Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Party time!

Last Friday we celebrated grandson Liam's 4th birthday.  Following are some random pictures taken at Steve & Meg's house.  (Click photos to enlarge.)

I apologize for the number of sunset pictures that follow.  Every time I thought it was over and turned off the camera, the sky would change into something even more beautiful and colorful.  I just couldn't stop!

I didn't do much of anything yesterday except start to pack, and today I went to see a model of Joe & Sarah's new house.  The house is up now but locked because of hardware and such that are being installed.  It is gorgeous and spacious, and the size of the lot is really unbelievable.  There is space on both sides of the house to add an RV pad with extra left over.  The back is also huge with plenty of room to add a pool.  I was impressed with the space between houses in this development - much more than usual in California housing.  Now we're all keeping our fingers crossed that they will sell their current house quickly.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Birthday Party

I'm just taking it easy until I get ready to go to the party for grandson Liam's 4th birthday.  About the only thing I've done is to get my suitcase out and start my packing.  I have enough to wear this coming week even after packing up most of the clothes I'll take with me.  I really hope I don't have to use a larger suitcase - the one I have is the medium-sized one of a set, and I'm not sure who has the other pieces.  At least I have time to switch items around and try to gain more space.

In the blog written by Billy Bob this morning he wonders if the end of the world is coming as his internet has shut down, and the TV has nothing worth watching.  It made me think about what might happen if something occurred to shut down the technology we have come to rely on.  As I commented on BB's post, I think us older folks would miss it at first but most of us would adapt.  We grew up in a world where we didn't carry around phones/cameras, and wrote letters on paper rather than on a computer.  Young people would have the biggest problem because they've never known a world without hi-tech.  Of course nearly all our transportation, including our cars, is controlled by computers and I wonder if we could even turn the ignition and get the vehicle out of Park.

And then there is Digital.  Can anyone even explain how digital works?  I know the TV, radio, and all sorts of devices are digital, but what is the controlling factor?  To tell the truth I still prefer analog clocks, scales, speedometers, and many other items.  It's something to think about.

It reminds me that when I was at Costco yesterday I was astounded at how nearly everyone had their phones in outstretched hands, many of them seeming to scan the merchandise they were looking at--with their iPhones.  Can anyone tell me what the hell is going on with that?  It is a bit disconcerting because as you go up and down the aisles you realize that everyone is looking at their phones and pushing their carts at the same time.  I feel like I have to be even more alert to avoid a collision, and god help me if someone is driving a car while looking at their phone.  I have no doubt that many people do that, especially if they use it as a GPS.  At my age I realize how dangerous it is for me to take my eyes off the road, but now I must worry about people who aren't watching the road at all, or only now and then alternately taking a quick glance at the road and then a long glance at their phone.

I must be getting really old.  I remember when my grandparents used to make comparisons between life in the 1950's, 60's and 70's with the life they grew up in.  Guess it happens, to most everyone and the upcoming generations won't be any exception.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hangin' in there!

I was happy to see my sun shade still hanging this morning.  Seeing how it was when the sun hit it full on yesterday, I think it is more of a privacy shade than  sun protection, but it's fine with me.  I wish I could hang a shade that covers that entire side of the porch, but then I would have to find somewhere else to hang the hummingbird feeder and it would be where I couldn't see and enjoy the birds.

When I look at it I shake my head and wonder how I could have the nerve to hang it in public!  Actually, it isn't all that bad if you don't look up close.
Speaking of birds, I have a question that maybe someone can answer.  I bought a 5 lb. box of grapes at Costco a week ago and was really disappointed to find they had seeds in them.  I guess I didn't check the label but Costco's grapes have always been seedless up to this point.  It is so aggravating and time consuming to cut out the seeds in the morning to mix with my fruit bowl, and I always put a bunch of washed grapes aside for snacking on throughout the day - can't do that very easily now unless I remove the seeds first.

My question is:  can I set some of the grapes by the back fence for the birds?  Will squirrels or other rodents be attracted?  I know there are squirrels around, but I don't see them all that often in the vicinity of my house, and I certainly don't want to draw them.  Would the birds even be interested in the grapes?    I suppose I could try setting out a small bunch today and see what happens.  They are really tasty and very sweet, but I hate having to deal with the seeds.  

I've even thought of making grape jelly and straining out the seeds and skins, but that sounds too much like work.  Besides, grape jelly isn't my favorite, black raspberry would be my choice and it is almost impossible to find in Sacramento.  I will bring a few jars back from NY in my suitcase.

I just returned from Costco where I found organic seedless grapes.   I got some other items I had on my list, and when I got home I discovered that "someone" had mistakenly put biscotti into my cart.  Before I thought about it I opened the container and sampled one, so I can't return it to the store.  I think it must be a heavenly reward for avoiding the Svenhardt's 30 pack of Danish!

I'm trying to figure out what I can take on the plane to snack on, since I know the airlines no longer provide food.  I'll be changing planes at O'Hare and the food is always expensive in the terminals, so I'd like to take my own with me.  But what to carry it in is the problem.  I believe I'm allowed one checked bag, and one carry on or purse.  I'll  stuff my purse into a small backpack along with my laptop and snacks.  I think that will work.  Jeannie always takes along a lot of snacks for the kids when they fly, but with 4 people traveling you can take carry-ons for each.  This is a lot more difficult to plan for than driving my car to NY!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

DIY Frustration!

It is so aggravating to me that I can't seem to do the simplest thing like hang a shade.  My front porch gets the full afternoon sun when it is at its hottest point of the day.  There are hooks alongside the porch roof for hanging one of those inexpensive roll-up shades, so I bought one at Home Depot this morning.

The hooks (rounded "eyes) on the shade won't fit on the hooks from the roof because there isn't enough space to get them together.  I had some links of a chain (can't remember where I got it) and figured I might jury-rig the connection using the chain.  The chain links are too small to go over the hook on the porch.  So here I am, frustrated as can be, because I can't do a simple thing like hang a roll up shade.  I'll have to look into my tool box to see if there is something I can use to connect both the hook and eye.

The meatloaf turned out to be tasty if somewhat bland.  I had it for supper last night and just ate a meatloaf sandwich for lunch.  There are 2 or 3 servings left.  The bacon did make a great difference, and next time I will try Judy's recommendation to poke a few holes in the raw meatloaf and drop a bit of bacon grease in each one.  I would have done that but didn't have any bacon grease on hand.  For some reason I tend to spill things like that and recall dropping a half cup of warm bacon grease on the way to the fridge in my 5th wheel.  After spending a long time cleaning it up I heard what I thought was Lady grooming herself, to find that she was cleaning up bacon grease that I hadn't found.  Whatta good dog!   I'm on my own cleaning up food spills now.

After pondering the question of how to hang the shade, I got a wrench and opened up the roof hangers a bit and got the center hook from the shade on the hook.  The trouble is that the roof hooks are spaced so that they don't match the ones on my shade, so I think I done a good redneck fix - I got the small chains and linked them through the shade hooks on either end and tied the chains around the roof hooks.  The shade is moving about in the breeze, and it doesn't look exactly evenly hung, but it works for me.  If nothing else it will give my son Steve a good chuckle the next time he comes by.  He'll take a look at that and will just have to show me how to do a perfect job!

You might wonder why I didn't get a wider shade, but my hummingbird feeder is hanging a couple of hooks to the left of the shade, and I didn't want to interfere with it.   It's breezy today and I don't think the shade is going to hold up for long.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Will Gypsy cook dinner tonight?

I got a lot of walking in this morning - went to Costco as well as Bel Air grocery.  I always park in the very back of the lot as that is where I can usually find a shady spot, and most of the time there aren't a lot of other cars crowding me.  Mostly I do it for the exercise.

Since I had no bacon on hand for my meatloaf and it was recommended by a couple of commenters, I decided to wait until I could buy it today, and just went to the gym last night.  So now I have all the ingredients on hand that I need to make a good meatloaf - at least I hope it turns out to be good.  I'll be eating it until it's gone, whatever the end result.

If you happen to use gmail you probably experience mail in the spam folder as frequently as I do.  They are almost always sex related, with some foreign "Dearest friend" mail thrown in.  This morning I got a good laugh when I saw an email from "As Seen on TV", and the subject referred to enlarging certain body parts.  They must figure that no one can resist "as seen on TV".  Ah, they are clever devils, for sure, but the spam filter is a little more clever.  Do people really open and read that kind of mail?

After a few nice days it looks like we are going to be back to sweltering temps in the upper 90's.  I'm so sick of this kind of weather, although I do appreciate the cool night time temps (upper 50's).   I usually don't have to even turn on a fan until mid-afternoon, and then run the swamp cooler for a few hours.  I hope NY has some cool weather in September.  I also wonder when I should start getting things together to pack.  If I do it now I'll end up with everything scattered all over, and will have to redo it before I leave.  If I wait until just before I leave, I'll forget something.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Trying to buy a book!

It shouldn't be this difficult.  I went to the Barnes & Noble bookstore this morning but didn't find the books I wanted.  I then went over to the crossword puzzle section and all they had were easy puzzles, so I left.

I did a computer search on the author's website and only found one of the books.  Next I checked Amazon and I didn't recognize their opening screen at first - why in the world would they make it more cluttered and complex?  It's no secret that I don't like Amazon, so I tried Powell's books but didn't find what I wanted there.

I gave up and did a search for one of the books and found a reference to Amazon, which I clicked.  Both books were available on Amazon even though my initial search there didn't give me any results that matched what I wanted.  I don't know what gives, but by now I wanted to just order the books so I ended up ordering from Amazon after all.  Personally I think they should open with a cleaner screen instead of all the displays.  I asked to search books and was led to a screen that tried to sell me clothing.

All's well that ends well, though, and I will have the reading material I want for my trip.  Still looking for a challenger crossword puzzle book!  I really don't like online shopping and wish I could just walk into a shop and find what I want.  I would have to live in Chicago or New York City or other large city for that to happen.  (I'm probably being a little over-the-top here!)

I don't know if it's the weather lately (although it's a little less hot today) but I get so sleepy in the middle of the day.  Also, I have been waking up in the morning before 8 am, then close my eyes for "just a couple more minutes", and next thing I know it's 8:30 or so.  I'm getting enough sleep so I don't know why the lethargy I've been experiencing lately.   I need to get back to a better diet no doubt - I've been either skipping a meal or else eating stuff that has calories but no nutrition.  I'll be really surprised if that's what the problem is.  Actually, I don't want to go out and buy a lot of groceries until I get back from NY when I'll have to re-stock everything.  

I'm thinking about making a meat loaf for supper so I'd better go see what I can do to throw that together.  I have never made what I consider a really great meatloaf and don't know why I keep trying, but maybe it will be better this time.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


The first thing I saw when I turned on my computer this morning was an email from my brother in Milwaukee asking all of us siblings in CA if we had experienced the earthquake early this morning, and if we were ok.  That was the first I heard of it and quickly turned on the news.  At first the map showing the areas of damage were small and isolated, but within an hour it looked like the entire central CA was affected in some way.

Hardest hit was the Napa Valley and surrounding areas.  I couldn't believe the pictures I saw of mobile homes that were completely destroyed - they look like they just melted.  It's a sobering thought to those of us who live in mobile homes.  The fires were caused by gas main leaks.

I didn't feel a thing, at least not anything to wake me up.  In all my years I have only experienced the effects of an earthquake on one occasion, and it felt like my recliner had a vibrating seat.  Nothing more, and I hope to never experience anything stronger.

I know there are readers of my blog who live in California, and I hope you are all safe  and would love to get a comment from you in that regard.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Roof repair

Even as I write this my roof is being repaired.  Mark arrived a few minutes before 10 am, just as he had promised.  The noise from whatever he's doing is so much more pronounced than if he was walking and working on a regular type roof rather than the metal.  I haven't ever been on the roof, but it doesn't seem to be very sturdy - I never liked walking about on the roof of my 5th wheel either.

It's ironic that I had originally planned to attend a reunion at Lassen Volcanic Nat'l. Park today, and then later decided I would go to a baby shower that is being held at Jeannie's house for her friend, Tracy.  I have always liked Tracy, and in fact her parents came to Ireland when I was living there and made sure to meet me there.   I'm sorry to have had to miss the shower, but my roof getting fixed is the most important thing to me right now.  

Maybe I should do a rain dance within the next few days and hope I get some rain before I go to NY.  I will ask my kids if one of them can be sure to go over and check things out if it rains while I'm gone.  Oh well, I just have to trust that everything will be ok.

I'm running low on groceries so I haven't been eating the most nutritious meals lately.  I'd like to get the fridge nearly empty so I can clean it thoroughly before I leave.   It's a job I hate and put off until the last possible moment!

With all the books I checked out at the library last week, I'm returning at least 4 of them without reading them.  I started on a couple of books and didn't like how they were going within the first few pages, and they aren't worth sticking through in hopes the story line will get better.  There are plenty more books I can check out.

I need to find a good book to take with me to read on the plane, plus a good crossword puzzle book to alternate with the reading material.   I'll have to go to Barnes & Noble to find a decent crossword book - I like the hard ones such as the Sunday NY Times puzzles.  My all time favorite puzzles were from the Saturday Observer newspaper which went out of print years ago.  The Saturday puzzle would last me all week as I would get a few answers each time I picked it up but always had a few blanks left by the time the new puzzle appeared.  That's the way I like them - always having a couple of answers I can't get.  And yes, I always do crosswords in ink!

I am about to explode right now.  I have an old man who lives next door who likes to talk to anyone he can catch.  I have never had anyone here to do anything that he doesn't come out and start running off at the mouth.  He's now telling my roofer what kind of coating he should be using.  I guess Mark can take care of himself, and I'm not paying him by the clock.

 Now the roof is finished and I am so relieved but I hated to see the money go from my savings account.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Just relaxing

I'm having an easy day - stayed in bed a half hour longer and that set the tone for the entire day, I think.  I took a cup of coffee and one of my books out to the front porch, but after sitting there a minute I decided to go sit at the back of my driveway.  I'm still in green silk pajamas and felt kind of conspicuous on the front porch!

Yesterday was the most beautiful day in a long time - never got above 80.  Today's forecast is for a high of 90 but I'm hoping it doesn't quite reach that.  

I have a good supply of books to read now - all mysteries, all fun to read, and all very forgettable.   A commenter, Geocaching, asked me about book titles.  What I do is go to the mystery section at my local library branch.  I scan the shelves for paperbacks - maybe two or three that look like they belong together - and usually they are the kind of mystery I'm looking for.  As I mentioned, they all have themes, such as old house renovation, cooking, baking, sewing, tea shoppe, etc.  I'll bring a stack of them home and sometimes I find a particular author is not to my liking, and I'll return all her books unread.

If you look for books this way, be aware that they are silly, funny, whatever; some feature a ghost or someone who can see and converse with ghosts; some have different paranormal themes, and I even got hold of a series one time that was a "Christian mystery" (written in small print so that I didn't realize what I had until I was into the book.  I quickly got tired of the preaching although I liked the plot, but returned the books in short order.  The witnessing and preaching were totally out of context and I don't like it to begin with.  Another thing I do is to read the books in order, and you can find the print date on one of the pages in front of the book.   Sometimes I go to the Sac Library catalog and request the titles to fill in with what I pick up at my branch, but I always try to read from first to last.  Most authors of these books only write 3 or 4, and then either write a new and different series or just drop out altogether.  Right now I'm happy to read this kind of fluff, and now and then I'll read something more serious.

I fixed myself some blueberry pancakes this morning.  I have frozen blueberries on hand, and even threw in some chopped walnuts.  Topped with organic maple syrup and I'm feeling great, although a little full.   I had to go get dressed because I notice I got some pancake batter on my pajama top!

I need to get back to some serious decluttering before I leave for NY in September.  I'd hate to think something would happen to me and my kids would have to go through all this mess!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Reading the day away

I took a stack of books back to the library this morning and got another stack to take home.  They are all paperback mysteries, not the scary kind but with themes, such as cooking, B&B, quilters, etc.  Usually they amount to a fun read and I can easily read one in a day if I don't do much else.

I made a quick trip to the grocery after I got my books - I was out of milk, half & half, and bananas - I picked up a package of frozen corn dogs (16 in the pkg) and had 2 for lunch.  They were actually pretty good.  I stood by the ice cream freezer for a while but walked away from the Klondike bars empty-handed.  I've felt virtuous ever since, but now and then I wish a box had just fallen into my cart.

I made arrangements with the roofer I liked (both him and his quote).  He told me he is booked the rest of the week but would get to it on Saturday or Sunday depending on how his current jobs are going.  We talked briefly about the work he will do, and I feel like he does a good job of explaining it.  It will be good to have it done before I leave for NY, and I really hope it will rain after the work is done and before I take off.

I feel pretty good about life in general today, although the trip to the gym yesterday no doubt has something to do with my good mood.  After my tasty lunch I'm not really hungry for supper even though it's almost 6:30.   Since I want to hold on to my 126# I'll have to eat, but it will be a late supper.

Monday, August 18, 2014

I find myself looking forward to my trip to New York in September, and Mike has some side trips planned that will be wonderful.  I won't say what they are so I don't jinx anything.

I was looking back over the pictures from the wedding and found this little gem that I didn't post yet.  What a couple of beautiful girls!

I don't think I'll accomplish much today except that I have a load of laundry on the clothesline.   I'll need to start figuring out what to take with me to the east.   It's always been so easy when I could pack whatever I thought I might need in the car, but with airline restrictions and charges for baggage, I'll have to pack smart.

It's starting to warm up so I think I'll go get the clothes off the line before the hottest part of the afternoon.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Some photos taken at the wedding

I forgot to take my camera into the church so I didn't get any of the ceremony, which was presided over by my youngest brother and deacon, Rob.  The following pictures were taken by either Jeannie or me, and I haven't ever seen anyone else's photos although I know they were up on Facebook before the sun rose the next morning.

This is Julie & Paul, my niece Stephanie who was the maid of honor, and sister Amy; my brothers Steve, Rob, and Fred are in the back row, along with yours truly.  You will note my exquisite shoes in the photo - I started out wearing decent shoes but they were so uncomfortable I changed into my Birkenstocks before I even got to Livermore!  At my age the people can just think I'm eccentric.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Jeannie and me:  (I wish I had removed those glasses, but if I set them down someplace I will never find them again.)

Jeannie, me and my brother, Fred:

Jeannie and Donald:

Julie and Paul, me, and Rob:

My four granddaughters, with Julie and me in the background. 

Meg (Steve's wife), Jeannie, and Sarah (Joe's wife):

All in all it was an informal and pretty stress-free wedding, a relaxing good time.  The only downside is that my brother, Bill and his wife, Wilma were in town having driven from Milwaukee, but didn't make it to the wedding.  Wilma spent several days in a local hospital when she suffered a bout of vertigo.  She has had it before but it seemed worse this time somehow.  They are back in Milwaukee now and I think she is ok.  I was so worried because there had been a problem with her meds for A-Fib - Bill has an alarm on his iPhone to remind her when to take her meds, but the phone went through a couple of time zone changes and it ended up being 2 hours off in the prescribed time to take the tablet.  The doctors said that had nothing to do with the vertigo though, so that's a good thing.

I rode back with Jeannie & Donald, and we stopped by the hospital for a visit with them - I would have hated to miss seeing them.  They always make me so welcome whenever I stop by to see them on my way to and from NY.

I hope the photos aren't too blurry.  I'm having trouble with my eyes lately and they all look a bit blurred to me.  I'm also seeing floaters that look like little flying insects.  I think there was a fly in my kitchen last night but I couldn't tell for sure if it was really a fly or if I was seeing things.  I was swatting the air though!

Other than it being too hot to suit me I am feeling pretty good - I did recover from the art shop I held yesterday.   Joe and Sarah are working night and day to get ready to put their house on the market tomorrow, so Jeannie & Donald took the girls yesterday and today.  Donald had the kids in the swimming pool a lot of the time, which tires them out and slows them down a little.  I haven't seen Joe's new house yet - it is brand new and still under construction.  Alyssa went on a small crying jag yesterday (when I held her in the rocking chair) about not wanting to move but wanting to stay in her old house.  They will love it once they move in.  They will still be fairly close to me, but a little bit further than the current distance of about a mile.

My calendar looks empty for next week so I hope I can at least get the roofing issue settled.  I'd like to have it taken care of before I leave for New York - with the way things have been there is no way to know if and when we will get some rain.  I sure hope we can end the drought this coming season, or at least put a good dent into it.  Things look pretty grim though.   I will probably put off any extended camping trip until October, although my big tent has been repaired by the Big Agnes company  in Colorado that made it, and I really need to go to the mountains for a day or two to try it out and make sure the repairs are acceptable.

I guess the stars were aligned in such a way that the past week or two has been difficult for me, but whatever it was it is now all worked out and I'm feeling wonderful!   I'll feel even better when the temperature is such that I can get out and about, maybe do some walking and/or hiking, and just generally get moving.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Arts and Crafts

What in the name of all that's good and holy (one of my mom's expressions)  ever made me think it would be fun to get artsy craftsy items on hand for when the granddaughters visit!

Donald came over this afternoon with the four little girls (thank goodness he was here to help them with their projects).  They decorated little boxes in different shapes, painted rocks, and did a lot of artwork with glitter pens and markers.  They also ate lots of popcorn and I've finally cleaned up all the little pieces from the floor, chocolate peanut butter cups, blueberries and strawberries.  I will need to mop the kitchen floor tonight to get the chocolate & blueberry smears up.

Donald made them clean up before they left, and I got the markers, paints, and crayons off a leather dinette chair and a wood coffee table with a magic eraser.  It worked like MAGIC!   The floor I cleaned yesterday is a bit smeary today, but it really won't bother me enough to want to clean it again so soon.

One of the girls got upset because something wasn't working out like she planned, and I held and rocked her in my rocking recliner until she let go of all the frustration, which really wasn't too long.   

Donald is making pizza for dinner and asked me to come over, but I think I'm going to go to the closest convenience store for a 6-pack and maybe even some junk food, and just collapse.    It was an intense afternoon, but actually fun.  Now I can relax, read a book, watch tv, and knock back a couple of Hi Life's! 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Do I have a roofer?

I've had several guys come by to look at the roof and talked on the phone to a couple more, but I liked the fellow who just left my house.  I told him I would call him by Monday - I would have hired him on the spot except I'm waiting for another estimate on Monday.  This will be a fix, any way I look at it, and not a new roof.   If this gets settled I can soon relax and enjoy thinking about New York.

I also got my Big Agnes tent back and need to set it up to see if the new zippers work ok.  It's too big to set up on the driveway, and the only thing to do is to find a campsite that isn't too far away and set it up for a couple of days. 

I spent the whole morning steam cleaning my floors in the living/dining/TV area.  I think I wore myself out moving heavy furniture back and forth so that I could clean under everything.  I stopped because the steamer pad got so dirty and I finished the job using a folded microfiber cloth.  I'll throw them in the washing machine and then do the hallway and bedroom next.  That shouldn't be as backbreaking, especially if I don't try to move the heavy chest of drawers.  The little spare room is chock full of office (desk, printer, shredder, supplies) and camping gear.  No way am I going to move all that out right now - maybe one of these days I'll clean that floor. 

Now I'm almost too worn out to fix a decent dinner.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

I'm back

I just want to let everyone know I'm back from the wedding and will write more about the weekend when I get a chance.  

I took the advice of several readers and went both to Lowe's and Home Depot and signed up for contact with roofers.  I've talked to one person and have another coming tomorrow to look it over.

My oldest son has purchased a ticket for me to fly to New York for 3 weeks in September, and I will be so happy to travel, even though I haven't been on a plane in ages.   The idea is that I will fly to NY for the birthday of one grandson in September, and then drive to NY next June for the birthday of his older brother.  I'm hoping I can get a satisfactory fix for my roof in the next week or so, and can not have to worry about rain falling while I'm gone.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Beat Goes On!

I'm not setting the world on fire with my decluttering, but at least I'm doing something every day.  I might be able to finish in about 5 years at this rate.

I went to the post office this morning - I love the fact that the clerks there are so pleasant and helpful.  I had thought of visiting Lowe's about the roof repair situation, but decided I'd rather put it out of my mind until after the wedding this weekend.  First thing Monday morning I hope to devote some effort into finding a solution to my leaking roof that won't banksupt me.  Some might not understand my attitude towards this place, but since I didn't pay anything for it I hesitate to put a lot of money into it.  It is a 1962 model and will never be worth much (if anything) - and I don't have the desire to pour money into it.  I still have a lot to upgrade inside the house and resent every penny I have to spend on the outside.

I got a nice surprise in my email box this morning, a notice from Costco that my cash back for the previous year amounts to $107.15!  Of course my membership invoice will arrive with the check.

I watched a yoga DVD yesterday and did some of the exercises - I felt a few muscles last night that I didn't know I had.  The aches and pains are all gone today so I think I will keep at it on the days I don't go to the gym. Over the years I have practiced yoga off and on, and I really should keep up with it because it can make such a difference at my age.  I was never a really disciplined person and I lost whatever discipline I ever had when got close to 70!  I guess going to the gym is the one thing I want to keep up with and go on a regular basis.  The benefits are unbelieveable!  I know from experience that yoga is as beneficial to me.

It's beginning to get hot inside the house, but at 3pm I just turned on the swamp cooler.  I look for a rise of about 3 or 4 more degrees, and it's going to be nice and cool later on and throughout the night.

I have another stack of books ready to go to the library as donations, plus a box of miscellaneous clothing that my granddaughter can cut up to use in some of the crafts she does.  Or she can throw it all out!  I'm so overwhelmed when I look at the stuff I've accumulated since I've been here, but every journey starts with one step.  (Who thinks up those sayings?)

UPDATE:  All day long I've been thinking it's Thursday, and I'm not leaving for the wedding until Saturday morning.  It was a fluke that I found out today is Friday and I have to scramble to get everything ready to travel.  Thank goodness I'm only staying overnight! 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Thanks to Phil for looking up the Sacramento hotel tax for me.  I figured how much the tax would be and added it to the rent, and then compared it to my rent at the mobile home park plus TV plus wireless internet; the hotel would be $50-100 more per month, plus I wouldn't have a real kitchen nor would I have a regular living room area.  I have only seen the photos they show on the website so maybe there is a sofa, coffee table, etc., but it looks like bedroom, bath, kitchenette and a round dinette table and chairs.   I could deal with the smaller space but not with the lack of a kitchen.

As much as I find fault with the 55+ mobile home park, I think I prefer having my own home as opposed to a room or studio apartment in a senior living center.   Some of the folks here are very pleasant, while some are downright rude and aggressive.  I wouldn't want to be any closer to them than I am right now.   It's almost too much when two of them start screaming at one another in the street, usually over a dog belonging to one or the other.  Lord preserve me from ever getting to be like that!

I had a problem for about a week where my newly recorded tv programs didn't show up.  I tried troubleshooting it at the website of AT&T but finally decided to try to let one of their techs solve it via chat.  It took quite a while but we finally got it to work and now I can record and view programs.  My lack of interest in technology was sure in evidence - the tech would ask me a question about the box, the model # of the DVR, etc., and it took me a while to figure it out.  First of all I had trouble reading the fine print on the box and DVR, and had to use a flashlight.  She told me to unplug the DVR power cord from the box and to my dismay I saw three cords coming from it.  Of course the first two I tried were not the correct one.  Once I figured that out the rest went fairly easily.  I think it's a damn shame that it's so difficult to get help on something you pay for every month.  It would be nice if they didn't expect you to fix problems yourself.

Thanks to Nancy1340 for the suggestion that I try to get a repairman for the roof by asking at Home Depot or Lowe's for a recommendation.  I thought I would go to H.D. this morning but ended up nixing the idea.  I will do it after I get back from the wedding this weekend.   I started to make a list of things I've been wanting to pick up at H.D. and decided I don't want to spend money this early in the month, and the way to avoid that is to stay out of the stores as much as possible.

I have a nice stack of books to donate and might do that tomorrow.  Geocaching, do you still want the Barb Thacker RVing series?

I got plenty of sleep last night but I am so drowsy this afternoon.  I even attempted to take a nap in my bedroom (as opposed to the couch or recliner) but just couldn't go to sleep.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Nothing new here

It's much warmer today than it has been the past couple of days, and I'm pretty tired of hot weather.  Unfortunately Nature doesn't care what I'm tired of!

A note to Geocaching, please email me at mgypsy97 at aol dot com if you are interested in the books I mentioned yesterday.  (UPDATE:  I didn't receive anything from you:  Please try again at mgypsy97 at aol dot com    or at
gypsy97 at gmail dot com.)

A word about Kathy's comment, I also sort of enjoyed living in the space of my 5th wheel and thought maybe I could just stay in an RV park somewhere close to my kids in Sacramento.   An RV requires a whole lot of maintenance in my experience, maybe not yard work and such, but it does require upkeep and repairs.  That's why I would prefer an apartment so that if the fridge wasn't working properly I could call maintenance.  A/C or heating not doing its job - call maintenance.  And so on.  The quality of maintenance services varies of course, according to the individuals hired by the apartment complex.  If I could find an apartment that was at ground level with no apartments above, it would be ideal.  There are many single story duplex units in this area but they are all at least $300+ over what I could find in a regular apartment complex.  Unfortunately, every apt. I've checked on is multi story and I don't want tenants above me.

An interesting option is  a hotel/motel extended stay.  In looking for apartments online I found two for studio apartments in a local extended stay hotel.  They are furnished obviously, and I would store my furniture rather than get rid of it; the kitchenette is ok for a corporate extended stay, but it features a small (half size) fridge, a two burner stove top, and a microwave.  I never cook anything in a microwave, but use it once in a while to warm something up.   One advantage is free cable TV and wireless internet which is a heckuva savings per month.  The  down side is that the ad mentions something about taxes, and in CA as in most places, there is a hefty tax on motel and hotel stays.  That could just about equate to the savings derived from the cable/internet.  It's not a bad concept but it is unrealistic and impractical for me.

Shadowmoss left me a comment yesterday with  a quote I just loved and that describes my entire life!

"We don't know where we're going, but we're on our way! "

This is a quote from deep inside Mammoth Cave from early explorers.  Speaking of Mammoth Cave, my husband and I took our children there on a couple of occasions and went on several tours of the cave system.  I loved it so much I wanted to get into spelunking and finding new passageways through the caves, etc.  You can imagine that isn't an occupation for the mother of young children, and now that I can do anything I want I've become too claustrophobic to poke around caves beneath the earth.

I did find a lot more books that I'm willing to part with, although my Nevada Barr series is going to be difficult to say goodbye to.   Barr was at one time a ranger with the National Park Service, and her books feature the character of NPS ranger Anna Pigeon; each story takes place at a different national park.  One such park is Carlsbad Caverns, others are  Natchez Trace and Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park.  I bought these books used, and borrowed some from the library, i.e., Big Bend, Glacier, etc.  I'm keeping the book which features Lassen  Volcanic NP which is near and dear to my heart.  Anyone interested?

I guess I should go collect my laundry hanging on the line across the street.  I'm afraid that some day I'll forget it entirely and it will spend an overnight in the clothesline courtyard!

I'm hoping to get to the gym this evening.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Getting rid of stuff.

After reading Billy Bob's efforts to organize his great stash of books and the resulting discussion about whether or not to give some away or keep all of them, I decided to take a look at what I have - not nearly as many books as a lot of folks have, but more than I have room for.  It hurt, but I took 4 books to the library this morning and gave them as a donation.  That inspired me to come home and look through the books again - now I have 6 more to donate, and I hope I can find a few more.  What I should do is get rid of a lot of old maps I've collected over the years.

I have a couple of books that might be of interest to one of the ladies out there, especially someone hoping and planning to begin solo RVing.  They are written by Barb Thacker, and document her travels with her Dog, Ink.  Several ladies who read my blog a few years back recommended this author, and here are the book titles:

"How Can I Be Lost When I Don't Know Where I'm Going", 1996.  (I bought the book used, and found an inscription from the author to the original book owner written in the book.)

"Still Going Blissfully Lost in the Baja", 1999

'Since I Don't Know Where I'm Going I'm Never Lost",  2003 

If someone is interested please email me and I'd be glad to send them to the first person I hear from.  It's all three books though - I don't want to break up the set.

I'm finding that it's not too difficult to weed out some books I can let go of, but other possessions will probably be more difficult.  I'm intent on reducing stuff in my house because I'm back to considering   apartment living.  There are just too many things that need repair and I seem to be paralyzed by it.  I can't call roofers and others for estimates because I have been burned too many times by those who are happy to take advantage of some women's lack of understanding repairs, especially older women's ignorance.  I've had a lot of help from my sons and son-in-law since I've been here but their lives, careers, and families are growing and evolving, and I don't intend to take time they really don't have.

So that leaves me with decluttering and  cleaning which will be a good thing whether or not I can unload this property!  I really don't know where to start, but I guess four books can be called a "start"!  Sometimes I wish I could just set up my tent in a clearing in the woods and simplify my life, but it wouldn't work.

Monday, August 4, 2014


I weighed myself at the gym this evening and found I hit my goal of 125#.  Ok, I went from 120 to 125 pretty quickly so now I need to figure out how I might make it to 130 over a longer period of time.  That will mean some adjusting of ice cream intake.  But with triple digit temperatures it's hard to forgo ice cream.

Saturday was the birthday party at Jeannie's house for Stephanie, who turned 25.  Here is the birthday girl:

Amy and Stephanie brought the food and Donald did the grilling, plus he made tiramisu in lieu of birthday cake.  I have never eaten tiramisu and nearly said no to it; I'm so glad I tried it because I've never tasted anything so delicious in my life!   My sister requested that Donald make it instead of wedding cake for this coming Saturday.

Here is a picture of puppy Sammy:

And another (click photos to enlarge)

I also took pictures with my film camera but will have to finish off the roll to have them developed.  I hope they are good.

On Sunday I watched Liam and Sammy while Steve & Meg took a class in stand-up paddleboarding and also had lunch out.  Meg and Sarah both have a birthday on the 9th, which is the same day as Julie's wedding, so this  was a little early celebration of Meg's birthday.

I was at their house for approximately 5 hrs and Sammy slept a lot of that time.  But when he wasn't sleeping that boy didn't stop!  When we went outside he chewed all the bark chips he could get to, and then went for my shoelaces, chewed grass, etc.   He runs around and sometimes springs up into the air with all four paws completely off the ground, while other times he's so clumsy he trips over his own paws.  He is such a tiny little thing but a real handful!  I realize it was in my insane moments that I thought maybe I could deal with a puppy again.   I can always go visit Liam and Sammy if I want to play with a puppy, and then I can come home alone.  I was so worn out from his energy that I went to bed at 8:30 pm last night and slept until 6:30 this morning.

I had an appointment today with my eye surgeon.  I think my deterioration in vision is more age related than anything.  He said the transplants were excellent!   He also wrote a prescription for a new lens for my left eye if I want to get the old one replaced.  It wasn't fun driving home with my eyes dilated, but I leave plenty of room between me and the car in front of me, don't exceed the speed limit, and try to drive as carefully as I can.  

After the  awful heat we've been having today was a beautiful day with a high of about 82.  There was a nice cloud cover for a lot of the day and we've even had some sprinkles - rain in the higher elevations as well as further south in the Central Valley.   

I may have mentioned that I wanted to do some hiking and backpacking in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest  in September.  Right now there is a fire burning in the Trinity Alps, caused by lightning.  If there is one fire it is likely that another one will come along before the fire season is over.  I won't go near a forest that has an active fire burning, even if it's not near the campgrounds and trails I selected.   What a weird summer this has been, and I can only deal with what it is.  Maybe I can find an alternative forest, although I've had my heart set on the Trinity Alps ever since I saw them last year.

It's 8:30 so I think I can stay awake a little longer than I did last night, but I'm getting really tired.  So far I am pleased with AT&T internet service.

Friday, August 1, 2014

More heat today

It's 106 now at 5 pm, and will probably get as hot tomorrow.  My house is like an oven, especially the kitchen.

I did have a good workout in a very cool gym this afternoon.  Don called and said he was going at about 3:30, so I decided to join him.  Jeannie has to attend an ice cream social with Arianna's soccer team this evening so she couldn't go today anyway.

I'm really working on my arms, shoulders and back - remember that dress I bought a while back and posted pictures of?  I haven't worn it yet and decided it will be ok to wear to my sister's wedding next weekend.  I found a little black cardigan with 3/4 sleeves in case I need a cover up.  But I want my arms to look decent and healthy and muscular!

The gym was so pleasantly cool and it was hell coming back outside - even worse walking into my house.  The swamp cooler keeps the air moving, as do the fans I use with it, but they just move the hot air around.  The gym was also nearly empty, which Donald says is typical everyday around 3:30 pm.  I like that because I'm a little self-conscious  once in a while when the crowd is mostly 20 somethings.  Usually I don't let it bother me.

Tomorrow Jeannie is having the birthday party at her house for Stephanie, Amy's daughter, who will be 25.  Ara turns 25 the end of September.  It doesn't seem like all that long ago they were sweet cuddly little baby girls.   I bought some beer to drink while I'm there, but I got the non-alcoholic kind.  I've noticed that just two regular beers in the evening causes me to wake up at least every two hours during the night with severe leg cramps.  

I asked the Park Manager today about the electricity costs when I paid my rent.  She said the solar wouldn't have caused my cost to go down so I must be using less electricity.  I try to unplug everything I can when I go to bed at night, don't leave lights burning when I'm not in the room, and just generally attempt frugality in my use of resources.   If I was younger I would build me a tiny cabin out in the mountains somewhere and live off the grid.   That has always been the kind of life that appeals to me - I was a fan of Mother Earth News in the 70's but by then I had a husband and kids and had to put my dreams on hold.  Never did get around to homesteading, but my 3 years in Ireland were about simplicity, at least compared to the consumerism in the United States.

I had a nice phone conversation today with granddaughter Ara, reminding me just how much I miss that girl.  She and I think alike on so many things.

A few people have suggested that I might try gmail; actually I started out with gmail several years ago.  Then Google changed it quite a bit and reduced the area in which you can write an email.  I can only figure it must have something to do with people writing emails on their smart phones so they don't need the space of a computer screen.  I still use my gmail account, but not heavily.  I then switched to aol as my primary email.  I used it back in the 1990's when you paid something like $25 a month for the service.  I loved AOL  then as well as all their forums, chat rooms, etc.  But of course it went the way of the dinosaur and today  it isn't anything at all like the original aol.   ATT uses Yahoo to handle their email, and every time I've known of a friend to have their account compromised with spam email it's been a Yahoo account.  When I loaded it yesterday to see how it worked, I already had 30 spam messages in my box!  Needless to say I won't be using Yahoo for much.  I don't think there is much I can do about my email and changing to something more usable to me.  Technology has just changed too drastically whereas I haven't, and we won't ever be a good match!   I like me better, though!