Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Sunday, March 30, 2014


I took pictures of the hummer through the sliding door, and I wish I could have gotten closer.  If I just sit in a chair on the porch and wait they may get used to me and ignore my presence.  (Click on the pictures to enlarge.)

Everyone enjoyed the pizza, beer, and karaoke.

The last two photos shows the DJ who loves to sing a song to Arianna whenever we are there for the karaoke.  She is super shy, but her Daddy will protect her from all danger!

This is one of the most fun family places I've ever been.  Nothing fancy, but lots of families and kids everywhere you look. 

I really enjoyed the beer, as I knew I would, but I paid the price all night long.  I think I was up making a bathroom trip every hour on the hour.  I don't know that the drink is worth it, although it sure tasted good.  I'll be tee-totaling it for a while now.    

Saturday, March 29, 2014

They're back!

I set out a new hummingbird feeder a week ago and was wondering if the birds would ever come back.  Two days ago a big one appeared and stayed for long enough that I could get a good look at him.  I was thrilled and to celebrate I fixed myself a big bowl of ice cream with chocolate sauce!  By now there is another smaller bird, plus the "big boy", and I'm hoping more of them get the word.  I just love seeing them and would like to get a picture although I've never been successful in photographing them since I've lived here, probably because I'm too old and decrepit and slow.

It was starting to rain when I went to the farmers market this morning, so I got what I wanted pretty quickly and left.  By the time I got home the rain was much heavier.

Tonight is a Straw Hat Pizza & beer night!  Jeannie and Joe and their families and I will enjoy the evening.  I'm really looking forward to the beer.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Everything okay

Whatever the reason for the tornado warnings, nothing materialized and the rain stopped.  Jeannie stopped by after work and we ended up going to the gym.  I feel better today but have come to the conclusion that I am more stressed about the upcoming surgery than I had realized.  I can't do much about that, but it happens just when I was beginning to feel better than I had in years.  

It isn't easy coming up with something to write about every day, so I might skip a day or two now and then during the next few weeks.  I'm ok and will still check in if I have something to say.  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Welcome rain

Although I feel differently when it rains I know we need it desperately so I'm glad it's been raining off and on.  Right now an ominous dark cloud is hovering overhead but I can see the clearing further to the west.  

I just haven't been energetic at all today - didn't get dressed and went back to bed after lunch.  I will be so glad to get this surgery over with although I wonder about the recovery period.

In deciding that I couldn't travel anywhere this year I completely forgot that I have to go to South Dakota to renew my drivers license before November.  I think I can get it renewed up to 180 days prior so I won't have to deal with SD in November.  I don't know whether to fly or to drive, and if I drive then which office would be the best to get the license.  I'd like to go to one of the smaller towns such as Mobridge rather than someplace like Rapid City, but if I fly then it will be into Sioux Falls.  

This is a note to "Sunny Smiles" who left a comment on yesterday's post.  Sunny, you mentioned you have a blog of your own, and I'd like to read it if you would pass along the website.  Thanks.

I'm hoping to have a better day tomorrow.

Oh crap!  About 5 minutes after I published this post we've been issued a tornado warning.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The sun was shining this morning so I did a load of wash.  By the time I was across the street hanging it on the line, the overcast skies looked pretty dismal.  I hung it all up anyway and the sun has been out again for most of the morning.  Just another hour or so will do it.

I just took a batch of blueberry muffins out of the oven.  The cookbook said each muffin was 195 calories, but then I noticed that the recipe was for 12 muffins.  I used a large muffin tin which yields 6 large muffins, and the calorie count would be double!  I don't worry about it now, but realize the day will come when I'll have to get back to a a few less calories a day.  I don't think it will be difficult to do that and I'll feel a lot better when I eat a little less.

The next 2 days are predicted to be rainy and I won't complain, but the the warm sunny days in the 70's have been so wonderful.

My surgery is scheduled for 2 wks from today, and it can't get here soon enough.  I'm starting to notice a few little pains here and there that are probably related to the hernia, although it's possible that my imagination is working overtime.

The mudslide in Washington is turning out to be horrific - there are now 176 persons unaccounted for.  Between the mudslide and the still unsolved airplane disappearance the news is pretty grim. 

Jeannie has arranged a visit to Straw Hat Pizza this Saturday evening.  I will enjoy the meal and of course, the draft beer.  I am in the mood for a couple of mugs of beer - on St. Pat's day I only drank two bottles of non-alcoholic beer.  On the one hand I think about having a beer quite often, and on the other I simply don't want it. 

I just ate one of the blueberry muffins and it was the best I've ever made.  I'll be snacking on another one or two of them today, and probably have the remainder tomorrow.  

I have the TV on and they keep running a commercial that says "If you are current on your mortgage payment, you deserve thanks."  I have never heard of anything so stupid in my life - anyone who is current on their mortgage is only doing what is right.  I'm not saying that a whole lot of people who are behind on their payments don't have a good reason, but "thanks" for paying on time?  Ridiculous!  I guess I should quit on that note - quit watching TV and quit blogging for today!


Monday, March 24, 2014


At 5 yrs of age I entered 1st grade in Sep. 1946.  All through grade school I was very good in arithmetic, and still usually do the math in my head, and then check my figures on paper if it's important to me.  The only time I use a calculator is to figure the fuel cost of a trip - miles / estimated mileage x estimated cost of fuel per gallon. 

But I really wish I had paid more attention in high school math classes - algebra and geometry.  I barely passed these classes, which probably has more to do with my state of mind and the anguish of being in high school, than with my innate intelligence.  I hated high school!  The same with science - as freshmen we had to take physical science which turned out to be biology, taught by the most boring and uninspiring teacher in the school.

When I worked for the COE as a management analyst, my job involved correlation and regression analysis, so I took an Army course plus a college class in algebra, and I loved it.  Was pretty good at it too.

Where am I going with this?  I have been glued to the TV as many people no doubt are, watching the unfolding of the search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight. I just wish I could wrap my head around the math regarding air speeds and locations arrived at by radar pings and Inmarstat, etc.  Why was I so sure in high school that I would never ever need to use algebra or geometry in real life?

Speaking of the Malaysian airliner fate, it looks like technology has trumped over decency and good taste.  The families were notified BY TEXT MESSAGE??? of the fate of their loved ones.

I bought myself a gallon of vanilla ice cream this morning plus some chocolate syrup, but forgot the whipped cream.  It will be tasty anyway.

Yesterday was "walk 3 miles day", and tonight is "work out at the gym evening".  I probably can't make anything worse, but I'll try to avoid anything too strenuous.

I should go out and check the weed situation, but it hurts to lean over and pull them.   

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Do-nothing Saturday

I'm going to laze around today, although I did go to the farmers market about an hour ago.  

It occurred to me while driving to the market, that I have vision problems, can't hear some sounds as well as I used to, am trying to gain weight and get healthy, and now am facing another surgery.  I should be feeling like crap because everything is against me.  For some reason I don't think I've ever been happier!  Of course I hope I will have a quick and easy recovery, but I can deal with whatever happens.  This is so unlike the old me who needed to be in complete control of my life.  Kinda scary, if you ask me.

I am very pleased with my dentist and the work he is doing and is planning.  Yes, it is much more expensive than if I used a dentist in Los Algodones, which is about 650 miles from where I live.  I sure don't feel like driving that far, finding a dentist and a place to stay while undergoing treatment, especially at a time when the heat is going to be a factor in the southwest.  It's one thing if you are a snowbird living in an RV and in the vicinity to begin with, but I think it would be more than I could deal with just to make the trip right now.  And as I've mentioned, I have an incredibly wonderful dentist about 2 miles away.

Another thing I would like to say is that I love my current header picture, and it makes me feel good every time I see it.  That was such a magical moment for me, seeing all those
 bison so close up.  When I finally get to a place when I can take another scenic picture, I will do it.  I'm not sure why, maybe it's the Mac I use, but I have such a problem sizing the header picture and am not motivated to change it as often as some do.

I admit to watching a lot more TV since the Malaysian plane disappeared.  I have the TV on now and just saw a commercial featuring the Aflac duck!  It isn't as clever as the old commercials, but I'm glad to see the duck again anyway.

Hope everyone has a good weekend.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Surgery Date Set

My hernia surgery will take place on April 8; outpatient but with a general anesthetic.

The doctor didn't think that exercise was responsible - he said it was weak tissue.  I asked him if that was due to my age and he agreed that tissue weakens with age.  I can still work out prior to surgery (although I will definitely be less strenuous) and it sounds like a 6 wk post op where I can't lift anything over a certain amount, so I'll just have to be less active at that time.

I think by June (when Lassen opens) I can do some car camping, and possibly light backpacking later on in the summer.  It's almost too hot by then, but maybe I can find some trails that are in the forest.  It will just depend on how I feel and the state of my recovery, and I know better than to "push it".

The first thing that happened after I checked in is that a nurse put me on a scale - I weighed in at 120.3!!!   I haven't weighed 120 for so long and I'm thrilled.  Now for 10, maybe even 15 more pounds, although it might be more difficult during the time around my surgery.  Damn, I'm feeling good!

It is sunny and in the upper 70's, where it will stay until next Tuesday when we might have rain.  We desperately need the rain, but in the meantime I sure do love days like these.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

More dental work

Today I went in for what I thought would be a filling and an extraction, but the dentist wanted to try to save the tooth rather than pull it, and I readily agreed.  It is a lot more expensive that way, and will require a root canal.  Today he did some preliminary work to see if it could be saved, plus filled the adjacent molar.  This is going to cost me several thousand dollars and there goes any vacation travel I may have been able to do.  It is also going to cut into some of the more expensive backpacking gear I wanted to buy, but since backpacking is on the back burner until I see about the hernia, I don't want to buy anything more.  I have everything I need for setting up a base camp in a campground, and then doing day hikes from there.  It's a little different but the logic is still the same - "If ya can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with".

I have never been to a dentist as good as this one.  Normally I work myself into such a state, find myself clenching my hands, and really just terrified.  I don't have that reaction with this guy and have no pain or worry.   

Now I have to get myself psyched for the visit with the surgeon tomorrow.  I'm going to ask him about the possibility of doing some specific yoga in order to avoid surgery.  I can imagine what the response to that will be, but who knows.  I don't really want surgery if I can help it.

I have been mesmerized by the unfolding events surrounding the disappearance of the plane from Malaysia.  You sure can waste a lot of time watching repeats of the same information on TV.  I still hope the plane is found on land somewhere, with at least some of the crew and passengers still alive.  No doubt that is a very long shot.

Thanks FlowerGirl for the suggestion for setting out safflower seeds for the birds because squirrels don't like it.  I think that's what I used to get for the mourning doves and haven't noticed any around where I live, but maybe other birds will like it as well.  Next time I get to Lowe's or Home Depot...   My new hummingbird feeder has been up for 24 hours but I haven't seen a visitor yet.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I had a wonderful corned beef & cabbage dinner last night with Jeannie & her family.  I think maybe Donald threw some Guinness into the pot and it sure was tasty.  I brought some home and just had it for my lunch.

I needed to make a trip to Costco today and while there thought about buying a couple of lemon trees.  They don't have many left, and the ones they have don't look all that good.  Maybe with some TLC, but I don't know the first thing about tending citrus trees, so I decided to think about it some more.  I should wait until I have help loading it into the back of my vehicle, and unloading it here at my house.  

I stopped at Home Depot and bought a hummingbird feeder and can't wait to set it up.  I once read that you should boil the water before adding the sugar and setting it out for the birds, so that's what I do.  I am waiting for it to cool so I can hang it up and ring the dinner bell for the hummers.  It will probably take them a couple of days or so to notice it and start visiting my place.  I'd also like to get a regular bird feeder but don't feel like dealing with the squirrels that are sure to come.  For some reason they make me really angry, and I don't want to be angry.

Joe, my youngest, is going to again drive me to the dentist on Thursday and pick me up afterwards.  I didn't really feel anything but relaxed and mellow from the valium I took the last time, but I suppose I shouldn't drive.  It's only about a mile or two from my house, the the traffic is always heavy.

Joe also offered to take me to my appointment with the surgeon on Friday, but I got a lot of papers in the mail from the Med Center yesterday, one of which advised me to be prepared to be there for 2-3 hrs.  I have no idea what could take that long, but I can drive myself so I don't have to make anyone wait around for me.

On my way to Costco I thought about buying another case of Ensure; it is expensive, even at Costco prices, and I thought to myself how nice it would be if the product was on sale.  I walked up to the aisle where it's located and darned if they didn't have it for $5 off a case!  I love it when that happens, and it often does.

I had missed the second installment of Cosmos, but I knew they show re-runs fairly often so I looked and found it on NatGeo last night.  I'm hoping to catch it again - sometimes it is easier to understand scientific facts the more often you hear them.

I guess I'll spend an hour or so working outside this afternoon.  I still have windows to wash! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

A little more energy today

The increased energy is due in part to the fact that I got a lot of exercise yesterday - walked 3 miles at Mather Field, and worked out at the gym.  I'm not doing some of the exercises that I've included in the past - anything I think will affect the hernia is out, at least until I discuss it with the doctor.  There is still plenty I can do and enjoy.

If you don't mind some more photos from the past I scanned a few from a spring trip to the Smoky Mountains.  The first picture is from such an elevation that the "smoky fog" makes mountain tops seem like islands in the snow.

The next 6 are spring wildflowers; can you see the dewdrops in the 3rd picture?

Here is a typical shelter you find in the Smokies.  There are wooden platforms on two levels to accommodate the large number of hikers who stay in them.  In fact, it's mandatory to stay in a shelter some places in the Smokies, but of course if it is full then you see tents around the perimeter of the shelter.  Note the protective wire to keep the bears out.  Too bad there isn't anything to keep mice out - they are horrible in the shelters.

Note that I haven't camped in the backcountry for a number of years and the rules have changed, including a requirement for reserations at some of the shelter.  I always preferred the backcountry and camping alongside a babbling brook.

Walking behind a waterfall:
The only wildflower I can positively name after all these years is the trillium.  I must have taken a hundred pictures of trilliums over several spring hikes, of all sizes and colors.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Photos, Cont'd.

I thought I'd post some more pictures from my backpacking days.  I hope it isn't too boring, but it can't be as bad as hearing about my aches and pains, and weight gain issues!  Unfortunately, my life isn't very exciting at the present time, and it's fun for me to look back to when I was younger, more fit, and capable.  I'm still the same person only older, wiser, and slower!

This is a picture of Smoky in the tent, and for some reason he looks brown rather than the inky black that was his true color.  Something in the light, or maybe the film developing.

The next three are taken in Grayson Highlands, VA.  In the first picture the wild ponies spotted us about the same time that Smoky spotted them.  The air was electric with their curiosity, and finally they inched towards each other for a sniff. 

The next two pictures were taken at McAfee's Knob, near Roanoke, VA.  I can't believe we got so close to the edge and looked so nonchalant about our surroundings.  The 2nd picture shows another hiker and me standing on the precipice so you can see that Smoky & I were just about in the thin air!

I did some car camping with Guy in the Shenandoah a few months after I had to stop hiking.  One time we stayed at Big Meadows campground, and another we threw down our sleeping bags on the edge of a cliff!  I graciously let Guy have the cliff side while I took the side towards the woods.

During the following year a friend of mine and I went to Vermont where she had always wanted to hike.  This was taken in Vermont.

Cheryl loved a campfire.  I stayed away from them because they made me so dehydrated I would get a headache!

This is me in front of the 3-sided wooden shelter (or lean-to as they are called in the northeast).

And another Vermont scene:

I did fairly well on that trip, but Cheryl was such a slow hiker that it was a pretty easy 50 miles for me.  She died in about 2006 from multiple strokes, still in her late 50's I believe.  

I loved listening to the coyotes from the shelter in Vermont - I had heard them in many previous campsites, but never so close.  I could listen to them all night, but I am hopeful that some day I may get to hear wolves howling.

That's enough for today, I think.  I've had so much fun going through old photos.  I know that having them online is a streamlined way to keep pictures nowadays, but I still love my old albums and ziplock bags full of pictures and stuffed into shoe boxes.  Just holding the picture in my hand transports me back in time and place.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

More Photos

I scanned a few more pictures from my backpacking days, and I may have to post them a few at a time.

First of all I hae done a lot of thinking about my plans this year and realize that the hernia repair may make it difficult to realize my goals, at least during spring and summer.  Maybe fall, but who knows.  I'm sure there will be a more lengthy recovery period than I would like, and I just have to accept it gracefully.  Where gallbladder surgery patients often go back to work after a few days, it took me well over a month, and probably closer to two, to feel like doing anything!  I expect an even more difficult recovery from the hernia, but who knows.

So the answer may be to drive to a campground and set up camp, then hike for a few hours before returning to camp.  I could carry a pack with less weight - maybe just things like snacks, water, jacket, etc., but not the full burden of a backpacking trip.  I may have to be satisfied with that.

The first two pictures are of Smoky and me when we began our trip at Springer Mtn. GA; I weighed about 139# and think I look pretty healthy!  The following pic was taken 3 months later, 20# less, about a week before I left the Appalachian Trail with severe chronic bursitis.  (Click picture to enlarge)

This one was taken at Bly Gap in NC; and the next was at Hot Springs NC.  I left Smoky back at the motel catching up on his sleep.

And here is me on Rocky Top, TN.

Two more are taken on Bald Mtn in NC.  It is not known why no trees or vegetation grows on these hills which are called "balds".  The last picture is in rural VA, which seemed so open and pretty after being mostly in the trees.

I have a few more scanned photos that I will post tomorrow.  

We are expecting the temp to climb up to 78 degrees today with full sun.  I need to get dressed and get out of the house!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday--rhymes with Pi Day!

First of all I have to mention that today is "Pi Day", which is
celebrated on March 14th (3/14) around the world. Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159.  I think the name "Pi Day" has a nice, snappy sound.  I'm no mathematician and never did understand what Pi is all about though.

There have been questions about my post yesterday and the possibility that I may carry a 40# backpack this summer.  I hope it is much less although I won't know until I get a few more of the larger items.  So far out of the "big four", I have the following:  Tent 4#.8 oz.  I may be able to reduce this weight by a few ounces, by substituting titanium stakes (which I already have) for the heavier stakes that came with the tent.  My sleeping bag is 3#.  No way would I even think about getting a lighter weight bag, as this is the warmest and most comfortable sleeping bag ever.  Thermarest pad is 1# 3oz; there are lighter ones out there, but I've mentioned that I want a full length pad and won't settle for anything less.  I don't have the pack yet, but hope it will be in the neighborhood of 3#.  Those are the big four, and mine will weigh in at about  12-14#.  Ultralight backpackers carry about 15# base weight, plus food and water.

Then I need a stove, fuel, water filter, flashlight, compass & maps, water bottles, bug repellant, personal items such as toothbrush, etc.  Depending on the rules for where I hike I may be required to carry a bear cannister to store food and personal items - anything that would attract bears.  Those cannisters can weigh up to 3#.  So I will be lucky to total up to 20 or 25# base weight.

Water weighs 8.3# per gallon; I haven't determined yet what kind of food I will carry.  Mountain House and other such companies make some good backpacking dinners that you just add boiling water to, and they can be eaten right out of the package.  They are expensive, and the weight of the packages adds up.  Add clothing (you count the weight of what you wear, including your boots, etc., so you can see where I can easily approach 40# total.

This is why many backpackers try to shave ounces off wherever they can, some even going so far as to trim the handles of their toothbrushes!  I have never done that and never will, but I'll look for other ways to reduce weight.  I'll carry the lightest and smallest camera I own, but I may have to leave my cellphone behind!  I won't bring technology on a backpacking trip because for one thing, then you have to add a solar charger; I've read journals of hikers who have well over 5# of technology but go ultralight on things that compromise their comfort.  Does that make no sense to anyone but me?

Those of you who live and travel in RV's will enjoy way more comfortable travel than I will, but I will be traveling in places you can't reach.  There is a trade-off for everything.  What I'll miss most of all is my black lab, Smoky, who was the best hiking companion anyone could ask for.

My post yesterday mentioned a trip I made to Linville Gorge, NC, where I saw the ghostly lights.  Here is the bottom of the Gorge in daylight.

And here is Guy, photographing a waterfall.  We camped near this spot.

I have a few more pictures I will scan and post tomorrow.  On second thought after viewing these scanned pictures on the finished blog, I might not post more.  The photographs I have in my hand are beautiful - color is good and everything in the pictures is distinguishable.  I can't take as good a photo in digital as I can with a plain old film camera, but they lose everything when scanned digitally.  What a shame.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

REI Class

I arrived at REI early yesterday so that I could look at backpacks.  I spoke with one of the reps and decided that I need to get more of an idea how much weight I will carry, to determine the size and composition of the pack.  Usually the light and ultralight packs have a lower limit on how much you can carry in them - probably because they are more unstructured.  I could never be an "ultralight backpacker" because at my age I don't want to give up some of the comforts that wouldn't bother a younger and healthier person.  For example, to save weight and space they will often use a thinner pad under the sleeping bag, and in most cases will opt for a 3/4 pad.  That leaves my bony ankles on the hard surface, and although some can get by with just putting some clothing bunched up under their lower legs and feet, I don't intend to do that.

So the class last night was well attended, and almost all had never been backpacking before.  Several had trips planned - one couple is going to hike the El Camino in Spain this summer, and another is going to Costa Rica.  The presenter had  a slide show she worked from with facts and pictures on the basics of backpacking.  Around the room were displayed everything from boots to packs, to water pumps/purifiers/to stoves, to sleeping bags, etc.  She covered every item, and it was interesting to me to see some of the lighter weight gear.  I can't say I learned anything new about backpacking but I saw some very nice lightweight gear.  Unfortunately the good stuff is also more expensive.  

I had just about decided to hike in trail runners/walkers, such as the $20 Filas from Costco.  The more I think about it, it would work for hiking but not while carrying +/-40# on my back.  So I need new boots.  But if I buy a $200-250 pair of boots I wouldn't want to wear them to Lassen where the volcanic dust and soil would trash them, so I will no doubt use my old pair for that trip.  All in all the "class" gave me a lot to think about.  It was free, and I'd say I got my money's worth.

I am determined to set up my new tent with stakes and fly this weekend.  Barb of Katie and Me
asked about my tent door as she thought it may be one of the new ones that doesn't use a zipper - I think it is a magnetic closure or similar.  My tent does have a zipper on the door, however, and after my experience with the crappy zips on my big tent, I just hope this one lasts longer.

At the risk of making this post too long, I will also respond to Sherry's comment that she would like to leave the fly off the tent and look at the stars.  A lot of years back I was in Linville Gorge Wilderness (NC) with my backpacking buddy, Guy.  We had hiked down into the gorge and stopped for the night near a lovely waterfall, but there wasn't much space for tents.  Guy wanted to just roll out his sleeping bag in a sort of cave-like area of a cliff, while I set up my tent very near the trail about 100 feet away.  

Before falling asleep I saw the light of a flashlight(?) through the tent fly, and it stopped right by my tent, dancing and waving around and around, shining into the tent.  Of course I couldn't see who was carrying the light, so I called out "Guy, is that you".  There was no answer and the waving light continued for another half minute or so, and then abruptly stopped.  I didn't think it would be another hiker as this area had been let go to wilderness and the trails weren't in any condition to hike on in the dark, but I figured I might as well go to sleep.  I asked Guy about it the next morning and he said he went right to sleep and didn't see or hear a thing.  Later I read that the area is haunted, and that people have been seeing the lights for a century or so.  So Sherry, although I like to see the stars, I don't want to be so vulnerable in the darkness that I would be totally exposed to any passer-by, of this world or another!  I'll just check out the stars before I climb into my tent which will be covered by the rainfly!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

New tent

I figured I'd better try setting my new tent up this afternon since I'll be going to the class at REI in a few hours, and if I had a big problem with the tent I could return it at that time.  I set it up on the driveway and it took me about 3 minutes.  That's just for the tent though, and the fly would take another minute or two, and would need to be staked.  In the following picture you can see the door on the long side of the tent, which will make getting in and out much easier.  When the fly goes on the tent two pieces of it zip down the side and get staked, making a triangular shaped vestibule where I can cook in rainy weather, store my pack and any other gear.  (Click to enlarge photos.)

I always kept mine and Smoky's packs inside the tent at the very back end.  I will have plenty of room for the pack, even if I should get another dog to hike with (not likely).  This about 3# lighter than the tent it's replacing, the one I posted many pictures of from my trip last year.  I think I will like this one, and I hope I can use it soon to see how it works in practice.

My doctor has put a "reference" in for me to see a specialist, and I will be called about an appointment, tomorrow I hope.

I'm slowly working on the weeds and have made good progress in the back, but the side will be a little more difficult.  There is a house a few doors down where they tore out any lawn that had been there - it's a corner lot so has nice space - and put down artificial turf!  The first year I lived here I thought it was crazy, but I am getting to see the benefits.  They have a nice patio set with umbrella, and when I used to walk Lady and stopped to chat - they would be sitting under the umbrella sipping their drinks!  My back yard is unusable, but it would feel very closed in no matter what I did with it.

I still haven't figured out which route I should take to get to REI.  The class is at 7pm, and no matter how I look at it I am going to run into a lot of traffic.  I wish I could figure out what to eat before I leave, but I'm simply not hungry.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


The only thing I've done today was to get a haircut.  So when I got back home I decided to tackle the weeds, pulling the big ones and then using the spray.  I made a dent in the job but still have a long way to go.  When I came inside I needed to wash my hands from whatever spray and weeds I've touched (although I did use gloves most of the time), and I laughed when I remembered how my grandchildren sing the ABC song to make sure they soap up their hands for long enough.  Did you hear me singing?

I looked at the 10-day weather forecast for my area and note that then entire time will be mostly sunny and in the mid to upper 70's.  I wish I knew if this was going to be the norm, if we will soon have a heatwave, or if rain and snow will surprise us before the end of March.

Good workout last night although I did cut it a bit short.  I've decided that when I'm doing any exercise and experience pain I will stop that exercise.  And best of all, I weighed 119#.  Fifteen more would make me ecstatic as well as a little more curvy :-)

I haven't heard from my Dr. today as yet.  She wasn't in the office yesterday so probably only got my msg today.  I hope I hear something soon.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Second Day

It's the 2nd day of this year's daylight savings time.  I feel so disoriented I am just sitting around doing not much of anything today.  I wanted to return some books and DVD's to the library, get some cash from the credit union, and maybe visit Barnes & Noble and look at books.

As it is I think I will sit tight for a while.  If Jeannie can go to the gym this evening then that will be the best thing I can do, but in the meantime I can't even think straight.  From experience I know getting adjusted to just one little hour's difference in the time will last me a week.  Ironically, when I drive across the country I change time zones three times each way, and don't have any problem with it in either direction.

I "Cosmos'ed out" yesterday, watching a couple hours of reruns of the old series, and then watched the new one twice!  I like both of them and will try to not compare them as they were done 34 (?) years apart, but I think I prefer the older space ship and don't care for the animation in the newer version.  But of course the producers of the new series will use techniques that are new and available to them today.

After giving it a lot of consideration I sent a msg to my doctor asking her to refer me to a hernia specialist.  After studying up on the problem I find there is absolutely no alternative treatment to surgery; I might go a long time with no problems without the surgery, but on the other hand I could have problems next week.  I'd like to get a specialists' opinion, and then see if it could be scheduled so as not to completely destroy my spring/summer plans.  What a joke that is - the medical people certainly don't care about accommodating anyone's plans.  A lot will depend on the estimated recovery period, and what I can and can't do during that time.  It's just a thought and I'm not sold on surgery right now, but feel I ought to get enough information to give it some consideration.

I bought some weed killer over the weekend and I should start spraying the weeds while the sun is out.  I bought a dispenser that runs on batteries, but when I think about it I don't want to have to read assembly directions to do something like spray weeds.  Why does everything get more complicated as it gets "easier to use".  I'm sure the sprayer will be easier once it's running, but I don't want to have to think about doing anything except pulling the trigger.

Yesterday I decided to update my Mac OX operating system.  Expecting either a hassle in doing the update, or looking at something totally foreign to me, I was surprised at how easy it went and nothing looks different.  I hadn't installed any upgrades for at least a year - which tells you how great the Mac can be when it comes to security.  Today I tried to do the same on my Imax, but evidently the username and password are different for that computer. Since I don't use the computer for much except playing solitaire and storing a whole lot of my pictures and iTunes, I guess it really won't matter all that much.  I'm totally fed up with all the password crap, and have thought more than once about having a master password for everything.

Guess I should give the weed sprayer a try. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014


I've been excited for the past few weeks about the new Cosmos series which begins this evening at 8pm PDT.  I was surprised today when I was surfing the channels and came across NatGeo's reruns of the original Cosmos series hosted by Carl Sagan. It was breathtaking, and I hope the updated series will be so.  The previews of it indicate there will be a lot of animated stories and explanations, and I hope cutesy animation  doesn't get in the way of my enjoyment of the series.  Of course younger people won't have any problem with it, but I think of animation as cartoons, as that was what was animated in my younger years.  No matter, it will be great to see a serious program based on scientific knowledge as opposed to some of the pseudo scientific programs often shown.

Jeannie and I walked yesterday, just two miles because she had to take Autumn to her indoor soccer game.  But the 2 miles took just a smidgen over half an hour, which is an avg of 4 mph.  I kept up with Jeannie which makes me feel good, although she may have been allowing me to keep up with her!

I set my clocks up an hour last night and went to bed early, but I still feel like I've missed something and I'm tired.  I don't know why we have to go through this period of time warp twice a year, especially when there are differences of opinon on whether it saves energy or not, or whether it is good for us.


Friday, March 7, 2014

I'm Good to Go!

My doctor checked the hernia and said it didn't require surgery at this time unless I wanted it, and agreed that I could use an Ace Bandage (she even gave me two of them).  The big problem with the bandage is that it slips out of place and ends up tight around my waist, so I will look for an alternative.

She agreed that I could do most any kind of exercise, but cautioned me as to the amount of weight I lift, for example lifting two heavy suitcases.  I haven't been doing that kind of lifting and will be very careful about how I work out.  I am filled with joy!!!

I have a low red blood count which has been a lingering problem, and I take two iron tabs a day even so.  We went over some food choices, although discussing food nearly makes me ill - I am sick of eating, and by Noon I usually feel like I don't want another bite until the next day.

I also have a borderline thyroid problem, but I don't want to take medication for it so she said we will retest by the end of summer.  She knows how I feel about tests and specialists - they reduce the quality of my life!  My cholesterol is perfect!

It turns out my doctor is a backpacker herself, so I think she understands my eagerness to get out on the trail as well as to be physically prepared for it.

So I am good to go!  I'm signed up for a class in backpacking at REI on the 12th - it will likely be more for beginners but I can learn a lot since I haven't carried a pack for about 15 years.  I hope I can be smart about it as well as prepared to hit the trail, hopefully in late April or May.  There will still be snow in many areas, but I'll find an area without it!

Speaking of snow, I was driving home (east) on Fwy 50 and the beautiful snow topped Sierras came into view.  What a gorgeous sight, but then any mountain is pretty gorgeous to me.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

It's a good day

It's good because I'm feeling good!  That may change tomorrow depending on what my doctor tells me.

I decided to get another pair of Fila's at Costco today while they still have some.  This time I got the pink shoelaces & trim.  I felt like $20 shoes (even at Costco's price) won't last me forever so I may as well have a spare on hand.  I took a picture of both pairs, and you can see I took one of the pink insoles from my "old" pair and tried it in the new.  The insoles really make a difference.

Knowing how much yard work I need to do, and not having any gardening gloves, I was an easy sell for Costco's gloves - the kicker is that they come in a pkg. of six, but for the low price of $6.99.  I won't live long enough to wear out 6 prs of gardening gloves, especially since I dislike gardening in California.

I took a few photos of the weeds I'm dealing with, and this is after I paid a hefty price to have some new sheeting laid down last year and new gravel spread.  The gravel was spread so thin that the sheeting shows through in many spots.  I feel so stupid for thinking I would get decent work done.  If I ever hire someone again they will have to have at least 5 recommendations I can verify.  That's a big reason why I'm not handing money over to a roofer!  They see an old lady and figure it's as good as a license to steal.

I hit the jackpot on the gym's scale last night - I have now gained back all the weight I lost being ill and in the hospital.  I am up to 118.6!  Now for the next 15 or 20.  I'm beginning to see a big difference in how I look and feel.

The mailman delivered a box to me this afternoon, and I think it is the device that converts UHF to DVD.  I'm hoping I don't have to worry about doing it myself - with all the younger minds in the family who can read directions, I shouldn't have to.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

I was fasting this morning so got myself ready to leave for the lab in very short order.  The waiting room was crowded - usually I go in the middle of the day and get in within 5 or 10 min.  But once they take you back it goes quickly - 3 vials of blood doesn't take long!

I watched Keira today as Joe is attending a Respiratory Conference at Lake Tahoe (what a location!) until Friday, so he dropped her off and Sarah just picked her up.  I asked him if he was taking his snowboard, and he said "I wish".

Here is a pic I snapped of Keira.  The two small notebooks with doggie pictures on the cover are sitting on the table, and note that the rings are on the right side.  I kept flipping the books over because in my mind the front cover has the rings on the left.  She kept flipping them back and then I realized she is a "leftie"!  When I showed her the picture she immediately noticed that she put on mis-matched socks this morning.  Three year olds are so much fun.

I tried to take the picture quickly before she noticed, and it isn't the best quality.  Click to enlarge.  The old area rug in the background isn't supposed to be there, but one day when the rain was blowing every which way I found a lot of water under the swamp cooler vent.  I left the rugs there ever since because I know we will have more rain.

I made an appointment to see my doctor on Friday about the hernia - man, is it ever enlarging fast.  I still don't think they often do surgery on umbilical hernias so I'm hoping I can avoid it.  Under no circumstances do I want to be anything other than an out-patient.  I hate hospitals and can't eat while I'm there, which led to my exaggerated weight loss a few weeks ago.  On my way to the gym this evening I'm planning to stop at a Rite Aid and get a wide ace bandage; if it holds it in and I am comfortable, then I've solved my problem!  This thing doesn't hurt by the way.

It has been overcast all day, but we might have sun for the next 3 days.  Even with a shower now and then I want to see the sun.  But then we go back to rain.  I don't know why the "experts" are saying that all this rain and snow doesn't help with the drought conditions, but maybe it prevents an even worse drought.  Flowering trees are in bloom everywhere and weeds are growing like crazy.

Thanks to Jo for the comment mentioning Spectricide.  I think I will get some tomorrow and try it out.  Last year I used Roundup, and then a homemade mixture of vinegar & salt, and I think the weeds are worse than ever.  That's going to be a lot of backbreaking work, and the park police start their lot inspections around April 1st.  It seems like they just finished - I didn't do half the stuff on their list!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Haven't gotten much done today except I did watch the library DVD's on Yellowstone and the Tetons.  Of the two parks there is something about the Tetons that draws me in.  Yellowstone has plenty of beauty but I'm not crazy about the geothermal attractions.  I've seen the ones at Lassen a couple of times and while they are interesting I don't really care for them.

My doctor put in the order for blood tests, but I will have to  be fasting for them.  I should try for it tomorrow and then get an appointment to see her on Friday if one is available.  The hernia is getting bigger.  I tried to find out online if I could just wrap an ace bandage around my middle to hold it in when I'm active, but can't really find a definitive answer.  I don't think they do surgery for umbilical hernias unless there is a lot of pain involved.  I have some discomfort, but not pain.  After all I've been through, why does this have to happen to me!  It isn't going to keep me from doing what I want to do.

I'm watching one of my granddaughters tomorrow afternoon for about 3 hrs.  I bought some new coloring books, a cute notebook for each kid, some small clipboards (they all love clipboards!), but I have hidden the markers & Sharpies.  I don't buy the washable kind and no matter how careful they try to be the ink always gets on something.

I notice that the NatGeo channel will be carrying the new and updated re-make of Carl Sagan's Cosmos series.  I'm looking forward to that as I remember watching Sagan when he presented the original series.  I wish they had done it on public tv though, because any of the other channels devote almost as much time to commercials as they do to their programming.

It must be a bit warmer today because I don't have to run my little heater whenever I sit down, but it doesn't feel all that much warmer outside.  Looks like we will have rain tomorrow again, and then maybe a couple of days with sunshine before the rains fall on the weekend.  I don't like wishing even a few days of my remaining life away, but I think I will enjoy and welcome April!  


Monday, March 3, 2014

Monday again!

I should offer a correction on my post about Ara's new job.  I called it a Camp, but the name of the place is actually Camphill.  It is a school for autistic, physically, and developmentally disadvantaged people.  The school grounds cover many acres and has 8 residences, one of which will be where Ara will work.  The school has a cafe on the grounds, and students can work there gaining skills, knowledge, and responsibilities for when they graduate.  Many of the graduates of the school stay on and live in one of the residences.  (Ara, if you read this and want to correct or clarify anything, please do so.)  There is so much more I don't know enough about to delve into, but anyone interested in learning more can click on this link to the school's website:

Yesterday was a day of shopping with Jeannie and Arianna (Donald took Autumn to a skating party.)  I was worn out after a few hours, but when we finally got to the gym in the evening I revived pretty quickly.  The main problem with being away from home for so long is that I miss meals and snacks - calories!  The scale at the gym registered 116# which made me want to cry.  That's only an 11# gain from when I left the hospital, and I am so tired of always having to think about eating, to say nothing about the fact that I am usually uncomfortably full for a number of hours in the day.

Enough complaining for now - I feel physically and mentally great, which is largely due to the exercise.

I'm looking forward to my class at REI in a little over a week.  It is probably more for beginner backpackers, but I've been away from it for so long I figure there are lots of new things I can learn, to say nothing of updated gear!

I don't know where to start today - guess I'll do laundry.  I wonder when I'll ever get back to sorting out my camping and traveling gear.  At least the maps are organized. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Easy Saturday

I hope I'm back on track with my sleeping patterns now - I woke up at 8 am which is perfect for me.  Now I won't have to nap today.

I mentioned that my granddaughter found her dream job, and I suppose I should elaborate a little on it.  In the first year after her graduation from college she worked with autistic adults, and found that she loved it and was very good at it.  Since moving to Philadelphia last summer she has had trouble finding something she really loved at a salary she could live on.

She will be working at a camp for autistic adults as a "housemother" with three (I think) adults in her charge.  She will live there and be on call 24/7 for 3 days a week, and then off 4 days, and is hoping she will have some time to devote to artistic endeavors that she might also get income from.  

This job will also allow her to attend seminars and add to her resume, and she is doing something she really loves.  You can't beat that!

Speaking of grandchildren, I have to laugh when the little ones are over to visit.  When one of them uses the bathroom I can hear them singing the ABC song - "a-b-c-d-e-f-g", etc.  I guess it's a way to make sure they spend enough time washing their hands which is pretty clever.  The two older ones who are in school no longer sing aloud, but the 3 younger ones sing heartily!

I ended up buying an 8-pc stackable storage set (plastic bins) for my maps and such.  They are much bigger than shoe boxes and I've already sorted and put my maps in 3 different boxes, got out my labeler, and have the labels printed and applied.  Now to tackle the rest of the room, which I'm not looking forward to as it's a small room to begin with and contains camping gear that takes up a lot of space.  I also have a large desk and comfy executive office chair in there.  I still would like to have another bookshelf, but I'm not going to pay a whole lot for a cheap one - I'd like to find a cheap one for a good cheap price!

I got my rent bill yesterday and nearly fell over!  The rent has gone up a few dollars but the utilities are way more than I've paid for a long time.  I think when I came home from the hospital I decided to run the heating more hours, and indeed I needed to.  Now I'm trying to just get along with my small Lazko heater which I move around to wherever I am in the house.  I also dress in layers and add and subtract according to how warm or cold I am.

The rain yesterday evening was awful.  When I was getting ready to go to bed I noticed a whole lot of water under the swamp cooler.  I know the unit on the roof is covered tightly, but I guess with the wind and rain it just got through somehow.  We had a tornado warning yesterday evening, about 6:30 pm.  It kind of rattled me because I don't associate tornados with this part of the country, and I'm not going anywhere for shelter but will take my chances here in my home.  The announcement did say that residents of mobile homes should seek shelter elsewhere.  I wouldn't have known about it if I hadn't had the TV on, so I guess there is a good reason to have TV service.

Now the sun is out and the streets are dry, but there is rain predicted for later on as well as for the next week.  Even so, the forecasters are saying this won't affect the drought all that much.  I don't understand why it wouldn't affect it - the local channel says that Folsom Lake rose by a foot of water, and now we will have the snowmelt in the spring and early summer.  I'm glad I don't live in Southern CA where the surrounding hills and mountains were burned out, making landslides likely.  That would be just too cruel to need rain that would end up causing a possible loss of your home.

It's 10:30am and I guess I shouldn't sit around in pj's and bathrobe all day, so I'll just wish y'all a good weekend wherever you are.