Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Friday, February 28, 2014

Internal Clock

I'm not sure why, but my internal clock is giving me fits.  Yesterday I slept in until 9:30am, and last night I just couldn't stay asleep after about 4 hrs.  I finally got up before 5am and decided to go ahead and make coffee and breakfast.  Bacon, eggs, and toast were a real treat this morning.  It's like I'm wired or something; I usually go to bed at 11:00pm and get up at 8:00am.  I hope I can soon get back to some kind of schedule.

The rain was pretty heavy all night, and I hope I get a little break in the weather later on this morning.  My fuel tank is very low so I need to fill it up, and I want to see what sort of storage units or systems I might find to organize my maps and camping gear.

I think I found what I needed at Costco and made it back home before the rain started again in earnest.  I fiddled around with the maps for a while and then at Noon I felt so tired I climbed back into bed and took a 2 hr nap, and I'm just now eating lunch.  I need to be on more of a schedule if I'm going to eat the amounts I need.

It looks like March is going to come in like a lion for much of the country.  We sure need the rain, and even more, the snow in the mountains since the snowmelt provides a big percentage of the state's water needs.

Ara called me earlier and told me she has landed her dream job.  She starts next week.  I'm so happy for her and hope she loves it, although all of us in CA were hoping she might move back to the west coast.  I think Philadelphia is perfect for her except that the nearest family is in New York.

Right now it sounds like a train is rumbling over my roof.  I like the sound of rain, but I absolutely hate it when it hits my roof with such force.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hangin' in there!

I really don't know why but I am feeling even better today than I did yesterday, and seem to have more energy.  Maybe it is because I woke up way after my normal time of 8 am - I couldn't believe it when I looked at the clock and it said 9:30!  

So I got busy and did some cleaning in the kitchen, and then decided to organize my maps and such.  The pictures don't show exactly how bad the situation was, nor how much better it is now.  I have the maps roughly organized by section of the country, national forest maps, and still have a small pile that I'm undecided about where to place them.

All this organization of maps doesn't put a dent into my map/camping room, but it's a start!


I don't know why the photos are so dark.  I haven't used this camera for a while so maybe I need some practice.  You can click on a photo to make it larger, and hopefully more clear.

I turned on my TV this morning and had some difficulty getting it to work properly.  Maybe there is something I am not doing correctly, although hitting the "ON" button seems pretty straightforward!  I don't know what I did but eventually the picture came on and I switched to the Animal Planet channel.  My very favorite tv show, "Animal Cops Houston" was showing, so I watched it while eating my breakfast, checking email and blogs, and cleaning the kitchen.  I never tire of that show.

We've had some pretty heavy rain earlier today although the sun is out now and it is pleasantly warm outside.

I need to finish watching all the DVD's I checked out from the library so I can return them in a couple of days.  I watched Grand Canyon to Alaska on the America's most scenic drives collection, and there is one more DVD - American the Beautiful Musical Tribute - in the collection.  The scenes in Hawaii were spectacular, and I think Hawaii must be one of the most beautiful places in the world.  I don't think I'd want to live there, however.

I don't like sleeping so late because the day seems to be flying by faster than usual.  Now I need to get back to my problem room and figure out where I'm going to put the maps.  I need another bookshelf or some kind of organizer in that room, but the prices of units I've looked at are outrageous.  I'm not looking for a piece of furniture, but simply want a functional system to hold my maps and small camping items.  The bigger pieces of gear are just going to be placed where I can find room for them.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Run of good luck

I consider myself having some very good luck the past two days, highlighted by my visit to the dentist.  I thought I might have some pain when the novocaine wore off but I didn't.  About the time I went to bed I had a little discomfort at the site of the novocaine injections, but it wasn't anything that would even keep me awake.  I took a Benadryl though so I would fall asleep right away.

Around 9:00 pm I got a call from the dentist himself just checking to see that I was okay, the pain was tolerable, etc.  How nice of him, and then because he had overheard me talking to the office mgr about my backpacking plans, the dentist and I had a nice little discussion on camping, etc.  He was definitely sure that I should carry a can of bear spray!  Everyone in that office is super friendly and makes the patients feel so at ease.

I had a problem with my TV that I couldn't seem to correct so I just started pushing buttons.  Well by then, all I had on my screen was snow!  Four of the grandkids had been here for a while in the afternoon and we had the TV on, so possibly one of them pushed a button on the TV, but I doubt it.

I called the installer who told me what to do and it was working in probably less than one minute!  I think I'm going to really like AT&T's service, and I'm satisfied so far with the channel lineup.  Not that I've watched much TV since it was hooked up.

We've had some rain today but it has just been about enough to make the streets wet.  I wish it would just get going and make a little dent in the drought.

I'm still catching up on blogs, as well as new topics and websites that I'm interested in.  But I don't want to spend my day looking at any kind of screen, so I'm doing it a little at a time.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Dental work-first round

I really like this dentist and am so glad I selected him to do my dental work.  Jeannie & her family have been patients there for years, and Donald has wowed the entire office with a cake he made for the Office Manager.  So when Joe walked in with me this morning and I introduced him, he was immediately accepted into the fold.  They all declared he and Jeannie had the same smile!

I had the first part of the root canal, and will have to say root canals have changed since my last one.  I had taken a Valium (first one I ever took), and rather than make me loopy it just made me relaxed, although I know I wouldn't want to drive until it wears off.  Hopefully that is before long because I need a few items from the grocery.  The work today took 2-1/2 hours and I didn't feel the slightest pain.

On the other side of my mouth is a tooth that needs attention because every time I drink anything cold it just about drives me up the wall.  I'm learning to keep cold liquids on the other side of my mouth.  The dentist wants to take care of that problem next time, before putting the crown on the root canal.  

Now the trick will be to try to ingest 2000+ calories of soft food a day!  I plan to go up to 3 Ensures a day to help the count, but I need some solid food as well.  I will do whatever it takes as I am determined to get all this dental work taken care of, which should improve my heart, arteries, health, etc. tremendously.  And I WILL gain weight.  I just need to be patient enough to accept a small gain at a time.

Yesterday morning Donald drove me to Home Depot to get a 5 gallon can of roof sealant (which I don't think I could even lift off the ground).  Then Joe came over and caulked some seams where the caulking had come out, and then rolled on the sealant.  Two of the granddaughters who are not in school were here all day, and the two in school joined them afterward.  My best kiddie snacks were gobbled up in an instant, requiring another trip to Costco in the near future.  I was worn out completely just from being around active little kids for a few hours, although I love it.  I managed to retain enough energy to get myself to the gym in the evening, which is no doubt one reason I'm feeling so positive today.

I didn't get much done in the way of reading blogs yesterday and have been scrambling this morning to try to catch up.  I'm trying my best.

The forecast is showing rain expected for the next 3 days, and I hope we get every drop of it.  At least I'll know if my roof is any better  

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Short and sweet

I'm almost too tired to even post tonight but I'll make it short.

Dinner last night was incredible.  They had an Asian theme - started out with appetizers of home-made wontons.  I had one but they were more spicy than I like to eat right now, but oh, so good.  The meal was a Thai concoction with chicken, vegetables, noodles, etc.  I ate every bite on the plate that was mounded with food.  The dessert was "S'Mores Cookies".  A huge chocolate chip cookie, and I mean really large, that had a S'Mores in the middle of it but you couldn't see it as the cookie enclosed it.  Mmmmmm good!

Today Jeannie and I walked at Mather Field - I did about 3 miles in 45 minutes, and then sat in the shade while Jeannie stepped up the pace for another mile or so.  We came back to my house and had protein shakes!  My legs sorta hurt, but not too bad.  I hope I sleep well tonight.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

No cooking tonight!

Some years ago my 3 kids in Sacramento began to take turns once a month in hosting a dinner for the others.  It is usually elaborate and very tasty, and often follows a theme.  They haven't done it for a while because of the holidays, birthdays, etc., but this evening Joe and Sarah are hosting the dinner.  Luckily for me they live about a mile from my house so it will be an easy drive over and even back after dark.

I need to stop by a liquor store on the way and buy a couple of quarts of beer - all I have in the fridge are 3 non-alcoholic beers that have been sitting there from back in November.  Maybe I'll start off with those and then get to the stronger stuff.  To tell the truth, I know I'll enjoy it when I'm drinking it but it no longer makes a difference to me if I have it or not.

To add to my problems I think I'm developing a hernia at the site of my recent surgery - I guess that's an umbilical hernia.  I will be seeing my dr. around the middle of March and will ask her about it.  I hope the exercising that I'm doing isn't affecting it.

I could use a nap right now but should have done it earlier.  Now is too late as I'll be leaving soon.  I'll take my camera if I can remember it.


Friday, February 21, 2014

Need to organize

I was just looking for a couple of travel books and maps, and found everything from my trip last autumn when I returned from NY.  I wasn't feeling well and just left everything in my "catch-all" room in no particular order.  That is going to be a goal of mine over the next week or so, to organize all that stuff.  I need a new bookshelf also as the one I have is crammed with books and papers, with CD's and some maps shoved into the space beneath the bottom shelf.  How did I ever let it get this bad, and to make it worse, I have to step over my camping gear to get to anything in the room.  I'd take a picture of it but if I posted it no one would ever read my blog again!

I didn't get to the gym last night because Jeannie didn't get away from work until quite late.  She sounded so tired when she called me that I told her we should just skip it, so we're hoping to go tonight.  I've been doing squats at home every day because I look so dorky doing them I don't want to embarrass myself in public at the gym.  They are supposed to make your butt bigger, or maybe more defined would be the proper way of putting it.  I keep checking, ever hopeful!  Squats are also great leg strengtheners for when I get out on the trail.

The only problem with trying to gain weight is that I'm also getting a big belly.  I googled online to see if one can gain weight and at the same time lose the belly.  The answer was "NO!".  So I guess I am stuck with it for a while.  Sometimes I think I am too damn old to be dealing with this stuff.

I looked at the 2nd DVD in the Road Trip Across America series; it is entitled "Texas to Yellowstone" but actually covers a lot more than the title would indicate.  It starts out in Iowa, through Missouri and into Arkansas, then to Texas and northward, to Glacier, back over to the SD Badlands and back into Montana.  I get a little dizzy when they start a new leg of the trip because the route seems out of order, but the scenery is really awesome.  Some folks think this word is overused and I agree, but the scenery does inspire awe.  I'm so glad I got these DVD's plus the extra three I picked up at the library - all part of a Readers' Digest series.  They sure trump anything I've seen on TV so far.

A couple of days ago I mentioned watching Ghost Busters, but I wasn't referring to the movie with Bill Murray (although I did see that movie and liked it).  The TV show I watched was where the ghost hunters (TAPS) go to check out reported hauntings of old buildings - inns, theaters, old prisons and hospitals, etc.  It's on the SYFY channel.

I think about taking a quick nap, but lately I can't fall asleep in the middle of the day.  Maybe that's because I have more energy?  Not all that much more, but enough to prevent napping.  No fair!  

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Just a short update

I haven't found much to watch on TV since I got hooked up with AT&T, but did watch Ghost Busters last night.  For some crazy reason I always liked that show.  

I did watch one of the DVD's today - this one is of Capitol Reef and includes Bryce, Zion, and the Grand Canyon.  I will finish the DVD with the Grand Canyon when I get home from the gym tonight.  Now seeing it makes me so sorry I didn't get to those parks last fall, but I don't see how I can even make it this year.  I haven't done any estimates on what it would cost me, but the cost of fuel alone would make it difficult for me, and I would want to spend several days to a week in each Park, so even with the half price senior discount it adds up.

This country is so huge, and there are countless beautiful places to see in it, that it's really mind boggling.  It amazes me that I find Bryce and Zion as places I'd like to spend time in, as I am definitely not a lover of the desert.  Much of the parks is high desert with little or no prickly cactus stuff, so maybe that's the difference.

I notice that for the past few months I am receiving a ton of mail asking for donations of one sort or another.  They are all worthy causes - animal welfare, environmental concerns, etc., but as a retired person with limited income I just have to toss most of them.  Today I got a pitch to become a member of the California State Parks Foundation, and I think I might go for that.  I would get 5% off camping in the parks, plus I am eligible for a senior discount on top of that, so the membership itself is worth it, plus I would be supportive of parks that I use occasionally.

For the past year there has been a frog outside my house that chirps (do frogs chirp?  or is it croak?).  Everytime I tiptoe to the window to try to get a glimpse he clams up.  Now how does he see me every time. 

Now I need to get my stuff ready for the gym this evening.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

It once was lost ...

...But now it's found!  Today I wanted to order a thingy that converts VHF tapes to DVD's.  It was being offered as a "member deal" from AAA.  I had already checked with customer service to make sure it would be legal to transfer two commercial tapes to DVD, and was ready to place my order.  I couldn't find my AAA card anywhere!  I found a letter I received when I first joined AAA and called for help.  As I was just beginning to explain my problem I again looked through my wallet, and found the errant card behind another card in the slot.  My VHF tapes include Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and Paul Simon's Graceland, and the converter will be on its way soon.

I was on a roll and renewed my vehicle registration online.  The new stickers have to be on the license plates by the end of March, which gives them plenty of time to be routed through my mail forwarding in SD and then on to me.  South Dakota has to have the best DMV to deal with in the entire country.  I've never yet had to appear in their office - my mail fwd person took care of the original registration of my truck & 5th wheel, and when I sold the truck and bought the Highlander I just had to transfer the plates and let them know, online.  I still have my RV plate and wonder if I could use it in the event I bought another camper.  Not that I'm likely to do that.

Well, the TV works fine but I couldn't find a thing worth watching last night, and only quickly checked this morning to see if Animal Cops-Houston was on.  One thing I really appreciated was that the installer left me a card with his name and cell phone, plus his supervisor's name & cell phone, and if I have any problems I can call him direct and he will figure it out and take care of it.  That's a lot different than my previous experience where you call an 800 number and have to listen to a lot of recorded garbage before you ever get to talk to a human.

Now that I have TV, of course the DVD that I've been waiting for was finally at my library - "America's Most Scenic Drives".  I'm looking forward to watching it, and while I was there I found 3 more DVD's - 1)Grand Staircase, Bryce, Zion & Grand Canyon; 2)Yellowstone; and 3)Grand Tetons.  By the time I view all these DVD's  I will be itching to hit the road!

I just watched the first of four DVD's in America's Most Scenic Drives, and enjoyed it very much.  It sort of hopscotches around geographically, but it's basically in the east and covers Maine to Key West.  It veers over to Niagara Falls, the Mississippi River, Skyline Drive & Blue Ridge Pkwy, etc.  If you like travelogues with great scenery then you would enjoy this set.  Thanks to the person who recommended it in a comment on my blog.  I'm sorry but it took a while to get it as I wasn't the only person on the list to request it.  That plus the fact that I get so many emails a day I just plain lost track of who it was that wrote me about it.  I very much appreciate it and look forward to the next 3 discs.

Since I'm into an overage charge on my MiFi for the next couple of days I notice everything is loading more slowly.  I'm sure that's no coincidence, and I will be so glad to say goodbye to Verizon.  I once thought they were the best, and they might still be the best as far as coverage goes, but what I always liked was their customer service.  I've noticed a huge difference in service over the past year or so.

I am feeling great today, and happy as the proverbial lark!  I just love days like this.     


Tuesday, February 18, 2014


The AT&T installer was scheduled to be here between 11 and 1:00, and it's now 1pm.  I just got a call from him saying he'd be here in about 20 minutes.  But I didn't have anything else to do today, did I.

So now he has been here for about 1/2 hr. but has to go get something he needs but doesn't have with him.  He said once he gets back it should only take him about 20 minutes.  I confirmed that I will have a DVR with this service, something DirecTV didn't offer me.  With DirecTV I needed my own recorder, according to them.  It will be nice to have if I won't be home when a dynamite show is on the Science channel, but I doubt I'll use it all that much.  I will have the Smithsonian channel, as well as NASA TV and a number of travel channels, which I think I will like once in a while.

Last night I got a notice from Verizon that I had gone over my limit for this month, with 4 days left.  I can up the limit another 5GB for an extra $30, but I wouldn't come close to being able to use 5GB in just 4 days.  I will just pay an extra $10 for each additional GB and hopefully I won't go over the first $10.  I am counting the months (about 4) - soon to count the days - until my contract with Verizon is up.  In the meantime I'm swearing off watching videos - even the little 2 and 3 minute videos eat up bandwidth evidently.

I got a great night's sleep last night but I'm getting really tired this afternoon.  I think my momentum was trashed waiting for the TV installer to arrive, and I can't really do much while he's here.  I hope to go to the gym tonight and I want to get a nap in beforehand.

Well it's all taken care of now and I have TV once again.  Just looking at the remote and the choices gives me a slight headache!  I can record programs but I can't skip commercials, except for the ones on recorded programs.  I turned off the set right now and may check it out later this evening.

All the energy I had a few hours ago to get things done, has now faded away.  No big deal, really.  What I didn't do today I can always do tomorrow - as long as I don't turn that TV on first thing in the morning!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Having a 'wired" day

For some reason I woke up ready to get things done!  I did all my laundry, even changed the sheets and remade the bed, and have done lots of little jobs around the house.  I'm taking it a bit easier now (after 4 pm) but will no doubt do some more little jobs before the end of the day.

I am on an email list of folks interested in the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) which runs from Mexico to Canada.  I'm following a blogger who hiked the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) last year (NM to Can.), and it's interesting to compare these two trails with what I know of the Appalachian Trail (AT) (GA to ME).  The AT, CDT, and PCT are known as the "Triple Crown", and many backpackers have successfully hiked all three end to end.  This time of the year I can't stop dreaming about going on an extended backpack trip of my own.  

I still haven't set up my tent.  When the weather warms up a little, toward the end of this week, I'll take it to one of my kids' houses and try setting it up on grass.  Now that I'm feeling better and stronger, and taking for granted that I'll remain so, I am more motivated to do things like that.  I also bought a set of trekking poles at Costco today - made in China, of course, with directions for adjusting the poles that are completely worthless (the directions, that is).  I may just get my Leki poles refurbished.  They are made in Germany with the care and precision the Germans are known for, but after about 15 years they need some maintenance and rehab.  While many hikers don't use poles, I have found that two poles save my knees on the downhills, and just make hiking on rough terrain so much easier.  At my age I need the extra balance as well. 

I just got a phone call from my granddaughter in Philly.  How I miss that girl, and it's always great to hear her voice.  She recently connected with a group of German speakers so she can keep up her language skills.

When the afternoon sun comes shining through the front door I can see all the little handprints.  I will clean the glass as soon as the sun moves a bit, but I always hate to see those handprints go, considering the sweet little things that put them there.

We have been hoping for more rain but it looks like sunny weather and reaching the low 70's by the weekend.  Weather forecasters are often as wrong as they are right, but I guess there are a lot of variables that constantly change so we can't blame them.

I still don't have a clue what I'll fix for supper tonight.  I've already eaten so damn much today that I'm really not hungry, and the old Gypsy would say "the heck with supper" and just find a snack or two.  The thought occurred to me today that I will soon have to buy nearly a complete new wardrobe!  Since I don't get rid of anything that still has a lot of wear, I do have some things in larger sizes.

I'd better go see what I can fix that is quick and easy.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Beautiful Sunday

We had a great time at Straw Hat Pizza last night.  They had Karaoke so of course we stayed for a lot longer, which meant more beer was consumed.  I remembered how much I love the taste of beer, but I've decided to no longer consume it on a regular basis - just for get togethers and the few times I go out to dinner.

I enjoyed the gym today and it wasn't crowded at all - Sundays around Noon seem to be the ideal time.  The scale registered 115.8, which is about a net gain of 10# in the past 6 weeks.  I'm happy enough with that and will aim for another 15-20#.  I just can't wait for it to start showing.

My Girl Scout cookies arrived but I haven't gorged on them so far.  I remember when I was a Girl Scout the shortbread cookies were called Trefoils.  Why they changed the name I don't know but they taste the same.

I didn't get a good night's sleep last night, so I think a quick nap is in order this afternoon.  What a beautiful day it has turned out to be - I should be working outdoors today but I think I want the nap more.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Hiking Shoes?

I am wearing both of them right now and consider keeping them for another few days, which should be ok if I limit them to inside the house.  I tried them again with a thicker pair of socks, as well as not tightening the top lace as much as I would normally do.  They aren't rubbing my ankle, but the shoe feels loose when I don't tighten it.  I'll see what happens.  

I dust mopped the floors today using Endust, and it works wonders!  I even dusted the TV and stand, to make ready for next Tuesday when AT&T is coming to hook me up.  A young woman appeared at my door yesterday canvassing for new customers, and she hit me at the perfect time I guess.  I've been looking at all the ads that I get in the mail, plus searching the internet for a TV provider than doesn't require a contract.  I'm assured that I will lock in the price for 12 months but can discontinue at any time.  Fair enough.  At least I get a ton of channels, and none of the crap like "Well if you want NatGeo you have to buy the next package up."  And when my Verizon contract is up in June I might just try AT&T for internet.  I have 6 days left for the month with Verizon, and .5GB left.  I usually have a lot more than that left over at this point in the billing cycle, but the little videos (2 or 3 minutes) have killed me this month.

I've been thinking of how I can get myself unhooked from spending so much time online - that just gets a person in trouble because you can always find something you want to buy, as well as YouTube and other videos to watch.  With better weather ahead (I sure hope) I will no doubt be using less internet and won't be watching as much TV as I would in the dead of winter.  

I'm ready for Straw Hat Pizza and beer this evening!  Jeannie and Donald are picking me up early because they want to go to REI.  I will never turn down a chance to go to REI, although it's dangerous for me right now because there are so many items I want for the upcoming hiking/camping season.

Thanks to everyone who made suggestions about where I could find Endust.  It is ironic that I found a can in the grocery I do much of my shopping in.  I guess part of the problem is that I cruise the perimeter of the store, avoiding most of the highly processed stuff in the aisles, and I rarely buy cleaning supplies at the grocery anyway.  Much too expensive for one thing.  But I had looked there more than once for the Endust, and I'm just glad to have it now.

I have been feeling so good lately and just can't get enough food!  I'm anxious to fill out my saggy and sunken in frame!  Won't be long now.

If I remember I will take a couple of photos at Straw Hat, but I'll post them tomorrow.  Here's to pizza and beer!  I hope they have Shock Top on draft this evening cuz I'm ready for one.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Odds and Ends

I'll start out with some replies to a few of the comments I've received.

Nancy1340:  I have no doubt that in certain situations a gun can be a life saver.  I was just never interested in carrying or learning how to use them, and now at my age (and with my reduced vision and reflexes) this isn't the time for me to start.

Kathy Kelly:  Yes, I put ham in the pea soup.  I use a ham steak and just cube it in small pieces.  I also add onion, carrots, and celery.

RunNRose:  I have looked several times at Walmart, and this morning at Safeway, but the local stores just don't carry Endust.

I neglected to mention that a tent footprint is a piece of lightweight tarp (or Tyvek if you can find it) that is cut just a tad smaller than your tent.  It serves as a ground sheet, keeping out the moisture and chill from the ground, while also offering some protection to the bottom of the tent from small stones and sticks.  Most tent mfrs make a "footprint" that matches a particular tent they sell, usually costing in the neighborhood of $40-50+.  The advantage of this kind is that it allows you to skip the tent and just attach the rain fly to the footprint and use hiking poles to hold it up, which is a quick set-up.  The downside to this is that insects can get inside, as can crawly things.  The tent, being completely enclosed, prevents these things.

I drove to Lowe's this morning (after visiting Walmart again and Safeway).  Lowe's doesn't have Endust.  Drove on over to Costco to pick up my Rx sedative to be taken before my root canal work.  Anyone who shops at Costco knows that they set up sample tables allowing you to taste a product in the hopes you will buy it.  Well, buy it I did!  They were offering samples of Greenlee bread, cinnamon and raisin are the two I bought.  The samples were toasted and smeared with whipped butter.  At a ton of calories per slice I am going to enjoy eating them - I already had one slice of each after my lunch.  Note:  In 5 weeks I've gained 6#, although I've only been really working seriously at it for 3 wks.  Too slow for my liking but it will have to do.  Let's see, 20 more pounds is my goal, so that will be around the end of April.

Donald just delivered a box of strawberries for Valentine's Day.  I've already eaten two of them.

I had a couple more stops to make but was just too tired and hungry to continue.  

Don also brought me a big box of fresh strawberries, so I just made a quick run to the grocery to get bananas to go with them.  My favorite breakfast is strawberries and bananas, even better than coffeecake (well almost).   Guess what I found at the store - one lonely can of Endust sat on the shelf so I snatched it up.  Somehow I was pulled past the   ice cream cooler on the way to the cashier, and two small containers of Hagen Dazs fell into my cart.  I'd be pretty happy if I wasn't so full from eating today.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Back to Home Depot

I had gone there yesterday intending to look for Endust in the section with cleaning supplies.  I knew exactly where that has always been, so I went directly to it to find it had been moved.  I don't mind asking for help when I need it, but when I walked in that door I didn't think I needed to know where cleaning supplies were.

So just a little bit aggravated that they had moved it, I moved on to where I had always found tarps.  I want to cut a footprint for my new tent from a tarp - again, the tarps weren't where they have always been.  I was just a little put out about it so I left the store.

This morning I returned, asked the greeter at the front entrance where I could find cleaning supplies as well as tarps - no Endust but I did pick up a medium weight tarp.  I think it will be on the heavy side if I decide to do any backpacking, so I'll probably use it for something else and see if I can get a lighter version.  What I'd like to do is to pick up some ends of Tyvek, although it makes an annoying crinkly noise.  Some backpackers actually launder it (plain water only)  to get rid of the noise and make it softer, but I wouldn't go that far.

I'm making another pot of split pea soup this afternoon so I won't have a half-full package of peas hanging around getting lost in the back of the cabinet.  It smells pretty good while cooking.

Yesterday I almost worried myself because I couldn't get full.  I was munching on something all day long.  I don't notice any beautiful fat cells forming except on my belly, where I'd rather not have them!

When I was at the checkout at Home Depot, the man behind the counter commented on my tarp and asked what I was going to use it for.  He was interested in hearing about my backpacking plans, which started a discussion of where I was going and "Are you gonna be carrying a gun?"  Nope, I responded, good lord I'd probably shoot myself in the foot!  

I think we will go to the gym tonight, and Donald is going back for the first time since he had to have his leg (ACL) re-operated on.  I just hope the young boys and the beautiful girls went yesterday.

Last night I photographed my new Fila's (they have the bright blue trim), and also took a picture with one of the Trail Hikers I ordered.  I again tried both shoes on, fiddling around with the way I tied them to see if they still hurt my ankle.  They do.  I wonder if the ankle bone is more prominent because of the weight loss, but I can't follow that thought to a conclusion as to whether it will get any better when I gain back the weight.  So I am just going to return them and never try to buy anything online again. 


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Seems like a wasted morning

I set out for Home Depot with a list, but was disappointed to find that they have jumbled some of the shelves around, and I couldn't find anything on my list.  The main departments, paint, electric, plumbing, etc., were still in the same place, but little odds and ends were nowhere to be found.  I left HD to try Lowes.  I've never shopped at Lowes enough to become really familiar with the layout of the store, but again I couldn't find a thing I was looking for.

I drove over to Old Fair Oaks Village near where I had an apartment several years ago.  The Village had an honest-to-goodness old time hardware store, which I discovered has closed and been replaced by a BBQ equipment & supplies store.  I just came on home to do some online searching or maybe get out the yellow pages.

I couldn't get enough to eat for lunch today - I don't know where this appetite is coming from or how long it will last, but I've been ravenous.  It would be great if I could learn to eat my main meal at noon because that seems to be when I'm the hungriest.  But other than Sunday dinner when I was a child, and summers on my grandparents farm, I've associated "dinner" with "supper" which is an evening meal.  I'm no doubt too old to change now.

Other than driving around in vain this morning, I feel absolutely great today!

I will post pictures of my new tent when I eventually set it up.  Since my floors are all pergo, I don't want to deal with possibly scratching them with tent poles, and I don't have a yard - just gravel with a lot of weeds in it!     

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

You told me so!

A while back, before I was even hospitalized and was losing  weight, I wanted to gain some pounds but was barely able to stay even.  Several people told me I should try Ensure, but I said I'd never drink the stuff.  Well, I'm now drinking it!  I figure at 350 calories for a small bottle, plus all the nourishment it provides, I'll drink two bottles on the days I don't go to the gym, and one bottle on gym days - I'll still prefer my protein shake on those days.

This morning I returned a product I bought at Costco, and should have just left the store with the money, but I walked around a bit and found they had a case of Ensure, 30 bottles, for about $4 more than my refund was.  

The shoes I ordered from LLBean arrived this morning and I only had to try one shoe on to realize they would never work!  Now I have to send them back because the shoe hits my ankle at the wrong spot.

Nancy asked me about the model and item # of the shoes I ordered, and I responded on my blog last night - the trouble is that the folks who had already read it wouldn't think to go back, so I'll repeat the info here - this is actually what I ordered:
Trail Model Hiker
Waterproof II Low Women's
Qty: 1
Item: TC258485
Color/Style: Graphite/Pewter

They are really nice and such a good buy that I hate having to return them.  I even tried using the Superfeet insoles from another pair of shoes, thinking it might raise my ankle a couple of centimeters, but no help.

I stopped in Walmart to look for the Endust, and while searching the aisle it should have been on I was approached by a woman who asked me if I was a regular shopper in that store.  I told her I wasn't, and she exclaimed that she couldn't find a thing she was looking for.  I agreed and said I was in the same boat.  I really dislike that store but hoped to find Endust on their shelves.  I know Target doesn't have it so I'll have to look at a few hardware-type stores.

Then, to put another dent in my attempt at a minimalist lifestyle this year, I drove to REI and bought myself a tent to replace my backpacking tent that I loved using last summer until I got rained on in a deluge!  The new tent is a Kelty Salida 2 model, a 2-person tent but with only one door and one vestibule.  It is becoming more difficult to find a 2 person tent with only one door these days, and I certainly don't need it nor do I need the extra weight of such a tent.  You can always figure if a tent is advertised as 2-person, then it is comfortable for 1; if it is a 3 person tent then you know two people is about what it holds.  So why do the mfrs mess with a good lightweight 2 person tent that is more suitable for 1 camper, by adding unneeded features.  I think I will like this tent - I opened the package in the store and unfolded the tent to check the zippers, and couldn't believe how much lighter weight it is.  The door is on one side of the tent which will make it easier to enter and exit - just roll in and roll out - as opposed to having to crawl in and out like my old tent.  With only 2 poles I should soon be setting this baby up in 3 minutes flat!  So now my REI dividend in March will be applied toward a pack, although I don't know yet whether I should get a large day pack or maybe one that can accommodate a multi-day trip.  I'm probably dreaming big to think I could carry a pack with all my gear in it for several days, but when I have to stop dreaming then it's all over for me.

Today has been a gorgeous sunshiny day, so I've announced to the Universe that it's ok to send back the rain cuz I can now deal with it!

Note:  I had to eliminate Anonymous comments because the number of spam comments has been growing.  I'm not sure what to check - Registered Users is what I settled on, mainly because I'm not sure what the other ones entail.  If this causes a problem to the readers, please let me know at my email address:  mgypsy97 at aol dot com, and I will try to find a compromise.  Thanks for your understanding.

At a few minutes before 6pm I looked out and saw this beautiful sunset.  


Monday, February 10, 2014

A nap works wonders!

After I ate lunch today I succumbed to the comforts of the couch and a warm blanket.  The sun has been shining most of the day and it makes such a difference.  Another day and I'll be ready for more rain!

I wanted something sweet when I woke up and hit my stash of ice cream - a container of chocolate and one of vanilla bean.  I have let myself go and just eat it straight out of the carton.  My kids used to laugh at their dad when he did that, but now that I live alone I ask myself why should I dirty a bowl when I only want a few spoons of it.  I'll just make sure the kids don't see me do it.

I've decided I'm ready for pizza and beer, and I think we will go to Straw Hat Pizza on Saturday evening.  I'll just have to watch my beer intake because I don't want to go back to having leg cramps.  I haven't had them since back in November when I stopped all alcoholic beverages prior to the ERCP's and surgery.  I still don't really have a taste for beer except some good draft along with a pizza is starting to sound good.

My legs hurt today, especially the calves and quadriceps.  I want to strengthen them so I can hike this spring and really worked hard at it last night at the gym.  It's a good hurt though and will go away about the time I go back for another workout tomorrow.  

I don't know why, but since my surgery and problems afterwards I can't seem to work with free weights or any of the machines that work the upper body.  I just have no strength.  Last night two women were in the free weight section for quite a while - both dressed to show off their muscles which rippled every time they lifted a weight.  I took a seat in another area where I could see when they left.  I'd look plumb pitiful next to them and I wasn't even going to go near while they were there.  I have such a long way to get back to where I was pre-surgery, and I have no idea how long it will take me.  It was disappointing to step on the scale and find I didn't gain an ounce in the last week.

I'm waiting for my new trail walkers from LLBean, which were estimated to arrive tomorrow (Tuesday), and they aren't going to get them to me one day in advance if they can help it.  Delivery is by UPS and I would take USPS any day.  I'm tracking the package which sat in Salt Lake City the entire weekend.  USPS may not deliver on weekends, but they don't seem to stop moving the mail.  I just hope the shoes fit - I hate ordering anything like that online because you have no idea how the fit is going to be.  That is why I prefer to buy in a local store where I can examine the look, feel, and fit of any item.  The shoes I ordered look great from the picture and description, and they were well discounted.  I will just return them if I'm not satisfied.

This is the few minutes of the day when the sun shines through my front door and shows every piece of dust, lint, etc. on my floors.  I will run the dust mop over it although it seems to scatter a lot of it.  I need to find Endust - the product I used waaaay back to keep the dust from just bouncing around.  It's hard to find although the website says it is carried by Target, Walmart, etc.  I sure haven't been able to find it.  That will give me something to do tomorrow.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

It's still coming down

No breaks at all in the rain - it's been coming down for a number of days now.  That's good for the drought conditions but it is depressing to see and hear.  I don't think I ever minded the rain so much until I lived in my 5th wheel.  When it rained during the night I couldn't sleep because the noise of it pounding the roof was just too distracting.  It's the same way in this mobile home, I can hear the pounding rain 24 hrs a day, and it is slowly driving me nuts!

When I moved to Sacramento in 1986, my sister (Amy) told me that first winter to not let the rain affect what I want to do or where I want to go.  Just dress for it and go out when you want.  I forgot that, and yesterday was so despondent I never did get dressed - just moped around all day long.  Today is different and I've been to the grocery this morning and will go to the gym later on today.  But looking out at the heavy rain falling, hearing it on the roof and watching it cascade down my windows doesn't make me feel like doing much of anything.  I'm glad we are getting the rain even though it probably won't alleviate the drought all that much.  Every little bit will help, but it sure is enough to turn my tiny yard green with weeds.  So much for the work I had done on it last year.

Between dental work and a new roof that I can't prolong any longer, I'll be lucky to be able to make it to a few camping spots in Northern CA this summer.  There are plenty I want to visit and with my senior access to the national parks and forests, the gas for my car will be the most costly part of a trip.

I wish there was more to blog about, but my life at present is pretty much on hold.  Guess it's just that time of year.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

And the rain continjues

Our local news this morning reported our rainfall this season was only at 16% of normal, but the current rains will bring that number up to 20%.  Maybe we will get lucky and have our regular rainy season now.  I'd just like to get it over with!

Bloggers have been posting their beautiful snow pictures, but all I can do is take a picture of the rain.  (Click on picture to enlarge it).  This was taken through the glass door as there is no way I would go out on the damp chilly porch.

I doubt I'll be buying a lot more avocados in the future.  I think the taste is just so-so, but my main problem with them is that they are messy.  I look at a sandwich as an easy-to-fix, easy-to-eat quick meal.  If I want something more elaborate I'd rather get it in a restaurant, (and I rarely go to restaurants).  I made an egg sandwich for lunch and added half an avocado, sliced, and it was pretty good although the avocado kept trying to squeeze out.

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I bought a pair of Fila Lightweight running shoes at Costco for $20.  So far I really like them but I don't think they would feel nearly as good if I hadn't put the Superfeet insoles in them.  

I also ordered a pair of trail walkers from LLBean last week and should be getting them on Monday or Tuesday.  I had thought I'd buy a new pair of hiking boots, but I think I'll try the lighter weight trail runners which should be good for any hiking I'll be doing.  It might make a difference if I planned to do any long (or even medium) distance backpacking, but I think realistically that those days are over for me.

I'll continue to set up my big tent and just deal with the bad zippers when I plan to stay in place for multiple days, but I need a new smaller tent for when I'm planning on one night stops.  I sure wish there was a way to set up my old backpacking tent (photos shown in last summer's blogs) that would stretch out the saggy walls.  I love that tent and will never find one I like better.

I finally got through all the Rick Steves DVD of travel in England and Wales.  It was pretty interesting, and what I like very much about most of Europe is that they don't just bulldoze old buildings every few decades, but they continue to use them for centuries.  I'm sure that's a testament to how well they were constructed to begin with, but also the modernization that has been done without sacrificing the original style.

I hope I can find some more DVD's of interest in the non-fiction section, but there won't be many.  I just don't care for movies so I don't even look in the fiction section.

As cold as I am I just sat here and ate half a pint of Hagen Dazs vanilla ice cream with lots of dark chocolate covered almonds in it.   I can't believe how many calories it must have been!


Friday, February 7, 2014

Staying dry indoors!

I made a quick trip to Costco's pharmacy this morning, intending to go to the grocery afterwards.  It started to rain in earnest as I came out of Costco and in just two blocks I revised my plans.  Came home and tried to stay warm the rest of the day.  I could eat for at least a month with all the food in my cupboards and freezer.

I wanted to respond to a few of the comments yesterday:  Craig, I wish I could get my dental work done in Algodones.  Since I don't have an RV and thus no place to stay while undergoing dental work, plus the distance between Sacramento and Algodones, I doubt if my net savings would be as much as if I was a snowbird wintering in Arizona or nearby.

Judilyn:  I didn't take a picture of the soup since I don't do food presentations - just slap it in a bowl or on a plate and dig in.  The soup was good, and I finished it today.  A little on the salty side - I added some salt before I remembered I was also using "Better Than Bullion", a bullion type paste that already has salt in it.

WaianaeGal:  Thanks for your comment.  I looked for your current blog but it seems that you haven't posted recently.

Sorry I'm not consistent about responding to comments.  If your comment has your email info I will often reply in that form.  So many comments are "No-reply" and I can't write you.  (I get all comments in email form, plus they appear on my blog.  I eventually delete the emails but the comments remain on my blog permanently.)

While at the library earlier this week I picked up a Rick Steves DVD - Travels in England and Wales.  I've never had much desire to spend time in England or Wales, although I think I would enjoy the northern part of the country.  I would just have to stay away from places like London - just too darn big to suit me!  I decided several years ago that I don't ever want to leave the U.S. again, although I would consider Mexico and Canada - we are all "America" after all - North America.   

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dental Work - ARRRRGH!

I visited the dentist this morning and had extensive xrays taken; then he did a very complete examination and came up with a recommended treatment plan.  I have had difficulty with my lower molars and thought I would just have them pulled and get a lower partial.  He didn't want to do that, saying the lower partial would be very unsatisfactory to me, much worse than an upper (and I don't care one bit for the upper).

What will happen first is to have a root canal in the worst of the teeth.  When all that is finished we will discuss which one should be next.  I will also have to figure out how to pay for all this, but it looks like I won't have much in the way of a travel fund this year.  I do believe that fixing all the dental problems can extend my life as well as make it much more liveable, so I will have the work done without too much complaining.

It looks like we will be having some rain and snow in the northern CA area, which will be so welcome.  It is raining off and on today and I am chilled to the bone.  I've been wearing my down jacket whenever I go out and it is extremely comfortable, even inside the stores, library, etc.  I wouldn't mind wearing it in my house although I'd feel pretty dumb doing it.

I'm making a pot of ham and split pea soup this afternoon, and it's beginning to smell really delicious.  That's something I haven't had in a number of years and probably won't want for another long time.  I tried to not make so much since I'll be the only one eating it.

As soon as the soup is finished cooking I think I'll take a nap.  I haven't been doing that as often lately, but today is the perfect day to wrap up in a warm blanket and rest my eyes for a while.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

An Alaska Trip Report Caught my Eye

I think I was browsing a website called "VanDweller Community Forums", which is now called something like "Cheap RV Living", and came across a journal written by a woman from Australia, a self-described "septegenarian" (isn't that in the 70's?).  She flew to the U.S. in 2012 (not for the first time) and visited with her kids located here.  She also bought a used Ford Van which she was able to overnight in, and drove to Alaska.  Not only did she drive to Alaska - all the way past the Arctic Circle, but she did it solo and in the spring.  The weather didn't seem to give her any problems but then she seems flexible enough to deal with anything.

I'm posting the link to her journal in case anyone would like to read it.  It is rather lengthy, but you can stop at just about any point, and her entries are interspersed with comments from those who were following along in real time with her travels.  After leaving Alaska she drove just about all around the country, criss-crossing it in unbelievable ways.  Total miles driven were just about 26k, and at the end she posts a breakdown of total costs.  I like the idea of being able to stay overnight at a truck stop for free, although I do love the National Park and Forest campgrounds.  She alternated between campgrounds, truck stops and some stealth camping, plus motels along the way.  I would dearly love to drive to Alaska and I'm fascinated at how gutsy this woman is to have done it all on her own.  I've received a comment that the link doesn't work, but you can copy & paste.  I've tried to redo the link, and I'm hoping it is now ok.

  Not everyone would be interested in this type of travel, but it is right down my alley!  

On an entirely different note, I was in Costco yesterday and bought a pair of Fila light weight running shoes for $19.99!  I took the Superfeet insoles out of my old shoes (I had just replaced them with a new pair) and now the new shoes are really comfy.  Superfeet are a wonderful addition to any sort of athletic or hiking footwear, but they are expensive at around $45-50 a pair.

I'd love to spend the rest of the day researching the drive to Alaska, but I won't do it because I could never afford the fuel, food, etc., to make that trip.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I had dinner with Jeannie & family last night.  Donald made lasagna, with home made sauce and home made lasagna noodles!  If you ever taste fresh pasta you can immediately tell the difference between it and that dried stuff.  Great texture and great flavor.

Jeannie and I went to the gym later.  I was looking forward to moving my workout up a notch but the place was crawling with young guys - late teens and early twenties mostly, and on up although I only saw 1 or 2 geezers all evening.  You had to be careful with all those young guys hanging about - slipping on all the testosterone could result in a nasty fall.  It's comical to watch - the old guys just do their workouts, but the young ones are constantly flexing and looking around to make sure they are being noticed.  I hope this doesn't become a regular thing.

This morning my breakfast didn't sit too well for some reason, but I was okay to go get my hair cut just before Noon.  I was really looking like a sheep dog lately.

My granddaughter, Autumn, is selling girl scout cookies.  I haven't had anyone to buy them from for years, so I ordered plenty.  I love the shortbread, formerly known as Scot Teas, and got a couple of boxes of those.  Also ordered a cookie that sounds like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.  I may decide I will need more shortbread on hand and up that order before it goes in.

I have an appointment with the dentist on Thursday, and I'm hoping that getting up to date on dental work will help me start feeling better.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Mostly about food

I've been feeling pretty good lately, and my appetite is much better.  Last night before I went to bed (about 11 pm) I decided on the spur of the moment I wanted a ham sandwich.  Thought it might keep me from falling asleep, but it was delicious and I was soon in dreamland.

This morning I made blueberry muffins, this time with unbleached white flour (as opposed to unbleached white whole wheat flour).  The texture of the muffins was much more to my liking, and I added just a bit more sugar as well.  The recipe says to thaw the blueberries and drain well, but I just threw them into the batter right out of the freezer and the muffins were perfect.  I made 9 muffins and now there are 4 left.  Every time I walk into the kitchen and see them sitting there ...

I decided to try the fried avocado slices for my lunch.  The instructions call for an unripe avocado, which is difficult to work with, at least to me.  I finally got it cut and pried apart and the seed out.  I sliced it but the difficult part was removing the peel, which is not so difficult with a ripe avocado.  The results turned out pretty good, and may have been better if I'd had something to dip them into.  I normally don't do dips so I enjoyed eating it just as is.  I had some egg left over after dipping the slices, and fried and ate it as well.  Will I do it again?  I'm not sure as the prep time and effort is a lot for just one person, and I'm very much into EASY these days!  I thank Nancy for the link, and would love to hear from any readers who have tried this recipe.

I didn't set out to write a food blog today but it looks like I have done it anyway.  At nearly 2pm I'm still not dressed - this is becoming a habit.  I will need to get ready for the gym this evening, so I may as well enjoy being lazy until then.

At 54 degrees with bright sunshine, the inside of my house is so cold I have my little heater on.  It's not going to get much warmer today or the rest of the week, and it looks like we could have a couple of days of rain.  

The attack on a man in southern CA by a mountain lion leaves me wondering about hiking and camping this summer.  I normally tent in federal or state campgrounds, and I think a can of bear spray will definitely be among my supplies.  I'm probably over-worried about it but it takes some of the fun out of planning some outings in the spring. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Super Bowl Sunday

I never watch football so I'm not missing anything today.  Jeannie had invited me to come over to their house, and I would have except for the fact that it is cold and spitting rain all afternoon.  I washed 3 loads of laundry and spent a few hours running back and forth across the street to dry it, so I know how cold it is.  I will be missing some great food prepared by Donald today!

Thanks to Nancy1340 who suggested I look at a Youtube video showing how to prepare fried avocados.  I think they sound yummy and easy to prepare, and I intend to fix them tomorrow. If this sounds good to anyone who didn't check out the link in Nancy's comment yesterday, please take a look.  Here is the link.


That's all for now, and enjoy the game if you're watching!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Deja vu

That's what I felt as we were speeding to the hospital emergency room last night - this time for my granddaughter Arianna, who had an allergic reaction.  Jeannie, the girls and I had been to the gym (the kids have their own playroom with attendants at the gym).  As we were leaving I noticed some yummy looking protein bars spread across the counter, and selected three of them.  We looked carefully at the ingredients listed on the package - Arianna can eat peanuts and almonds but is terribly allergic to most other kinds of nuts.  Autumn wanted the chocolate chip cookie dough protein bar from behind the counter and it missed Jeannie's scrutiny.  Can you believe it contained cashews?  Everyone had a different kind of bar and traded little bites to the others - Arianna only got a tiny little piece of the offending bar but it was enough.

By the time we got back to Jeannie's house Arianna was getting sick and crying but couldn't explain what was wrong.  Donald insisted we take her to emergency, so we piled into the van, and he drove the 10-15 miles or so like a race car driver.  The end result is that she got sick a couple of times and they kept her in the emergency room for observation for a while, then gave her some benadryl and sent her home.  Today she is back to her normal cheerful self.

The protein bar I had was just so-so, but it is good after an intense workout to build muscle.  I am finding that most high protein post workout products have a bit of a gritty, sawdust texture.  I like my shakes the best, but even they tend to have a slight gritty feel.  Last night I did the most strenuous workout since my hospitalization, and am determined to ramp it up each time I go.

I was up and ready to go to the farmers' market this morning - didn't get much except green vegetables and decided to buy a few avocados.  My doctor had recommended I add avocado slices to sandwiches for extra calories and nutrition.  I'm getting my appetite back which makes me hopeful although I'm not expecting miracles.

Spent 2 or 3 hours cruising the aisles of Costco (crowded with pre-Super Bowl shoppers, but loaded with food samples tables), and then Target for a couple of items.  Costco had some dynamite sales and it was difficult to pass some of them by, but I only bought what I needed.

I am really tired tonight and will probably be asleep soon.  It's only a little after 6 pm - can't go to bed this early!