Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Saturday, December 28, 2013


Just to let everyone know why I haven't been posting, I was re-admitted to the hospital the day after Christmas. I'll update when I'm released.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


The surgery went very well and I was able to leave the hospital by 10:00 am.  Once the anesthetic wore completely off I was in misery, which lasted through the night and into this morning.  During the middle of the night we phoned the doctor on call, and after consultation with another doctor he told me I could take alternating doses of hydrocodone and oxycodone.  The hydro has given me so many side effects, but now I'm ready to taper off and space the doses further apart.  I think I will live.

The agony is because they pump air into the abdomen, and it causes severe pain especially around the rib on the right side as well as in the shoulder.  Once I was able to get up and walking it has gotten measureably better.  It still hurts to breathe deeply and to cough is really painful, but I feel better today although I still haven't eaten anything.  I get nauseated thinking about food.

I think if I had this done 20 years ago it might not have been as hard on me, but at 73 I've had a rough time.  Thaks to everyone who has been thinking of me and wishing me well.  

I ended up not going back to my house as I quickly realized I just couldn't take care of myself.  Jeannie and Ara have been wonderful!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Just waiting

I'm running out of things to think about that don't involve food, since I'm on the liquid diet today.  So far I've had black coffee, cranberry juice, and water - can't say I'm hungry but every time I open the fridge to get the cranberry juice I see food!

I have to leave for the hospital at 5:00 am; Jeannie and Ara are planning to take me and wait during the operation so they can bring me back home.  I'm determined to come straight home and be by myself.  I will take enough meds that I'll probably sleep anyway.  

I did a few test exercises this morning to see what I can and can't do, and I am afraid I will never be able to get up from the floor gracefully - I'll always have to give myself a boost.  But I've accomplished a lot more in the last couple of months than I had hoped for, and I don't think I could be any more ready for surgery, both physically and mentally, and now it's up to my doctor.

I'm not sure when I'll be back online after today.  Checking my email and blogs is such a habit that I might find myself doing it without thinking, but I'm not going to stress over it.  So I'll take this opportunity to wish all of you the best of this holiday season, however you celebrate.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Joe's graduation

The day finally came and Joe is a Respiratory Therapist.  His graduation last night was a joyful occasion for all of us.

Tired of carrying around my big Fuji camera, which I have learned to like after getting used to how it works, I bought myself a cheap little Canon Powershot A1400 with an optical viewfinder.  The pictures I took last night are from the Canon, and I really have a lot to figure out about it - not satisfied with the pictures at all.  Of course there is no printed matter that came with it.

This is my granddaughter, Ara, sporting her new sophisticated haircut.  I love it!

This one is of Steve

And here is my Joey

Nieces Katy and Stephanie:  Katy is here from NY for Christmas.

No occasion is complete without one of Donald's cakes.  I'm sorry I couldn't get a really good shot at it - the top part is a figure in scrubs, the RT, and below that is a pair of "lungs" - all of it cake.  

A couple more shots of Joe:

We went back to their house after the graduation which soon got pretty packed with friends and family.  My brother and his wife, and two of their sons came up from Livermore, and it was certainly good to see them again.

Unfortunately I'm not at the top of my game and didn't get any pictures of my d-i-l Sarah, who made innumerable sacrifices so that Joe could accomplish what he did.  Jeannie and Donald were there, as well as Steve's wife Megan, my sister Amy, and of course, all the little kids.  

I came home before the cake was cut but Donald promised to save me some.  Next up is that Joe has to take the state board exam, and the job interviews.  

I'm debating whether or not to go for one last strenuous workout at the gym.  I think I might do it, and then crash for the rest of the day.  I wish I had an appetite because tomorrow I'll be drinking only black coffee, water, and juice.

A word about spam:  I have been inundated with spam comments, all supposedly for one particular blog entry I made back at the end of September.  Now I just got a spam comment for a recent blog, and I wonder if there will be more to follow.  I tried to see if I could just delete the offending blog entry but there doesn't seem to be an option to do that.  I guess I just put up with it, and I wish I understood the motivation for people to send the spam to begin with.  Do they really think I will click on their link?   Spam, breach of credit card info at Target, mail fraud, etc.  Where does it end, or does it end at all.   It looks like it will continue to be a problem.  I have decided to get cash from the credit union ATM and not use my debit or credit cards unless it is a place I trust.  

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A resting-up day

I certainly don't have the stamina I once had.  Just a little bit of shopping yesterday and I need a day of rest.

I actually am amazed at how confident and hopeful I am in what the future holds for me, although at the same time I feel as if I'm dropping down a deep, dark hole.  Everything about those feelings is contradictory, but that's the reality of it, and as long as I'm feeling positive it really doesn't matter.

I thought I might be making a big mistake last night when I found and watched a video of laparascopic gallbladder surgery.  Twice I told myself to turn it off, but I watched the whole thing through.  I'm sure I can be so unconcerned because I know that when I get the anesthetic I won't even find myself dreaming - next thing I know I'll wake up and it will be all over with, so I don't really care how they go about it. 

It is really windy today with about 20mph winds.  Together with temps in the 60's makes for a chilly day, but at least it has been sunny.

I'm looking forward to the graduation tomorrow and the party afterwards at Joe & Sarah's house.  I bought myself a 6 pack of Clausthaler's non-alcoholic beer to take, even though I could drink regular beer if I choose to.  Might as well not though.

Something to look forward to is the fact that Saturday will be the shortest day of the year, and from then on the days will lengthen.  That means spring and summer can't be too far off!  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Shopping trip

My youngest son, Joe, graduates this coming Friday, and we got together to get him outfitted in a new suit with all the accessories, which he will need for job interviews.  I know guys probably don't say "accessories", but I mean shirt, tie, shoes, etc.  We shopped at Jos. A. Banks, and I mostly followed the advice of oldest son, Mike, in NY as far as what we bought.  Mike sent a generous offering and we are all chipping in, so it's a good family feeling.

We went to Hoppy's for lunch and I got my fish & chips, as well as had a glass of their brewed-on-premises beer.  It tasted good, especially how it's been since Thanksgiving that I've had an adult beverage.  Now I'm back to teetotaling until surgery and for the time it takes to get off pain meds.

I have been looking through old pictures, and wanted to post the following one in light of my previous entries about smiling for my picture.  My mother always hated to have her picture taken, but she sure is smiling in this one.  Grandchildren perform magic!
And speaking of my mom, this very old picture must have been taken when she was about 18 yrs old.  I hadn't realized how pretty she was.  This must have been taken shortly after she met my dad!

My mom had 8 children, all of whom are still living, and 18 living grandchildren plus two deceased.  I have four children and 8 living grandchildren plus two deceased.  I've always been happy I came from a large family, and that I was able to have four of my own.  In these days the cost would be prohibitive for most people to even consider having a lot of kids, plus the realization that the earth is overpopulated and with limited resources.  Today I am really grateful for family!

I am really tired now and plan to just take it easy for the rest of the day.  Wish I had another glass of beer!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

One step forward, two back

I sure took two steps back last night.  Jeannie came by and took me over to the gym closest to where I live, and we had a great workout.  I didn't realize how big the place is and how much it has to offer, and probably would never have gone exploring on my own.  I must have worked out with a vengeance because sometime in the middle of the night I was as sick as a dog!  (Now where does that old expression come from?  I tried to think of an alternative but can't come up with one.  Apologies to all the dogs out there!)  I'm ok now but I didn't get out of bed until close to 9 am.

Ara gets in just before 1 pm today.  She left Philly early this morning and has a change of planes in SLC.  I'm afraid to check the weather in either place, and just hope everything goes smoothly for her.

This is me with two of my granddaughters taken last Sunday.  They always make me smile.  (Click photo to enlarge.)

I love my new eyeglasses but need to go back to Walmart Optical and get them adjusted.  They hurt my head after wearing them for a while.  Even driving near a Walmart parking lot at this time of year is a no-no for me, and hurts my head just thinking about it!

Jeanne and I looked over an album of photos from November 1999 when we made a trip to Ireland.  I had already been there and decided to move there soon, and this was just a fun trip for Jeannie, Ara, and me.  The pictures brought back so many good memories for both of us, and I realized that 14 years from now people won't sit around looking at old photos on their iPhones.  My own opinion is that we lose a lot when we rely on technology to keep our treasured memories.  There is nothing like paging through a photo album in my opinion, or even going through a shoe box of pictures.  I have always been sentimental, and I suppose now I'm turning into a sentimental old fool :-)

We are supposed to have a high of 67 degrees today!  That's really getting up there but it won't last long and then go down about 10 degrees.  This weather see-saws back and forth but that's okay - it's all good.

I think I should get dressed before Noon today, which doesn't give me all that much time!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Be careful what you wish for

All my life I wished for naturally curly hair, and all my life my hair has been straight as a poker.  That is until a few years ago when I started being told by hairdressers that I had "a bend" in my hair.  Where I want it to bend down and under, it bends out and back and it isn't easy to control with my new haircut, but I guess if I had to complain about something, this would be the most laughable!  If I loaded up on styling mousse, hairspray, and dried it with a hairdryer it might be more manageable, but I love the freedom from using all that stuff.  It's also easier when my lifestyle takes me out on the road or trail.

I made another batch of blueberry muffins this morning, and added some chopped walnuts and a shake of cinnamon.  Delicious!  It is nice just being able to grab a couple of muffins along with whatever else I eat for breakfast.

I've watched several of the Ken Burns series on the National Parks, and find them a bit repetitious.  The scenery is breathtaking, and the sound clips from various park superintendents and former Interior Secretary Udall are very interesting, but I find the sections on corporate greed trying to exploit the parks, the drive to exterminate the original inhabitants and their source of food - Indians and bison - abominable, and I just can't stand to watch it.  I love the fact that the President can name National Monuments without congressional approval, and I think of all the wonderful National Monuments I've been to.  I worry that budget cuts will just put more of the running of the parks to contractors, whose first concern is profit.  There are some things you can't measure by profit or loss.  Having worked with National Park rangers and other employees, I find they are truly interested in providing the public with the best possible experience in the Parks.  I have never run into a contractor who gives a damn.

I've been having such difficulty with my kitchen faucet and the water running so slow, as well as taking forever to get hot water.  I took off the bottom part of the fixture thinking it must be terribly clogged, and it was fairly bad, but when I cleaned and screwed it back on it was the same tiny and slow stream of water.  It is aggravating considering I wash dishes by hand.

So I unscrewed the little filter piece and turned the water on hot, and waited to fill the dishpan - to my amazement it was almost instantly hot and the stream of water was normal.  I filled up my Brita pitcher with cold water and had to dump it out - full of grit and a yellowish color.  So I can't leave the part off of the faucet permanently, but will just remove it when I do dishes.  See, Billy Bob, I can fix things too!  (Yeah, I know it isn't a permanent fix, but it's a good redneck fix and will work for me!)

Nothing much

Jeannie called me early this morning asking if I wanted to come over for coffee.  Since I had already made a pot, I just took mine over in a thermos and visited for a while.  I asked her to take a photo of me with the two girls and am waiting for her to email it to me for possible inclusion in the blog.  I'm sure it would be a better picture of me and my haircut when I have my arms around two little girls!  That alone brings a smile to my face.

I came back home after a couple of hours as I was feeling strange.  It's the same thing happening to me that I experience before any big event in my life - beginning a trip was such a time, back in August.  For a week or more before the actual event I start to lose focus and concentration, and just feel like I'm separated from  reality.  I know the upcoming surgery is one reason for it, plus the fact that Ara is arriving on Tuesday and Joe graduates on Friday of next week, and then I'm under the knife a week from tomorrow.  I also have a feeling I'm going to miss Christmas with the family this year.  (If I'm still on vicodin I'm sure I need to be safe at home in bed!)  It's more than I want to deal with in such a short time span, so I withdraw and go inward.

So I've spent most of the day just sitting around, looking at camping and hiking gear on the computer, reading hikers' journals, and trying to keep my mind occupied.  I hope tomorrow is a better day; at least I will try to get to the gym which I always look forward to.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Saturday morning

It's been a good morning so far - I had a leisurely breakfast and coffee, got a shower and loved washing short hair for a change, then went to the Farmer's market.  I took a handful of singles out of my wallet before I left, as I try to have them on hand for the Salvation Army lady, or the like.  I would have spent them had I taken them to the market.  It didn't take me long to make my selections - the first booth is all Certified Organic, and the farm owners grow everything they sell.  I've never been unhappy with anything I purchased from them, and I spent the cash I had brought along - not all that much, really.  It won't do to get a lot of food in unless I can use it in the next week.
(I was going to crop the photo so it just showed the food, but couldn't get it right.  Three of those old Rx bottles are how I divide up my vitamins and supplements into AM, Noon, & PM.  I'm not taking much now because they don't want me taking any supplements, so I'm just left with a few vitamins.  Remember to click on the picture to enlarge it.)
I found a recipe with pictures online for fixing butternut squash.  One is to grate it and fry like hashbrowns.  The picture shows it fried to a beautiful golden brown, and an over easy egg on top.  That makes my appetite jump just to look at that picture.  Another recipe is for rough slicing them as for french fries.  Supposedly they are even better tasting and more nutritious than sweet potato fries.  I bought two butternut squash and printed out two each of the recipes - one for me and one for Donald.  They like sweet potato fries, so I'm hoping they will like the squash.  For me, I'm fixin' the hashbrown version!

I didn't intend to write a blog about food today, but I have to mention the egg muffins.  I had eaten two of them right out of the oven and put the remaining four in the fridge.  This morning I took out two more of them and warmed them in the microwave - delicious as the moment they came out of the oven!  I will be making them again next week, and this time will add a few more veggies - maybe some potatos, carrots, broccoli, whatever I have on hand.  I guess I should make them in the large muffin tin.  Having something like that on hand can really be nice in the morning when you are ravenous.  After I got back from the market I fixed myself a double portion of oatmeal, lots of sugar added because I like my oatmeal with sugar!  I love it when my appetite is working normally, but still can't understand why I look like a stick.  Dang, I'd love to be voluptuous!

It's going to be a gorgeous sunny day with temps hopefully reaching 62.  In the Sacramento sun 62 is warm!  I need to get outdoors, so maybe a walk at Mather Field will be good.

Oh, about the picture of my short hair vs the one in the upper right of my blog, which was cropped from a professionally taken portrait.  (It was taken at a time when all my children and grandkids were together, and was an occasion of joy.)  I mentioned that I took about 20 shots holding the camera out in front of me, and all but one went into the trash.  I can't take a decent photo up that close, and smiling for such a picture makes it look pretty scary.  Maybe during the coming week when we are together for Joe's graduation, I'll get some photos on my camera and possibly be able to crop a decent one of me and my haircut.

I have one more thing to comment about, and that is the news that the US will allow chickens raised in the United States to be shipped to China where they will be processed, and then returned for sale in the U.S.  Does this sound right to anyone out there?  How can it be possible that a profit can be made considering transportation to and from the US to China?  So what else is going on.  It sounds to me like an effort to put damn near every American out of work or into dead-end jobs selling Chinese chicken at Walmart.  Just look at the food safety record for anything from China (baby food, pet food, etc.) and tell me you would buy that crap?  End of rant.

Update:  I just read a further article about the China chicken thing, and it seems we (the U.S.) is doing this because China refuses to buy our beef otherwise.  So will the beef industry subsidize the chicken industry for the transportation costs?  I don't buy beef or chicken that isn't American organically raised, and I hope to hell it hasn't made it's way to Asia and back.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Going in Circles!

I got myself on the road this morning thinking I'd go to Costco; about halfway there I changed my mind and decided I'd try Target (I always spend more than I plan on at Costco), so I started circling over there.  Then I realized that much of what I wanted was in the food department, and I like to shop for groceries at grocery stores, when possible, so I just about completed the circle to drive to Bel Air.  Is that why women have the reputation for changing their minds so often? Nothing like being flexible, is the way I see it.

I filled another RX for post surgery and now I have taken care of all the items on that list.

Jeannie won't be going to the gym this evening as they are having Autumn's birthday party tomorrow - this is the kiddie party, but her actual birthday is on the 18th.  I decided to go to the gym closest to me and at least walk on the treadmill since that is probably one of the few things I'll be able to do for a while after my surgery.

I don't know what it is, but no matter what speed I set it at, I can't walk on one of those things without holding on.  I tried to act nonchalant and hold on with only one hand at a time, and tried to let go a few times and swing my arms, but I get dizzy, disoriented, and am afraid I'll keel over.  Maybe in time it will get better.  I walked most of a mile at 3mph, and a little slower on the warm up and cool down.  I'm really tired now - it's more work than you'd think.  I also walked around and looked at some of the machines - some are familiar, but I feel more comfortable at the other gym.  I'm lucky to have one so close though.

This morning I got around to making Carolyn's egg muffins, which are so good.  I just used sausage, egg, milk, and chopped fresh spinach.  Next time I'll try a few different veggies in it.

Sherry asked about a picture of my haircut.  I didn't take my camera to the hairdresser so I took about 20 "selfies" this morning most of which I immediately sent to the trash.  I think my hair looks much better - fuller and more poufy in reality than on this picture.  I also think I look like 20 miles of bad road, but I'm sorry, it's the best I can do right now. 

While the thermometer only reads 55 right now, it is delightfully warm outside in the sun - a beautiful day.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

It's a good day

I saw my primary doctor this morning and got the EKG.  She also discussed the results of some recent tests, including the chest xray which looks terrific.  She is the 2nd doctor to suggest that I may be kept in the hospital for at least an additional day.  There goes Christmas with the family.  If I get out of the hospital on Christmas Eve, I won't be in any condition to be with my bunch of rowdies the next day.  I'm sure it will hurt to laugh, and I can't keep from laughing when my kids get together.

From there I wasn't far from my hairdresser's salon, but had a little while to kill before that appointment.  I ended up going to Starbucks which is a couple doors away from the hairdresser, and had a cup of coffee (I don't really like Starbucks) and a slab of coffee cake.  While I was eating I witnessed a conversation between 3 or 4 younger people and I swear I didn't understand a word they said!  Gee, I'm getting old!

I love my new haircut.  It's short, so no more hair falling in my face, or on my plate, or in my mouth when I'm eating, or all over my clothes.  I look like me again.

I don't understand what it is about scales - the kind you step on to find your weight.  Last night at the gym it registered 120; this morning at the doctor's office it was 114!  What happened to that 6#?  Usually the doctor's scale weighs me heavier, but in this case I just don't know.

So between appointments I stopped at Costco and bought a huge bottle of protein powder - I've been trying samples of different kinds but decided I need to settle on one and use it.  I also bought a 1/2 gallon of whole milk to mix with it.  I'm not sure if I'll be able to tolerate whole milk after my surgery so I'll just enjoy it while I can.  There may be a number of things that I won't tolerate, but I'll go by trial and error and see what I can eat.

I am feeling in great spirits right now and hope it lasts for a while.  I don't want to wish away precious days, but I will be glad to get this operation behind me, and then deal with the 2nd ERCP.  Then look out bears and mountain lions - I'm coming into your territory, so you'd better take cover!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cooking, reading, and DVD's

The meatloaf I made yesterday turned out very well.  I had a large helping of it for dinner, and a huge meatloaf sandwich for lunch today.  Next I'm going to try the Egg Muffins, but am too full from the sandwich to do it now.

I went to pick up some books I had requested from the library, and a DVD set caught my eye - Ken Burns' "The National Parks--America's Best Idea".  There are 5 dvd's and each one is a couple of hours, so it will take a lot of watching to get through them all.  I'm taking a little break from it now.

As most readers know 16 years ago I attempted to hike the Appalachian Trail from one end to the other in one go, somewhere about 2100 miles total.  I developed bursitis in my hip and had to quit after about 900 miles, and I've never given up on the idea of going back and hiking some more of it.  It's like I left a part of my soul on that trail.

I follow a forum called Whiteblaze.net which covers all topics connected to backpacking, gear, the trail, etc., and yesterday came across a 29 yr old who completed the thru-hike this past year.  I'm reading his blog account of the hike and have come to the conclusion that I don't ever want to go back and try to pick it up.  I would think differently if I was younger, but realize I don't even want to go there now - at least not for any serious distances.

What I do want to do are short trips from 2 days to a week in length, at a moderate pace without worrying about mileage covered.  That said, I will probably continue to get "Springer Fever" every year.  Springer Mtn in Georgia is the southern terminus of the AT and most backpackers get the longing to go there and start hiking in early spring.  In the meantime I will hope to be ready for springtime backpacking in Northern CA and maybe southern Oregon in 2014.

I arranged for an EKG in my doctor's office tomorrow morning, and will be relieved to have all the necessary pre-op tests done.  This morning a report of the ultrasound done when I was recently hospitalized was made available to me, and I think I have underestimated the seriousness of the whole thing.  My gallbladder is certainly worse off than I thought, so maybe I can understand the doctors' hestiancy to just jump right in without weighing the problems they are sure to run into.  I will be glad when the 23rd rolls around and let the chips fall where they may.

Today begins the warming trend to the mid-upper 50's, and then into the 60's.  My oldest son reminded me that December is always a cold month in Sacramento, and then the rains start falling and the temperature rises a bit.  I don't care for extended rainy weather, but I hope we get an adequate amount of rain to halt the drought we've been under.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Putting my energy to use

I didn't want to waste all this energy I seem to have, so after two loads of laundry done I decided to clean.  My house is a complete wreck, with clutter everywhere and dust that shows when the sunbeams shine in.  So what do you think I cleaned?  Under my bed!  Who is going to see the good job I did.  I even moved the bed so I could get all the dust bunnies that were hiding there.

Before my energy started flagging I mixed up the meatloaf and have the tin of 6 large muffin cups in the oven right now.  On my way to meet Jeannie last night for our trip to the gym, I took a small plastic cup and lid and "borrowed" some Worcestershire sauce.  I'm anxious to see how it tastes, but whether it's okay, just good, or terrific, I have my dinner for tonight plus more.  Right now I have to wait until the stuff comes out of the oven before I can take a nap!  Thanks to all who wrote with suggestions. 


Monday, December 9, 2013

Worn out by Noon!

I started early (for me) this morning and got two pre-op tests out of the way, the chest xray and blood draw.  The local clinic doesn't do EKG's so I will probably have to go downtown to my doctor's office for it.

I bought another muffin tin with 6 large cups, much bigger than the one I use for muffins.  I have all the ingredients to make meatloaf as well as the Egg Muffins suggested by Carolyn.  The trouble is that I'm too tired to do it right now.  Maybe after a nap I might feel like it.  I don't know if I will be going to the gym tonight but I hope so.  I can just eat an egg sandwich or fry a hamburger for a protein jolt beforehand.

It is really cold although the sun in shining, still in the 40's.  We'll go up to the 50's for about a week and then into the 60's!  It will feel like a heat wave when that happens.

I took my nap and woke up ravenous, and decided to make the meatloaf.  As always, there is one ingredient I don't have on hand.  This time is is Worcestershire sauce, so I'll make the meatloaf tomorrow after a quick trip to the grocery.  I fixed myself a sandwich to relieve my hunger, and I might go make a dent in the number of muffins left.  I think I have 4 remaining (actually 3 now, since I got one in the middle of this sentence).  I don't know where my appetite is coming from, but I am fairly certain it won't last.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Cold Continues

I was so chilled this morning that I got out my down jacket to wear to Costco.  We got there early and checked out before the big crush.

I only bought a few items, including Benadryl tablets that I was out of, and some organic beef.  I've noticed that eating beef raises my energy level somewhat, and I need all the help I can get.  How to fix it is another matter though - I don't want to make full-size recipes for anything.  I think I will try to find some small loaf pans and maybe make a couple of little meat loaves.  For something so easy I probably make the world's worst meatloaf, and it doesn't matter which recipe I follow or even whether I use a recipe.

I'm enjoying the muffins and having one now for dessert with a cup of Irish tea.  I normally don't like tea but Barry's Irish is about the only kind I can drink.  Six muffins left!

I am so irritated when I read that there will probably be a new federal safety plan aimed at senior drivers.  There is no question that the senior group have a low accident rate, and that is no doubt because we pick and choose the time, routes, speed, etc. that we drive, often with our own safety and that of others in mind.  We don't need a new plan, what we need is enforcement to curb the outrageous speed and driving habits of younger and middle aged people.  When you see cars weaving in and around others on the road, excessive speed, tailgating, quickness to honk the horn, etc., it's not likely to be a senior behind the wheel!  Instead of enforcing the laws already on the books, they want to make it more difficult for the group of superior drivers to stay in their cars.

It's 36F, going to a low around 27 tonight.  I am freezing even wrapped in a warm fleecy throw. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Baking on a Saturday morning

I've had my old cookbook sitting out for about a week now, thinking I'd make blueberry muffins (with frozen blueberries).  Today is the day!

I discovered I was out of baking powder and got ready to go to the grocery, when I thought I should just look for a substitute - 2 tsp cream of tartar and 1 tsp baking soda = baking powder, although the taste might be a little different.  You can also use just baking soda but at reduced measure.  I got the batter ready to pour into my 6 section muffin pan.  The recipe says it makes 12 (and I got 15 good sized muffins - 11 of them left.  It took me a lot more time to wait until the pan cooled and get it ready for more batter, but they are all done.  

I'll have to say they are delicious, and the first thing I noticed about them is that they aren't as sweet as store bought muffins or prepared mixes. (I used 2 cups flour + 1/3 cup sugar). It makes you realize how things were in the old days - muffins were never as sweet as cake, but now nearly every prepared product in the stores is loaded heavily with corn syrup and HFCS.  Now I have a stack of dishes, bowls, measuring cups, etc., sitting in the sink to be washed.

As much as I thought I'd like a glass of wine last night I just didn't have the taste for it.  I don't have any beer on hand but don't have a taste for it either.  Lord help me!  I haven't been feeling so well today and didn't feel like going to the gym last night, so I wonder if I'll even make it to the 23rd when my operation is scheduled.  I do have a fairly high tolerance for pain and can never make up my mind if I have reached the point where I should seek help.

The rain was so heavy when I went to bed last night I didn't think I'd be able to sleep.  (I don't think I lasted 5 minutes before I fell asleep).  The rain came with heavy winds - today is sunny but rain, possibly mixed with snow, are predicted.  Not much wind, for which I'm grateful.  I hope all of you in the path of extreme cold, ice storms, etc., are keeping warm and safe.  

Friday, December 6, 2013


Finally things are moving along, and while it's not the ideal time frame I'm grasping at anything!  My gallbladder will be removed on Dec. 23rd.  A lot of things can go wrong because of the stones in the bile duct but I'm going in with nothing but positive thoughts.  Now I have a packet of papers to look over, information to comprehend, and tests to take - blood tests, chest x-ray, and ekg.  I hope I can get a little of my appetite back so I'm in optimum condition.

It is a chilly 44 degrees with a light rain starting to fall, and rain and a bit of snow tomorrow morning.  I've said the heck with being cold and now turn up my heat to about 62 for temporary periods throughout the day, plus using my little electric heater.  A man I met at the gym and I were talking about how we were able to keep our electric bills around $25-30 range.  The gas furnace is what is really expensive though, and I'd rather keep adding more clothes than to face a $200+ gas bill.  Usually my utilities are minimal - mostly tacked on charges for things I don't understand.

I have taken my last antibiotic and I'm thinking of uncorking a bottle of German wine later on.  I don't think a glass would bother me one way or another and would surely enhance my frame of mind.

I have to admit that I like the Dr. who will operate on me, and his explanation for wanting to wait until the other procedure has been completed makes a lot of sense.  He and the other doctor had a "heart to heart" (according to a young intern who saw me the last time I was in) and decided they can't keep jerking me around (my words).  I am so glad I can be positive about the Dr. now as well as my hopes for getting a long-time problem taken care of. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

My heart's desire . . .

. . . is contained in this small sack!

. . . and wrapped in this tidy little package secured by a fancy toothpick!

. . . And voila!  Here is my BLT on a croissant.  I thought I would only eat half and save the other half for later, but later followed on sooner without missing a beat.

Now that I've eaten I need to go back out for a few more items.  I wanted that sandwich so bad I just had to come home and eat.  I would feel dumb sitting in a restaurant all alone and taking a picture of food, which is why I had to bring it home quickly.  It was even better than I anticipated!  

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

No BLT today either

I totally forgot about getting the sandwich at 11 am, which is when I should get there to avoid the crowds as well as assuring they won't have sold out of their wonderful croissants.  That is the best part of the BLT!  Maybe tomorrow if I can keep it straight.

We have beautiful sunny weather today but it is only 46 degrees, and will stay mostly in the 40's for several days.

I have printed out several short hikes up in the gold rush country, but I will probably wait until next week to try them.  I want to wait until I'm through taking all the antibiotics; everything has to be timed throughout the day and I don't want to have it ruin my time outdoors.

I've been asked if I am hesitant to hike alone.  I would rather hike with another person, but that is more for the company it would provide.  I have made up my mind that I refuse to be afraid of anything, including death, axe murderers, aging, being alone in nature, and a lot more.  I still hope to see animals such as bears, wolves, and even mountain lions, but in the distance, please.  Of course I wouldn't mind a wolf being close.  But afraid?  No, I'm not going to have fear.  I've been working on it for several years now and mostly have it mastered, but a good hike alone in the woods and eventually an overnight should give me an idea how I'm doing.

I'm more afraid of not getting my appetite back than anything else, and shriveling up to a scarecrow!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

You have to wonder

Why on some days everything goes right, whereas on others nothing works.

I woke up somewhere around 5 am and then slept fitfully for another hour.  Just decided to get up and have a bit of computer time while waiting to leave for my appointment to get my car serviced.  I had decided that more than anything I wanted a BLT on the world's best croissant for lunch - a long line awaited me when I entered the restaurant, so I went to Target for a while, then back to the restaurant.  I swear the line was the same or longer, so I gave up on the idea.  I think I will go back tomorrow at about 10:30.  I want that BLT!

Needless to say I needed a nice long nap after waking up so early, and now I face a long evening, alone, trying to ignore all the things I should be doing.  I think I'm feeling better, although my energy level is barely above zero and my appetite is about the same.  That BLT would have made me feel so much better.

No hope

I went to the G.I. Clinic this afternoon and the bottom line is that the G.I. doctor doesn't want to remove my gallbladder until the other doctor has done the 2nd ERCP to remove the biliary stent and the remaining stones.  That is scheduled for Jan 14, 2014, so I'm looking at Feb. or March to get this thing taken care of.  I did get an alternative to the Levafloxacin that was causing me trouble.  When I'm finished with the antibiotics I might just go on a short binge!  Probably just beer though.  It's futile because I couldn't drink enough to end up in oblivion.  I don't remember ever once in my life wanting to drink for the effects of it.  Scary! 

I think I'm beginning to see hospital politics, hierarchy of medical staff, and a whole lot of "CYA-ing" going on.  I told the intern who saw me that I just don't care anymore and that I'm going hiking!  She had a small fit but she will get over it.  Do they think I am going to sit in my house until January?  Now to find someplace that isn't too cold to stay in a tent.

I've backpacked in a lot of cold and snowy weather and did ok, but I was 56 at the time - a mere kid!  I dressed plenty warm but the biggest problem was after I ate supper - I always got chilled and the only way to get warm after a meal was to climb in my down sleeping bag.  Of course in a cushy, comfy sleeping bag and being all warm and toasty, I usually fell asleep before the sun went down.  I'm not into that kind of stuff anymore.

I decided to work off some frustrations at the gym - trying the treadmill for the first time.  I couldn't let go of the sides, and every time I tried I felt dizzy.  I was probably the only person walking 1-1/2 mph and holding on for dear life.  I quit at about 1.2 miles.  Then I worked heavily on the legs and arms.  My legs hurt a bit but it feels so good!

I'm going to borrow a couple of packs from my son and load a few items in each - will just hike with them, not backpack, but at least I should get an idea in 3 or 4 miles if I can do it.  I figure I owe myself a big long backcountry trip for having to put up with all this B.S.

Sorry I can't be more positive tonight - I'll be back to a better mood tomorrow! 

Added a little later:  Holy crap, where is the warm weather?  Every place I look up is as cold (or colder) than Sacramento.  Wonder what it is like in Mexico.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Just Chillin'

All I've done today was laundry, 2 loads, which is easy enough except for having to carry it back and forth across the street to the dryer.  It's heavy when it's wet!  I will have another load to do tomorrow if I manage to get the sheets changed on my bed. 

I just looked out and see a gorgeous sunset.  I know you desert folks love your sunsets but I don't think you have anything on me (actually, Sacramento would be a desert if it wasn't irrigated).  The reds and pink streaks are especially beautiful tonight contrasted with strips of a lovely blue sky.  I napped for so long that I nearly missed it!

Dang, I wish I had TV - much as I dislike it and complain, I'm going bonkers with no sound.  Last night I listened to some of the old rock CD's my brother gave me, as well as some Pandora radio.  I'd love to hear the sounds of "All Things Considered" right now.  To make matters worse I have only a few chapters left of the Patrick McManus book I've been reading (Bear in the Attic) and the library is closed on Monday.  I'll have to go buy me a book tomorrow.