Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Monday, June 30, 2014

I'm back

We all packed up yesterday and left the campsite by Noon.   The traffic on I-80 was awful - not so many trucks but lots of cars driving fast.  The roadway is 3 lanes on each side most of the way, but it curves and winds around the mountains.  The scenery, if you can take your eyes off the road for a second, is some of the most beautiful I've seen anywhere.

It was so cool in the mountains between 4000 and 5000 ft. in elevation, but much hotter in Sacramento.  Today it will climb up to 108 so I will need to go out early to run any errands I want, and then kick back and stay home for the afternoon.  I want to go to the gym this evening.

I took two cameras with me and both gave me problems, so I used whichever worked at the time.  When I put the cards into my computer to upload the photos, they end up in different areas of iPhoto, so selecting the pictures is going to take a while.

Here are a couple of pics from just before I got to the CG and when I first arrived.  The CG was so quiet except for the noise from nearby Rt. 20.  It was very noticeable the first 24 hours and then I found I just didn't hear much of it.  (Please click on a picture to enlarge it.)

My new tent, and Thursday night's campfire. 

The rest of the family arrived on Friday:

Steve relaxing:

Meg, with hers and Steve's tent in the background:

Jeannie & Donald setting up, with Steve supervising:

Anyone for a bike ride?

I switched to my big tent and just had to be careful with the zippers, which tent to pull away from the teeth.

Joe & Sarah bought a new tent for the trip and it is a big one.  Even has a back door (so they can sneak out without the kids!)

Jeannie & Arianna were tired out after all that work:

The guys spent a lot of time trying to light a fire without matches.  They made a spindle and all, and got smoke but never an ember.  I'm going to send them all to survival school:

Right here I apologize for the length of this entry and all the pictures.  I'll continue tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Taking a break

I probably won't post again until Monday.  I'm still debating on whether to take my computer and MiFi along, just in case, but I would probably have to drive somewhere out of the campground to get a signal.  So I will detox, if you can call it that, from technology for a few days.

Speaking of technology, I was asked by Backpacker Mag. to take an online survey, to which I agreed.  Had I known how long it would take and the repetitiveness of the questions, I would have declined.  Some things I have definite ideas on and don't mind answering a few questions, but this was overkill.  If I left a question blank, they came back at me and wanted to know why.  I'm sure their target audience is the tech savvy younger crowd who likes to impress their friends.  Some of the questions were even slanted that way, i.e., "Do people often ask for your advice on xxx?", and "Do you enjoy giving advice?"  Well hell  yes, I love to give advice.  But I expect the listener to figure it out and follow their own ideas - although they can take my advice if they want to.

The last part of the survery was entirely devoted to techie stuff, and I didn't even understand some of the questions.  Fortunately they had a box to check for "No opinion".

I have a lot of items packed in the car and ready to roll, except for food, drink, clothing and personal items.   I'm planning to make potato salad and have cooked the potatos, eggs, etc., but haven't decided whether to mix it all up this evening or tomorrow morning before I leave (somewhere around 11 am).  I will likely do it tonight to save hassles in the morning.  It's going to be enough hassles just packing the coolers and whatever.   Other than having to cook for myself tomorrow evening, I'm just going to mooch off the others which is why I'm bringing potato salad as an offering.  I'm also bringing grapes, apricots, and maybe some other fruit along.  That's always good to snack on.  I'll be coming back to a relatively empty fridge & freezer.  (I'm eating the last of my ice cream tonight!)

I bought a 12 pack of beer yesterday, thinking for sure I'd want one in the evening.  Didn't want it at all, but surely this evening???   I'll let loose when I get to the campground, and no doubt have two or three.  There is a delightful little store/deli near the campground, with a covered deck for eating outside.  That will be a good place to get additional ice, beer, etc.

I spoke with a woman today I had called with a few questions about the campground.  She sounded delighted that we were coming up for the weekend as most of the sites are empty and could likely stay that way.  The camp host told us that when Steve and I were there a few weeks ago - the place never fills up.  If my kids get rowdy the mgmt might have to call a little order :-)   Seriously, they are going to behave.   There is a nice trail right next to the campground and I'm ready to take the kids for a little walk.  I'm bringing every trekking pole I own, plus the beautiful walking staff made for me by Judy Bell.  With 5 grandchildren and 5 poles, I will let the two older girls alternate using the walking staff.  I can't wait to see what dress and accessories  5 yr old Arianna selected to wear this camping trip, and will be photographing the event.

So I hope everyone has a good weekend, and I'll be back shortly after. 

NOTE:  When I refer to "the kids"  being rowdy, I'm talking about my kids; the little ones are the grandkids.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My frustrations started first thing when I went to a local credit union to withdraw cash from their ATM.  My credit union is not affiliated with this one, and they charged me $2.50.  It would have been a 16 mile roundtrip to drive to the one I usually use and I just didn't feel like facing the traffic or driving that far.

I then went to Target to pick up styrofoam and plastic cups for camping, and looked for a pair of shorts I could wear.  I have a lot of capris but few shorts.  This is the year for short shorts, and I'm just plain too old to wear them.  When my kids and I look at old pictures from the 70's and 80's we fall on the floor laughing at the shorts everyone wore.   I ended up trying on a pair of shorts in the gym-wear section that had a 7" inseam, and bought them.  A 9" inseam would be perfect, but I probably would never find any just a bit longer.  I have a pair of knee length stretchy gym pants and just want a change of clothes now and then  while it's too warm to wear the long pants.

It was beginning to get hot - going up to 97 today - so I just came back home.  I'd like to start taking things out to the car, but if I pack it a little at a time I'll forget what I've already put in, or things won't fit right.   What I need is one of my kids to stop by as they are all experts in packing anything efficiently, and I love to watch them working at it.  They inherited that trait from their dad.

Target has become one of the most overpriced stores around, in my opinion.  They have many of their garden section products on sale and everything is still too high.  I have been looking for ages for a bird feeder that is cheap - I want cheap because I've never had a bird feeder that the squirrels didn't ruin.

I just made the mistake of looking at the 10 day weather forecast - from Sunday on (the day we come back from the mountains) the temps will be  102-104 for the next 5 days.  I can only get a 10 day forecast so I can't tell when it will cool off a bit.   This is awful, but I would bet that readers from the Phoenix area have it worse.  If this is what we have to look forward to from now on I may need to find a cooler place to live in the summer.

Monday, June 23, 2014


I've been reading some journals of backpackers who hiked long distance trails that I'm interested in, including the North Country Trail, 4600 miles from the NY/VT border to well into North Dakota.  Some parts of it are well maintained and completed, whereas other sections are not.  

Back in the mid 1990's I became interested in backpacking and started looking at gear and reading all the info I could find on the subject.   AOL had a hiking/camping chat room at the time and I got a lot of different information and viewpoints and met some really great folks.   I joined a hiking club in the Washington, D.C. area and spent just about every Saturday or Sunday hiking with them, sometimes in the Shenandoah, and often in places closer to D.C.  I met a man on one of these walks and found out that he had completed several of the trails I was interested in, including the Appalachian Trail.   We began hiking together, often on the C&O Canal towpath which was easy to access from D.C. and fairly level - I wanted to become comfortable walking long distances on a trail or pathway (unpaved), and I learned a lot from this guy about hiking, organizing a pack, etc.

I saw a reference to him a few days ago on a site related to the North Country Trail, and included was his email address, so I emailed him to say hi but thinking he wouldn't remember who I was.  He wrote back right away and we have chatted on the phone a couple of times since.  It's nice to reconnect with someone from years back.   We lost contact when I started actually backpacking with other groups of people and we both went on to other endeavors.   I sure wish I could even consider a long distance hike, but it's doubtful I could ever do it again. 

Since today is Arianna's actual birthday Jeannie and her family spent the day together.   It would normally have been a gym day for us so I decided I'd go on my own, knowing I will miss Friday as I'll be camping.  I ended up going to the gym just a couple of blocks from my house and doing a short workout.  I'm so used to the other location and don't care for the layout of the nearest one.  It worked though and I didn't have to drive the extra distance.

Getting things out and ready for camping I came across my old Swiss Army knife, and sharpened up the main blade.  The other blades and doo-dads are a pure waste as I can't seem to pull them out of the base so they are useless to me.  If I ever decided to try backpacking again I will need to buy a decent pocket knife - a model with one blade only.  I don't remember ever using it all that often and it probably isn't worth carrying the weight except when car camping.

You may remember that I bought 4 chocolate eclairs last week, which I ate in 4 days.  That took some real will power to ration them.  Yesterday I bought two more and finished off the second one today.   I could get really hooked - I wonder if I could already be hooked!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A bit of work accomplished

Jeannie and I got all the recycling out of her garage, sorted it, and took it to the recycling center.  Both the little girls have savings accounts for college, and the recycling money gets split between their accounts.  I have always saved my beer cans and added it to the mix, but today will be the last bag of cans from me as I no longer drink at home. 

Jeannie told the girls how much she got for the recycling and how much it would be for each of them, and in addition they sometimes put money into their piggy banks which eventually makes it to the savings accounts.  Today Arianna informed Jeannie "I'm going to spend my money because I'm not going to college."  Tomorrow she turns 5 yrs old and has already made a monumental life-decision!

After returning home I've been trying to get the dust off my floors, and mopped the kitchen.  I hate doing that kind of stuff, and I still have a dishpan full of dirty dishes to wash.   I'd love to have a working dishwasher again - as soon as I save the money for the membrane to cover the roof.

Now that I have that huge recycling bag of beer cans out of the back of my car, I can start putting camping eqipment into it.  I should be psyched but can't get much energy up yet.   I think I've become so lazy the past year or two with health issues that I'm permanently impaired.  I used to be such an energetic person!

The Birthday Party

Arianna had her 5th birthday party today - this is the birthday girl with Grandma:  (click to enlarge)

And this is Grandma with all her California kiddies:

Donald grilled hamburgers and several kinds of sausages and brats, and there were wonderful side dishes to go with them.  I actually ate a hamburger AND  a brat, plus some of the side dishes and, of course, birthday cake and ice cream.  I won't even count the number of beers I enjoyed.

It was an enjoyable time, and I am looking forward to getting toether again next weekend at a campground in Tahoe National Forest.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Is my memory failing?

I hate even bringing this up, but I'd like to know if someone else has the same memory.  Didn't President Kennedy send 300 "advisors" into South Vietnam in the early sixties.   If so, it's deja vu all over again - 300 "advisors" into Iraq.

I did a little trimming in the back yard this morning - just a few branches of dead heather and some from a pink oleander.  I had already started a pile of debris about a week ago, so I thought I'd call the office and have it picked up.  The office person said it had to be bagged in order to be picked up.  This stuff was too brittle to be bagged, and I wasn't about to waste 5 or 6 plastic trash bags anyway.  This must be a result of now having a homeowner's assn because I've never had a problem with a lawn debris pickup before.  My alternative was to ask for a mini dumpster, and the office clerk's response was that it would be Monday or Tuesday.  I was surprised and not too happy, so he relented and a dumpster was dropped off within a few minutes.  It's now been hauled away, and I dread doing any more trimming.  I could just throw it over the back fence, which probably wouldn't be the first time that has been done.  But I wouldn't do it.  I really don't care for the office guy who has only been here a month or so.  I prefer the older ladies who used to be at the desk and were much nicer and more personable, and definitely more empathetic.

The temperature began to rise early so I decided to just stay indoors.  I had thought I'd go out to get a few supplies for camping, but that trip can wait.  I'll have to get early starts on any errands for the coming week because we will be solidly in the mid to upper 90's.   No way to get around it - this is Sacramento.

I'm looking forward to the birthday party tomorrow.  I imagine the kids will spend a lot of the time in the pool, including the grown-men kids.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

My favorite shopping place

Of course I'm talking about Costco.  I love shopping there mainly because of the merchandise available, but also because every single one of the large staff is friendly, helpful, courteous, and there are more adjectives I could come up with - all great!  The customers are the same - not what you find in many of the large box stores.  I think if you are treated right there is less reason to push, shove, block aisles, or be grumpy.   

I charged up the battery to my camera yesterday and wanted to take a picture of something to make sure I got the battery loaded properly.  So here are some of the items I bought today.  (Click on picture to enlarge)

Going clockwise there are apricots on the left, grapes, pineapple, blueberries, and cherries.  I also bought a bag of frozen blueberries for my protein shakes.  The frozen berries seem to give the shakes a more robust color and flavor than do the fresh.

I also bought myself a pair of capris as well as iron and the vitamins I take for aging eyes.  Although tempted to buy more ice cream I held off, at least until I finish what I have left in the freezer.   I am going to cut back on some of those delicious hi-cal desserts - not give them up altogether, but just be more careful to ration them.

I met Donald at the gym yesterday since Jeannie & Autumn had other appointments and Arianna didn't want to go to the gym's playroom by herself.   Donald talked me into bench pressing the 45# bar (with no additional weights on the ends).  He stood behind the bar and took some of the weight off it as I tried to lift it.  I think I'm ready to go to the next step in lifting, and it's nice to have someone helping.

I wish I had done this when I was a few years younger, as there is only a certain level I can achieve at my age.   The monthly gym fee is the best money I've ever spent on myself!   That and organic food (which I've been buying for years).

I'm still looking for an older black lab (preferably a male).    I guess if I'm meant to have one the perfect dog will find me.  It seems that most of the shelters in Central CA contact Central CA Lab Rescue when they find a stray lab or take in a dog that can no longer be cared for by its owner.  That means that the local shelters don't keep labs, and you have to go through CCLR to get one.  In one way it's great because the labs are checked over pretty thoroughly and then fostered.  If you adopt one, you will have some idea about them from their foster.  But you have to pay a hefty fee, plus meet the organization's criteria.  I don't have a fenced in yard which they prefer, but I walk my dog as often as needed.  I have laminate floors rather than carpet, and have noticed that some fosters report their dogs don't do well on laminate.  I'm torn between wanting a pet and having to jump through hoops to be allowed to adopt a dog of my choice.  I guess I should just enjoy the freedom I have to come and go as I please, but it would be so nice to have a living, breathing companion in my house (and a dog is easier to deal with than a man :-)  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


I just put the last pieces into the jigsaw puzzle I started on June 14.  That is 1000 pieces.  I thought I was missing 3 pieces but moved the coffee table a bit and found them on the floor.  I'm posting a picture of the finished puzzle, but the colors are sort of muted and not easy to photograph.  The subject of the picture is a quilting bee judging, and you can see the colorful quilts in the picture.   You can click on the picture to enlarge it.

 Now I 'm psyched to get another puzzle, but not right away.   I don't get much done when I get engrossed in it.

I took a quick time-out to go to BelAir this morning - my sweet tooth must have been bothering me.  I bought 4 chocolate eclairs (just finished one and it is all I dreamed it would be.).   I also got a box of 6 mini angel food cakes.  I have an abundance of strawberries, and even though I eat some every morning they won't be as good when I get to the bottom of the box.  I just opened the 2nd can of whipped cream, so I see strawberry shortcake in the very near future.  The whipped cream went fast because I had bought a box of apricots at Costco - probably 15 or so in the box.  They were good but not as sweet as I like, so every day I cut up a couple in small pieces and drenched them with whipped cream.  Sometimes I add whipped cream to my breakfast fruit bowl, but I need to get away from doing that because I doubt if I'll buy more whipped cream when I finish this.  They came 3 cans to a package and I gave one to Donald.   He has the same problem with gaining weight, but I'm sure Jeannie didn't give in to temptation.

I need to go to Costco later on because I ate the last of the organic grapes - a huge box, and I might get another pineapple, and some more cherries.   

It's going into the mid-90's today and the hot days will hang around for a while.   I haven't used the swamp cooler for several days.  I'll try not to complain.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Still working on the puzzle

All I did today other than the puzzle was to get my hair cut.  I looked like a sheep dog but it's a bit tidier now.  I really dislike the way one strand of hair will curl but all the strands around it don't.  

The puzzle pieces are mostly together except for the green pieces.   There are certainly a lot of them but I'll figure it out.

I'm feeling much better today than I did yesterday, and I suppose I can expect the ups and downs for a while longer.   I'm so happy about the weight gain.  I haven't been able to get it above 118# for a couple of years, so I'm thrilled to be just under 121# already.  I just got the new Raley's/BelAir grocery ad featuring chocolate eclairs.   I know where I'm going tomorrow.  Years ago eclairs were my favorite treat, bought from a real bakery, of course - the kind where the baker produced all the goods by hand in the back of his shop.   The only in-store bakery that has ever come close to my standards is Publix, but alas, I'm not in their zone any longer.

Arianna's 5th birthday party is coming up this weekend.  She decided she wanted to get her ears pierced, so Jeannie took her to a shop where they had two people to do the piercing - one on each side and simultaneously.  That way it was all over in one go.  She didn't cry, but I would have if I'd been there.   

I need to start getting things together for our camping trip.  I'm going to the campground a day early and see what is available.  I know a horse/walking/bike trail goes right by the campground, so maybe I can take a small hike.  I need to make sure my camera battery is charged, but first I'll have to remember where I put the charger!  I am so in need of a getaway.

I got word from my boss at Lassen that they are having a get-together for all the folks who have ever worked at Lake Manzanita, and I'm invited.  In 2009 I spent about a week at Manzanita learning the job before Butte Lake opened for the season.  They are having a Hawaiian luau theme and everyone is asked to bring something Hawaiian.  I really don't know what to take, and since I'll be tenting I need to make it simple.  Any ideas for something simple I can do ahead?  I could cut up a pineapple, for one thing, but I don't exactly do a beautiful job of making the pieces relatively the same size and shape.  Also, it's a sticky mess, but no one needs to know that.  I need to figure out a way to transport it in a cooler.  I'll take my big Coleman, and I also have a smaller cooler I can take.  I won't know everyone there, but I am excited to see the ones I do remember.  The occasion is that a couple of people are retiring, and I do know them.

 Blogger keeps sending me cryptic messages while I'm typing this blog entry, so I think I'll get it posted before they screw up and lose it.

I didn't do much of anything today except that darn jigsaw puzzle.  All I have left are a lot of pieces in various shades of green - green trees, grass, etc.   I don't know why I didn't just do those first.

I went to the gym this evening, and the great news is that I weighed 120.8!   I'm over that psychological limit (for me) of 120.  So I shouldn't take long to reach 125, and then what do I do.  I will need to cut back a few calories a day, but I'm so used to eating whenever and whatever I want and it won't be all that easy.  I actually wouldn't mind being 130 which would give me some leeway.

I've had some discomfort in my abdomen today - my diagnosis is that the mesh is what's causing the hurt.  It does that now and then and I guess it can take months to heal.  I'm patient.

I'm glad I have something of a diversion right now - TV is about the worst it has been in a long time.    I need to get back to yard work before the weather gets too hot again, but I really don't like doing yard work.  To tell the truth, I've been retired for a long time and I'm to the point now where I don't want to do any kind of work!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Just relaxing

I haven't done much of anything the past two days since I opened up that jigsaw puzzle box.   I need to go to Target but decided it would be less crowded on Monday, so I'm putting it off until tomorrow.

This represents two days of work off and on with the 1000 piece puzzle.  Click to enlarge.

This is the box showing what it is supposed to look like when it's finished.

I have complained for a long time about my deteriorating vision, but this little exercise in fun has given me a different outlook.  If I can see subtle differences in color, and spot an individual piece of the puzzle that I am looking for - out of hundreds of pieces - then I'm not as bad off as I thought.  Of course I can only work it during daylight.  Maybe with a lamp and a powerful light bulb I might be able to see it at night, but I need a good excuse to put it away.   The picture above is after working on the puzzle for 2 days, and I think I have put a lot of it together, but still have a long way to go.

So that's just about how I've spent my day, and I'm ready to quit for now.  I have way more finished than when I took the picture.   Nothing else to write about.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Making Plans

Jeannie called me this morning and told me that Arianna said to her, "I'm so excited about camping.  I already know which dress I'm going to wear, but don't worry, it isn't white so it won't get dirty!"  I said I wondered if she had selected the jewelry she will wear - you may remember she hiked last year in a dress and pearls.  (A girl can never go wrong with pearls.)   I guess I'd better get moving and figure out what I'm going to wear. 

Last night Donald escorted his two little girls to the Father-Daughter dance that was sponsored by the local community center.  It lasted from 7 to 9pm, so Jeannie and I went to the gym.  My muscles have been a little sore from the last workout so I was easier on myself last night.  I feel pretty good, and I guess that I'm getting to the stage where every  workout, hike, etc., is going to be like the first time from now on.  I remember playing soccer at age 39, and after about a year I realized that each practice or game was like the first time I was ever on the field.  Getting old!  But I enjoy the workouts so it's worth it.

I was up early this morning to go to the farmers market while it was still cool.  There is so much beautiful, fresh produce just waiting to be bought.  I'm lucky it is so close to where I live.

I have a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle that my d-i-l Meg gave me to play with about a year and a half ago.  My eyes have been giving me so much trouble I just never thought I could do jigsaw puzzles again.  I set the box on the coffee table thinking I would return it to her the next chance I got, but I opened it up and that was it.  I've been working on it now and then and have made great progress - haven't lost my touch!   Puzzle pieces beckoning from the coffee table insure that I'm not going to really get anything else done until I finish the puzzle.

The moon was spectacular last night!  You can't get any better than a full moon on Friday the 13th!  I've always loved the number 13 for some reason, so I consider Friday the 13th my lucky day, and it usually turns out to be a very good one for me.

We've been enjoying weather that is a little cooler than the awful heat last week.  It will get back up into the 90's by midweek though, which is way too hot to suit me.  I've been drinking a lot of water, so you know what that means!  If the bathroom was a bit larger I'd set up a puzzle table in there, and save the running back and forth!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Good start to the day

As I had a few things to hang on the clothesline across the street, I took my camera along.  Here are a couple of photos  showing the oleander (I'm taking some shears when I go back and try another cutting or two), as well as the orange tree.  A year or so ago I picked up one of the fallen oranges, but it wasn't sweet at all.  Too bad because the ones hanging over into the courtyard have no one to pick them.  Click on the photos to enlarge.

Sorry about the clotheslines getting into the picture but I couldn't figure out a way to avoid them.

My muscles are sore this morning but I think I'll get over it if I keep moving around (and stay off the computer!).   I love the results I'm seeing in the mirror, although I still have a ways to go.  At least I don't look like a telephone pole when standing sideways!

Having the windows open and screens with small holes in them, I'm noticing bugs in the house now and then.  As long as I've lived here I've never seen more than a little spider (and I don't mind spiders as long as they don't invade my personal space.)  The time has probably come that I should take everything out of the kitchen cabinets and clean them, but there are lots of things I should do - like steam clean the floors.  I'm thinking about it but so far haven't made a move to do anything.  I just hate moving furniture around.

It was blissfully bordering on cold last night, and I love the cold breeze blowing in over the bed.  I was snug, wrapped up in my  comforter, whereas a couple of nights ago I didn't even sleep under a sheet it was so warm.

I've been watching a lab rescue website for a dog I might be interested in, but their adoption fees are so expensive.   Last night I looked at the SPCA shelter closest to me but everything on their website was a pit bull or a chihuahua (sp?), and I don't want either.  It looks like the lab rescue organization takes labs from all over central CA and puts them in foster homes until they can find a them a permanent home.  You get a break in the adoption fee for senior and special needs dogs, and I one of the benefits from using the lab rescue site is that the foster parents can give you a better assessment of the dog and it's temperament than just walking by a cage at the SPCA.  I'm still asking myself if I want to take on caring for another dog.  What do I do with the dog when i go to the gym?  Lady was fine being left alone for a while, but I took her everywhere I could and when I couldn't, she always knew I'd be back.   A new dog wouldn't know that at first, and the hot weather ahead would make it impossible to leave an animal in the car even for a few minutes.  I know I probably shouldn't get a dog, especially living in a house with no yard to speak of.   Lady didn't mind being in the house as long as she got her walk at least twice a day.  I need to do a lot more walking than I do currently, so a dog would be an incentive.  I think if the "right one" becomes apparent, I'll do it.  I prefer a male black lab, at least 6-8 yrs old or more.   I'm open to suggestions on other places to look for a black lab. 

Today is much better

I didn't even need to turn on the swamp cooler today as the fan kept the air moving and there was a nice breeze all day long outside.  I think we'll have two more nice days like this before it climbs into the 90's.

I shopped for my granddaughter's birthday present today.  Arianna will be 5 and the party will be on the 21st. 

I exercised this evening and am pretty sore now.  I went a little heavier on some of the weights and I can feel it.  But mostly I feel terrific.  I weigh myself each time I go to the gym and have enjoyed watching the number climb, even if only a few ounces at a time.  I'm over 119# as of today and hope to turn to the magic number within a week or so.  After 120, then I can relax a bit and hope to gain a few more pounds, but at least hold on to what I've got.

I have the House Hunters show on HGTV running in the background.   A young couple is looking for an old but rehabbed row house in Baltimore.  As they were walking from one room to another, the girl asked the real estate agent, "What are the windows over the doors?"   Of course I knew right away she was talking about transoms.  Does anyone else remember the transoms over the interior doors to provide air circulation?

I'm ready to fall asleep in my chair and hope to get a good night's rest.   See ya tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

No Fair!

It was only supposed to reach the upper 90's today and at 4pm it's already 102.   I've come to the conclusion that if I had to pick between living in a hot climate most of the year or a cold climate, I would definitely prefer the cold.   Of course I don't have the choice so I should quit whining.  The swamp cooler definitely doesn't cool anything when it gets this hot.

I went out early this moring and stopped by the dentist office to pay the last of my bill.  As I've mentioned before, there went my travel fund for this year.  But I needed the dental work and definitely think I'm a lot healthier for having it done.

Now I need to go to Target, but will wait for the temp to start dropping a bit;  according to a current newscast, the Delta breeze just hit our area so we should be cooling off soon.   Maybe I'll go after dinner so I won't run into all the rush hour traffic.  About an hour ago I ate pretty much ice cream trying to cool off, so my dinner will likely be delayed.

There is really no news when all you can do is try to keep from melting, so I'll make this post a shorter one than usual.  Keep cool, y'all!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Another hot day!

It is 102 right now which is supposed to be our high for today.  The next week or so should be in the 90's or high 80's, so it will be a little more comfortable.  This is really awful, but I can deal with it.   I took a nap in the bedroom this afternoon and it's surprising how much cooler the back of the house is in the afternoons - the opposite it true of the front of the house though!  You just can't have it all.   Note:  I have windows open in every room of the house, but the kitchen is like an oven whereas the air is cooler everywhere else.)

I mentioned in a past blog that I check the cookies on my computer every couple of days and delete most of them.   One thing I notice is that many of the blogs I read leave their cookie.  Not all of them do, but a good number, and I wonder if anyone has a reasonable explanation for why they do that.  I just delete them and they reappear the next time I read that blog.

I find that I am extremely bored with TV lately, and leave it off much of the time.   The same goes with the computer - I love reading the blogs and keeping current with what folks are doing, and I check my emails several times a day, but other than that there isn't anything worth spending time online for.  Thank goodness I dropped FB a couple of years ago and have never learned to Twitter (or is that to Tweet).  I think the whole concept of Twitter is juvenile, but that is how it appears to me and obviously most people don't share my opinion.

I want to correct something I wrote yesterday and that is the campgrounds we looked at were at about 4000+ feet, not the 6000 ft I mentioned.  Not really important, but I don't like to be 2000 ft inaccurate.

Gym tonight, and I sure need it.  I'm gaining weight and muscle, but with all the food intake my belly doesn't match the rest of me.  I'd love to know how to whittle it down, although I'm still afraid of damaging the hernia repair.  I still have frequent aches and pains in the area which I deem to be the mesh to which tissue adheres over time.  (I don't exactly know this to be the reason for the pain, but it  sounds as good as anything else I can come up with. ) 

I had such a good time with Steve and my grandson Liam yesterday.  Liam will be 4 in August, and is amazingly aware of paleontology and the various kinds of dinosaurs.  The names just roll off his tongue like he's been saying them all his life - he probably has been saying them for at least the past year.  Tyrannosaurus, brontosaurus,  triceratops, stegosaurus - he knows them all and many more.  These are just the ones I can pronounce, but Liam totally amazes me with his knowledge of the names, what they look like, what they eat, how they act, (put all this in the past tense, of course.  They haven't been eating for a long time!).   I really hope he maintains his interest because I see a budding paleontologist coming up.

I think I will go stand in a cool shower for a while before getting my gym clothes on.  Stay cool, y'all.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Making camping plans

My kids and I want to get together for a camping weekend sometime in June.  Steve, Liam and I took a drive up I-80 and looked at a State park site as well as one in the National Forest.   These pictures were taken at a reservoir at the state location.  (Click on a picture to enlarge it.)

I didn't get into the water as it was freezing!

I took a couple of photos at the NF campground but it is difficult to really get see how they are laid out, and when we stay there I'll take pictures with all the tents and equipment.

After looking at the campground and talking to the camp host for a while, we found a very nice store not far away where we got lunch and sat out on a covered deck to eat.  At about 6000 ft the temperature was great.  Steve and I  enjoyed  Pabst Blue Ribbon beer with our sandwiches.   I can't believe how good a beer can taste when you don't have one but every so often, although when we got back in the car it was slightly surprising to me how much I was thinking about how good it was!  When we go camping I'm going to enjoy having a few beers when I feel like it.  There is really no reason why I shouldn't , but I have just wanted to prove to myself that I don't need it.  A beer or two in the evening always compensated for not being able to have a cigarette, and I think I'm over that type of craving now.

At 4 pm it is already 102, and will probably get a little hotter before it starts to cool down.   Since I wasn't here to turn on the swamp cooler & fan before it got so hot, it isn't going to cool down very much.   I'm ok in the living room but the kitchen is almost unbearable!  That is always the hottest room in the house.

So this is how I spent my day.  I'm also going to try to get to Lassen for a few days in mid-June, so I can dust off my camping gear and get ready for the joys of camping, which is what I love to do.

Friday, June 6, 2014

I drug myself to Walmart

There are a number of items I want to buy but haven't found them elsewhere, or if I found them they cost way more than I wanted to pay.  So I made my "about 4x-a-year-trip" to Walmart.  Nothing has changed there - I had several things on my list that I couldn't find.  

What I did find (and bought) were 4 sheer panels to go on my living room window  (Curtains were not on my list, by the way.).  The old curtains were so horrible that I threw them out when I painted, and never replaced them.

The window the new curtains are now covering has serious water damage to the paneling around one side.  I went ahead and painted those panels so it would be less noticeable.  Steve has said he will replace the window AND sections of the wall panels when he gets a chance.   When that happens I'll have to paint the new paneling but I think the curtains will be just fine.  The window is very large - all the windows in this place are larger than usual.  They are jalousie type windows and I will be glad to replace them with the more regular type that has a screen included.  There was a screen on this window that was so bent out of shape and had holes in it, plus was missing a lot of screws that were supposed to hold it flush to the wall, so I just tossed it.  Shortly after moving in I tried to find replacement screws for the screen, but only a local old-fashioned hardware store in Fair Oaks had the right size screws.  I thought I was buying a large number of them, but every screen in the house was missing screws so they were used up quickly.  The hardware store is no longer there and I hated to see it go.  They still had and were using the original cash register, and had items on their shelves you couldn't find anywhere else.

So this trip to Walmart wasn't a total waste of time, and I'll probably return to buy replacement sheer panels for all the other windows in the house.  Other than the few special items that I find and buy there, I just can't see the attraction of the place.  It certainly isn't the prices - for all the aggravation I'd be willing to pay a bit more (but not outrageously more).

The temperature is beginning its rise to the upper 90's.  It was 68 when I left for Walmart at about 10:30 this morning, and it's now already 81!  I'm taking it easy for the rest of the day.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


But it's not as hot as it's going to get later in the week.

My fuel tank was pretty low so I got an early start to Costco.  The gas cost a lot more than the last time I fueled up, which was around the 1st of April before my hernia repair.  I didn't want to take a chance on driving while I was taking pain pills, and it just happened at that time Jeannie's car was in the shop waiting for a part.  It worked out perfectly and she drove it for a few weeks, then returned it to me with a full tank which I've been driving on ever since.

In front of Costco was parked the cutest little car I've ever seen - a Fiat but unfortunately I didn't write down the model #.  The MSRP is just under $20k, and the reason I like it so well is that it isn't over-burdened with technological devices.  I didn't see a built-in GPS, which is fine because I wouldn't want to be distracted by a screen in the middle of the dashboard.  I affix my Garmin to the driver's side window in a sweet spot where I can see it at a glance but it doesn't block the view out of my side window or the side mirror.  The spec sheet didn't give an estimated MPG which surprised me, but not to worry - I'm not buying a $20,000 vehicle.  Costco displays a different car every week, and this is the first one I've seen that I'd be tempted to check out further, that is, if I had the money and was in the market for a new car.   What I'd love to have is either an F-150 or maybe an F-250, full cab, short bed truck, with tow package already installed.

I've had a pineapple sitting on my counter since the weekend, waiting to ripen.  Today was the day!  I attacked it and butchered it quite proper!  I never could cut a fresh pineapple although I've watched others slicing them up in perfectly uniform chunks and with ease.  Donald has a device that drills the core right out, but to me slicing the outer skin is the hard part.  I'm not good with devices anyway - he also has a nifty corkscrew that looks effortless and easy to use.  I never could figure the damn thing out.  Just so you know, I really am a smart person, but my mind works in a logical straightforward way a lot of the time ( but not even most of the time).  I just like to do things the old-fashioned way.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

The pineapple tastes so good and sweet I'm not sure there will be any left to fry with my ham slice for dinner.   Even with the trouble of cutting it up I think I won't be able to avoid buying one every week. 

Last night was gym night and I did a modified (shorter) workout although I worked hard.  Just before we left Donald decided he wanted to try to bench press 250# (he had earlier gotten up to 225#).  Jeannie spotted him, and doggone if he didn't lift that 250# monster four times.  I can't even lift the bar that holds the weights (45#), so I pick lighter bars to work out with.  I'll let you know when I get to 45# but it won't be anytime soon.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A First for Me!

I didn't leave the house yesterday so I had a lot of things to do today, including a quick trip to the grocery.  Bel Air always asks the customer if they would like help getting their purchases to the car.   Older ladies and men often take them up on it, but I haven't reached that age yet and have always been adamant I would take care of myself.

Today I bought a case of spring water (to take camping), and it was so heavy I couldn't lift it from the floor to any higher than the lower rack of the shopping cart.  I asked the cashier if he could move it to the basket for me so I could get a good grip on it to place it in my car.  Before I knew what was happening, one of the baggers was smiling and ready to push my cart out.  I could have protested, but I decided it was better to have help than to lift something that could hurt my insides.  Now the case will sit in the back of my car until one of the boys comes by.

I stopped at Michael's Crafts and spent a lot of money on supplies to allow the grandkids to be creative.  And I will need to be creative in figuring out how I can let them have fun while staying out of their way, but preventing chaos and a huge mess at the same time.

Speaking of camping, I have no idea when I am going.  No doubt I'll wake up some morning, throw things in the back of the highlander (forgetting half of what I'll need), and take off.   

Although it's currently 86F it feels warmer than that.  I looked at weather.com online and see that the humidity is 29%, so it's no wonder it's a little uncomfortable.  The  humidity is forecasted to go down as the temperature rises today.  I certainly don't understand it.

Monday, June 2, 2014

For some reason I just didn't feel like doing a thing yesterday, and just sat around the house.  I did get to the gym this afternoon and had a quick workout, which I really needed.

Today (other than going to the gym) I have spent most of the day doing laundry and bringing some genealogy up to date.  I have quite a lot of entries to make and it takes time to type them, proofreading as I go.

I think the pain in my shins is definitely due to the shoes I wear, mostly Birkenstocks, which have never before given me a moment's trouble.  The runners I wear some of the time also cause slight pain in my shins.  I don't have it at all when I go barefoot.  I HATE  going barefoot - I think I must have been about 4 yrs old when I stepped on a bee.  From that day I wear shoes outside as well as indoors.   I would like to resume walking with a little jog thrown in, but wonder about my shoes.

I weigh myself when I go to the gym, and I gained 6 oz since my last visit.  I've just started keeping records, but it looks like I'm gaining 6-8 oz a week.  I'm happy with that, and have about 8# to my target weight.

I'd like to thank Nancy for her link to "Clothespin Art",  and also Judilyn for suggestions on art supplies to go with the clothespins.  I'm going to visit Michael's soon and see what I can pick up.  The kids will be so surprised.  When I hung my clothes on the line today I found so many pins that were decorated with tiny little flowers and things drawn on them with markers.  They are so cheerful and make a repetitive task fun, wondering what I was going to pull out of the bag next.

A few days ago the weather forecast was for some reasonable (80's) temps this coming week.  They fibbed, and now it looks like a week or longer of temps close to or in the 100's.  But for this evening it looks like the beautiful Delta breeze will keep things cooled off.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sunday rest

But only for part of the day, as I'm planning a visit to the gym this evening.

With not much to write about today, I took a couple of photos of the sorts of things I find when my grandchildren are here.  Note that two of them are able to write, and while the others know their letters they haven't left me any notes.

On the left is a note from granddaughter Alyssa (Joe's); the middle one is from Arianna, and on the right is Autumn's (Jeannie's daughters).   The second photo is hard to read because it's on a yellow post-it note against a white cabinet.  The third is a little picture drawn by Keira (Joe's youngest) and I found it stuck to my closet mirror in the bedroom.  The photo didn't turn out so well, and you might be able to notice me in the background taking the picture.  Ignore my unmade bed in the background!  (Please click to enlarge the pictures.)

My grandchildren are all so sweet and I love having them come over.  Joe's girls are totally fascinated with my wooden spring clothes pins, and I let them play with them when they are here.  Alyssa likes to decorate them and many have been adorned with tiny pictures she's drawn with a marker.   I've been thinking that the next one with a birthday might be getting a package of clothespins from Grandma!  I'm chuckling to think of what the birthday party crowd would think of it - they'd wonder why I haven't been put in a home yet.