Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Friday, September 28, 2012

Thanks to all who have responded to my dilemma with blogging.  I can only think it is something to do with my computer and the way it is set up - Blogger doesn't work correctly when I use Firefox, but it does when I use Safari.  I'm learning to get around the little glitches, so instead of starting a post from my blog page (which I can no longer do), I kind of back into it with a link found in the History section - it sends me to Blogger.com/blogspot.g? and then a whole bunch of letters and numbers.  It works and gets me to the page where I can start a post.   Irritating, but I don't care any more.

I heard back from both jobs I have an interest in - the timing of the one I really want would have me working over Christmas (as I did at Ft. Pulaski).  It doesn't matter much to me where I am on December 25th, as I don't celebrate it as a religious or a secular holiday (except when I'm with my grandkids, and their contentment and happiness takes precedence over anything I might feel).

I'll tell the world right away when I find out what my next volunteer job will be, but I'm sure not going to jinx it at this point.

I don't know what happened today, but I'm getting spam comments at a pretty fair rate.  Most of them get picked up by Blogger's spam filter, but a few haven't been detected.  I'm sure at least half of them are done in mean-spiritedness, but I wonder if anyone thinks I will buy something or click on a link because they write a comment or send me an email.

This weekend I hope to take some pictures with my new camera.  I don't know what there is around here to photograph - the western sky at sunset is unbelievable, but I've taken and posted enough pictures of it that I want something new.  I guess I'll have to think outside the box.  Whatever it is, I hope I can keep from posting eleven pictures exactly the same.  I still can't see them in my blog.

Back to the drawing board

I've gone through every screen available on Wordpress to find out how to get rid of the necessity to approve comments.  I believe part of the problem is that many enhancements for writing and publishing a blog are available in the Premium ($99 a year) version, whereas Blogspot is free. 
In the meantime, I'm going on the premise "better the devil you know, than the one you don't know" and will resume my attempts to use Blogger.  I guess I will just forget about photos and keep my entries short and simple.

I apologize for all the drama and confusion that results from switching back and forth, but I'm sure most readers are more familiar with Blogger at present, so that is what I will try to use.  I'm cross posting this entry to Blogger as well.  Thanks for anyone who's still hanging with me.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Switching to Word Press

For the time being I am going to post my blog at gypsy97.wordpress.com.   Some of WP's features will take some time getting to know, but I think I will give it a try.  Back when Blogger started talking about a new interface, I successfully exported all my blog entries up to that date into the Wordpress account. 

I hope readers will read my blog at this new address, at least for now.
This is my new computer.   The list of questions I have is growing daily, but I am getting more used to finding my way around.  It is almost exactly like my laptop, except I used the touchpad for scrolling through such things as my photos.   I have hundreds (if not thousands) of pictures and a few good swipes on the touchpad would bring me to the bottom of the bunch, which is where the latest pictures are added.   I've found I can hold the "down arrow" key and it will do the same thing - just have to get used to it.  The keyboard is sweet - small, but regular size keys make it a snap to type, and I don't have to look at the keyboard which makes it go much faster.

I got my blood test results.  The cholesterol (total) went back up to 146 which makes me feel better - 100 plus or minus a couple of points is just too low.  Also the HDL and LDL are well within the ranges they should be in.  The negative thing is my blood count, and I don't really understand it all that well, except everything is above or below the accepted range.  I've been thinking about it for about 24 hours and now I will just forget it.  

I've sent out two letters about volunteer jobs this summer but need to have patience for a couple of months.  The normal procedure is to fill the positions during the latter part of December or early January, so I don't expect I will hear anything until then.  I just wish they would send an acknowledgement of receiving my letter.   Either location would be fine with me, but there is one I would prefer a thousand times over.  

I have my camera assembled - not much to it - except I can't get the strap attached.  What I have is a Fujifilm Finepix SL300; 14 megapixels; 30x wide angle optical zoom; 3.0" LCD PLUS an electronic viewfinder.  The viewfinder is larger than many on other cameras, and is in the perfect spot to find it quickly while trying to keep hold of the camera.  It seems to have a lot of capabilities, but the camera isn't inundated with icons, dials, buttons, etc.  Everything seems pretty logical, but I will just have to experiment a lot.  I have never had a camera with a big old lens, and I hope that when it is extended it doesn't topple me over!  There is a "faster zoom lever" on top of the camera, plus a side control which features more increments across the entire range.  Do I sound like I know what I'm talking about?  Haha, fooled ya.  I'll learn though.
(I also tried to add a picture of the camera with the lens closed - I followed all the steps that I followed to the get the picture above, but for some reason it doesn't show up. )

Thanks to everyone who commiserated with me on the current Blogger.   I understand that many of you use LiveWriter, but that is for the Microsoft system and doesn't work on the Mac.  There are products available that are created for the Mac, but I'm not going to pay for a program so that I can write and publish a blog.   I've figured a possible reason why everything is going to a nearly blank screen - no doubt many people use their iPhones and its screen doesn't leave room for a lot of help on the screen.   I used to be able to start writing a blog, save it and leave it for a while, go back to it and edit it before publishing.  Now when I click Save, it goes into a black hole. 

Also, using Firefox I don't have anything at the top of my screen, including no Sign In or Dashboard.  I have to find the blogger entry in History that allows me to do a new post.  I tried it in Safari (Apple's browser) and the choices were at the top of the page, as usual.  When I tried to write a new blog I got bogged down with signing into gmail, passwords, etc.  Gmail has been a real PITA lately, requiring me to change my password and then never recognizing the new one.

As demanded by the Park "police" I pulled a lot of weeds and trimmed a lot of bushes.  I had a stack of debris that is larger than I am, so I arranged to get the dumpster and loaded all that crap into it.  Most everything that grows in this part of California has thorns and stickers, so I worked carefully.  The stickers go right through work gloves.  I then got out the leaf blower that I brought from NC, which is easy to use when you are working on 3/4 of an acre.  Not so easy in the tiny little space that I have now, and crap was blowing up and all around.  I finally got most of it swept up.  Now I can resume my battle against the weeds, and hacking the bushes.  Most of them are pretty ugly - maybe they need watering - but I refuse to waste water on ugly bushes when so much of the country is in a drought.  I am not much of a gardener and it bums me out to have to deal with it.

I give up on that 2nd camera picture.  It is right there when I click on the "Images" link, then I highlight it and click "Add Selected" but nothing happens.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Blogger interface

I think I will drop out for a while - maybe just a few days - but until I can  get a better attitude about the "new" blogger interface.  I just started to write a blog and post a picture of my new computer.  The picture came up fast when I clicked "insert image", but then I could never get it to appear in the blog itself.   I highlighted the picture, the clicked "Add selected" but nothing appeared in the blog.  I tried it numerous times and the whole blog post just disappeared.  I don't need this aggravation.

Monday, September 24, 2012

My troubles are many

Whoa, the new blogger interface is now a fact.  I just typed several paragraphs which disappeared for no reason.  I also have the left side of the screen to type on, while the right side is taken up with "Post Settings"  I wonder about the whiz kid that thought that up.

I wrote my last entry a week ago when I returned from a weekend camping trip.  For several days I felt really awful - no pains or anything serious - just a lack of energy and maybe even a little depression, which I haven't quite chased away as yet.

Things go wrong at the worst possible time, although maybe it's the best possible time.  We just don't realize it yet, and maybe never will.  A few days ago my cameras started to go bad.   I've given up on the Minolta and will have to take the camera to a real camera store so they can safely remove the film and develop it.   The digital is also acting weird and will probably give out soon.  I've been looking   
at cameras recently and finally decided to buy one at Costco online.  It sounds like it has the features I'm  looking for and the price was right.  I expect delivery tomorrow or the next day, and I'll write more about it when it is delivered.

Yesterday I followed my usual routine of turning the MiFi on, taking the laptop into the kitchen and setting it on the table while I make coffee and take my couple of prescriptions.  When I opened the computer I somehow knocked over a nearly full glass of water.    Expletives deleted, but I might have shocked a sailor.

I turned the computer upside down and set a towel underneath it while trying to absorb all the water with another towel.  I finally dared to try using it, and fortunately was able to retrieve a draft email, make corrections, and send it off before the computer started acting crazy.  Within an hour I realized it was a pretty bad situation so I took it to the Apple Store.  OMG, not only was the mall crazy crowded, but the Apple store was a zoo.  The best they could do was to give me an appointment for today at 12:15.

I had a bad feeling about the state of my MacBook, and since I have been thinking I need something as a backup, I went to Costco and purchased an Acer notebook (or netbook, whatever).  It was a fairly good price but small enough to make me sorry within a few hours.  I got it up and running and am using it now.

This morning I had an appointment to give 7 vials of blood at the UCD Med Center lab nearby, and then went to my Apple appointment.   They couldn't do anything about the MacBook except to send it away for a complete overhaul for the price of a new computer.   I asked them to see if my hard drive was also totalled or if the data could be retrieved, which they did and which it can.  So I bought an I-Mac, 23-1/2" screen that comes with all controls built into the screen that sits upon a stand.  It also comes with a cute little wireless keyboard and a wireless mouse unlike any mice I' ve ever seen.  I spent over an hour with what has to be their nicest employee learning the amazing things I will be able to do with the i-Mac.  So although it doesn't have the portability of a laptop, the large screen will be much easier for me to see and work with.  Meanwhile, I can take this Microsoft piece of crap with me when I have to go someplace.

When I got home I had a phone message waiting from my credit union's security center wanting to make sure I had indeed been the one to make all my recent purchases.   I told them yes, so they removed the block on my account.  (I had written a check for the I-Mac.)   I'm now stone broke!  I also don't feel much better although I am excited to pick up my new computer in a day or two.  I had to leave it so they can transfer the data from my old hard drive, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed it will all come through intact.  I hadn't realized how much of my life was on that computer.

In looking this over before hitting Publish, I realize that the title "My troubles are many" should also be followed by "and my blessings are many as well".   I need to erase the troubles from memory and replace them with the blessings, although that is probably not possible.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Beales Point CG, Folsom Lake, CA

Ara and I drove out to the campground fairly early on Friday and got to our campsite. Donald joined us a little later and we set our tents up, then he took all the girls back because Autumn had a soccer game at 6 pm. He later returned with Jeannie and the whole family, and it was much simpler with the tent already set up and most of their camping gear already at the site. I enjoyed an afternoon of just sitting around in solitude. Steve & Meg arrived with Liam, and we all settled in for what we hoped was a fun weekend.

The campground is in the CA state park system - very expensive with some weird rules, but then we had two very nice sites together which added up to a lot of room. It is spacious but not all that private, although we did back up to the woodsy greenbelt between the campground and the American River bike trail, so we had no campers behind us.

The next afternoon a middle aged couple came into the next door site and immediately went to work unloading trucks and vans. I thought one of the guys would never get to the bottom of his truck bed which seemed to contain a small forest - big tree rounds, some cut firewood in bundles, and even 3 or 4 wooden pallets. They had enough wood there to burn a forest down.

The negative part came when the young folks started arriving and the parents left. There must have been 15 or so late teens there, on their own, and celebrating someone's birthday from what it seemed. The had no conception of campground etiquette and were fairly loud into the night. I didn't stay up late and missed the part where they poured lighter fluid on the campfire and the flames shot up into the oak trees. They woke the campground up before 6 am this morning, chopping firewood and talking in their regular daytime voices - the guys were talking and the girls just giggled. What a bunch of asses!

Sarah and her 2 girls stayed Sat. night, and my niece Stephanie also joined us for the evening. The highlight of the camping trip was when Ara's boyfriend Dylan surprised her. She knew he was flying in from PA and driving back with her, but he kept it a secret from her when he would be arriving. Of course we were all in on the secret. My Son Joe picked him up at the airport and delivered him to the campground. I saw him shoot out from Steve & Meg's campsite and run toward our circle of chairs around the fire pit. Ara was the last to realize, and he ran up and she looked around and stood up - they embraced and went around in circles hugging and kissing, and all the women were brushing tears our of our eyes. I've never seen anything like it - it was like something you'd see in a movie. You couldn't tell if they were laughing or crying, probably a little of both. (They haven't seen each other since graduation back in May.) Oh to be so young and so much in love!

On Saturday afternoon everyone but me went down to Folsom Lake and hung around in the shade near the beach. It was pretty hot and I just stayed back at the CG - I have no desire to sit around a body of water in the heat. It's a good thing I remained because our site was invaded by a ferocious and cunning army of squirrels. I fought them off bravely. I got sleepy in the heat but every time I would nod off I'd hear a thud and there would be something knocked off the picnic table by the rodents. I wished I had a slingshot or at least a handful of small rocks to throw at those little devils. Bears wouldn't trash a camp site much worse I don't think.

Other than that, there were geese flying overhead in the mornings, and two turkeys that walked through the campsites at least 4 times a day. They were quite unafraid and I must have taken 50 or more photos, probably none of which turned out very good. I need a view finder! I hate to spend the money now on another camera as October is a month I will be hit with renewals - AAA and Costco memberships, as well as vehicle insurance.

I enjoyed arriving home, emptying my car, taking a shower and then a nap. I'll be good to go by tomorrow.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Another camping trip

I'm just about ready for the weekend trip, with all the gear packed in the car and just waiting for the food & table items. After a delicious supper I need to sit a spell and, then I'm going to make a Billy Bob cake, this time with blueberry pie filling as I couldn't find cherry. I hope the campground isn't too crowded, but it's so close to the metropolitan area and the weather is in a hot streak, so I would imagine it will be full. I'm going to enjoy being with family and not worry about anyone else.

I found the job of my dreams, one just perfect for me, as I would be perfect for the job. I don't want to jinx my chances so I will wait until I hear something more about it to mention the location. I've composed the letter asking for the job, giving my background, etc., and I'll take the draft with me this weekend and get a couple of my kids to critique it. If something can be said in 25 words, I will take 50 to say it, so I need an honest opinion, and I'm sure Steve & Jeanne will oblige.

I think I'm feeling a little better today although my energy is still sapped, but little or no stomach pain. I picked up another Nevada Barr book at the library and am already spellbound after reading the first few chapters. This one takes place at Glacier NP, and all I can say is that if I'd read it when I was there this spring, I would have looked at everything from the safety of my car. I haven't even gotten to the scary parts of the book yet!

I have a couple more of her books from the library but they are written after this one and I prefer to read an author's books in the order they were written. The two additional books take place at Big Bend NP and at Isle Royale at Lake Superior. It is the 2nd book about Isle Royale and I'm going to wait until I've read the 1st one to read this one. I still have Firestorm (Lassen) which I bought on Amazon and which I wanted to take with me over Labor Day but it hadn't arrived by the time I left. Since I own it I can read it at my leisure.

My grandsons called me from NY last night and it made me homesick to see them. The younger one called to thank me for his birthday present which arrived yesterday. He is 4 today, and I've promised to be there for his 5th birthday next year.

I just put the BB cake into the oven and licked the mixing bowl clean as a whistle! I don't make cakes very often any more and it's nice not to have to share the bowl, spoon, etc., with the kids! I have the camera ready and will post a picture of the cake next time.

I probably won't post again until for a couple of days, so let me wish you all a good weekend.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The search continues

That is, the search for interesting volunteer jobs with the National Park that also offer housing. The way I'm looking at it is that I want to escape the summer heat of Sacramento, so I'm looking for a cool spot for June-July-August, leaving just after Labor Day for NY. My grandson's birthday is Sept. 13th, so I will spend a couple of weeks in NY, and then visit my granddaughter in Pennsylvania during October. She will be located fairly close to Philly, a city that I've never been in except going through on Amtrak, and I'd like to see some of the historical places there.

Then I would head south, hopefully to a job somewhere along the eastern seaboard, or possibly in the Appalachian mountain range. I'd be willing to work for 6 to 8 weeks if I can find something that is compatible, and probably return to Sacramento after Christmas. I'd like to be with family but my days of hard driving to get somewhere by a certain time are way behind me. I'll see them in January more than likely. I don't celebrate Christmas anyway and only put on an act for the kids.

The weather will determine the route I take back to CA, which will determine what I'd like to see on the way. Anything that is open year around would be better than summer crowds. So that's what I'm thinking about at present, and hope I can work and learn something new, but enjoy myself along the way. But you know how plans can go up in smoke, so I won't get too enthused or excited just yet.

I got a call from the eye surgeon's office this morning explaining that I would have to reschedule my Sep 24 appointment with Dr. G. I now see him October 1, and I suppose a week's delay won't make that big a difference. Meanwhile, I think I will cut the aspirin to 1/2 an 81 mg tablet daily, and maybe even skip a day now and then. When I stop taking it altogether it isn't long before I can notice subtle changes in the way I feel - mainly strange pains in my head.

It's back in the 90's again and tomorrow is supposed to be 97. I absolutely HATE Sacramento in the summer. Or anyplace else that's hot! I'd rather be in snow any day.

I just got my mail which included a beautiful card with a handwritten note from Sheryl and the office staff at Lassen, thanking me for working the holiday weekend at Butte Lake. That is really nice of them, and that staff is probably the reason I even consider going back another year. That plus I love the remote Butte Lake area.

I just woke up from a nap which I haven't been taking lately. I think the stomach discomfort is making me tired and totally washed out, and I wish it would stop.

I had started out to the car a couple of hours ago to go buy another can of spray paint for other touch up jobs around the place, as well as something to get the paint off my fingers. It's obviously not water soluble. I didn't end up going out because I just didn't feel right, so I tried nail polish remover on the paint and it did fine.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A little frustration

I may have mentioned it before that I am looking for some old fashioned outdoor chairs, like the aluminum & webbing kind. They were lightweight, easily carried, and set up and closed up in a second. At Target this morning I found an aluminum chair with plastic strips rather than the webbing I wanted, but it was marked down to $8 and was very light. I set it on the floor and sat in it -- OK. I tried to fold it up and couldn't do it. I asked a store person near me if someone could show me how to fold it up. It took her a couple of tries - she said it was in the locked position - and then she got the lock released and closed up the chair. She immediately opened it back up and locked it.

I decided I would try it myself to make sure I had it right, but couldn't get whatever mechanism to work that released the lock. Another store person offered to help me, but the first one said "I just showed her how to do it". That sounded to me like, "She is an incompetent idiot so don't waste your time". They both moved off to stock shelves further away. I put the chair back on display and used a few expletives. What I want to know is why in the world does that type of chair need a lock on it to begin with. I can understand it with one of those chairs that throws your head down and your feet up in the air - you certainly don't want that thing to collapse at the wrong time. But your basic aluminum folding chair? I'm baffled as to the reason. So you might not want your kid to collapse the chair while he or she is sitting on it, but if the kid is rambunctious enough to collapse it he is going to tip it over in the locked position anyway.

I was just using the vacuum cleaner on my front porch when it started sounding funny. I brought it inside and looked at the brushes, and noticed they had a lot of fiber strings wrapped around them. I cut the strings with scissors and kept pulling them out, but the vacuum still sounded weird so I just shut it off and moved it to the side of the living room. Fifteen minutes later I am sitting here typing my blog entry when the vacuum motor comes on, sounding perfectly fine! I know I turned it off, and haven't gone back near it, but a fairy or leprechaun in the house wants me to get off my backside and finish the job I started. How impudent is that!

I have a question for readers - has anyone been to Voyageurs National Park near International Falls, MN? Were you there as a camper, day visitor, volunteer staff? Visitor Centers are located at Ash River, Kabetogama Lake, and Rainy Lake. Does anyone who has been there have a preference or can you give me a basic description, for example, is one in a more remote spot than the others? Also, for you folks in Minnesota, can you tell me when is the worst of the mosquito and flying insect season? I appreciate any and all responses, and thank you in advance.

There were several comments to my blog of yesterday where I mentioned I take daily aspirin. I take an 81 mg a day since August 2004 when I had a stent implant to open a blocked artery. I didn't have any problems for several years other than bruising on my hands and arms, but now the bruising is much worse and is not just limited to hands and arms. Also in the past 6-9 months I have had to take iron supplements because of anemia and low blood counts, but also in the past year I have had more trouble with pains in my stomach, especially after eating, and I'm sure I have internal bleeding from the aspirin. I've tried taking a half aspirin a day, or one 81mg every other day, but I am much more concerned that I would have a stroke (that wouldn't kill me) than I am about a heart attack (which I hope would be quick!).

I have been constantly complaining lately about my vision and how I need lots of light to be able to see adequately, and I nearly had a heart attack a couple of days ago when I was researching daily use of aspirin on the internet, and found a reference to studies that show seniors who take daily aspirin are much more susceptible to macular degeneration than those who don't. That scares me because I'm not sure if it is treatable. Thankfully I see Dr. G, my eye surgeon, in two weeks.

I bought two cans of spray paint today because the mobile home park police decided I needed to paint my wrought iron posts holding the front porch roof. They are crazy! Two days ago I received a notice with a lot of legalese stating that I had two weeks to paint the wrought iron and to pull the weeds in the back yard. I am grateful to have a house to live in and really like the inside of it, but I absolutely despise a gated community. This is the first they told me of the need to paint these posts, by the way. And now I have 2 weeks or they will do the work at $25/hr! I'm going to tell them I'll pull the weeds when the daytime temps go back down below 90, as I wouldn't want to get heat stroke.

Please forgive all the whining today, and I am really interested in info on Voyageurs which could potentially boost my spirits and morale.

I also bought cake mix and Comstock pie filling for another Billy Bob cake, although they only had strawberry & blueberry filling so I chose blueberry.

Plans for the weekend

They include a weekend camping trip to the Folsom Lake Campground. It's close and it's available, and we went there a lot when the kids were young, camping as well as a Sunday now and then at the lake. Steve & his family, and Jeannie and her family, and I will camp for the weekend, with daytime visits from my sister, niece, and who knows. I'm looking forward to it but just don't know where to start with getting everything together - some of my gear still isn't put away from previous trips.

I returned the Canon to Costco and got my money back. They didn't have another camera in the store with a view finder, even the more expensive ones. I know that most serious photographers, amateur as well as professional, prefer a view finder. So why has it been decided that we will now have to look at a small screen held at arm's length to take a picture, and who decided it? I will eventually buy what I want online, but I'd really like to see it first hand before purchasing it.

After at least two months of no gastric distress from taking a daily aspirin, the distress has come back to make me feel like hell! I'm between a rock and a hard place - take a blood thinner or risk a stroke. If I ever have to be dependent on others to take care of me, I am ready to join Lady and Mandy and Smoky.

Nothing else to write about, but maybe I'll have something later on during the week.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Wed. Sep 5:

Wed., Sep. 5:
I will be sad to leave here tomorrow, but there really isn’t much to do. I was speaking to a man yesterday who was filling out a back country overnight camping permit, and I mentioned that I was leaving on Thursday as I had read all the books I brought with me. Before he left for his trek he brought me a book by Kenneth C. Davis entitled “Don’t Know Much About The Universe (Everything You Need to Know About Outer Space But Never Learned)”, and asked me to just put it under the windshield of his vehicle when I’m finished. Unfortunately I won’t finish by the time he gets back today, but I will look for that book at the library when I return to Sac. Davis also wrote “Don’t Know Much About Geography”, as well as one on History, and so on. He writes in a style which is really easy for the lay person to read and to understand.

I got out the last clean uniform shirt to put on this morning and discovered it was a size XL. It’s a good thing I’ve hung all the shirts back on hangars instead of leaving them in a wad in the corner.

I was disappointed to see the skies clouding up late this afternoon as there will be no star gazing tonight. I just put the last campfire out and will just turn in early. I had been using a sky chart but was looking at the Fall skies whereas I should have coordinated it with the Summer skies. There isn’t enough space between the trees to see much of an entire constellation anyway, but I had hoped to see Cassieopia (or however it is spelled). It’s the one that looks like a “W” or an “M” depending on your perspective.

Craig returned from his back country trip this afternoon and had his lunch at my picnic table. Wow, what an interesting person he turned out to be. He told me to keep the book “Don’t Know Much About the Universe”, which I’m happy to do as I’m not quite half way through it. Craig is a retired high school teacher of history, among other subjects, and taught at the high school near me quite a few years ago. We had a great discussion on historical topics and I hated to see him go.

I think I have 3 campers here tonight. I may do a turn around the CG tomorrow morning if I have time, and that walk through will finish today’s paperwork.

I am so glad to have had the opportunity to come back for a week, although I doubt if I would work a season as camp host unless I find a partner. That’s not likely to happen and I could possibly end up back there next summer on my own. I don’t know what it is about Butte Lake that is such a draw for me. I really love the entire National Park, but to me Butte Lake is magnetic.

Update for Sunday, Sep. 9:
I think this will bring me up to date and I can go back to regular entries next week. I’m waiting for Jeannie & Ara to come by to pick me up for a trip to Costco and then lunch. I am so sorry to have to return the Cannon camera that I recently bought, but it’s started giving me problems. For some reason the LCD display goes black, but I thought since I look through the view finder anyway it wouldn’t matter. A lot of pictures I took turned out to be totally black. I did everything I could to get the display back, to no avail. Donald got it to work yesterday, but I checked this morning and the display is back to black. I will just return it and maybe get the next model up.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sep. 3 & 4

Monday, Sep. 3:
They were like rats leaving a sinking ship this morning, the long convoy of vehicles trying to get a head start on going home from the holiday weekend. Unfortunately I was walking through the campground making my morning check, and had to eat the dust of all those vehicles.

I may make a trip to Old Station today to pick up milk for one thing. After two days of coffee in my Wheaties I’m ready for a change. It works in a pinch though.

Still undecided as to when I’ll leave. I kept thinking I would stay until Thursday morning, but if there is only a camper or two in the whole place I may leave on Wednesday. I’m ready for electric lights in the evening, although I tried some of the propane lights last night and they shed a soft glow rather than make anything bright. I would like to stay up late for a change, but I get up with the sun and it’s difficult to stay up late.

I just made the rounds of the CG and found a huge log smoldering and smoking at a deserted campsite. The log was very large – way too big to burn as is, and would probably make 6 or 8 good pieces of firewood if chopped. It took me two gallons of water until everything quit sizzling. I lifted the log and watered underneath it plus the bottom side. Tomorrow I’ll make sure it is cold and then toss it over the hillside. Some people don’t think at all. I was driving the golf cart slowly so that I could check the general conditions of each site as I drove by, and give special attention to the fire rings.

There are about 3 occupied sites so far this evening. I don’t like to think about smoldering campfires when there is no camp host to check on things, but I don’t want to stay any longer than Thursday. There simply isn’t enough to do and I’ve read all the books I brought.

Tues., Sep. 4:
I’ve done my 1st campground walk-thru this morning. It seems that rather than getting stronger my legs feel so tired and weak when I do that walk. When I walk at least a mile a day I don’t get the cramps in my legs at night except for once in a while. When I lift a couple of light weights 3x a week my shoulders don’t hurt at night. So I’m not getting leg cramps this week but the arthritis in my shoulders sure is acting up.

I’m just back from Old Station, and I can’t believe my good luck. About 2 miles from the campground, still outside in the National Forest, I saw two bears. They were small – the larger one could have been a small mother, but looked more likely to be the size of a juvenile bear, and the cub was, well, a cub. He or she kept up with the larger one as they ran across the road in front of me and into the forest. In the few seconds it took me to get to where they left the road of course they were out of sight. Beautiful deep reddish brown bears. If there were many campers left I’d have to put the fear of god, or the fear of bear, into them. Many people go off from their campsites during the day leaving coolers and boxes on the tables. Each site has a large bear box, but I guess they are too lazy, or maybe they don’t believe there is a danger. If bears find food in the campground a few times they will become a nuisance and it is likely they will end up dead.

Update for Sat., Sep 8:
Sondra asked a good question about the electric switches and fixtures in the pictures. This is how I answered her:
“At one time there was electricity in the cabin and throughout the campground. I believe the snowy winters and extreme cold & high winds made it more trouble than it was worth, so they ripped most of it out. It's kind of funny to see an electrical outlet drilled into a tree, and some trees still have stray wires hanging.

It was weird going from room to room in the cabin and trying in vain to "switch" on the lights. The propane lamps are in all the rooms, but they give out a soft mood lighting, great for drinking & talking with friends or for romance, but they don't do much for an old single lady with bad eyesight and no romantic interest in sight!”

I'm overwhelmed with all the blogs to read - I don't think I will ever catch up, but at least I'll try to stay current until I take off again. Thanks to everyone who has commented on mine.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sep. 1 & 2:

Sat., Sep 1:
One of the fire crew just came to my door telling me that they accidently locked the gate up to the horse corral where they are staying. They don’t have a key and normally just “false-lock” the gate. I accompanied him to the gate and got it unlocked for them. This guy was probably in his 30’s, and he kept up a fast, steady pace. It wasn’t the distance that got me, but the fact that it was steadily up a grade. I figured even if I collapsed when I got back, I was going to keep up with this guy and not breathe heavily until I got back to my cabin. Damn, I’m good! I made it with no trouble and didn’t look too wimpy in front of the 3 guys by the gate.

I drove around the two campground loops when I arrived here to check the mileage. It seems longer to me, but it checked out at .4 and .6 equaling a mile total. I walk it in the morning, and try to do the same around 1 pm, but I drive the golf cart on my last run though the CG in the evening, around 6 pm. When I get back I shed the uniform for civvies, and then I can pop open a Miller. I usually light a campfire although I put it out before the last light fades from the sky. The cabin is just too dark and unless I keep a big flashlight outside with me I would stumble through the cabin. That is the one thing I don’t like about living here – it is always dark, at least to me, and I found out the propane lights don’t actually shed a lot of light.

The highlight of today was when a guy in his 20’s came up and asked if there was a soda machine in the vicinity. I had to work hard to not laugh out loud when I told him the nearest place he could get a soda was 17 miles. Poor baby.

After walking the loops twice today I figured the golf cart needed to be exercised too.

I’ve made it through Saturday without any real problems, and I don’t expect any tomorrow. Most campers will be leaving Monday morning, although there will be a few hold-overs until Tuesday. I think I’m gonna make it!

Sun., Sep. 2:
This morning I realized I had no milk left and started to put away the box of Wheaties when I remembered I could use coffee in place of the milk. While in NY earlier this year my daughter-in-law’s parents came to visit quite often. Her mom can’t drink milk and put coffee in her Cheerios, which didn’t sound all that great to me, but it works! I need to grab an hour or two to go to Old Station for a few items. I have enough food to last for about 2 or 3 days, leaving me two days to go if I remain here until Thursday.

For a holiday weekend this isn’t bad at all. Many people having reservations didn’t show up at all, no doubt some because they worry about fire and have decided to go somewhere else. Perhaps the cost of fuel has kept many folks closer to home this holiday. Those who are here haven’t caused a bit of trouble, except for one now and then who won’t pay. I’ve been after the fees for someone in the A Loop for two days now, left notices to no avail, and they are never around (or stay inside their tent) when I come by.

I don’t think I have enough patience for this job, and if I ever took it on again it would only be with a male partner. There are some men who turn off whatever a woman tells them and it really pisses me off.

I wanted to get some photos down by the lake in the latter part of the day when the sun was going down. I love these tree trunks that are everywhere, with all their gnarled roots, but I can't get a decent picture to save my life.

Some photos taken looking across Butte Lake:

My campfire which is still in sunlight:

UPDATE Fri. Sep 7:
I'm still emptying out my car from this trip and need to do laundry. Instead of work I went over and spent the morning with my granddaughter, and caught up on her impressions of the places she's been to on this last European trip. Tomorrow morning I'm taking Jeannie & Ara to REI where we will look at boots. It's nice to have a morning out with just the 3 of us.

It is in the 90's here, still, and who knows when it will drop down to a decent temperature. I'm definitely looking for work in a cooler place for next summer who knows when and where during the coming year. I need to be doing something!

Oh my gosh, I thought we were under attack until I remember that there is an air show at the former Mather AFB this afternoon. Blue Angels and all. Those jets make some noise, for sure. The only plane I even enjoy looking at is the beautiful B-52.

A little later:
I just went out side to watch in absolute awe as these pilots go through their paces. Someone told me that the actual show is tomorrow, and they are doing practice runs today. The AFB is only about a mile or so from my house (as the crow flies), and the runway they are using is much less than that. The sun got too hot for me and the camera isn't working right - drat!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Butte Lake: Aug 28, 2012

I took this picture about 10 miles from the Butte Lake Road. There is still smoke rising from several locations.

I have really done it this time. Arrived in good time and brought my stuff inside after many trips back and forth to the car. The keys gave me some problem, but I eventually got inside the ranger cabin. It is really nice, and I’ve taken some pictures of the inside.

I went to get the cart and had a devil of a time finding the key. I understood that the key would be with the cart, but it turned out it was on one of the key rings given to me. I drove the cart through both A and B loop to see if anyone had arrived yet – no one, and it looks like I’ll be all alone tonight. From all the mouse traps set around the place, I will probably wish I was alone! I don’t know if they are set or not. I have never looked at one up close, and won’t touch it. When it comes to rodents my feelings are that I skip the niceties and just go for the jugular.
Then I decided that since I can’t figure out if lights work or not – there seem to be some that are propane – I would get out the clothes I plan to wear tomorrow. I had already hung the uniform shirts up and delved into my pack for the khaki pants – the same ones I slaved over a hot iron to make sure looked good. I took everything out of the pack and realized the pants were still on hangers in my closet back home. I brought two pairs of jeans with me, but they won’t make it without a visit to the laundry at least once, maybe two or three times depending on the amount of dirt and dust kicked up.

Did I mention that I made the bed? I found out I brought two fitted bottom sheets but no top sheet. That isn’t all that big a problem and I just tucked it in at the foot of the bed. I also brought two pillow cases but no pillows. I don’t know what else can go wrong, but I’m mad enough at myself over leaving the khakis home to keep me mad for several days. What a dumb thing to do, and remember how I was procrastinating before I left?

Next morning, Aug 29
Because of having no lights in the cabin I just crawled into bed when it began to get dark. I woke up several hours later and couldn’t believe how dark it had gotten. The cabin is set in the trees so that the inside is not very bright even in the afternoons. There are what look to be propane lights in all the rooms, but I can’t figure out what to do with them – they seem to have mantles but the mantles don’t look to have been lit. I don’t know any other way of getting light from them other than turning on the propane flow and lighting them, but I will wait until I find out from someone. Same with the heater – I can’t figure out how to turn it on and it is COLD in here. I haven’t taken a shower yet because I’m sure I’d freeze to death, although I do have hot water and the fridge & stove work.

I was going to go outside after breakfast and took a better look at the locks on the door. What I thought was the locked position was actually the lock open position, so I slept with the door unlocked all night. As with most houses there are creaky noises during the night, and knowing I was all alone at the Butte Lake campground & day use area, I heard every noise.

While not having to set up a tent, I am getting a taste of what camping alone in a remote area would be like, and I think I prefer to have at least a few people nearby – not close in, but just to know there is someone nearby. I think it would be different if I had a dog.

One of the firefighters just stopped to ask about climbing Cinder Cone. She said she had flown over it a number of times and wanted to climb it if the trail was open. She is from Alaska. It is good to have a conversation, even though it wasn’t a long one.
It’s after 6pm and the flying insects drove me inside. I had a campfire that I just let burn down and then doused it. Indoors it’s dark and I can’t read or really do much of anything.
I fixed my dinner early so I could cook, eat, and clean up while there was still enough natural light in the cabin. Part of the problem with darkness is that I don’t see very well in dim light, but fortunately I can see the computer screen. I’ve already used 10% of my battery for the 3 times I’ve turned the computer on to add to this entry.

At 4pm I made rounds of the campground to make sure no one came in while I wasn’t looking. There wasn’t a soul then, but since there have been 3 vehicles drive in, so things will pick up tomorrow. Also I feel a bit relieved that I’m not the only person for miles around.

Today I finished Barb Thacker’s book “How Can I Be Lost When I Don’t Know Where I’m Going”. I could relate to so much of what she writes as I think any solo woman can relate, but her travels are interesting in their own right and should appeal to a broad range of folks. She traveled from New Mexico and across the northern U.S., into Canada, down the Eastern U.S., visiting family in Pennsylvania, all the way to Florida and then headed back west to Las Cruces. I just started on her 2nd book, “Blissfully Lost in Baja” and it looks to be as interesting as the first. I will need to find the 3rd in her series when I get back to electricity and internet.

Cabin living room:

The futon is not comfortable to sit on, and I can imagine it would be terrible for sleeping.

Two views of the kitchen:

The bedroom:

This is from the back side of the bedroom toward the front. There is a triple door closet on one side of the room, plus a large closet on the other side of the bed. The door you see just outside the bedroom opens to the ranger office.

Cabin from the front:

Side view of cabin:

Update Thursday, Sep. 6:
I got a very early start this morning as I still had a lot of things to take to the car, and I wanted to make a run through the campground to see if anyone had come in during the night. I found a guy who was just about ready to leave, and I told him he needed to pay for the site he used, which he did.

I had to deliver the uniforms, paperwork, radio, etc., to the Fee Office, and had a nice chat with the people there. I am sure I could get the job again next year if Ann and Andy don't return, but I think I wouldn't do it without a partner. I'm going to look into working at the Museum which is right in the heart of things (and you must know by now I'm not crazy being in the heart of things - I'd rather be on my own at the fringe), but I would be able to get employee housing. I have 2 or 3 months to think about it.