Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Sunday, March 31, 2013

More on weeds and cell phones

I'd like to clarify my last post lest anyone think I'm so loopy that I would get sad over a bunch of weeds growing. I'd be more likely to get sad over the clutter in my living room, but it doesn't bother me all that much.

I have known I must do something about the exterior of my property because the park police are making lot inspections beginning April 1.  So nearly every day this year that the temperature reached above 50F and was not raining I have worked in the yard, anywhere from half an hour to several hours.  I try to do it in smaller doses, but rather than notice a steady improvement it seems the grass and weeds grow back overnight.

One of the park managers came to my door on Friday, smiling, and handed me an envelope.  He said something about removing the weeds, and still smiling remarked that he knew I had been working on it.  I haven't been that angry for a long time.  Lot inspections start on April 1 beginning with lot #1, and mine isn't even in the first hundred, so I knew I had at least two weeks.  I haven't even opened the envelope and probably won't, it made me so mad.  Then I began to get depressed just thinking about it.

For the rest of the day I thought about how I could either sell the house really cheap and get the hell out, or go into some debt to have everything fixed that needs it - roof, windows, driveway, etc.  When I read the notice in the monthly newsletter about the inspections, they even talk about houses, skirting, mailboxes, etc., on which the paint is fading or chipped and needs repainting.  I live in a 1962 mobile home for god's sake, in Sacramento, CA which broils in the summer sun, and I guess most paint fades.

I don't like anything about gated communities or homeowner's associations, and this is one of the reasons.  So even though I like having a place of my own, I thought of the relative freedom of living in an RV.  Yes, there are restrictions in many RV parks or "resorts", but they aren't the kind of places I would enjoy staying at to begin with.  

So I was in an agitated state for the rest of the day, and then in the evening I began to get messages on my cell phone.  It would give an alert and when I checked it said I had received a new photo from Joe (youngest son).  Would I like to see the photo?  Photo album is empty.  Delete message.  That was followed over the course of the next couple hours by identical messages regarding new photos from Jeannie, Donald, Steve, and Meg.  I emailed Jeannie & Joe saying that for some reason I couldn't access the photos, and could they send them to me attached to an email.  It turns out they were texting (no photos involved) and included my phone # in the distribution list.  I'm not sure why I couldn't get the messages except that maybe I need to set up my phone for texting?  I am almost sure I have texting capability on my phone, but as I dislike texting to begin with I never worried about setting anything up.  

The alerts went on steadily for several hours.  At one point I turned off my phone, but later when I turned it back on I had tons more messages to delete.  It was too much for me, and I nearly fell apart then - that's when the sadness hit.  I can't even deal with a damn cell phone!

I don't like to text but I do like to email.  I don't do Facebook, but I do like to email.  That leaves me out of the loop where I will remain, but I'm still sort of sad about it.  So while it isn't going to happen, I would love to get rid of this house, get a nice small Class C, and take off for whatever time I have left in this world.  Throw out all the phones and go places I can't even use a computer.  Do what I like with no restrictions and no orders as long as I stay within the confines of the law.  It's sad to be out of sync with the rest of the world, but I wouldn't trade being me for anything. 


Saturday, March 30, 2013

What a difference a day makes

If I had written this post last night as I thought about doing, I would have said goodbye from blogging altogether.  I haven't felt so sad in a long time, and it started the night before last, coming to a crescendo by the time I went to bed last night. 

I don't know what caused me to feel so sad, and it was sadness, not depression.  Fighting a losing battle with the weeds and grass in my yard may have had a lot to do with it, but all evening I was fighting back the tears.

This morning the sadness was gone and I headed out to the farmers market.

That is yellow chard, red chard, asparagus, strawberries, brussel sprouts, and almond butter.  (I'm not sure why this type is different than what I started out with - I used the same font and size.)  I spent a while rinsing the chard, tearing it into smaller pieces, and bagging it in large ziplocks.  To remove the water that remains on the leaves I could use a salad spinner, but that would be too easy and no fun.  So I hold the bag out in front of me and spin myself and the bag.  I make about three circles, at which time I'm dizzy and have to hold on to the countertop, but most of the water is pooled in one bottom corner of the bag.  I merely have to tip the bag and let the water drain out.  This is fun, it works, and the leaves stay fresh for quite a while.  I have even done this to greens that have been just tossed in the fridge and get all wilted, but after the rinsing and bagging and spinning, the leaves become crispy and fresh after a couple hours of refrigeration.  It's magick!  (Just kidding - anyone can do it.)

I mentioned how sad and beaten down I've become over the weed situation.  Well when I was driving back from the farmer's market I noticed a man working on the little front yard (full of weeds) of the man next door.  I went up to the guy and asked him to please check my yard when he got a chance and let me know what he would charge me to rake up the rocks, dig up the remnants of plastic that are beneath the rocks, lay new plastic and put back the rocks.  For the long strip of ground along the side of the house, plus the back between the house and the fence, he told me $200.  I have probably already spent over $50 for weed killers and would have to keep applying that stuff and buying more, and still wouldn't conquer the weeds.  I consider it a good deal and he will come back this Tuesday to do my yard.  

I've thought about trying to find a lawn service to do it, but the fact that this man was at hand and I could talk to him about it seemed like a foregone conclusion.  No doubt I'll have to buy a couple of bags of rocks to augment what is already there.

This is dipping into my tax refund which I have earmarked for travel but it can't be helped.   Last night all I wanted was to get rid of this house and find a small Class C I could live in.  I would get in it and just drive to a remote National Park or Forest and the hell with everything else.  I'd still like to do that but realize it isn't going to happen.    

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A day's work

I washed two loads of laundry and got everything hung out to air dry.  I thought I would just kick back for the rest of the day because my energy was spent, but then remembered I needed to change the sheets on my bed.  I put the summer sheets on, which means I'm in no hurry to launder the ones I just took off.

I figured I needed to turn the mattress as well.  Thank god it's only a queen size rather than king!  I got it turned little by little on the bed, then pushed it to stand upright against the back wall while I straightened the bed skirt.  The mattress kept wanting to fall back onto the bed, so I pushed my butt against it to hold it upright while I stretched and tried to straighten the skirt.  Finally I was able to lower the mattress and adjust it a little at a time so that it fit nicely over the springs.  Made the bed and I really wanted to just fall into it.  That is a job I don't normally do by myself, but sometimes you just have to get something done and don't have the patience to wait.  Patience isn't my long suit, as you may have guessed.

Several folks have written to me about getting a dog.  I've mentioned several times how much I would like to have one, and I really would.  I promised myself though, that I would work at Lassen this summer and can't have a dog there.  I also want to make the drive to the east and back without a dog.  So that means it will be later on in the fall before I get one, if I still am interested in having another dog.

I really do love big dogs best and can't see myself with a small one, even though it might be easier to deal with.  A dog is a dog though, has to be fed and watered, walked, groomed, etc.  The breeds that interest me so far are a male black lab, or a smaller female german shepherd or rottweiler.  I would definitely need to get a dog that has grown out of the puppy stage, and preferably a middle aged dog.  I don't have to be in a hurry because there will always be good dogs who need a loving home.  Who knows, I might find and consider an elderly dog and then it would be a crap shoot which one of us would outlive the other.

My campground at Lassen will open June 7 (Fri.) so I will drive up either Mon. or Tues. of that week.  That's the schedule but you all know how things can change in a hearbeat.

I can say that the few times I've used my new Jitterbug cell phone I can definitely hear better - the sound and quality are even better than the land line.  It doesn't have to be turned up so loud that it "shouts out" at you - the sound is just superior.  I will have to ask one of my kids to try it out and see how they find it - is the quality of sound just engineered specifically for the normal hearing loss of older people, and would it be problematic to younger folks?  I'll let you know.    

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


First I would like to say thanks so much to all the folks who alerted me to the problem with commenting on my blog, and all those who assisted in testing it when I thought I had it fixed.  

The frustrating part is that I don't think Blogger is finished with its problems.  The latest is a combination of my Mac software as well as Blogger's photo loading feature.  I used to be able to easily scan a photo, save it in iPhoto, and upload to the blog.  Now the scanner doesn't work the same way and I can't figure out how to get it to work properly.  It scans but the result isn't the same as it used to be, specifically in how and where the photos are saved, photo editing including simple rotation.

Then I couldn't upload the scanned photos to the blog.  I tried on two different computers but something about the photo function has changed.  I've about had it with Blogger, but my recent attempt to use WordPress was about as frustrating.  

I was looking at photo albums and came across the one holding pictures from my 1983 trip to El Salvador.  Since I didn't blog or keep a journal back then, I thought I would try to write what I can remember about the month I spent in that country, just one year after their revolution.  I may try it again, but for now I'm giving up.

While I was watching Animal Cops Houston this morning I was shocked to hear something I haven't heard in a long time, possibly in years - a test of the emergency warning system.  Why all of the sudden are they testing this system?  It makes me wonder how bad the situation with North Korea really is.  Something is up.

The last few weeks Animal Planet has featured the Humane Societies in Miami and in Detroit, mostly dogs and cats, plus gators in Miami and pit bulls in Detroit.  (I'm speaking pretty much in generalities here, and don't mean to trivialize what these animal investigators, vets, and techs do.)  So when I was in the kitchen pouring a cuppa coffee I heard the announcer say something about 4 bears from a roadside animal exhibit and I realized it had to be Texas.  It was good to see again the show featuring exotic wild animals, livestock, horses, cock fights, etc.  Maybe because there is so much more space in Texas, especially farm and pasture land, plus the fact that the Houston SPCA covers so many counties and square miles, there is a wide and fascinating variety of cases.

I really enjoy the stories of investigators and the lengths they go to in order to rescue an animal in trouble; but it is also extremely disheartening how cruelly some people will treat animals.  It makes me want to run out and adopt a dog who needs a loving home.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Comment problem fixed

I think my blog should now accept comments.  I found the blogger forum this morning and a category under which to post a question about the problem I was having.  In about 30 minutes I had an answer and fixed the problem.  Somehow I had clicked an area of the screen I shouldn't have, and it caused me to lose the comment section.  I am really appreciative of folks who follow the forums and provide such a quick helpful response.

Now if I could only figure out how to get Sitemeter working again.  When I open my blog in Safari the sitemeter is working properly, however it doesn't work in Firefox.  I have copied the html code from the Safari version to the Firefox version, but no help.

I went to Walmart this morning, telling myself I wasn't going to complain about it.  I wanted to buy a weed killer called "Eliminator" that was recommended by Rick, a longtime blog reader.  On my way I went past the beer aisle and decided to check the price of Miller Hi Life.  I used to buy a 30 pack at Target for $15, but in just a few short weeks the price went up to $20.  Walmart's price was $14.97 for the 30 pack so of course I wasn't going to complain about this trip at least.  I found the weed killer and will let you know how it works.  I may have to somehow rake up all the rocks, lay new plastic, and then put the rocks back in place probably having to add more gravel or rocks.  It sounds like back breaking work to me and I'm not sure if I even want to start.

My contact at Lassen wrote and said that they plan to open the campground on schedule, so evidently the budget cuts aren't going to hit my little campground this year.  I plan to arrive several days before opening so I can do a thorough check on the camp sites.  In 2009 I placed decals on each of the bear boxes indicating which site the box belonged to.  I noticed last year that some of the decals are peeling, so I'm sure I can find little jobs like that to keep me busy.  They have already told me the cabin will be spruced up for me, so I will just have to move my belongings in.

I looked for a lanyard for my cell phone but they didn't have any that I could find.  The online price from the Jitterbug web site is $14.99, and you have to add tax and s/h to that.  I'm sure I can find something less expensive, maybe at REI.

After publishing today's post I received several emails alerting me to the fact that commenting was limited to members only.  Something is happening with Blogger in my opinion, because I didn't go near the section of the settings that contains this limitation.  I fixed it and then left a test comment to see if it worked - hopefully it will remain corrected.  I'm so sorry for all the problems experienced by folks who want to comment.     

Sunday, March 24, 2013

At home Sunday

There are places I need to go and things I need to get, but I just can't get into my car and drive anywhere.  I expended what little energy I have in sweeping some of the leaves that blow into my driveway and settle by the trash cans.

When I contacted friends in Ireland I found out that my former neighbor died of motor neuron disease.  (There are a number of forms of the disease, but Lou Gehrig's would be the one most familiar.)  She was about 10 years younger than I am, but probably worked herself into an early death.  She prided herself on the fact that you could eat off the floor, wouldn't cook a meal without cleaning her stove (called a "cooker" in Ireland), and that included cleaning the back of the cooker as well.  (Whoever cleans the back of their stove, or under it for that matter.)

She was a friendly and extremely funny woman, always the life of the party.  I found an Irish online obituary source and searched until I found her - of interest is the fact that she was "in repose at her home from ** to ** in the afternoon, when her body was removed to the local church where it would stay overnight, and then buried the next day in the church graveyard next door.

I'm sure some readers will remember the days when it was common to visit the dead at their homes, where they rested in the parlor which wasn't used often, the exception being when the priest or minister visited.  I write about Irish funerals in my blog on Ireland - and the whole process is much different than it is here.  First thing is that they normally don't embalm the dead, so the dead never look "like they are sleeping".  You realize what a shell the body is when the life spirit has departed.

I don't mean to get on a subject that many would consider morbid, but I was truly sorry to hear that Betty was gone from this world.  She always worried that I didn't eat enough, and I should have gained 100 pounds from all the food she brought me.

I didn't get up at my normal time this morning, so I didn't eat breakfast until an hour later than usual.  Now I'm an hour late for lunch! 

This is a day of brilliant sunshine and is very warm even though the thermometer only says 68 degrees.  I feel sort of guilty for not being outdoors.  Not too guilty though. 

I'm adding this note a couple of hours after publishing.  I got an email saying that there was no "Comment" option on today's blog.  I can't see any way to comment on my blog, and I have no way of knowing what is the problem.  You can always email me:  mgypsy97 at aol dot com.     

Friday, March 22, 2013

Car service done

I was up early in order to get my car over to Jesse's Neighborhood Garage for a 90k checkup and oil change.  I managed to have coffee and breakfast before I left.  The plan was to drive over, leave the car, and walk back.  I realized when I got there I had white socks on because I wanted to wear walking shoes, but forgot and put on my navy blue clogs.  Picture white socks and blue clogs.  Sounds 1950'ish to me!  Thankfully I've reached the age where I don't get so mortified about things like that.

I also had wet hair as I don't bother with the hair dryer any more.  I could hear my mother admonishing me, warning of the cold or pneumonia I might catch going out in the cold morning with wet hair.  My mom passed into another world in 1983 but she still manages to let me know when I do something she considers dumb or dangerous.  Mom, in eleven years I'll be the age you were when you died!

Last night I discovered another plus with my new cell phone.  It came with the charger plus a car charger which is a real help when I think about Lassen and no electricity, plus driving all the miles to and from NY.  The bonus is that I tried the phone charger into my MiFi  and it fits!  So with one car charger I can take care of the phone as well as the MiFi.  Now to figure out how I can charge the computer battery, although I guess I can do that at motels on the road, or possibly at the laundromat near Lassen.  Being a volunteer in the Park a lot of the local businesses are willing to accommodate me which I really appreciate. 

I remembered to change my shoes for walking back to get my car.  The wind was fierce, but I made it.  The bill was a little less than estimated, but in 10-15k miles I will need a new timing belt plus some other rather expensive items.  My tires are fine, but I will definitely check them out again before I leave for NY.

Another weekend here.  Jeannie, Donald, and the two little girls are flying to PA for a visit with Ara.  Mike will bring the boys on Sunday and they will all have a nice visit.  On the last flight the family made there was a problem with overbooking, so Jeannie accepted four free tickets for them to fly anywhere in the U.S. and now they are claiming the flights.   I hope they have decent weather in PA as well as in the city of their connecting flight.  

I was just about to doze off when I got the call to come and get my car, so I think I will rest my eyes now.  Have a nice weekend everyone.   

Thursday, March 21, 2013

More about Jitterbug

I used the Jitterbug this morning for the first time to call Great Call Customer Svc.  My old phone # had been ported to the new phone, but it wasn't showing up on the J'bug screen.  A feature of this phone is that when you open it your phone number is displayed across the top of the screen.  

For the third time I have called Customer Svc I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly everything was handled, as well as the friendliness of the agent on the other end of the call.  

At one point she asked me if I had another phone I could take her call on, and she called me on my land line and instructed me to close the J'Bug.  Then I opened the J'bug again and voila, the correct number was displayed.

One thing that became immediately apparent to me when I took the agent's call on my land line after speaking to her on the cell phone, was the quality of sound on the J'bug.  It was crystal clear and loud enough for me to hear perfectly with no distortion, no static.  My land line didn't seem as clear, although it still beats any other cell phone I've tried up to my new one.  I think I'm going to love it, if I can remember to keep it charged and turned on, and where I can find it.

Later I came in from working in the yard to find I had a new message on my voice mail.  I can use voice commands as well as the keys to make selections, delete, save, etc.  It is convenient to be able to say "Delete", "Yes", "No", etc., rather than have to look at the keys to make a selection.  I'm sure I'll be finding out more about this phone in the coming days, but so far I'd give it a Thumbs Up!  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

So much for my dairy-free diet.  I just ran out to the store to pick up some half & half, and came home with a quart of half & half, a quart of whole milk, a package of Tillamook shredded cheddar, and a container of sour cream.  I've been out of sour cream and milk for several days and I think I can notice that I feel a little better, but I guess it borders on an addiction.  I've always liked sour cream but could pass it by - now I crave it.

Here are a couple of shots of the Jitterbug.  I've decided I'm not going to use it until they get my old telephone number switched to the J'bug.  I also decided I will keep my land line.  I had thought if I liked the new cell phone I might give up the home phone, but when I think about it I doubt there is a cell phone in existence that has the quality of sound that you can find in a good home phone.  Most everyone I know has a smart phone and I find that I can't hear as well, and the connection isn't as clear as when both parties are using regular phones.  This probably doesn't matter as much to a younger person, but when you age I think certain sounds are more difficult to decipher.  That's my experience at any rate, ao if it ever gets to the point I have to choose only one, I will keep my land line.

It rained pretty heavily overnight and there is probably more to come.  The rain just made more grass and weeds pop up.

I just realized this is the first day of spring.  I hope everyone is enjoying the tulips and daffodils.  I am sneezing my head off with all the pollen in the air. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Jitterbugging along

The Jitterbug phone was delivered today.  It is a beautiful red phone, and is just perfect for me as far as size, weight, and number & control buttons are concerned.

I activated it online, which took some time but the prompts were simple and it wasn't difficult at all.  The only trouble is that when it was all activated it hadn't given me an opportunity to port my Tracfone number.  So I called Customer Service.  The tech told me what info I needed from my tracfone account in order to port the number, so I hung up to look for it and said I'd call back.  

I was worried because you get no paperwork or invoices with a tracfone - the only reason I could come up with any info at all is that I had added the last top-up online and had to sort of create an account/password while doing so.  I called J'Bug Customer Svc back and gave the info they needed, but it can take up to 3 days to switch the numbers I was told.  So for the next 3 days I have two cell phones and two different numbers!  Maybe I can mostly use the tracfone and get rid of some of that airtime.

I tried to call my friend in Ireland this morning using the tracfone, but the connection was so poor that I hung up and called back on the land line.  When I talked to her a few days ago the call was disconnected for some reason, so I was able to get news today that we didn't have time to discuss then.  One of my old boyfriends died; my hairdresser died; it seems a lot of folks I knew had passed away.  We discussed all the problems of Ireland in general, and her problems in particular, as well as my problems.  I think we talked for at least an hour!  I'm not making any decisions yet as to whether I will try to get there this fall.  The economic situation there is frightening, and I wonder what will happen with our own economy within the next year.  Everything is global and we can't live in a vacuum, so what happens in one part of the world affects us whether we like it or not. 

My d-i-l Meg stopped by with Liam today.  Any day I get to see a grandchild is a beautiful day.  And of course, I love seeing my children and their spouses too.  The grandchildren tug on my heart strings though.