Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Thursday, January 31, 2013


I was almost out of beer so I made a trip to Target this morning.  They have a 30 pack that used to cost $15, but has now gone up 50 cents.  Add the CRV charge onto that and it's still a good price.

I also bought a tube of Bengay that supposedly has a disappearing scent.  I'm a little suspicious but I'll try it.  My problem is mostly muscular, so the Bengay should help.

Returning home I was driving the speed limit on Folsom Blvd.  Several cars behind me pulled into the right lane so they could pass me up.  The car immediately in back of me pulled to the right, then swerved around in front on me and crossed over into the next turn lane.  The light was red, so he and I had to stop, and he wasn't any better off than if he had just stayed behind me and then pulled to the left into his turning lane.  California drivers!  They do that all the time on the freeway, pass on the right, pull in front, pass the next guy on the left, then cross 3 or 4 lanes of traffic to get to the exit ramp!

I got my rent and utility bill today and nearly passed out when I saw the cost of gas and electric.  I have mostly kept the thermostat on 65, but it's already been turned down to 60 after seeing the bill.  I normally turn on my computer in the morning and leave it on until I go to bed at night, but I will start turning it off if I'm going to be out for a few hours during the day.  I don't know what else to do, but maybe I'll make it up this summer when I'm gone for several months.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hearing things

I keep hearing things today, such as my doorbell and phones ringing but they turned out to be coming from the television.  There is also a squeak that I hear periodically but haven't figured out what it is or where exactly it is coming from. 

I made some chicken vegetable soup today and it is really good.  I had a small bowl for lunch and am planning on bowl having a large bowl for my supper.  

I think it might just be a sign of age, but I've noticed lately that my legs ache, sort of like when you walk a good distance and aren't quite used to it.  If I had a hot tub I'd be relaxing in it right now.  This is an ongoing thing lately, and I'm thinking about buying some kind of cream to see if it helps - such as Ben Gay but the kind that is odorless.  

I've noticed advertising lately, and received a flyer in the mail today, for a company called "Clear" and their 4G internet device.  They say you can get unlimited 4G internet with no long-term contract, no overage charges, and a 15 day risk-free satisfaction guarantee, for $34.99 a month.  Or I should say "Plans starting at $34.99 a month".  The flyer shows 3 different devices and says you can have home internet you can take with you, which is what I need.  

I'm currently paying $50 or 55/month for the verizon MiFi, which I have never been satisfied with.  I've had a lot of trouble with it, had to have the first one replaced, and now it has to be plugged into a wall outlet in order to work.  I've had it for about a year and it should be working.  It's too bad I lost my 3G MiFi on my trip last year because it was perfect!

I did check out the website which is at:  gotoclear.com/rc84gwd.  You can cut and paste the link if you are interested, and I'd be very interested to know if any readers have had experience with this company or this equipment.  

I'm thinking about going back to an aircard, which I hate to do because they seem more fragile than a unit that sits on a table or desk.  I would really prefer to travel with my own internet connection rather than rely on public/motel connections.  I rarely go to MacDonalds or other public sites, although the Motel 6 connections that are free seem to be ok.  Some of them charge for internet though.

Speaking of aircards, I had AT&T's card several years ago and it worked pretty well and was easy to use as well as to track monthly usage.  Then the card was under Sierra Wireless (or something like that) and it was much more complex to use and didn't give me the usage information easily.

I hate to keep saying the same thing, but why does every upgrade have to involve making the service more difficult to use.  I am going crazy with iPhoto now, a program that I found so easy to use, and to store and access my photos, but with the updated versions it is terribly confusing to perform the simplest operation.

I've complained enough and I think I'm getting hungry.  Later -   

Sunday, January 27, 2013

What to do today

I can't decide on what I want to do and it is already nearly lunchtime.  I need to stay home so I won't be tempted to spend money.  The day is looking bright and sunshiny, so it's difficult to stay indoors.

Last night when getting ready for bed I noticed I was wearing my sweat pants backwards, and realized I had walked around the Farmers market like this.  I guess sweat pants must look and feel the same whether you have the drawstrings in front or the label.

This morning's breakfast featured luscious CA grown  strawberries I bought yesterday - a big container of three small plastic ones, each piled high to overflowing with beautiful strawberries - $8 for the whole thing.  I also enjoyed some tasty brussel sprouts with my dinner last night - very small ones (I think smaller veggies are always the tastiest).  

I was looking through some old pictures to decide how many new frames I need to buy, and came across this one.  It's about an 8 x 10 and I scanned it and then rotated the picture, but this is the way it shows up on the blog.  I can't seem to fix it, nor can I remove it from the blog.  I'm sure there is a way but I don't have the patience to look for it.  Sorry about this - 
it was taken during the 1990's in Manitou Springs, CO, and the quality of the scan isn't what I hoped for.  But this is Bad Bill and his Bad Boys - plus his sweet wife, daughter, and granddaughter.  They aren't as sleazy as they look! 

This morning I spent some time reading blogs, down to the ones on the list that I read last night.  I try to read additional blogs later on in the day, but I know that every day I miss a couple.  They just seem to get lost in the spaces between one reading session and another.   I wonder if anyone else has the same problem.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Saturday morning

Thanks to readers who have commented on my problems with spam.  My blog currently allows anyone to comment, and I can deal with a couple of spams a day.  You may remember a few months back I received close to 100 spams in about two days.  Since each comment comes to my inbox in a separate email as well as on the blog, you can imagine how inconvenient it is to find a great number of spam comments that I have to delete, as well as to go and delete them from the blog.  Yes, blogger doesn't let them get to the main page that is viewed by readers, and I'm thankful for that, but I still have to delete them from the spam folder.  For now I will take a wait and see position.

I drove over to the Farmers Market near my house this morning - the clock in my car showed 9:15 a.m. as I left home.   I was pulling into my driveway at 9:38, so you can see I had a plan for shopping and stuck to it.  There weren't as many stalls as at some Markets in the summer, but I found lots of fruits and vegetables to buy.  I also splurged on a large bottle of olive oil - the olives were harvested in October and the oil was bottled yesterday, and has a rich and robust flavor that is my favorite.  A woman who was leaving as I arrived at the stand said she was going back to Montana with her olive oil, and would be back next year.  She said how this was her favorite oil.  The man selling the oil spoke to me in Italian and I understood him!

I think next week I will walk over on the trail behind my house.  I've walked with Lady up to the section that goes under Freeway 50, and it looks like it isn't much further to the location of the Market - the parking lot at the light rail station.

These are the opportunities I will miss so badly when I am at Lassen this summer.  I almost never buy canned or frozen and I might have a problem getting fresh fruits & veggies in the northern counties.  I'll be able to find them, but it will require many miles of driving to get to them.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Comments and spam

A couple of days ago I changed my settings so that anyone could comment, and hoped the spammers would leave me alone.  I immediately got a couple of spams and the number is growing.  Blogger catches them, fortunately, but I do have to go back and delete them.  I'll let it go for now, but if the spam gets much worse then I'll either change the settings or quit blogging.  All of the comments so far have been the same - evidently a human doesn't decide where to leave the spam but a machine does.  I'm sick of the whole thing.

If I do go back to removing anonymous commenters, is it for readers to be limited to Google users, or what they call Registered users including OpenID?  I really don't know how one becomes a registered user, nor am I familiar with Open ID.

I'm sorry about this.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

More on file transfers

On the way to the library today I stopped at Target and bought a high-speed file share cable.  Theoretically I can simply move the two computers close together and plug in the USB cables, and do a Mac to Mac transfer of files - plug and play, no software to install.  I had intended to just buy another USB flash drive since I think I messed up the one I was using yesterday, but this file share cable will just get it all done much more quickly.  I don't feel like working with it just yet, so I'll probably open it up tomorrow morning.

I returned the Sue Grafton and Margaret Truman mysteries, unread, to the library.  I started on one that seemed interesting, but I could tell after a few chapters there was going to be some heavy violence ahead.  I just don't have the stomach any more for things like that, so I found some mysteries with a witchy theme, that are usually funny, little if any graphic description of violence or gore, and are usually fun to readBest of all, I can close them and go to sleep without thinking of bad things and violence.

I also found an interesting looking paperback in the Friends of the Library book sale - the books all cost only $.25, and I hope to accumulate a stack of them over the coming months to take with me to Lassen.  I can just leave them at the cabin for future camp hosts.

It is raining again and it looks like tomorrow could be more of the same, with full sun possibly next Tuesday.  After a couple of days that crept up into the 60's it's not easy to go back to the 50's now, but it could be much worse.

Even though I'm not transferring music this evening, I'm going to listen to some good tunes, starting with Doc Watson, and then maybe a little of Merle Haggard and Willie, or maybe a classical trumpet concerto!

The calendar says tomorrow is going to be Friday, but don't believe it!  There's a conspiracy somewhere out there.    

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

More frustrations

I drove to Best Buy on a cloudy day to see if I could get the "sled" that would allow me to transfer the contents of my old hard drive to my new computer.  The Apple tech told me it should only cost about $15 or 16, but it is actually $40!  I just can't see spending that much money for only one use, but I was told I could buy a crossover cable whereby I could transfer from the iMac to the MacbookPro (and vice versa), and he swore it cost about $6.  I don't believe these guys when they start quoting prices.  Best Buy doesn't have it in stock, but I could drive out to Fry's Electronics and pick it up, providing Fry's has it in stock.  

I've spent a couple of hours this afternoon moving data from one computer to the other via the little USB storage devices.  I found one that had relatively little on it, but it still didn't have enough space to hold my iPhoto collection.  I am using it however to copy and paste my music colletion in iTunes, but it's slow going.  Why wasn't I more careful with that damn glass of water that ruined my beloved old computer?  I don't like the newer software to tell the truth, and it is slightly different from the iMac to the new Macbook!  That's about 3 or 4 months!  The newer software would be great for couples who have their own computers, iPhones, iPads, etc., because it seems like the word of the year is "Sharing".  I don't know anyone who would want to share my files, especially my eclectic music collection.  I'm now listening to Ana Gabriel, who would be known to Mexican music enthusiasts!  But wait!  I also have some dynamite African (Senegal) music collections, Bluegrass, Classical, Grateful Dead, and a lot more.

I just looked out to see wet streets, but I hadn't realized it was raining.  The rest of the week looks like it should be sunny.  

Oh well, back to my file transfers.  My iMac is set up on the coffee table and the Macbook Pro is across the room on a little table by my recliner.  I'm running back and forth! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I love a parade

I love marching bands and drill teams, mounted units and military bands.  The inaugural parade yesterday was just my cup of tea, and I was happy to not have to watch huge balloons, elaborate floats, princess and fantasy themes, etc.  The best band was undoubtedly the Navy Band, although their synchronized marching skills could possibly take second place to the Army.  I loved the Montana delegation on horseback, and there was a Canine Companions for Independence group including some great looking service dogs.

The most beautiful and dynamic group were the Wind-River Ceremonial Dancers which was just one of several Indian groups, the largest of which was that of the Navaho Nation.  Several hispanic groups of dancers were colorful and there was also a very long and beautiful Chinese dragon.  It was definitely a diverse collection of marchers.  The largest had to be Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and with the incredible number of marchers, the rows were absolutely perfectly in sync.  I didn't see one person out of step - Navy take note!

Today I got a pneumonia vaccine as well as one for shingles.  I had requested my Doctor to put in an order for the pneumonia shot and she also included that for shingles.  I was glad because I have often thought I should get it - my mom as well as one of her sisters had shingles and they claimed there was nothing more painful.  I'm not sure if it runs in families, but I'm glad to have the vaccine and hope the worst illnesses are covered with some protection.  My own mother wouldn't know me as I've always been wary if not downright suspicious of the medical profession.  I think my feelings came about at the time drug companies started advertising, which makes it seem like doctors started prescribing more drugs than they had at one time.  With all the nasty side effects of many of the drugs, I just don't like to take them, but vaccines for serious illnesses are a different story for this old gal.

Dinner time - I'm up to about 120 pounds!  Hooray!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Riding the Rails

Although I often express my dislike of television, I acknowledge that once in a while a worthwhile program is shown, and I watched one of those last night.  PBS's American Experience featured a program on the Great Depression and those who left home in desperation, riding the boxcars to wherever they took them in search of work.  What I didn't realize is that a huge number of these "hobos" were teen-agers, and a good number of them were girls.

During my childhood my dad often told us that he had been a cowboy.  I knew he had hopped the freight trains and traveled to the West Coast and back.  He didn't tell his children much about the hardships of that year, but my Mom told me that he had once been arrested and spent a night in jail for vagrancy , I think in Texas.  He always spoke well of New Mexico, and I believe he enjoyed it most of all the states he traveled through.  Born in 1910, I think he was probably a young adult and not a teen when he set out on his great adventure.

The program went into the great numbers of those riding the rails into the Civilian Conservation Corps, although many of them were suspicious of it to begin with but finally realized the opportunity to get work with a safe place to sleep at night, 3 meals a day, money for their families as well as $5 a month for themselves.  All of us who have traveled anywhere have no doubt seen some of the work of the CCC in our parks and cities.  In Cincinnati where I grew up there is still a retaining wall  that was built by the CCC along Columbia Parkway.

I often wish I could go back and talk with my parents and ask them questions about their experiences during the Depression.  They told me a lot as I was growing up although I didn't realize how important it was at the time.  My mother grew up on a farm and there was always something to eat, even if it was just biscuits and gravy.  My dad knew the hunger and hardship of living in the city at the time.

I am loving the comments I'm still receiving about farm and growing-up experiences, and ask that readers who remember hearing from parents and grandparents about the Great Depression, to share their stories.

I will probably be going to Lassen to get settled in the cabin sometime during the first part of June.  My campground is at one of the highest elevations of C/G's in the Park, and it always depends on when the snow melts enough to open the place up to visitors.  I'd like to be there several days in advance of opening to the public so I can get settled and help get ready for the season.  Hopefully I can get better at using my camera and get some good photos for the blog.  I really did better with the older style cameras.  Yes, the technology is superb with the new models, but I'm an older model myself (and am happy with who and what I am), so I just prefer to stick with the (for me)tried and true.

I'm waiting for the Inaugural parade to begin.  Watching today's events unfold makes me a bit homesick and nostalgic for the Washington, DC area.  Forgetting politics, the city is the most beautiful in the world in my opinion.


As for my new Macbook Pro, I think I will really be happy with it.  It's much lighter in weight than my older and larger laptop.  I can't say I like the newer look of all the software, but I am swept over the cliff by what developers seem to think everyone wants.  My feeling will always be, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", and often there is no apparent reason for changes (such as the Blogger interface, Gmail, AOL, etc.) except for the continuing employment of developers.  The trend seems to be to make the screens as spare and empty as possible - "just guess where to click to do what you need to do".  I can't fight it any more, and at least I'll be at Lassen for the summer and won't give a damn about technology (except I sure hope the radio works in case I need to call out for assistance).

Sunday, January 20, 2013

I had a few comments to my blog yesterday wondering about the lack of electricity at Lassen.  I have never found it to be a problem, as when I spent the summer of 2009 there I lived in my 5th wheel and ran the generator once a day, which allowed me to dry my hair and use a few other appliances.

Last year I camped for a week at Lassen, and then went back for about a week when I stayed in the ranger cabin, where I will be living this coming summer.  I don't find lack of TV to be a problem, as it is only since I was feeling unwell this past fall and winter that I got used to turning on the TV.  There are so few channels I watch and I might miss them for a few days, but I actually look forward to getting unhooked from TV.  I certainly won't miss the stupid commercials!

The cabin is run by propane:  water heater, furnace, kitchen appliances, and lighting.  There are light fixtures in every room, but they give off a soft glow rather than bright light.  My reading is usually done outdoors sitting in a camp chair.  Each day I gather tinder for the campfire, which is lying on the ground everywhere you turn.  I bring a good supply to the campfire area and sort it as to size; last year the camp host had chopped some of the larger wood into nice campfire size logs, but most of them were used by the end of the season.  I have thought about buying a small hatchet - I would probably hurt myself with an axe - but don't even trust my hatchet skills.  I'm hoping to find some kind of saw I can easily handle.  I don't need the huge logs favored by most males as I like to build an "Indian fire", keeping it small and manageable, and easier to douse when I retire for the evening.

There are always people to talk to, as many of them park their vehicles in front of the cabin when they hike up the Cinder Cone volcano or into the back country, and I jot down their license numbers and time they leave so as to keep track of who is out there.  I answer lots of questions, give advice, and the usual general chat.  This year I think they want me to open the office in the cabin to the public to sell topo maps, etc.  That will provide me with enough human contact while ensuring I enjoy the solitude of my evenings.

As when I was camp hosting with my RV in 2009 and my short stint last year, I spend most of my time outdoors where I can see everything that is going on, while enjoying the wildlife - tiny ground squirrels and chipmunks, and lots of birds.  I never tire of leaning back and looking up at the trees sway in the breeze, and it is much more relaxing than watching TV which is intended to stimulate.  In between relaxing and doing next to nothing, I make several rounds of the campground (about 100 camp sites spread out in two loops) each day.  I will get two days off each week, although to keep the paperwork accurate I will probably make a round of the C/G early in the morning before leaving the area to get groceries, fuel, beverages, and sightseeing, and then if I feel like it, make another round of the camp sites in the late afternoon.  I walk the round in the morning and use the golf cart most other times.  I always go to bed shortly after dark.

So you see, I don't need TV or electricity to enjoy life, and a good supply of books will keep me occupied when I feel like reading.  As for the internet, I had an appointment today to visit the Apple Store where I hoped to get my laptop refurbished.  It turns out that it would cost a bit more than buying a new MacbookPro, but the 13" model (my ruined one was 15").  I ended up buying the 13" laptop and have just set it up, although I need to get a device called a "sled" so I can move some of my old programs over to the new computer.  Just dealing with userids and passwords has me opening a can of beer at 3:30 in the afternoon, and you can probably hear my bad language all the way to Texas!

So the bottom line is that I will have a laptop that is lightweight and easy to carry, but I will need to take it to a place that I can plug in to a power source.  That's likely to be a laundromat, and there are two of those in Old Station which is about 17 miles from the campground.  Also I'm sure I can find someplace to plug in when I need to get groceries at one of the larger towns in the area, about 50 miles.  So I am planning to add to a blog entry each evening running the computer on battery power, and then publishing the entry all at once when I can plug into electric power.  Should work very well.

I will decide at a later date if I want to keep the iMac or sell it.  It is a beautiful computer but just too large for me and not easily transported.  For a person with a computer station and electric outlet it would be great.

As I was leaving for the Apple Store I passed a house just down the road that had 6 dinette chairs sitting outside with a "Free" sign on them.  I took 4 of them, which is probably more than I really have room for, but it was too good to pass up.  They have a chrome base and tan leather seats.  I'll try to post a picture in the near future.  Now I still would like to get a table and put the current one back into the kitchen.  I'd like a long narrow table that I can slide against the wall under the window, that doesn't take up too much space.  Pictures will definitely be coming soon.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Saturday morning

First I want to say thanks to those who have provided some farm stories.  Please don't limit it to only the farm, as I realize many of you didn't have the opportunity to visit a working farm in years gone by.  I love any stories of life back before things got so rushed and difficult.  I had a relatively uncomplicated and carefree childhood compared to today's kids, even considering that I had strict parents (and I was a rebel, which resulted in a lot of clashes) and there was nothing in the way of technological wonders available today.  Not only did we have a rotary phone, it was on a party line, meaning there were several families who used the same line so we had to take turns.

I know some of you want to comment but can't because I have blocked anonymous comments.  I might try to lift that block for a day and see what happens - you may remember it got so bad a few months back I had close to 100 spam comments in one day!  I've since tried to remove the block and it seems the spam starts up almost immediately.  

I watched the Dr. Oz show yesterday.  I usually check to see who is on the show and the topics to be discussed, but rarely watch much of it because every day it is mostly about losing weight.  Much of yesterday's show was devoted to avoiding the flu.  A panel of experts including someone from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) agreed the shot is only about 60% effective.  A couple of the doctors said that healthy adults should NOT get the vaccine, but that anyone over 65 should get it.  I was shocked, to tell the truth.  It is what I have always believed but have never heard anyone in the health field say it in public. 

This is just another example of why I don't trust what most "experts" say no matter what field they are in.  Everything bears checking out and making your own decision.  I finally got the flu shot but it wasn't because a doctor kept badgering me to get it - it was a realization I arrived at on my own after careful research and having recently had pneumonia.

The Dr. Oz show provided video of crowded hospitals, with beds in the hallways.  One large hospital had so many cases that they converted a part of their huge waiting area to little cubicles with beds for flu patients.  Can you imagine how much rest you would get if you were put into a bed in the waiting area?

Even though the nights are below freezing we are hoping the thermometer gets up to at least 60 in the coming afternoons.  I like the fact that the weather is pretty good although I am envious when I see the videos of all the snow in the Great Lakes and other areas of the country.  I never did like below zero weather though.

It looks like I will definitely be camp hosting at Lassen this year (Butte Lake).  The cabin is very well equipped and comfortable, except for the lighting which is propane and casts a very soft glow.  My eyes are such that I need good lighting to see well, and I might need to look for some kind of lantern that I can use when necessary.  The length of daylight means that I cook, eat, and clean up way before it gets dark, but the overhang of the roof and orientation of the cabin makes it so that not much bright sunlight gets into the dwelling.  I remember the week I worked there last year and how I spent most free time outdoors, and that is probably what I will do again this year.  I did the same even back when I had the RV.  I will have to adapt to getting groceries once a week since the nearest supermarket is at least 50 miles away, making it a 100-mile round trip.   I'm used to running to Bel Air or similar every other day to pick up a few items.  I always did prefer to shop often and get the very freshest of fruits & vegetables.

Computer use will be a real problem with no electricity.  The last time I had my laptop which I used a few minutes each day to write a little on my blog, but the Acer notebook is just about worthless to me - mostly I play solitaire and mah jong on it.  I'm afraid of the cost of a new MacBook or even if there is a possibility of having my old one refurbished.  I need to get moving on getting the old one fixed up but keep procrastinating because of the cost.

I hope everyone has a good weekend. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Lassen Volcanic National Park

This evening I watched a program on our local public TV station that featured Lassen.  The scenery - "The Peak", the boiling mud pots, the cold mountain streams, snow, lakes and forests - made me anxious to go back.  I've been contacted by the folks at Lassen about coming back to work this summer, and I think I probably will.  

I really don't relish the idea of camp hosting for 3 months by myself, but the alternative is working at the Museum which is just off the main park road.  The crowds and the fact that this particular museum is dedicated almost solely to things of interest to children, make me think twice about it.  I love children and always have, but I'm too old to deal with hordes of them for 5 days a week.  I'm probably too old to deal with the weekend warriors that show up at the campgrounds as well, but at least there are periods of beautiful quiet, especially at Butte Lake.

I went to check out a store that opened where my favorite Raley's used to be, called Warehouse Markets.  Bought a bag of frozen tamales - the picture on the bag had my mouth watering.  I used to make them from scratch back in the 1990's and I got pretty good at it.  The ones I made weren't huge, but a good size for eating several.  I came home one day to find that the big pot I used for steaming the tamales, and which contained about 75 of them, was down to under 10 tamales left.  My son, Joe, and his friend had found them and darn near ate every single one.  So I've told Joe the next time he comes over with the girls he can try these tamales.  They won't be as good as the ones I used to make, but they will be a heck of a lot easier to heat and serve!

I figured with the large sections of Hispanic foods in the store I could easily find manteca, or lard.  I've been wanting to make pie crust with lard, and I have heard from several sources that as long as you don't overdo it, can be quite good for you - better than Crisco at least.  That took me down memory lane to my grandparents' farm in the 1940's, my grandma using lard as well as raw unpasteurized milk, and I don't think I've ever tasted better than her cooking.

A while back one of my brothers and I got conversations going with my mom's remaining siblings about hog butchering in the old days.  It was so interesting, especially because I caught a glimpse one time of a hog hanging from a beam in the front of the tobacco barn.  I wasn't supposed to see that - females were not to be around when the butchering was going on, and from my aunts' descriptions, the women and girls were tucked away in the kitchen preparing the seasonings for sausage, and rendering the fat of the animal into lard.  

This morning I also thought of some of the sayings and practices prevalent on a rural southern farm.  I'd love to get comments from readers who might have stories to tell about their memories.