Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Oh My, What Happened?

After adding a little jog to the walk I did yesterday my legs felt a little sore but I figured like all other pains when I exercise hard, it would go away by the next morning, but my legs hurt from the knees to the ankles and it seems to be getting worse.   I had thought I would go to the gym this evening but will wait until tomorrow.  I guess I found some muscles that I normally don't exercise.  I'm still planning to walk a couple of days a week at least, plus jog part of it.  No pain, no gain as they say.

Today was a Costco day and I went wild with all the fresh fruit grown in California.  I didn't get to the farmers mkt this morning, but recall that one of the farmers had told me they had a really reduced crop of cherries this year due to the drought.  Costco had fresh CA cherries, but they were probably double the cost of last year.  No matter what they cost, I love them and will buy them.  Maybe by the time we get cherries from Oregon and Washington the price will have gone down, but I really don't know if the lack of rain has been a problem for those states.

I can't believe it is nearly June.  Two of my grandkids have birthdays this month, and my grandson in NY had asked me if I would be there for his birthday this year.   I feel so bad that I have to miss it, but there are too many other demands on my money this year leaving very little for travel.  By next year I hope to be rejuvenated to the extent that I can get in the car and drive east, seeing old favorite places along the way.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Feel-good Friday!

I left the gym last night with the key to the hooch cabinet!  Wow, I went to bed feeling terrific, and so far the day is just as good.

I have received a number of comments from folks who would like to exercise but can't get motivated.  If keeping your brain and body healthy isn't motivation enough, it would be good to think (or make up) some sort of other motivating factor.  In my case I had delusions about backpacking again, so I was driven to exercise my upper torso to be able to carry a backpack, as well as my lower torso and legs in order to walk the mountainous terrain I was sure to be hiking on.  I've since realized I am unlikely to ever do more than possibly an overnight trip into the backcountry, but in the meantime I've so enjoyed getting fit and the feelings of well-being that accompany exercise, (actually a sort of "high") that I could never give up now.  I'm motivated to do it for me - to keep myself fit and healthy and active in a measure that is younger than my years.

This morning I got my list of places I need to go to, and started out at AAA to pick up some current California maps, including camping maps.  I forgot that their camping maps are marked in print too light and too small for me to make out, so that was a disappointment, although I have all the books and maps I really need.  Now I need to decide what I want to do, and where and when to do it.

After stopping at a credit union for withdrawal of some cash (I try to not use my debit or credit cards most of the time), I just decided to drive on home.  I can hit some of the other places on my list later today or over the weekend.  Got the marigolds planted but it looks like the oleander isn't going to root - although I'll give it some more time.  The flowers are completely wilted but maybe they can still root?

I need to pick up some velcro to see if I can re-hang the side door screen and keep it from being pulled outward by the airflow.  Joe and the girls were here yesterday and there was so much traffic in and out it was better to just take the screen down.  Joe did a job I had been putting off - clearing out leaves and debris under a platform that covers my utility connections.  It is open on one side and stuff had piled up that I couldn't get out with a broom.  I'm taking a little break from weeding and cutting out the old heather.  Some of it is on my neighbor's side of the line, but he told me a couple of years ago that he didn't mind if I cut it down.  I still hate to do that to what is on his property, but I think I'll mention it to him the next time I see him.  We have to decide what to plant in place of the heather, or what else to do with that patch, or it will be overrun with weeds and there are already enough of those.

Before I ventured out in the car this morning, I walked about a mile around the park.  I came to an old man who was walking down his driveway using a cane and I called out "good morning".  He gave no indication that he saw or heard me, and that's ok.  Next door to him a woman was out watering her lawn and she looked up when she heard me calling out to him.  By the time I got to her I said "hello", and she looked straight at me and then back down at the hose.  Not a word.  Just a little further on I met a woman walking towards me with her little dog - I waved and said "hi".  She looked at me and went on without so much as a nod.  What in the hell is wrong with these people?  I don't think I look sleazy or dangerous, and I just can't figure out what they have to be so snobby about.  I quit walking in the neighborhood a year ago because of this very kind of behavior.  By the way, I jogged about a half a block just to see if I could do it.  Damn, I'm good!  Didn't even breathe heavy.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Home Depot; Exercise

Home Depot was the place to go this morning, and I was a little shocked when I heard the total of my purchases.  First of all, I bought an inexpensive screen "door" that is hung on a tension rod to the door frame.  It certainly won't be better than a proper screen door, but I want to wait and replace the door with a new one that comes with a screen.  I hung the new one in just a few minutes and it does provide some cross ventilation.

I couldn't find my box cutter so I bought a new one - now I'll be sure to find the old one but you can never have too many box cutters!

I got a rake to help with my gardening efforts - a shovel will be necessary but for now I bought a trowel.   The bougainvillea looked so pretty, but I just am not sure where to put it, or even how many to get.  I have cuttings rooted from oleander but they look pretty bad, and I will no doubt have to buy a couple of plants if I decide on oleander.  The one plant that Home Depot has is still there, it's a beautiful white oleander, but the pot seems heavy and the plant is just more than I want to deal with by myself.  

What I got was a bunch of marigolds - they are so easy to plant and I have several places in mind.  I pulled off a couple of spent blossoms and pulled them apart to expose the seeds - after drying them thoroughly for a day, I'll throw them into the ground and see what happens.  A lot of plants sold today are not meant to reproduce.  My mother in law loved marigolds and used to give me a qt mason jar every spring containing marigold seeds.  She kept plenty for herself, so you can imagine how prolific those little flowers can be.

"What Makes Olga Run" is an amazing book, not exactly what I thought it would be.  It goes deep into the various tests that have been done to assess probable longevity.  Olga was 94 at the writing of the book and still going strong.  So far what I get is that we can all avoid some of the worst of the aging process as well as keep our minds intact, by EXERCISE!  A couple of quotes from the book are worth repeating:

"Every minute you push yourself beyond your comfort zone is redeemable as a unit of bliss, and you can coast at least a whole day on it, as locked in as a Zen master on ritalin before it starts slowly wearing off".    I can attest to this!

"The good news is that the effect of exercise does not diminish as we age.  The same level of endorphins is produced, the same high is felt.  Thus does exercise loom, for seniors, as a tantalizing outlet - a reliable pleasure source in a world of diminished pleasures, the keys to the hooch cabinet." 

I love this book, and would recommend it to anyone who thinks getting old is the beginning of the end.  There are a lot of factors involved in our life expectancy, but there is also a lot we can do to increase our chances of living to a good old age and being capable and productive while we are doing it.

I know how good I feel after every workout, and the feeling lasts beyond 24 hours most times.   It's like a runner's high without having to run, although if you prefer to run it is fine - just do something and do it regularly.

Off my soapbox.  The breezes created by having the screen up are pulling it outward and away from the frame.  I will maybe get the duct tape out or I might as well not have a screen at all.  Most of my window screens have holes in them and I'm not bothered by flying insects - an occasional fly gets in, and we've been too dry to worry about mosquitos!

I think I've run on long enough for today.  I want to take a photo of the back of my new dress - I have the dress hanging on a hook on the bathroom door, and it looks so elegant it almost takes my breath away.  I'm not sure I can do it justice.  My sister Julie is getting married in early August and I'm thinking of wearing this dress.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Dinner at my sister's place (Amy)

Amy had me over to her place last night - she marinated brats in beer & onion, and then cooked them on the grill.  Wow - outstanding.  We also had corn on the cob and macaroni salad.  I came home with a container of salad that I will have with my lunch today!  

We both agreed there is nothing like Cincinnati German food!  I'm sure it's the same wherever the Germans settled, but Cincinnati has a special flavor - maybe it's a combination of German-Irish heritage with some Greek and Southern U.S. thrown in.  All I know is that I miss the food.

Amy also let me take cuttings from an oleander bush in her yard.  This morning I went out into my back yard intending to do some weeding, and lo and behold I found a big bush with red flowers - an oleander.  I think this might be the first year it's bloomed since I've been here and I just never noticed it before.  I don't go out into my yard much.  I took cuttings from it as well and have all the cuttings in a pitcher of water hoping they will develop some roots.  I want to plant them along the back fence.

While I was back there I tried to tidy up a bed of heather that is also full of fox tails and next to a demon plant with leaves that sort of look like holly - barbed everywhere.  I cut the branches and then have to be extremely careful handling them.  In the meantime I had to stop for a while because my socks were full of fox tail barbs.  I even got one in my arm which was not pleasant to pull out.  The heather is all woody at the bottom and should probably be pulled out and replaced with something else.  I'm not much of a gardener so I don't know what.

Here is the oleander, and you can see the heather mess to the left:

I recently ordered a dress I saw on one of those never ending selling tv channels.  I fell in love with it at first sight and ordered it.   The package shipped from Nashville on May 20th via UPS and finally arrived today, May 28.  It was shipped several days after I ordered it, so I've been waiting two weeks.  Yesterday I mailed a package at the U.S. Post Office - Sacramento to Philly - and it will arrive in two days!   Even if I sent it ground mail it wouldn't have taken a complete week.  I love the Post Office and think their service is the best - certainly better than UPS or FedEx - at least in any instances I've had to be on the receiving end.

The dress hanging in the bathroom to get any wrinkles out.  I tried it on and it fits perfectly, and drapes beautifully.  Now I have to find some sandals to wear with it.

Oh, and by the way, I mailed my package to Ara at one of the stations manned by a human being inside the post office.  On my way in, I passed people lined up to use the various unmanned kiosks in the lobby.  For myself, I would rather stand in a line to talk to a person than I would to push some buttons on a machine, and in fact there was no line inside and two postal clerks on duty!   I love it when the federal government works as it should!  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Wasting Time

I wasted a lot of time today - first of all I spent over 28 minutes on hold trying to reach Office of Personnel Mgmt to make a change in my tax withholding.  I finally got tired of holding on and hung up, going to their website to make the change.  Since I don't do things on websites if I can talk to a human on the phone, I hadn't used my web account in so long the password had expired.  I emailed asking them to issue me a new password and got a prompt automated reply informing me that they had to check and verify my information after which they would mail a new password to me.  Estimated time was over 15 days.

This afternoon I decided to try again.  This time I got an automated message telling me that the wait time was about 32 minutes, so I decided to just hold on.  I made my lunch and ate it while waiting, wondering what I would do if someone answered while I was chewing a mouthful of sandwich.  But I finished lunch and I think I waited a total of less than 30 minutes to speak with someone.  The person was extremely pleasant and took care of my request very quickly.  I'm so glad I called back and got that taken care of.  I can't complain about waiting 30 minutes (twice) when I think about the patients waiting months at some VA hospitals.  (Not all VA hospitals are like that - my brother in Cincinnati can't say good enough about the VA he goes to, and I think my brother in Milwaukee also gets good and prompt service.)

This morning I sat down with my computer on my lap and a big big mug of coffee in my hand, when I dropped the full mug of coffee.  It went everywhere except on my computer, and I spent a lot of time moving furniture around trying to mop up all the coffee,  I probably still didn't get it all.  That was another time waster.

The library sent me a notice that a book I had requested at least 6 months ago had finally arrived.  It is "What Makes Olga Run",  the story of a woman in her 90's who started training in her 80's, and is still setting a lot records in many events. She holds more than 23 World Records in Track and Field events.  She has no women in her age category to compete against, so she has to enter events with much younger women or with men in their 90's.  I didn't realize there were so many older folks , men and women, who could probably put most seniors to shame.  I have never liked running and won't start it now, but I will do my workouts at the gym with renewed energy and vigor as I read Olga's story.  I believe Olga is from Canada - maybe there is something in the water up there?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

I now know why there were so many WWII programs on TV the past 2 or 3 weeks.  They were getting everyone ready for Memorial Day.  In the old days my dad's sisters would come to town on this day and visit the cemeteries where family members lie, and leave wreaths on the stones.  They could never remember from year to year where all the graves were, and spent most of the day walking the grounds.  My brother Fred, who is also a genealogist and who has an incredible photographic memory, found the markers once and now can find each one immediately.  We have relatives buried in 10 or more cemeteries in the Greater Cincinnati area.  

Today I am using my I-Mac which has a huge screen but is more difficult to move around on.  I'm not sure what the problem could be with my MacBookPro, but I'm finding typos all over emails I send out, and even changes to the subject line.  Sometimes I'll be typing along and the cursor will jump to a different place and start adding letters and words.  Usually I can catch and correct the errors, but I wish I knew what is causing it to happen.  There is a touchpad below the keys that is so sensitive it will type a letter if I simply hold my fingers over the touchpad - I don't have to actually touch it.  I like the pad for scrolling quickly, and have gotten used to it in place of a mouse.  My  iMac has a keyboard and a mouse, and I want to see if I have the same problems.  I worry that it could be something infecting my computer, although I have found no other problems on it.

No relief from temperatures in the 90's will be felt until Wednesday, but of course the forecast seems to change hourly.  I'm sick of hot weather!  (And it is still only May).

I have a stack of maps out trying to work out the best route to South Dakota.  Any way I look at it the distance from here to the DMV office in one of the small towns will be between 1600 and 1700 miles.  It doesn't seem to be any less miles if I stay on the interstates as opposed to the highways and byways.  You can easily figure out what my preference is.  

I did a couple of trip iterations on Mapquest to check mileage, and it also gives me the fuel cost.  It doesn't say, and I didn't ask for round trip figures, but the fuel cost is about double my estimate.  I don't know what Mapquest uses for average cost per gallon, but I would like to think $4 a gallon would be a fair estimate.

Now to try to find camping locations as I would prefer to camp each night along the way and then stay at a motel when I arrive at my destination.  I should be able to find Nat'l Park and Nat'l Forest campgrounds along the way, and they are easiest on the budget.  They usually aren't close to interstates, but I hope to not have to travel way off U.S. and state routes to get to the good camping spots.

I wrote a friend this morning about my planning everything down to the most minute detail, and that I will no doubt throw all the plans out the window when I hit the road!  The planning gives me great joy and keeps me out of trouble and out of the stores.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Conserving water

I keep hearing that to conserve water one should limit their showers to 5 minutes.  I had no idea how long I take, so I brought my kitchen timer along with me and set it to 5 minutes.  I even washed my hair - something I do about every other day - and by the time the bell rang I had turned off the water and was wiping down the shower walls with a squeegee.  So on days when I don't wash my hair I shouldn't take more than 3-1/2 to 4 minutes.  I rarely take a long shower, ever since 1997 when I attempted to hike the entire Appalachian Trail at one go.  I learned to appreciate water and to not waste it, and that has stayed with me for most of the time I'd say.  According to weather and climate forecasters, as well as scientists, there is not only a shortage due to lack of rainfall in the west, but a disaster waiting to happen because of pumping the groundwater which doesn't get replaced.
It's kind of scary to me to think of the future for my kids and grandkids.

I thought about going to Costco today, but now that I'm all cleaned up, hair dried and styled, I realize I don't want to drive anywhere this weekend.  Unless I can think of a good reason or something that I really need today, I'll just stay home and wait for the predicted 98 degree high.  How I intensely dislike hot weather!

I had a fan aimed at me most of yesterday afternoon, and I found myself drinking water constantly.  I added more salt to my dinner to compensate for the dilution of what I have in my system.  I usually don't worry about using salt and although I try to keep it at a medium level, my hand gets a little heavy with the salt shaker sometimes.  

 Stay safe especially if you go out into the  Memorial Day traffic.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Holiday weekend

I have no current plans to do much of anything this weekend.  I did get an early start to the day by driving to the farmers' market.  It doesn't take me long because I have a couple of favorite farmers - one that is totally organic and another that carries the small red potatos I like.  The summer squash is absolutely beautiful, as are the strawberries.  I hesitated as I passed the stall with avocados, but went on as I really don't like avocados enough for the trouble it takes.  If you like them you no doubt think they don't take any trouble at all.  I don't dislike them, but just can't be bothered.

When I pulled into the driveway I noticed the way the sun was shining on my clean windows!  It won't last long, so I'm enjoying looking at them for a few days.

I hate the way the weather forecast keeps changing.  I thought we would be getting cooler weather in a couple of days, but it seems we'll be in the 90's for the next 4 days.  That's too warm to sit outside even if I wanted to.  The only advantage of sitting out in a lounge chair on my driveway is the fact that the next door neighbor has jasmine growing which keeps encroaching on my side of the fence, but the aroma from it is absolutely heavenly.

I haven't yet heard from Jeannie to find out how their trip to Santa Cruz went.  It may have been cold there, as is often the case when the "marine layer" comes in.  Places like Monterey are often foggy and cold, and San Francisco has to be the coldest city in the U.S. during the summer.  I love Mark Twain's comment that "the coldest winter I ever spent was the summer I spent in San Francisco."  So true!   I don't know what it is like now, but when we came to CA in the 1980's very few people in the San Francisco Bay area had air conditioning in their houses or cars.  So when the occasional heat wave occurred they got a taste of what it was like for many of us oldies who grew up in the 40's and 50's without a/c.  It's ironic that I don't have a/c in my home today (although my car has it).  The swamp cooler keeps my living area very comfortable although it gets slightly warmer when I go into the kitchen or bedroom.

Every time I publish a blog I remember something I wanted to write about but forgot.  Then I can't remember it when I'm writing the next post.  Here I am and can't recall what I want to include, but an hour from now I'm sure to think of it!  It is no doubt irrelevant by now.

Have a good weekend.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Holding on to my energy

Since Jeannie & Donald were taking the girls to Santa Cruz for the day, they wouldn't be going to the gym.  I decided I would go on my own because I've been feeling so good for a couple of days after exercising.  It wasn't at all crowded at 10:30 am and I got through what I wanted to do fairly quickly.  Instead of stopping at a couple of stores I need to go to, I came right home for a protein shake to help build those muscles that became flabby with non-use.

I saw my window cleaning supplies in the kitchen so I finished up on the "sunny" side of the house before the sun hit the windows.  There is so little humidity now that the Windex spray almost dries before I can wipe it with a towel.  In fact, I washed some of the windows twice because they dried so fast.

Well that is finished, but I can hear my mother asking me why I'm cleaning the windows and leaving dirty curtains up.  In fact I hate these curtains - they are old and yellowed and ugly, and I'd like to replace them.  It's just one of those things that keeps getting pushed aside.  There used to be an "Anna's Curtains" here in Rancho, but they closed the store and I would have to drive a ways to get to the only other one.

 i just made a trip to Target and other than my Chiquita bananas didn't find anything I liked.  Their prices have certainly escalated,  and considering their recent troubles with hackers, they may lose a lot of their customer base.  For myself, I buy a few things there once in a while but in no way do I consider myself a Target shopper.  I wouldn't dream of using any kind of a card there - cash only!

It's going to be a hot one today, so I'm planning on taking it easy.  It is already too warm to sit outside in the shade, but my house is still comfortable with the fan on.  The swamp cooler will be running before long.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I did it!

The laugh is on me!  I decided to scroll through the cookies every other day or so and get rid of the ones that had been added.  Somehow instead of clicking on "delete individual cookies", I clicked "delete all cookies".  It's no big problem so far, although I had to sign in to aol and google again.  There are a couple of sites I need to sign in to such as my retirement data, but I don't think any harm has been done and probably a lot of good.

The gym was great last night - not too crowded - and I feel super this morning.  I have been outside sweeping leaves and dirt from the driveway, and also washing windows.  I'm a little hesitant to climb on a ladder although I've had no problems yet.  I should probably go change my shoes from the Birkenstocks though, since they aren't exactly conducive to climbing up and down and remaining steady.

I went to Home Depot hoping to find some small oleander bushes I could plant along my back fence.  They had one or two but they were larger than I want to deal with.    When I left there I thought one of my tires looked low, so I drove next door to Les Schwab where they checked all the tires.  The one I was concerned about did need air.  

Now I just have to wait until the sun is over on the other side of my house and I can clean my bedroom window.  That will leave me just two on the sunny side, and they will have to wait until tomorrow.  I hope I have some energy tomorrow.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014


I started deleting cookies from my computer last night and finished with it this morning.  I'm sure I got rid of hundreds of them.  I'll probably find out sooner or later that I deleted something I should have kept, and it really aggravates me that most of them use digits and letters that mean absolutely nothing to anyone.  I deleted the majority of those.

The MifFi service I have with Verizon expires next month, and I was debating getting internet with AT&T.  When I looked at what it would cost me I was really surprised to find that my TV service will go from $59 a month to $99 a month on Aug. 16.  Note that the $59 is actually about $73 a month after they add all the extraneous charges and taxes.   I really like AT&T Uverse tv, but it isn't worth $100+ a month to me, considering I don't watch sports or movies.  I have been through this dilemma - wanting to watch TV and be on the internet, but not able to find satisfactory service tailored to MY needs.   It seems I have to pay for what other people want.

The MiFi works ok and I can go month to month with it for a while.  I could definitely cut down on my internet usage, and maybe that is an option - I believe there is one that is measured in MB rather than the 5GB I currently have.  I'd definitely have to cut something out, and I already cut most videos and Youtube.

I've been watching the two part series on the absolute lack of privacy in our tech devices.  I only hope that since I don't have a smart phone of any kind, no one will bother trying to tap into or trace my location on my Jitterbug!  For internet browsing I have switched to Duckduckgo.com which keeps no record of your searches.  It seemed strange at first as I was so used to the Google page, but now that I've used Duck for a while I actually like it better.  I also changed my Gmail preferences a while back to not show me ads, so there is probably no reason to scan my emails; AOL is another story and I don't know what they look at.  Both companies provide everything to the NSA.  So using Firefox and Duckduckgo I hope I'm staying off the radar of at least a few companies.  I'd try a new email program that is encrypted, but in reading the info on it I realize I don't understand a damn word of what they are saying.

I'm sure a lot of folks will disagree with me - "I have nothing to hide" is a mantra I have chanted in the past.  But even with nothing to hide, why should I allow unwanted forays into my privacy, and shouldn't one be able to expect a certain amount of privacy when paying exhorbitant amounts for all the technological services and devices?

Joe just left with his two girls - they dropped by for a couple hours' visit.  Now that he works so much of the time I don't see them as often.

I am still in my pajamas at 3pm!  I need to get dressed in anticipation of going to the gym this evening.  


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Feeling great today!

After my workout yesterday evening, I woke up feeling good and without an ache or a pain!   I certainly didn't overdo the exercise on my first time back in 6 weeks, but I gave it a good effort and felt sore and worn out until I went to bed last night.  Can't wait to go back.

This morning I went to the post office to pick up a couple of flat rate boxes, and then decided to go just a little further to LaBou for a BLT on a croissant.  I just finished the sandwich and it was heavenly!  

The last time I was at Costco I bought a Sonicare toothbrush, but after using it a couple of times I found I don't like it.  I wish I had just gotten a plain old (cheaper) automatic toothbrush.  The Sonicare is way too strong for sensitive teeth, and so I avoid the one or two teeth that bothered me.  Using a regular toothbrush has posed no problems, so I figured I am better off to use the old-fashioned no-tech brush.  

Back when I had a 5th wheel I took out a subscription to Trailer Life.  There was a special that I heard about - something like 5 yrs for $5.  I'm still getting that darned magazine and I haven't had a 5ver for several years.  I usually put it in the laundry room's reading rack.  Paging through it this morning I found an ad for Little Guy teardrop trailers, so I spent some time online looking at their offerings.  They have increased the choices for sure.  There was a time when I wanted a teardrop in the worst way, but I think I'm over that now.    I still like the idea of them although I wouldn't want to stay overnight in one of them in a Walmart, Cracker Barrel, or casino lot.  It's that same old fact that you "have to get out to get in".   Don't ask me why I'm even looking or thinking about any kind of RV, but I think I will always enjoy seeing what's out there.

A lot of years ago I had an AARP membership, but decided to drop it the past several years.  I haven't missed it - about the only thing I ever used it for was to request a senior discount at motels.   Most motels will give the discount with proof of age, and my driver's license is fine.  I think I've run into one Motel 6 that told me they only accept AARP, even though the Motel 6 chain's policy is to accept proof of age.  I think individual motels can set their own policy in many cases, but they usually only do it to comply with local ordinances.   If any readers know of a good reason to belong to AARP other than senior discounts at motels/hotels, I 'd like to hear about it.  I think back when I first joined the dues were under $5 a year - now they want $16 a year and I just don't see any benefit for me.

Feeling pretty good after my nice lunch I'm tempted to hit the couch for a little nap.  Maybe I should wash some dishes first - I really miss having a working dishwasher.   I think I'll just wash the dishes after my nap.

Good to be back

We went to the gym this evening and it felt pretty good for the most part.   I know I lost some weight around the time of my last surgery but have recovered about 5# of it back, and looking to gain another 10#.  It will take me a while I think because I'm not going to be so obsessed about it.

My legs feel great from all the exercise I put them through.  I did some squats and lifted weight bars while lying back on a bench.  I'm hoping that is less strain on my abdomen than lifting dumbells, and also I can lift heavier weights.   I'm really tired now and have some discomfort in my entire abdomenal area.  It will be interesting to see how I feel tomorrow.

Today was laundry day - I carried the 2 baskets of wet laundry across the street separately, but brought back the folded & dried things with the 2 baskets stacked one on top of the other.  I couldn't have made it in one trip if I lived even one house down from my own.

It didn't get out of the 70's today but felt cool because of the constant breeze.  I have my Lasko heater warming me up for a few minutes.  I just drank a protein shake and got chilled a bit.  After a couple of nice days like this the temps will climb, eventually staying in the mid 90's range for a while - too darn hot!

 That's it for tonight.  I'll probably be lazy for most of tomorrow.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Ice Cream!

After a trip with Jeannie & Donald to Costco this afternoon, I bought two more containers of ice cream (I already had the HagenDazs).

My freezer is pretty full now - these boxes are bigger than they look in the photos.  (Click to enlarge.)   I just had an ice cream sandwich!

I think I'm ready to go to the gym tomorrow evening.  I need some exercise badly, and can't wait!


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Friday Pizza

 I watched Liam at 3 pm yesterday so his parents (Steve & Meg) could negotiate buying a new car.  Jeannie picked up Liam and me on her way home from work and took us to her house.

We were met at the door by the girls, all excited because a package from Ara had arrived.   It was opened to reveal many smaller packages wrapped in brightly colored tissue paper.   There was even one that was marked "Happy Mother's Day Gramma"!   I let  Liam open mine (actually two packages), that contained a handmade by Ara tote bag, and a bag of coffee beans.  Jeannie also got a tote bag similar to mine - Ara had gotten a new sewing machine and made most of the gifts, including a chef's apron for Donald.

The kids went swimming while Donald was making his wonderful pizza.  

I got a picture of at least part of the pizza.  I usually can't eat more than 2 pieces, but this time I managed 3, along with a Miller's Hi Life!

(Please click on photos to enlarge.)

I came home about 8:30pm, and Liam stayed with Jeannie until his parents came to get him.  After the car negotiations were over Steve & Meg were having a "date night".   I think it's a great idea and all three of my kids here in Sac plus their spouses occasionally have a date night while one of the others watches their kids.

This morning I made a quick visit to the farmers' market - got organic strawberries, broccoli, and about 4 kinds of summer squash.   

After I left the market I drove to a nearby apartment complex to look at a 1 bedroom.   I found it very attractive and the 800 sq ft seems smaller than my house although I could easily live in that space.   There is a storage compartment off the patio, but I'm pretty certain I would rent a small storage unit nearby for my camping supplies and other items I have that I don't use all the time.  There is a covered parking spot for each apartment, and a full size washer and dryer in every unit.  I would miss hanging clothes outdoors during the good weather.  There is a fitness center but it seems to have only exercise and weight machines of the kind I don't normally use.  I plan to keep my gym membership because of the variety of equipment, plus the fact I enjoy going with Jeannie & Donald.    I told the rental agent I would probably be ready for an apartment in about August.  That gives me a couple of months to decide what to do plus to get rid of my house.

I don't like the uncertainty of a move  such as this - what if I don't like it, what if I can't get rid of my house, and how will I meet the higher costs associated with living in an apartment.   The rent is higher than my current site rent plus utilities, and the rent doesn't cover utilities!   Then there is the small cost of a storage unit.  I just have to believe that it will all work out for the best and try to not stress out about it.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Dental visit

This afternoon I made a long overdue visit to have my teeth cleaned.  I was nervous about it because I remember the scraping and the metal picks used in the past, but my daughter assured me that our dental office is different - they use jets of water at a high rate of speed.  I told the dental technician that I was extremely nervous and she suggested I could use nitrous oxide.  I jumped at the chance.

She was very gentle with the molars that gave me cause for concern.  The nitrous doesn't make me feel out of it, but just relaxed; I couldn't take a Valium this time because Joe is working and couldn't drive me.  I guess maybe the nitrous has more of an effect that I realize because I remember feeling that my shoes were coming off.  I wore Birkenstock sandals and when the nitrous started taking effect I thought "Oh hell, my shoes are falling off!"  Of course, they weren't.

I am thrilled with the results and already have my 6 month appointment set up. 

I have just about decided to stay where I am in my mobile home for a while, but today I found a notice in my mailbox of a meeting of the new Homeowners Association.  They mention voting on by-laws, dues, budget, Board of Directors officers, committees to be formed, etc.  What a crock!  I'm too old to fight things like this any more, so maybe I should rethink going into an apartment.  Dang, I hate decisions like this hanging over my head.

It is another hot day and will also be in the 90's tomorrow, but will begin to cool down for the weekend and the beginning of next week.

I looked out my bedroom window at the moon as it was rising last night - WOW! - what a gorgeous sight!  This was the prettiest full moon I've seen in a while.

I stopped at the grocery on my way home and wanted to get ice cream, among a few other things.  All brands I looked at have high fructose corn syrup which I will just do without, so another trip to Costco is warranted to get their organic ice cream!  I have never been all that eager for ice cream, but find I crave it year around in California.  Since I live alone I've begun to eat it right out of the container.  I remember when my kids used to laugh about their dad doing that.  I guess he and I are a lot alike in some respects.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Staying cool

It is even hotter today and I had to turn on the cooler earlier in the day.   The wonderful "Delta Breeze" is not coming up the delta due to weather patterns out in the Pacific, so the nights aren't as cool and the day gets warm pretty quick.  I don't intend to go anywhere today and I'm content to stay home.

I planned to do a little decluttering starting in the kitchen but didn't accomplish a whole lot.  I seemed to spend a lot of time cleaning countertops, which still have traces of sticky grease from the former occupants' love of fried foods.   The countertops drive me crazy but that isn't at the top of my prioritized list.   For the past few years I thought about replacing them, but ended up choosing to spend time and money traveling to the east and back.  This year the money is going to the dentist.

Speaking of the dentist I have an appointment for cleaning tomorrow and then I hope I'm finished for a while.

I made chicken vegetable soup a couple of days ago and just had a bowl for my dinner.  It is really tasty (although I think I prefer beef to chicken), but that one bowl has me feeling too full.  I've noticed that by dinner time I am not hungry, can't eat very much, and then feel stuffed.  I'm just thankful I enjoy my breakfast so much.

The wildfires in southern CA are frightening, and I hope my blog readers from that area can stay safe.   I think fires will be a problem for the entire west this summer.  The climate has definitely been weird the past few years.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Heat Wave

It is 90F just a little before 4pm, and will probably go a bit higher.  It will get hotter during the next two days, maybe even hitting 100!   I can barely stand this kind of heat although my swamp cooler plus a fan and several open windows in the house are keeping me cool enough.

I want to thank everyone who wrote me about my dilemma of where and how to live in my future.  (Vada and RunNRose, you hit the nail on the head!)   My brain hurts from thinking about it, searching web sites, etc., so I will have to put the whole idea on hold for a day or so, and then start considering the idea again.

I drove out of the Park for a short trip to Target this morning, and passed a house just down the street from mine that has been painted.  It is now a beautiful adobe red and looks terrific.  I don't see anything that would make me think the house was sprayed, but it must have been because it was finished so quickly.  It also has wooden siding rather than the metal in models such as I have, and I think the paint really looks super!

I plan to try to declutter my house one room at a time.  It will look much better, I will feel much better, and if I decide to move into an apartment or other type of living, I will have a head start .  I'm a pack rat and extremely sentimental, especially when it comes to things that have been given to me over the years.  I just can't bring myself to get rid of a gift from a loved one.  So now I just need to decide on which room to start!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Should I or Shouldn't I?

I think I mentioned on several blogs past that I'm re-thinking where and how I should live.  With all its problems and much needed repairs, and with the Park management providing constant irritation, I love this place.  It is large enough that I've been able to expand out a bit, as well as to have room for items such as cookware, linens, glassware, etc. that I love to use.   It is also comfortable and homey to me, at least on the inside.

I was very comfortable and had space for what I needed (not all that I had) in my 5th wheel RV, but the maintenance issues drove me into the ground since I was alone and had to do everything with no help.  I'm finding the same situation with this mobile home, and one of my sons has suggested I get rid of the house and find an apartment or live in an RV.

To that end I have been searching Craigslist as well as RV dealers on the internet for suitable Class C's.  I can't afford a new one and the closer I get down to my price range the more likely I will face many more maintenance issues.  I was stunned at how prices have seemed to rise since I was last in the market, although I may just be forgetful in that regard.

If I did get an RV I would want to travel in it and not just sit in place.  I love the travel aspect and the freedom to sit for a while or to pick up and move to a new place.   I remember that I didn't much care for RV parks, although it didn't matter much to me for just an overnight stop.  As it is I can travel in my Highlander and camp in a tent - which I love and prefer doing - or stay in a motel along the way.

 If any readers have some thoughtful insights for me, I'd love to hear your views.  Maybe someone out there has been in a like situation, and I'd be interested to know how you came to one decision or another.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day

I spent the afternoon with Jeannie and her family at a nearby park.  Jeannie and I walked until I got tired, and then Donald joined her for about a mile or so.  It felt good to get tired from exercise.

The park had some really nice equipment for kids (and adults):

This is the same child who wore a sundress and pearls last year when we went hiking, and here she is in a princess dress and black boots!

Later on we went to eat at a Mexican restaurant, and I'm stuffed:  empanadas, tacos, and of course, a couple of draft beers.  

(Please click on photos to enlarge them.)

All in all it was a great day.  I feel stuffed from the food - we stopped at a frozen yogurt place after dinner but I just couldn't!

I hope all the mothers out there had a very good day.

Family Dinner

It was held at Steve & Meg's house this evening.  As I've mentioned before, the dinners usually have a theme, and the theme for this one was  camping.  Steve set up a couple of tarps and tents, which the kids loved crawling in and out of.  If I had an RV I could park it in the space to the right.

Here is Steve at the grill.

Joe and Amy (sister):

Amy's daughter Stephanie drove up from Santa Cruz to join the group:

Jeannie with Autumn and Alyssa, and Sarah (Joe's wife) across the table:

Liam (Steve's son):

Alyssa and Keira (Joe's daughters):

No outdoor gathering is complete without a game of cornhole:

The campfire is lit and everyone enjoyed s'mores:

The moon kept an eye on us:

Click to enlarge the photos.  You won't be able to see the moon unless you enlarge the picture.  Also, for some reason the pictures seem to be too dark.  I need to practice with the camera before taking any more shots.

It was a fun gathering, as always, and gave a sneak preview of summer camping fun.  We are trying to plan a trip for June as soon as Joe gets a handle on what his schedule at the hospital will be.  He has been working a lot of weekends lately.

I think Arianna didn't show up in any of the pictures, but that's because she wasn't in one place long enough for me to get her in a photo.  The cousins all get along so well and have fun whenever they are together.

I'm hoping to walk tomorrow and get myself mentally prepared for getting back to the gym in a little over a week, when I will hit the 6 wk post-surgery mark.  I just know I will feel better when I can do something other than sit in a recliner.  The sitting around is no doubt my own fault, but I haven't felt like doing much else and still have residual pain.  I'm tired of it though, so things will start to change soon! 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Sleepless Night

I've been lying awake for the past 4 hours so I decided to get up for a while.  I have been suffering from allergies (sneezing) for a few days and have taken a Benadryl before going to bed - of course, last night I thought I could do without it and I think that is why I can't sleep.   It is 4:30 am, so I know I will be tired all day.

My son Steve came over yesterday with his little sidekick, Liam, and I spent several enjoyable hours with them.  Steve did some minor repairs around the house, and he and Liam helped me pull the grass and weeds that have grown through the plastic and gravel in the back yard.  While back there I noticed a blue bird that was trying to get away, but he was hooked on something.  It turned out he had gotten his head into some mesh netting, and when he landed in my back yard he caught the netting on a nail slightly protruding from some landscaping wood.

The man next door came out to see what was going on, and he held the bird while Steve cut the netting.  It was a tedious job because several strands of the fine netting were wrapped around the bird's neck.  Finally freed from the netting, the bird was set down and he immediately flew away.  I rarely go into the back yard and marvel at how fate worked in that bluebird's favor.

Steve and I discussed the pros and cons of my getting rid of this house and going back into an apartment.   Coincidentally, I've been thinking of that this past week, but it would be very costly for me to find the kind of rental I would want - something that is only one storey for one thing.  I remember too well my last apartment and the noise that kept me awake coming from the apartment overhead.   That would probably leave me the option of a 1 floor duplex with a neighbor on one side, and they rent for several hundred dollars more than an apartment.  A small house would be ideal but at a rent that I couldn't afford.  It's a real dilemma that could keep me awake at night, although that wasn't the problem causing tonight's insomnia.

Steve even wondered if I would consider another RV/trailer that he said I could park on an RV pad in their back yard.   I lived very comfortably in my 5th wheel, but I would never want another 5ver, or really any other kind of RV.   I certainly can't keep up with the maintenance of a mobile home that was in pretty bad shape when I got it.

I had myself a snack and wrote a blog entry, so I think I should try to get a few hours sleep before 8 am.    It is almost 8 am for readers in the east!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I definitely overdid it today

I washed three large loads in my washer and carried them one by one across the street to hang them out on the line.  Wet clothes are heavier than dry, and wet towels are much heavier than dry.  I had a full load of towels that I've put off for a few weeks.   The laundry baskets were probably over whatever limit there is on how much I should lift.  I just took an Aleve and it should help.

It's been a beautiful day but all of the sudden I got cold - it's the Delta Breeze that comes up from the San Francisco Bay (or one of the bays in that area) all the way to Sacramento.  It can be horribly hot during the day, but by 7 pm I  can't even  sit outdoors.  I won't complain about it because it makes Sacramento summers a little more tolerable.  I just closed some doors and windows, put on warm pj's and a robe.  How will I be able to eat my ice cream tonight and not get cold all over again.

There is something I want to write about in my blog, but I never remember what it is until after I publish.  That is so annoying.

I've been toying with the idea of trying to revisit some of the National Parks I missed last year due to the govt. shutdown.  I'm not sure if I can afford it this year, but I'm afraid to wait too long and not be able to do it at all.  It's a lot of driving for just one person, although I've always been able to drive long distances.  I'm tired of doing it by myself though.   If I decide to try it I will wait until after Labor Day to avoid some of the crowds.   This is just me thinking and dreaming, and might or might not turn into reality.  When I don't dream any more, I will know I'm done for!

I kind of like being able to record something on TV  to watch later on.  That way, if I'm watching something interesting but need to do something else or go out, I can just record it and watch later.   Fast forwarding through commercials is a real positive as well.   You'd think I find a lot to watch on TV, but mostly episodes of Animal Cops-Houston.  I've also been watching a lot of history programs about WW II lately.   I was only 4 on V-E day, and 5 on V-J day, and had no clue about war.  My parents evidently went to the trouble to keep it from me, but I probably wasn't interested in radio news to begin with.  Kids today couldn't be fooled.   It's sad to think we have likely been at war somewhere in the world for most of the time since WW-II.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Late yesterday afternoon Jeannie called and asked if I wanted to have dinner at their house - Donald was making enchiladas, rice, refried beans, guacamole, etc., all from scratch.  I hadn't felt well most of the day but I wasn't about to refuse a good enchilada and the chance to dine with family, so I went.  The food was great, and I even had a beer.  The beer tasted weird for the first couple of sips but then I was back to normal.  The days are definitely getting longer and I was able to drive home before dark.

I think I can tell an improvement in my eyesight since the eye surgeon removed the suture, although nothing can change aging eyes in the long run.  I believe he said the suture was causing an astigmatism.  (I'm not sure if I am using the proper word, but probably only eye specialists who read my blog would know the difference right away.)

Today I cancelled appointments to see the vascular surgeon and get an echocardiogram - appointments that were made for me this time last year when I had the same.  I have been stressing out about this during the past year and finally decided I would cancel.  The Dr. was rude and insensitive and continually tried to push a statin drug.  I agreed to try Lipitor but discontinued it somewhere in my travels last year, because of the side effects.  The side effects disappeared very soon after I quit taking the meds.   At the visit last year, the Dr. continually laughed and ridiculed me about how I had caused all my problems by my smoking for years, as if I didn't realize that.  (I finally called him on that.)  Oh, he was a great commedian, and brought his own audience into the room -  a team of about 5 drs., interns, and such.  I'm so glad I made the decision I don't need to subject myself to that kind of behavior, especially since I'm not feeling well to begin with.

The weather is so perfect and I wish it would stay in the 70's like this year around, but in a week we will be in the 90's and I won't like it at all.  I wish I felt like doing some outside work before it gets too hot.  All the weeds I pulled up before surgery are now back in full force.

After running a couple of errands this morning I've been chilling out ever since.  I need to get out of the chair and do something!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Visit with Eye Surgeon

I'm always happier when I come out of his office than when I entered it, and today was no exception.   It was a long morning though and a crowded waiting room. 

I have been having a lot of difficulty with my vision, so after a lot of testing, eye drops to numb the eye, etc., he removed a suture that was left in from the cornea transplant.  I can tell a big difference already.  I still have one suture left in the other eye which he prefers to leave in at this time, and that's fine with me because I have complete trust in the doctor.  He said there is a risk of the suture breaking during removal, leaving a small part of it in the eye.  I don't want that if I can help it.

He also assured me I could get my driver's license renewed.  I haven't decided whether to renew in SD or to bite the bullet (an expensive proposition) and get everything transferred over to CA.   This state has such drama with everything and it all costs lots of money.  Where I renew my SD license plates online and get the sticker in the mail, CA requires various tests including a smog test.   Then they charge an exhorbitant amount for all your troubles.   I'm sure the D/L switch will be a nightmare as well.  If I stay with South Dakota I think I will drive to one of the small town DMV's in the western part of the state, probably in July or August. 

After all the running around and shopping on Saturday, I just vegetated yesterday.   I think I needed that.   Tomorrow will be the 4 wk point after my hernia repair, and I'm surprised at how much pain and discomfort I still have - not constant by any means, but enough to keep me from a lot of normal activities.  Supposedly I will be able to resume exercise in two more weeks and I hope that makes me feel better.

The weather is beautiful, with several sunny days in the 70's to come.  I wish I felt like working out in the yard.  I'm afraid that my laziness will become permanent. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Go California!

It was a great day for the Ky Derby winner, California Chrome.  I thought the pre-race chatter reminded me of a football game with all the boring commentary, but when it got down to it, there were some beautiful horses in this race, especially the winner.  I had a few tears in my eyes when they played the anthem of my native state - My Old Kentucky Home.

I went shopping with Jeannie and the girls this morning as Autumn needed some new things to wear,  and it was kinda fun for me, especially since I didn't have to pay for the clothes.   I hear so many negative comments lately about JC Penney that I'd like to say the stock they carry was excellent, the prices were awesome (on sale),  and the clerks at the checkout were friendly and helpful.  

We joined up with Donald for a trip to Costco, again always a fun trip.  Back to their house and Donald's home-made pizza.  I am plumb worn out, but I hope to sleep well tonight.   I think I'll take a Benadryl since I've been sneezing all day due to the pollen in the air, so that should make me sleep better.  I took an Alleve this morning before leaving, and that helped me through the day.

That's it for me today.  G'nite.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Good and bad days

It seems that a good day is usually followed by a not-so-good day, and yesterday was one of those bad days.  I had an early appointment to get my hair cut and didn't have the time or appetite to eat much breakfast.  Donald dropped me off and picked me up since Jeannie was using my car while waiting for a part for hers.  On the way home I began to feel really nauseated, and napped most of the afternoon.  I never felt like eating but managed to get a little food.  The pain almost had me reaching for something to relieve it, but I made it through the day without meds.

This morning I'm feeling much better and started the day with my favorite part of breakfast.

That's bananas, strawberries, blueberries, and cherries cut up and sugared, all organic.  Then I relax with my coffee before having a big bowl of cereal.  All is well this morning.

Jeannie's car was ready late yesterday afternoon, and we went to pick it up.  I drove my car back home, the first time I've driven in a long while.   It was like I'd been driving all along even though it's been several weeks.

Today will be another day in the 90's, but tomorrow  that will drop 10 degrees and then continue downward into the 70's.  I don't want to be out in the heat of the day, for sure.

I finally started using the Record option on my uVerse service, and like it very much.  What I don't care for is the Guide - I wish they allowed it to take up more of the screen so it would be easier to read and use, as well as show more of the programming at once.   But technology isn't designed for people like me, which is pretty much ok, because I will never be addicted to technological devices to begin with.

A few weeks ago I hung a new hummingbird feeder from the porch roof where I can see it from my recliner.  It took about a week for the birds to start using it and now  there is a steady stream of the beautiful little birds.  I'd like to hang a regular bird feeder but my past luck with squirrels has been so bad I'm not sure if I want to deal with them again.   At least I wouldn't be bothered by bears!

I hope everyone has a good weekend.