should be adjusted for height, etc. I thought about buying extra balls in case he doesn't have anyone to shag balls for him, but decided against it and was glad when I bought wrapping paper and a card, which just about equaled what I would have paid for a package of 6 extra balls! Since I'm planning to leave right after his birthday I will probably give him the present beforehand, and then I can shag a few balls.

In preparation for dropping Lady off at the kennel tomorrow, I put the Preventic collar on her. She had an application of Frontline flea & tick prevention just about a month ago, and the collar is supposedly good for 2 months. I should be back in Sacramento by the time she needs more Frontline. I would have just continued with it except the neighbors swear that the collar works better, and this area is heavily infested with ticks so I thought I'd try it.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

These two photos were taken at a pull-off on the way back from West Point. You can make out the stadium in one of the pictures. It is very difficult to take pictures from this mountainous, winding road.

These two pictures are poor attempts to take photos from a moving car on the bridge over the Hudson:

We had a crowd on this shopping trip - Sandy, her mom, the two boys, and me. I just thank God I can do my own grocery shopping alone. I've paid my dues trying to shop with kids in tow when my own kids were small.

I hate to say it but I am growing anxious to get on the road again. I am going to change my planned route somewhat. I had planned to drive first to Kentucky to visit relatives, but not having a place to leave the dog (such as inside an RV) narrows my choices. I'm afraid it will be too warm for her to stay in the car in a few weeks. I am putting her in a kennel for 3 nights when I go to the graduation in Pennsylvsnia, and that gets expensive.

I looked at a few maps this morning, but won't make up my mind until I return from PA. I'd like to keep my daily mileage way lower this trip, but it all depends on where I can find pet friendly motels - not easy when you don't travel the interstates exclusively.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


I am surrounded by people who speak funny, and I'm talking about New York accents. Actually, I love them! You don't realize the difference in NY accents unless you are here for a while, but they don't all sound alike. My grandsons even have accents, although they aren't as pronounced.

I don't think I have an accent but I probably do. I like, and feel most comfortable with a good ol' hillbilly accent, and I'm talking southeastern. Of all of them I like Kentucky the best, but them I'm a little biased in that regard.

I was talking to the grandson (the one who is worried about me dying and leaving my dog to fend for herself). I was almost sure I saw him throwing left handed at the t-ball game although he does everything else with his right hand. So I asked him, "What hand do you throw with?" He thought for a minute and responded, "I throw with the hand that doesn't have the glove on it." Now that is a good way to put it when you can't remember.

Tomorrow morning we will go to the Commissary at West Point. I hope to go back on my own in the next couple of weeks, as there are several museums on post and in the vicinity I'd like to see, plus Retired Rod mentioned a guided tour of the post.

Before I left CA you may remember I was trying to get an appointment scheduled with a hematologist, as requested by my doctor. Well I finally got a phone call from the Cancer Center (which in itself is enough to send me running in the opposite direction, but I guess that is where hematology is located). They left a voice mail informing me that they had scheduled an appointment for me this coming Monday. After spending about 17 minutes on hold, listening to screechy music, I was told that I had to speak to someone in a different department to cancel the appointment and re-schedule. They transferred my call, but I only got as far as being able to leave a voice message. I never heard back from them, so I am thinking about writing the whole thing off as I don't need to be treated this way. If they are just going to draw copious amounts of blood I don't need that either, but I will keep it in mind.

For all the advances in the medical field, patients often still get the shaft.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Kids ask the darndest questions!

Last night my grandson solemnly asked me: "Grandma, what happens to Lady if you die first?" I hate to tell him that I have very few days where that question doesn't cross my mind. I just have to trust that she will go first, because I have no clue what would happen to her. None of my 4 kids are in a position to take her.

I just got back from the dentist. It is ironic that last year I wasn't very impressed with this dentist. (although I loved the oral surgeon on the other side of the practice). He is Indian, or possibly Pakistani, speaks very clear English, but I thought his personality was stern and humorless. How wrong I was. This guy has a sense of humor and is anything but stern. There is definitely a cultural difference, but I am happy to say that I really like him, once I got to know him, and I trust his judgment which is paramount in my book.

He made some adjustments to the partial denture to make it easier for me to insert and take out, and had fixed the broken filling in no time. And he had me smiling and feeling pretty good about the experience when I left. He had told me that I didn't need numbing because I wouldn't feel any pain, but I asked for it anyway. It just gives me a layer of comfort that I need. I sat in my car before my appointment feeling depressed and sorry for myself to the point I wanted to cry, but it was quite different when I left the office. I usually have very good instinct about people, but once in a while I am wrong, and I'm glad to say that this is a case where I was wrong.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Washington's Headquarters, State Historic Site

This morning I had what amounted to a private tour of Washington's HQ, as I was the only one present at the scheduled tour time. General Washington established his headquarters at a private residence in Newburgh, NY on the Hudson River during 1782-1783. The house is a Dutch farmhouse, and is furnished as it was during the period of Washington's stay - very utilitarian, but roomy and comfortable for the day. During those days there would have been a small military city in the vicinity of the house - military barracks, camp hospital, etc.

George's wife, Martha, accompanied him and ran the household, serving as hostess to the constant stream of important people visiting the General, and she also managed the household including the kitchen, which was no easy task in those days.

The first photo is of the house, and the second is of a victory tower standing closer to the river, containing statues of soldiers and officers of the Continental Army, with a statue of Washington in the center. The actual pictures as downloaded to my computer don't look as dark as they do in this blog. I don't know why.

A statue of a Minute Man near the house.

A building housing a museum is also located on the property, but it is in the process of being completely renovated so I didn't get to see anything but the entrance and waiting area.

I have always been interested in history, but not so interested in wars, although war constitutes most of history and probably always will. This area of New York is so steeped in the history of the Revolutionary War that it's difficult to not get interested in the local events during that period of time. The more I read and hear about George Washington, the more I admire and respect him, for his selfless devotion to the formation of the country as well as to its people.

This site is the first historic site in the Nation. It was here that Washington created the Badge of Military Merit, for which enlisted men could be nominated by their commanding officers for unusual bravery. This badge has evolved into what is now known as the Purple Heart.

It was here that Washington penned what is called the "Circular Letter", which he sent to the governors of the 13 states. It was unusual, and probably not politically correct for him to have not sent it to Congress. I am going to copy the four points expressed in this letter because they are said to have become the cornerstone of the Constitution. I believe the fourth point is incredibly needed today. In the words of General George Washington:

"There are four things, which I humbly conceive, are essential to the well being, I may even venture to say, to the existence of the United States as an Independent Power:

1st. An indissoluble Union of the States under one Federal Head.

2nd. A Sacred regard to Public Justice.

3rd. The adoption of a proper Peace Establishment, and

4th. The prevalence of that pacific and friendly Disposition, among the People of the United States, which will induce them to forget their local prejudices and policies, to make those mutual concessions which are requisite to the general prosperity, and in some instances, to sacrifice their individual advantages to the interest of the Community."

Most of the officers came from wealthier and better educated families than others, and they had to pay for their own clothing and equipment. Because the new country was so close to being bankrupt, these men served for quite a long time without pay. Washington ultimately got Congress to pay them, and averted what could have been a real detriment to the solidarity of the country.

I had intended to go further upriver to another historical site, but the rain had started up again. Since I had Lady in the car with me I decided to return home and go out another day.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Another historical excursion

After a short dental visit this morning I decided to look for more historical sites and headed for the town of Beacon, to Mount Gulian Historical Site. This is a reconstruction of an 18th Century Dutch farmhouse, and served as headquarters for Maj. Gen. Friedrich von Steuben, drillmaster of the Continental Army in 1783. Baron von Steuben and other officers founded the Society of the Cincinnati, a fraternal veterans organization. I had heard of the Society back when I lived in Cincinnati, but never really knew anything about it. I believe "Cincinnati" has to do with something from the ancient Roman days rather than the Queen City of Cincinnati, Ohio. I checked and found out that the Society is named after Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, who left his farm to accept a term as Roman Consul and served as Magister Populi (with temporary powers similar to that of a modern-era dictator). (This is from Wikipedia.)

Supposedly the interior of the house is filled with artifacts related to the Gulian Verplanck family, who owned the house. I didn't get to see anything of the interior because, if I had read the information closely, I would have known that it is open Wednesday to Friday, and on Sunday. I just walked around and took a few pictures. This is the house as seen when you drive up.

And this is the front of the house that faces the Hudson River.

And this is a typical Dutch barn that was dismantled from another property and rebuilt here.

I'd like to return one of these days when the house is open to the public. Another interesting feature is the first person diary of escaped slave, James F. Brown, who wrote of his years as a gardener at Mount Gulian, and is one of the very few African-American written records of this period.

On another note, I need to make a correction, and that is my grandson weighs 50# and not the 65# I reported earlier. Now 50 is more like it! Since I left CA I have neglected the stretching exercises that kept me in decent shape, and now after the fall my quadriceps are killing me! I must have tensed them coming slowly down the stairs carrying 50#. More parts of me hurt as well, but I know it will all go away eventually.

I will have to go back to the dentist for a filling on Thursday. I hate to even think about it and know I probably need more than one filling, but this will suffice for now.