Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Thursday, February 28, 2013


If you can stand another post about animals, I can say that if I was an animal with a problem, I would rather be picked up by the Houston SPCA than I would Miami.  They seem to euthanize animals pretty quickly in Miami.

Case in point:  a beautiful black lab stray had been running loose and was hit by a car.  He was in pain but still could walk to the SPCA vehicle; the control officer gave him a shot to help with the pain and then searched for a tag or microchip but finding nothing to identify the owner, she then euthanized the animal on the spot, even though as she was getting the injection ready the lab's tail was wagging furiously and thumping the bed of the van.  Sweet dreams, doggie.  Even in Philadelphia the SPCA will perform surgery if necessary to a dog that appears to be adoptable, and I've never seen any animal euthanized so quickly.

Another thing about Miami is the gators.  There are over a million alligators in the state of Florida, and evidently they are moving to Miami in droves (or whatever you call big groups of gators).  Because of development and the encroachment of their habitat by humans, the gators are coming in to canals, lakes, ponds, and wherever they can find a source of food, which can include small dogs and children.  When they catch the gators, the big boys are always "humanely euthanized", while they may relocate the smaller animals.  This is because the large ones have developed a homing device that brings them back to where they were taken from.  I think that's how it has been explained but I could have it all backwards. 

I'm not crazy about alligators, crocs, or any kind of snakes, but in their own habitat they fit in the larger scheme of things.  Too bad humans take over their habitat and then routinely euthanize them.  An interesting statistic is that the alligator was once an endangered species in Florida, but that's all changed.

I tackled a job this morning that I have been dreading, and that is I got my down comforter inserted into the duvet cover.  I removed the cover to launder it back about the time I had pneumonia and I just now felt like trying to put it on the comforter.  It's a really difficult job, even though it's just a queen size comforter.  I am sure the cover weighs much more than the comforter, and getting everything spread out evenly was a real chore.

I have errands to run today but if I feel up to it I might attempt to finish washing the paneling in the living room later on today.   I can always do it tomorrow.  

What to do when my Tracfone days of service run out is something I need to deal with very soon.  I considered paying the small monthly fee to be added to Jeannie's phone, and even toyed with the idea of getting an iPhone myself.  But when I think about it I absolutely don't want an iPhone, for many reasons.  First of all I don't like touch screens and prefer to stick to a keyboard.  That's why I returned the iPad I bought about a year ago.  Secondly I would go crazy with all those little icons clogging the screen, although I'm sure you can make them go away if you choose.  Thirdly, and maybe the most important, is the fact that I don't want to carry around a cell phone in my hand, constantly glancing at it.  I can never remember where my cell phone is at any given time, and I'm comfortable with that.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What happened to my energy?

I started washing my living room ceiling and walls this morning in prep for painting it but my energy ran out before I finished.  I did about 2/3 of the ceiling, and the narrow wall behind the TV, but just got too tired to continue.  I'll try to finish it tomorrow but may have to go back to Lowes for more TSP.  The paneling seems to have a dirty orange sheen coming off and I can't wait to get the ceiling painted white and the walls yellow.  

A notice came with the rent statement for the coming month, informing the residents that lot inspections will begin the first of April.  The dreaded weed police!  But wait, there's more!  The condition of paint on home, shed, mailbox, etc. will be noted, as well as any containers, ladders and such that may not be left outdoors.  I have my son Joe's extension ladder in the back of the house and doubt that it will fit in the shed, so I guess it will have to go back to Joe. 

If I could I would get the hell out of this mobile home park and never again live in a gated community of any kind. The location is ideal though, which is the best thing about it.  That, and the fact that I have no place else to go.  I like the house well enough and feel safe and comfortable  in it, but I hate the constant obsession with rules, especially when enforced in an arbitrary manner.  The man who lives on one side of me has long hair and can be a little bit of a smart aleck sometimes, and the management here makes sure he is dinged for every little "infraction", while others skate by with the same things.  He is a perfectly nice and helpful neighbor, and I hate to see either one of us being discriminated against.  I would rather see a ladder in someone's back yard than 100 garden gnomes in another's postage stamp sized front yard.

I thought I could just drive up to the elephant park at San Andres, but today when I looked online to find out the hours of operation I found that they are only open 1 day a month and you evidently need reservations.  In addition, the elderly woman who ran the park died a week or so ago, so I wonder how that will change things.  Her partner is still living, but whether he will remain in control of the park is not certain.

Several people commented on my post yesterday regarding zoos.  I don't like zoos and will probably never visit one again, but there are some that perform a valuable service for the animals.  In an recent episode of Houston Animal Cops the SPCA confiscated a number of wild animals from a "roadside zoo" in a nearby county.  The animals included a tiger and several bears that spent their lives in captivity, in cages so small they could not stand up and could barely turn around.

The tiger ended up at a zoo, and to see that animal leave his enclosure and venture outdoors had me in tears.  He was so afraid, and never had walked on grass, but he finally made it to a small stream where he promptly went for a dip.  When taken to the SPCA quarters, the bears were housed each with a large oval galvanized tub, and each one of them saw the tub and immediately got into the water, splashing like kids.  These bears were also taken by a couple of different zoos and nature preserves where they could spend the rest of their lives in a natural habitat.  None could have been turned into the wild, and the zoos made them relatively happy and comfortable for the rest of their lives.  So it's a mixed bag, in my estimation, but as always there are at least two sides to every story.  I feel that humans who treat these beautiful animals with such cruelty should be locked up for life. 

I really wanted to drive someplace this weekend and get away from the city, but now I'm not sure where I would go.  Dang.

I'm also wondering what the effects of sequestration, assuming it will happen, will have on the operation of Lassen National Park.  I'm sure there will be noticeable effects, and I'm afraid maintenance will be the first thing to go.

Even with the uncertainties and problems in my life, today was a beautiful day.  I did get a little bit accomplished and I feel great!


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Getting ready for some home improvement

I went to Home Depot this morning looking for the kind of TSP you add to water and  doesn't require rinsing.  HD only had the powder kind, which does require that you rinse the surface in clear water afterward, and also had a ready-to-use version that comes in about a quart bottle.  That might be enough for one or two small items, but it sure wouldn't be economical to use on an entire room's walls and ceilings.

I then drove over to Lowes and found exactly what I want.  The cashier had to be the world's friendliest, and we talked until another customer came up and I moved on.  There are some stores where it is obviously a management policy that the staff engages you in polite conversation.  Most of them try, but saying the same thing to every customer makes it inevitable that it becomes an effort and somewhat insincere.  I try to just ignore the obvious and be nice right back to them, but I really enjoyed the good conversation I had going at Lowes.

I think I will shop more at Lowes from now on, but I don't care much for the shopping center it is located in - one of those newer ones that is set up to look like a village right smack dab in the middle of a huge parking lot.  I am really put off by it, as it is difficult to even see the names of the businesses unless you are driving right past them, except for the big ones such as Lowes.  I don't care for big malls or strip malls of any kind, but trying to tart them up by suggesting it's a cozy little village is about as insincere as the clerks at the grocery.

All my shopping took probably less than an hour, and I came back home and ate lunch.  I thought I'd start on cleaning the ceilings and walls, but the couch was calling.  I don't know why, after getting a good night's sleep, I can't refrain from taking a nap most every day.  

My 5-day computer weather forecast is predicting 75 degrees for this Friday.  I'll believe it when I see it but I hope it's true.  Meanwhile, the upper 60's is pretty good too.

I'm hoping for some good weather soon so I can drive out to San Andreas (yes, it's on the earthquake fault line) to the elephant rescue park.  I love to watch elephants and respect their intelligence, but doubt I'd ever go back to a zoo anywhere to see any kind of animal.  For some poor animals that have been bought as exotic pets and then become too hard for their owners to handle, I guess being allowed the relative freedom of an outdoor zoo exhibit beats being cramped in a cage, but in bad weather or in cold winters some animals stay indoors in definitely smaller quarters.   

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ho Hum Monday

I'm sure anyone out there who blogs gets spam comments.  I received one today that makes me laugh out loud.  I knew it was spam because of the subject -  Comment on your post "Cost of Surgery".  I haven't had surgery in years but often get anonymous comments with this subject.

This time I decided to take a look, and it starts out like they all do - "Your post is thoughtful and well written, but YOU COULD FIND A BETTER SUBJECT LINE!".  The caps are mine.  I didn't even write a post about surgery but someone is wasting a comment telling me that they don't like the subject???  I really don't get the point of these type of comments, unless it's merely to piss people off.

I am enjoying the old sayings some of you have sent, and there are a few I haven't ever heard before.  I have one from my mother-in-law, who was a farm girl from Central Ohio.  When someone would whine about "I want this" or "I want that" she would respond "People in hell want ice water."  When my kids were young and they started the "I want" thing, I would do my Mick Jagger act and sing to them, "You cain't always get what you wa-a-ant."  It drove them crazy, which I considered pretty good payback for having to hear their "I want".

I could never stand Mick Jagger (and still can't) but I did like that song.

Laundry day today and I have several clotheslines full, including my duvet cover.  I could do one more load but then the sun would go down before they are dry.  Tomorrow should be a nice day, maybe even better than today. 

I need to clean the paneling in the part of my living room that hasn't yet been painted.  Jeannie told me she would try to set aside a day to help me paint, and I'm thinking at least we could get the ceiling finished, and well as a couple of the short walls.  Then I could get started hanging pictures.  I still have to do something about the wall along the driveway - the paneling has to be ripped out and replaced, and then painted.  But if I'm ripping out paneling I also need to replace the window at the same time.  I HATE to spend the money it's going to require especially when I'm trying to get a few dollars set aside for my travels this year.  Unlike when I had an RV and worked at Lassen for the summer in 2009, I now have rent to pay year around so I won't come out ahead money-wise.  It's always something, isn't it.  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Saturday routine

Jeanne called me very early this morning to see if I wanted to walk, and we agreed to stop by the farmers market first.  The strawberries are looking better and better, as are the leafy vegetables.  I tried a sample of almond butter which I like as well as peanut butter, and I got some of that too.

After walking about 55 minutes I told her to do a couple of fast laps on her own while I sat in the children's playground area.  There were people everywhere in the Mather sports area - soccer games, baseball games, skateboarders, etc., but the seating area was empty except for me.  It gave me a good chance for people-watching.

A man walked by at a fairly quick pace followed by a boy of about 9 or 10.  The boy was wearing baseball cleats which were obviously uncomfortable on the pavement, and he was struggling to keep up.  The man, no doubt his father, didn't even look back at him but said loudly, "Try to keep up."  The poor kid was miserable and my heart went out to him, but I had to chuckle when I thought of one of my mom's "life on a Kentucky farm" sayings:  "He walked like a chicken with a bumblefoot".  I've never actually seen a chicken with a bumblefoot, and always wondered about it, but watching this kid I instantly knew.

That brings me to the fact that we all heard the old sayings as kids but maybe didn't always get the full meaning. But they stay in the back of our minds throughout our lives until an incident such as this kid stumbling and limping, brings them forward.

I'd love to hear some of the sayings and admonishments you've heard growing up if you'd like to share.

For the past few weeks I've felt pretty smug that I am in Sacramento and not in Texas or Arizona where the winds are blowing so hard it's difficult to do anything outside.  We got ours today - beautiful sun shining day with extremely strong winds.  Not very comfortable and I hope today is just an exception. 

The Recipes (2nd post Feb 22)

I mentioned yesterday that Liz left a couple of recipes in my comments section, and asked me to forward them to Skippy of I Make Soap.  She actually left the recipes on my post of several days ago, so for the benefit of anyone who is always looking for a good recipe, I am reprinting them here:

Anonymous said...
Hi Gypsy ~ Could you share these recipes for Shrimp, Crab, Scallop Casserole with I Make Soap to see if they are anything like her Mom used to make! I can't seem to comment on her site. (found at cooks.com)

1 lb. shrimp, cooked, shelled & deveined
1 lb. scallops, drained well
1 lb. crab or lobster (drained)
1/2 lb. thin spaghetti, cooked
1 1/2 pts. half & half
1/2 lb. grated sharp cheese
Combine shrimp, scallops and crab. In a buttered 13x9-inch casserole, layer 1/2 the seafood, 1/2 the spaghetti, 1/2 the cheese. Repeat. Pour cream over top. Sprinkle with paprika.
Note: If using canned crab or lobster, be sure to drain away the liquids in the can.
Anonymous said...
Forgot to add this important info:
Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes.
(To do ahead, bake 30 minutes, cool, then freeze. To serve, thaw and bake 30 minutes at 350°F.)

Another recipe:

Printed from COOKS.COM

2 c. cooked rice
1/2 c. finely chopped green pepper
1/2 c. finely chopped celery
1/2 c. finely chopped onion
1 (4 oz.) can water chestnuts, drained and sliced
1/2 lb. frozen, shelled shrimp, cooked
1 (7 oz.) can Alaska King Crab, drained
1/2 lb. bay scallops
1/4 c. sliced unblanched almonds
1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. tomato juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
Combine rice, green pepper, celery, onion and chestnuts. Place in buttered 2 quart pan.
Combine mayonnaise, tomato juice, salt and pepper. Pour half over rice mixture. Arrange shrimp, large pieces of crab and scallops around edge of casserole, leaving free. Pour remainder of juice mixture over seafood. Combine nuts and cheese and arrange in center. Sprinkle lightly with paprika. Cover. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Thanks :) Liz

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday rolls around

I got dressed as soon as I got out of bed this morning, ground the coffee beans and set the coffee to brew.  Then I walked about a mile - I should have gone the whole circle around the park but I wanted my first cup of coffee.  I'll try to do the other half this evening.

I'm cold again today - at least my hands are freezing - when I decided to get under a fleece throw on the couch I found it wasn't warming me up enough, so I got out an electric throw I have.  Set that thing on high and I was soon in dreamland.

I started making a pot of minestrone soup when I finally got off the couch.  That should warm me up, but I should have made bread to go with it!

I had a comment to one of my posts from Liz.  She had read Skippy's I Make Soap and tried to leave a couple of recipes, but had problems with leaving a comment on her blog.  (Many of us are having difficulties with the comment feature lately.)  She sent the recipes to me, and I forwarded them.  Isn't it wonderful how our blogging world can be so in sync sometimes, and so helpful.  I think I will try to make the seafood casserole myself one of these days.

Liz also commented, as have a couple of others, that it made sense for me to get the flu shot this year considering my previous experience with pneumonia.  Liz and others who wrote similar comments are absolutely right, and I'm not second guessing my decision - just a bit surprised at the inefficacy of the much-hyped vaccine.

I was checking the TV offerings earlier and stopped on the HGTV channel, which featured a couple with two small children looking for a motorhome to replace their Class C. The program showed three models (I'm sure the couple actually checked out more than three), and the man even commented that the RV's had more televisions than did their house.  The Class A they settled on had a large TV for outdoor viewing; one in the living room and of course one in the bedroom; there were bunk beds for the children, and each bunk had a drop down screen, plus I think there was also a TV in the kitchen.  Does that sound like overkill to anyone reading this?  The Class A they eventually chose was really beautiful inside and out and seemed to handle extremely well.  (Darned if I can remember the make or model - I remember 5th wheels but not class C or A models).

One thing that bothers me when I watch House Hunters is the overuse of the word "WOW".  I'm sure it's the most used word on that channel - "OH WOW".  On the Weather Channel the meteorologists are constantly peppering their speech with "Of course", as in "Driving in Chicago will be a problem, of course, with all the snow."  And if you can stand another overused phrase, on Book TV many authors as well as the interviewers can't ask a question, describe a situation, or express a thought without "if you will" being thrown in every other sentence.  Does anyone else have a word or phrase, if you will, that is used so often that of course it becomes obnoxious?  You do?  Oh WOW, please pass them on in the comments section.  

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Was I gullible?

I just saw a report on the evening news that the overall effectiveness of this season's flu vaccine was 58%; for the elderly it was 10%.  Since I am closer to the elderly category than any other, I think I was really taken in by the publicity surrounding this issue.  I have had the flu shot maybe twice in my life before this year, and I think this will be my last.  Ten percent effectiveness gives you a false sense of security, and I won't be so gullible in the future.  But who knows, I may be in that 10% effective group.

WOW!  You folks who live in the central area of the country are really being pounded by the snowy weather.  I hope you can ride it out indoors and can avoid the roads and highways.

The sunset I can see through my squeaky clean sliding door is spectacular this evening.  I was poring through my iPhoto collection a couple of days ago and realized how often I photograph this scene.  I'm so lucky to be able to see it on a near daily basis.

I don't know why I should have been so tired today but I took a long afternoon nap, wrapped in a snuggly blanket because I've been cold all day.  

The news doesn't look good for the upcoming summer season at the National Parks unless Congress can get its act together.  Fewer rangers in the picture?  They have already cut the ranger staff to the bone at Lassen.  I am definitely going to make friends with the local sheriffs' departments although I'm sure their budgets are stretched as well.  It's a shame that when the Parks need volunteers more than ever, they don't have the staff to support and protect them.  I'm getting ahead of the problem and we may miraculously get an alternative to sequestration within the next week.   



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Yesterday I went over to stay with grandson Liam while Meg went to the doctor.  I drove through some heavy rain getting to their house, but only a mist coming back.  As always I'm happy to be with my grandchildren, and worn out when I get home.  No more rain on the horizon but it was very foggy when I got up this morning.  It's all burned off now and looks like it will be a sunny week in the 60's.

I went to pick up a book I had requested from the library, and found 8 more that I checked out.  I'm a fairly fast reader, at least when I'm reading fiction, so it won't take me long to get through them.

While listening to a podcast this afternoon at the same time the afternoon sun came shining through the door I had to dust mop the living room floor and wash the sliding door inside and out - all the little hand prints that go about halfway up are now gone and waiting for new ones to appear.  That afternoon sun shows everything! 

Time to fix supper although I'm not all that hungry for some reason.  I feel really good today, or maybe it would be more correct to say I feel really happy and content, which could be the same thing. 

Later, I'm reading blogs and trying to comment.  I don't have a clue what happens, but many times the whole comment just disappears, or it is published prematurely without my ever hitting "Publish".  It is so aggravating and most of the time I don't go back and try to start from scratch.  Can't remember what I said, for one thing - you know those senior moments. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday walk

It was tough but I walked for about 45 minutes, then sat down while Jeannie picked up the pace for another 15.  My legs have been bothering me but I figure exercise might help.  It was a beautiful afternoon, with short sleeve T-shirt weather.  That will change in a couple of days.

I try not to mind the rain (and snow in the higher elevations) because California needs every drop to make it through the normally bone dry summers.  Going back to Lassen this year has me wondering whether there will be fires nearby, evacuations, etc.  I haven't worried before, but when I consider the responsibility of having to make sure everyone packs up and leaves the campground, it sort of makes me think twice.  I know from past experience I will get sufficient advance notice, so that isn't the problem.

Ironically, I just got an email from my coordinator at Lassen asking me about uniform shirts, fleece, etc.  She said they've been having lots of snow.  I've been thinking about Lassen now and then, and the nearby sights that I want to visit on days off.  Burney Falls is one, as well as Eagle Lake.  There are many more and I may as well take advantage of the proximity.  Maybe I can get better at using the camera I bought a few months ago.  If I could just figure out what I want in the long term for a phone and service.  I'm certainly not going to sign any more 2-year contracts.  At my age it's best to take things in shorter doses.  Of course, I could live to be 90 and then I will have spent way more than I would have with long-term contracts!



I can't believe I actually made the mistake in yesterday's post of referring to German Franks and Irish pounds (pre Euro).  Vera caught the error and reminded me that it was German Marks!

Thanks, Vera. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

I forgot to mention ...

That yesterday Donald had a box of chocolate covered and decorated strawberries for me.  I would have taken a picture but ate most of them already.

I don't know why the sitemeter doesn't show up on the new Macbook.  I access my blog in Firefox, but sometimes I use Safari for things like uploading photos, looking at Sitemeter, etc.  I found the statistics section of Blogger and found them to be a bit off from sitemeter, but they have page views for the last month listed by source - between Russia and the Ukraine were about 50 views.  I wonder if I actually have any readers in either of those countries - I know I get a lot of spam from them in AOL and Gmail, but I can't tell about the blog spam comments.  There were four such comments in my AOL inbox this morning.  Sick minds at work if you ask me.

Jeannie mentioned walking this weekend, but since I didn't hear from her today I take it we will walk tomorrow (Sunday).  I need the exercise, and wish I could get my act together and walk every day.  I just don't enjoy walking by myself anymore.

I decided a couple of weeks ago to reconnect with old friends in Ireland, so I wrote to the one whose address I could remember.  She wrote me back immediately and provided addresses of two other friends.  I miss Ireland sometimes, especially the camaradarie of the women.  In a group of women you just can't stop laughing--they are the friendliest people with the best sense of humor I have ever known.  I wish I could go back for a visit, but then if I got that far I would certainly have to visit Germany, and maybe a couple of small villages in rural England.  I've only been in London and it's way too big to suit me, and I'd rather be in New YorkA trip like that is out of the question because I simply couldn't afford it.  Because of the exchange rate it is more costly than when I used to travel there and spend German francs or Irish pounds.  Never did like the euro!

It sounds to me like I'm ready to take a trip, but it will be a few months before I'll be going anywhere.  I hope the summer and fall weather isn't horrible.


Friday, February 15, 2013

More on downsizing

I'd like to elaborate a little more on my post yesterday about whether or not to hold on to "stuff" when leaving a sticks & bricks for an RV, or downsizing for any reason.

In 2000 I moved to Ireland where I lived in a rented Irish farmhouse for 3 years.  I didn't know how long I'd be there, so I listed everything I had, including furniture and furnishings, and sent copies of the list to each of my 4 kids.  I told them they could have anything on that list, and they responded quickly.

My oldest son had just moved into an apartment in Tuckahoe, NY and asked for mostly furniture items - a bedroom set, gorgeous maple corner china cabinet, etc.  The ones in CA took a lot of the smaller things that I mailed in lots of big boxes through a shipping company.  I left a few things there in the basement storage area and rented out the condo.

I returned to the U.S. in 2003 and sold my Virginia condo, deciding a few months later to move to North Carolina, where I rented a furnished apartment until I could find and buy a suitable house.  I bought everything new for that house - all furniture, linens, decorations, small appliances, etc.  I loved that furniture, purchased from a local company that had been family owned for decades.  I loved that house and everything in it, and spent 5 happy years there.

Because it was on the side of a mountain in a heavily forested area, I reached the point that I couldn't keep up with the maintenance required no matter where you live, so I decided to sell the house, buy an RV, and live in it full time.  I sold all the furniture and most everything else in the house, leaving personal items in storage in Asheville.  Two and a half years later I didn't feel satisfied with the RV life and ended up in an apartment, and now in a small mobile home, needing furniture. 

That is why I wish I had stored more of my belongings.  Many people who downsize into an RV stay in it for longer than I did, but I gave it a good try and don't feel anything but satisfaction that I did the right thing, selling the house as well as the RV a few years later.  But when I think of the furnishings I had bought and then sold, of course I wish I had them now.

I had a nice visit with Arianna this morning.  We ate breakfast together and then she started pulling toys and more Barbie dolls than you might find at Toys R Us out of the toybox.  She played and I watched mostly.  Anyone who has spent time around little girls knows that the first thing they do when they get a doll is to take the clothes off.  She had me putting dresses back on those silly dolls!  And Ken, oh my.  He was also unclothed until I finally asked her to put his clothes back on him - she handed me the clothes and I had to dress him.  I commented to myself something about him being such a dork, and she looked at me wonderingly and asked me "What's a dork".  I toned it down a bit when I told her about dorks!  Surprisingly she picked up every toy and doll off the floor and put them away, and then I read books to her until my voice was nearly gone.

When Jeannie, Donald and Autumn got back from the field trip they told me that Autumn had lost another tooth that morning.  While we were having lunch, darned if she didn't lose another loose one.  All four of her top front teeth are gone although the two middle ones are starting to come in. 

It's always a great time being with the grandchildren, especially one on one.  I'm a lucky woman.