Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Post Thanksgiving

"Early" wasn't the word for when I went to sleep last night.  I was in bed and probably out like a light by 7:30 pm!  I slept in until 8 or so this morning, so I should be well rested.

I briefly thought of going to Costco early but that didn't tempt me too  much.  I decided to attend an afternoon meeting of a local organization which had a speaker I wanted to hear.  I might as well have stayed home - the speaker is a brilliant man but not the best public speaker, and some of the folks around me were whispering loudly to each other throughout the presentation; I was glad when it was over.  Next time I'm taking a seat closer to the speaker.

It rained most of the night and the skies have been cloudy all day, so it would have been a good day to stay home.  Thank goodness the traffic wasn't as heavy as I expected it to be.  

Nothing much going on here, so I will probably spend the evening reading or else watching a TV program or two that I've recorded.   Maybe I can get back on more of a schedule than I've had for the past few days, although I'll have to say I enjoyed being with family immensely and it was worth every minute of disrupted normal sleep patterns.  

Friday, November 28, 2014


I had planned to come home yesterday (Thanksgiving) after the dinner, but  ended up staying two nights at Jeannie's house.  We went to the gym this afternoon to work off some of the calories and I didn't get home until about 4pm.  I had a wonderful holiday!

Although I had my camera along I only two pictures.  The above photos were taken by Jeannie, and I took the one below.  Thanksgiving morning was so nice and leisurely - Jeanne and I drank coffee together before everyone else got up and the preparations began in earnest.  Jeannie did the pies and I watched.  I make a damn good pie crust, but I think she just about has me beat.  I was as tender and flaky as anything I've ever made!  Donald did the turkey and most of the fixin's, and his mom and brother, Joe, Amy/Stephanie, and I made our own contributions to the feast.

Here is Donald with a huge helping of whipped cream on his pie!

I tried to not overeat and didn't go back for seconds, but I was stuffed nonetheless.  I sat at the kids' table as I'm back in my childhood!  The adults and kids were in the same room but it just worked out better spacewise for one of the adults to sit with the kids and I enjoyed it.

Now I'm back at home and I think I'm going to get my pj's and robe on, and relax before I go to bed early tonight.  I'm not used to the late hours I've kept the last two nights, but I loved every minute of it.  I don't think I'll do any Christmas shopping until after the weekend - let the serious shoppers fill the parking lots and stores!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Keeping warm

When I lived in Ireland my house was always cold - no central heat.  I had a portable oil heater I could move around the kitchen, but the small living room was warmed by a fireplace.  I loved that fireplace and got pretty good at making fire with coal and peat.  The last year I bought a big load of wood and sometimes burned that as well.  I also had a portable electric heater that I would keep in the bathroom so that I could take a shower and not freeze to death.

One Christmas Jeannie, Donald and Ara sent me presents that would keep me warm - a wonderful fleece bathrobe (I'm wearing it right now), a thermal blanket, and I can't remember the 3rd thing.  Last night I put the thermal blanket on my bed, and combined with the lightweight down comforter I was toasty warm all night.  In fact, it was the best night's sleep I've had in a long time, and I woke up in the best of moods.

I think my former landlady eventually put central heat in the house after I moved, but the cost of running it would have made it unlikely I would have used it all that much.   So I am not as uncomfortable as most folks would be with the chilly house, as I've been there and done that, and actually didn't mind it all that much.  But a friend (who also didn't have central heat) used to come and visit me, and we would laugh about how we could see our breath in the cold room.  Also, my fingers never seemed to warm up completely.

The experience of living in Ireland taught me that I can deal with just about any situation, and I faced many such situations that I had no experience with, but I learned how tough I can be.  The thing I doubt I could ever get used to is the extreme heat in California summers, and perish the thought of the desert.  I'd take snow any day over excessive heat! 

The pubs in Ireland were always warm enough, and they all had fireplaces where a person could warm up quickly coming in from the cold.

I think I've posted pictures of my house in Ireland but I'll do it again.  The living room is to the lower right, and my bedroom was just above it.  I loved that house.

View from the house:

I made cranberry sauce this morning from scratch.  I had no idea how easy it is, and from the taste test, it is very good.  It is supposed to thicken as it cools, and I really hope it does.  I have half a bag of cranberries left so I can experiment another time with adding spices, pecans, etc.  I did grate a little nutmeg into the cranberry mixture, but not enough to overpower it.  In fact, probably no one but me will know it's in there.

I need to get  a few things done so I will publish this early.  Have to decide what I will take to Jeannie's since I'll be staying overnight.  

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


I wrote in yesterday's blog that my youngest son would be 39 today.  Lordie, did I ever make a mistake.  He stopped by this afternoon with his 2 daughters and I mentioned him being 39 - he thought for a minute and said, "NO, I'm not 39."  I wrote it out on paper:  "2014 - 1975", and he said "Yes, but I was born in 1977."  How right he is; it was Steve who was born in 1975 and he will be 40 this coming March!  So I told Joe I would print a retraction:  Joe is ONLY 37!

I went out briefly today, to the library and to the grocery, and was glad to get back home by Noon.  Traffic on the streets was heavy.  I took the Nevada Barr book back to the library, unread.  I just don't want to read anything graphic, gory, or too suspenseful.   I ended up checking out 9 books, and I have requests in for about 12 more.  If I start a book and don't care for how it's going then I have no qualms about returning it.  

Joe tried to get the furnace started but to no avail.  I'll call someone to come and start it, maybe after Thanksgiving.  The cold house doesn't bother me so much, but I worry when the kids come over.

Jeannie and I went to the gym last night and plan to go again on Wednesday.  She said I should just plan to stay overnight at her house since I'll be there on Thanksgiving.  That's fine with me as I'm not crazy about driving after dark, although last night I was driving home at 9 pm and there wasn't much traffic on the roads.

I don't know why, but periodically I start thinking about small campers - I don't mean for living in or even traveling across the country, but more like a teardrop or tiny camper to sleep in.  The trouble is that I would probably need a different  vehicle  to tow it with.  I have 105k miles on my Highlander and would have to have a hitch assembly installed.  Not understanding all that much about what is required to install a hitch, but understanding that it isn't cheap, I might be better off just getting a different vehicle.

I still prefer my tent for shorter stays, like one to three days, but for a week or more it might be nice to just climb inside a camper to go to sleep, get out of the rain, etc.  The teardrop usually has a rear hatch that opens up to a kitchen area, and can be as basic and simple as you like, all the way up to deluxe.  I'd just as soon keep it basic, i.e., a cooler or ice chest vs. a small fridge.  It isn't going to happen this year or 2015, but it's nice to think about as well as to check craigslist now and then.   I am probably too much of a dreamer.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The only way to go is UP!

I started the morning off by bringing my bowl of fruit & nuts along with a BIG mug of coffee into the living room.  I am most comfortable in my big recliner, and I keep a portable heater in front of me to stay warm.  I don't think I had two bites of my breakfast when I set the bowl on the end table next to the chair, and my arm bumped something that fell on the floor.  It was my full mug of coffee.  I made a few profane pronouncements while I ran for a roll of paper towels.  It took me about 15 minutes - coffee was everywhere, under the chair, around and seeping under the table, the floor lamp, and power supply bar that I plug everything in to, etc.  I cleaned it all up and the worst part is losing that wonderful coffee.  I'm thinking about making more coffee, maybe just up to the 2 cup line which should nearly fill the mug.

My "baby" (Joe) is going to be 39 tomorrow.  It's hard to believe so many years have passed since he was born.  We brought him home in a snowstorm, and stopped by my mom & dad's house to show him off - they were so happy to see him but frantic that we were driving in snow, so they urged us to get him home.  Driving in snow never bothered me back then, although ice was another matter.  

I've about decided to turn my house furnace on but remember that last year I couldn't get it to work, so I called the power company.  The agent who came out couldn't get it to run either, and I ended up having to call an HVAC guy to do it.  Maybe it will work for me this year.  I'm not freezing but it is chilly unless I'm really busy, and busyness is a rare thing for me anymore.

Does anyone else feel like they are drowning in paper?  I don't like to throw things away because that is when I will need something I've discarded.  The result is that I have paperwork everywhere.  There was a time when I was so organized, but then I had a file cabinet next to my computer and it was easy to keep things in order.  To make matters worse I think my paper shredder has died, and I need to get a new one before I'm buried in papers!

I just opened the door and think it is much warmer outdoors than it is inside my house.  I hope some of that warm air seeps inside!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Nothing-happening Sunday

I have done nothing except cook, eat, and read so far today.  Oh, and check the computer now and then.  The dishes are piling up in the sink.  I have very few dishes from a meal such as breakfast, so I usually stack everything and wash them once a day.  But no sooner than I am finished, another dirty dish, cup, or glass appears.  The one item of convenience I miss is a dishwasher, since you can keep the unwashed out of sight until it's full.  The old dishwasher worked okay for a while and then I would hear it trying to fill with water but no water was coming in.  So I quit using it and hope to someday get a new one.  I need so many replacements in this house it is hard to decide what is next.  So I end up going to mapquest and planning a nice trip.  More and more lately I think about giving this place away on Craigslist and finding myself an apartment where you call the management when something doesn't work.

Today is overcast but no rain is expected for at least two days.  

I want to thank all who commented with such encouragement on my tentative plans to take up quilting.   I hadn't really connected all the sewing I've done in the past with any possible abilities now.

Years ago my sister Julie volunteered that "we" will make a christening gown for Amy's newborn daughter Stephanie, who is 25 yrs old now.  "We" meant that Marty will do all the machine sewing and Julie will watch, offer encouragement, and possibly do some of the hand sewing.  That was the most difficult garment I ever made, and I grumbled and cussed the entire time.   If you sew you understand how difficult it can be to sew a sleeve into a dress.  A sleeve for an infant dress is no doubt 25 times more difficult, and sewing satin and lace is a slippery slope.  "We" did it though, and it was gorgeous, and it fit baby Stephanie just perfect.  I would never do that again however, and I never let Julie off the hook for getting me into something that would have been so easy to go out and buy, and would have looked just as good.   So I suppose I could learn to quilt if I tried.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Girls' afternoon out

My sister (Amy) asked Jeannie to drive her to get her nails done this afternoon, and I went along as well.  The manicurist is located in the center of Old Fair Oaks Village - Fair Oaks is where I lived in an apartment before I got this mobile home.  It's the village where the chickens and roosters have the run of things, and traffic stops to let them cross the street.  I got pretty tired of them when I lived there, and I still don't care for them all that much.  Chickens & roosters belong on a farm, in my mind.

While Amy had her nails done Jeannie and I walked around and went into some of the shops and boutiques in the area.  I found a quilt shop and it brought back to mind my lifelong desire to get into quilting.  I was about ready to do it when I had kids and although I sewed my own clothes, and later on, sewed for the kids, I just couldn't deal with what was required for quilting.  I still have the urge to learn how to do it and the only thing that makes me hesitant is my eyesight.  I think I'm going to go for it during the coming year, although I might just take some classes until after my trip to NY (If that trip works out).

We then browsed a shop that sells incense, crystals, candles and the like.  I always enjoyed wandering through that shop.

Last stop was the Stockmen's Bar.  I have always wanted to go in there but felt strange to go in alone, so with Jeannie along we sat at the bar and each had a draft Blue Moon.   It tasted so good I was glad we didn't have time for a second glass - I could probably have enjoyed staying longer and having a few more beers. 

After reuniting with Amy we made a few more stops for more mundane things, and not long after I was on my way home.  I fixed myself a nice supper but I sure do miss the desserts I am used to having after meals.  Instead of turning on the TV this evening I've been reading a book, which is way more satisfying to me than television.

Hopefully I'll get to the gym tomorrow.  I have a few sore muscles from the last effort so I know I need the exercise.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Another week raced by!

I can't believe how fast the weeks stream by.  Another weekend is here but I doubt if I'll do anything exciting or fun, but maybe exciting and fun is determined by how I look at what I do.

I'm feeling pretty good after a workout at the gym last night.   I  have to get back to exercising regularly, even if I have to go by myself.  I'd much rather go with Jeannie though.

It has been chilly the past few days with rain now and then.  I haven't yet turned the furnace on in my house, and rely on warm clothes and my Lazko space heater.  I use a lightweight down comforter on my bed and am very comfortable at night.  Sometimes it is actually warmer outside than it is in my house!

I may have mentioned previously that I had an appointment next week with a dermatologist whose office is near the downtown area - where I don't feel comfortable driving.  I called today to ask if I would be seeing the dermatologist on Tuesday and having the mole removed in the same visit.  They said no, this would be a consultation and they would determine that it is not "cosmetic".  I can't believe what they do to rack up the visits to charge Medicare for.   If a dermatologist can't tell upon looking if it is cosmetic, then what the hell kind of doctor is he or she?  I wear my hair so that it covers it to begin with (it's right at the hairline), so cosmetic has nothing to do with it.  I cancelled the appointment!  No doubt they would want to schedule a follow up appointment after removing the growth, a total racket in my opinion.  I will try to find an independent who is not affiliated with any of the major medical groups, and who is closer to my home and with free parking.  I hate parking garages and meters!

 I am already missing my sweet pastries but I guess I can get used to it.  One thing that is not on the list of low-carb foods that I can't give up is potatoes.

I hope everyone has a good weekend.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I thought I would die!

I took a book along to read and arrived at the dentist office about half an hour early.  Surprisingly, they had me in the chair about 10 minutes after I arrived.

I need lots of novocaine - dental pain has always been the worst for me, and all pain has gotten worse as I age.  This dentist is a marvel when it comes to administering pain meds - he doesn't rush it and makes sure I'm numb before starting any drilling.  
He did two cavities on the left side, and then decided to do two more on the right, meaning I would be numb on the entire lower part of my mouth.  Afterward, I don't look half as bad as I thought I would but it sure feels weird.  The right side was much more painful, but he kept administering more pain meds until I couldn't feel anything.  It was still sensitive but I was able to bear it.  I have a couple more spots to fix on the upper front.

I asked him why all the cavities so fast - I didn't have them 6 months ago.  I admitted that I had been eating sweets with abandon, actually anything with calories.  He agreed that the sugars had a role to play, but said the dry mouth I've been experiencing for approximately 6 to 9 months was the major cause.  He said that dry mouth is a huge problem, and that while Biotin toothpaste made me feel better, it didn't actually help my teeth.  He had his staff call in a prescription for me for a specially medicated toothpaste and mouth rinse, which I'll be happy to use.  Total time in the dental chair:  2-1/2 hrs.

I will go back for the rest of the work after January 1st when my dental insurance kicks in.  It turns out that I have a lot of bone loss, more than what I thought.  Just a caution to anyone who is being told to take Boniva or Fosomax, if you experience negative side effects I would suggest you stop taking it.  Of course it's is a decision you have to make yourself, but I wouldn't rely on a doctor to be helpful.  Most of them are too young (or male) to have the need for such meds, and rely on info put out by the drug manufacturers.

So I have to figure out a new way of eating.  The dentist said to avoid carbs whenever and wherever I can.  I've never been heavy on carbohydrates except that in trying to gain weight I ate everything that sounded good to me and was high in calories.  I think I need to see a nutritionist, but I wouldn't want to rely on that either so I need to do a lot of research on my own.  Thank heaven I put back the danish and the cream puffs at Costco yesterday.  It won't take me long to finish the cinnamon bread.

I'm hoping to go to the gym this evening and sure hope they have the new flooring in and access to all the machines.  I plan to throw myself into exercise with every bit of energy I can summon up.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Books on a rainy day

I ventured out this morning with a list - the library was first.   For those of you who like Nevada Barr, she has a new Anna Pigeon mystery, "Destroyer Angel".  In all the other books Anna was a Park Ranger with the National Parks System, but from the little blurb inside the cover it sounds as if she may be retired.  In this story she goes on a camping trip with several other women.  I am looking forward to getting into the story, although if it gets too gruesome I won't read any further.  Some of the other books were like that - I love a good mystery but not when extreme violence, torture, and the like are involved.

I then went to Costco to pick up a prescription.   They told me it would be 15 or 20 minutes, which was enough time to wander back into the food section.  I should know better than to even look at the food aisles when I'm hungry, and this was lunchtime, around Noon.   I nearly bought a box of frozen cream puffs but decided against it when I noted the box said "110 puffs".  I'm sure they were small, which just means I would eat more at one time.  I did manage to slip into my cart a box of frozen biscuits, supposedly containing real butter and cream cheese.  I had a few of them when I got home, with two eggs over easy.  I put three biscuits on the tray but two would have been plenty.   They were okay, but certainly not my grandmother's biscuits!   A loaf of Greenlee's Cinnamon bread also fell into my cart but I put the box of Danish back on the shelf.  I love that store!

The trip to the dentist revealed that I need some cavities filled, but worse than that, I will be needing surgery.  Years ago I was advised by my doctor to take Boniva, which supposedly builds bone when in fact it often causes women to lose bone.  I have had very detrimental effects from it, including bone loss in my jaw.  The bone has formed an uncomfortable growth and needs to be removed.  Can you imagine how painful that will be, and what in the world will I eat to keep from losing weight.  I've thought a lot about it, and it looks like lots of protein shakes are in my future.  I can deal with cooked cereal for breakfast, but that certainly isn't enough to fill me up or maintain weight.   I shouldn't stress out over that so much right now because I won't do it until after the first of the year.  This is open season for my health insurance, so I've added dental insurance to what I already have.  I'm sure Medicare and my Blue Cross will go up, and adding the dental plan will cause health insurance to skyrocket.  I might as well forget about traveling much in the future.

Today and tomorrow are chilly days in the mid-50's, with rain off and on.   It seems warmer outside than it is in my house!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A great surprise

I went to Jeannie & Donald's yesterday afternoon and stayed with the girls for about an hour while their parents attended a parents/teacher conference.  We spent the hour reading - Autumn read me a chapter book, and Arianna read me one of her books (she is in kindergarten and learning to read - doing quite well at it).  

The doorbell rang just about the time J&D were to arrive back home, and to my great delight it was my oldest son Mike, from NY.  I knew he was a little south of Monterey for a few days attending a class (military), but was still surprised to see him at the door.  He would drive back to the airport hotel, San Francisco airport, and leave this morning for NY. 

Then, Megan arrived with Liam - son Steve was out of town on a business trip.  And finally, Joe, Sarah and their two (Keira and Alyssa) came.  Donald had cooked one of our favorites, Cincinnati chili, with all the toppings that go with it.   It was delicious and the conversation was wonderful.

At one point they were all moaning about how their kids get into bed with them during the night.  I listened for a while and then told them, "I'm not the least bit sorry for you guys - you all got into bed with your dad and me when you were little."  They laughed and recounted how we had a double bed (as opposed to their king size beds and 2 kids each) and four children.  It drove Bill crazy but I don't remember it bothering me at all.  Actually I sort of liked it.  Most of the years I was nursing a baby and kept him/her in bed with me throughout the night anyway.  I was lazy and didn't want to keep having to get up and interrupt my sleep, and it was just easier to keep the baby with me.

We laughed a lot at events back then, and now.  Their children are replicas of themselves, and I love them all dearly - parents and kids.

The party broke up at about 9pm - kids needing to get to bed so they could get up for school in the morning - Mike driving that trip back to San Francisco, and me being an old lady and wanting to be home and in bed at a decent hour.

(Please click on the picture to enlarge it.)
Mike and Liam:

Mike with the crew:

Me with 3 of my babies.  Wish Steve could have been here too:

Today is my dental appointment, and fortunately for me Joe has a day off work and can drive me to the dentist.  I can legally take a valium - not sure if I really need it - I can't tell any difference in how I feel with or without it and I am perfectly lucid, but just more calm throughout the dental procedure.

I feel great right now, and it's always energizing to be around my kids and grandkids.   Even with as many beautiful places in the country where I could live, I wouldn't trade this for the world!

Monday, November 17, 2014

What's wrong with me?

Why do I ask?  I just drove to Costco and walked around the store, but left without buying anything!  I must be coming down with something.

I then stopped at the gym on my way home to inquire why my bill was $30 more this month.  I thought if the membership went up $30 a month I would have to cancel it.  It turns out that every year at this time, every member gets charged an extra $30 to pay for new equipment, etc.  I guess it's ok because they really have the best of equipment, and anything you could want in the way of keeping fit.

I drove from there to my mechanic to see if I could get an oil change and whatever else they do.  I'm at 105k+ miles!  They can do the work at 1 pm, so I have my timer set to alert me 15 minutes before that.  It's only a few blocks away and I can get there in 5 minutes.   It's a good thing I didn't spend any money at Costco!

 I have an appointment with the dentist office tomorrow for a cleaning, so I need to get my bottle of antibiotics out so I don't forget to take 4 pills one hour before.  I haven't decided on the Valium yet - I usually take one an hour before I go in and never feel any effects from it.  I might carry it with me and arrive at the office early so I can take the Valium.  In the past Joe has always driven me, but now he is out of school and working.

I'm going to stay with Jeannie's girls this afternoon while the parents go to school for a conferene with Autumn's teacher.  It's that time of year again, and they already got glowing reports from Arianna's teacher.  Jeannie mentioned that I should stay for supper, and I always love eating Dionald's cooking!   I'm eating a light lunch so I have plenty of room for whatever delectable foods he will be cooking.

That's about it for my Monday.  Tomorrow I need to sweep up all the leaves in my driveway - from the crape myrtle tree in the front yard.  I can't stand that tree - it drops so many leaves but doesn't have much in the way of flowers.  I'd love to have it cut down and replaced with something simple that doesn't lose its leaves, but it does block some of the fierce summer sun that heats up my kitchen so badly.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

I love market day!

I can get to the farmers' market, look over and buy the produce I want, and be back home and have things put away in about an hour or less!  Of course that is when I go by myself, but I'd rather shop with Jeannie and the girls and take a longer time.

This morning the green beans looked so good I couldn't pass them up.  I don't often eat them, after a childhood of green beans being a staple of just about every dinner.  I bought about two pounds of them, divided them into thirds, and had them blanched, drained, and in  freezer bags in no time at all.  I kept one third to cook fresh, maybe with potatos and corn.  I wish I could just eat the vegetables and satisfy dietary and caloric requirements, but dang, I'll have to cook some meat or fish to go with them.  I think I could live on fruits and vegetables, supplemented by sweet rolls or coffee cake, of course.

I noticed several new faces at the market, most of them advertising that their produce is organically grown.  I think they may have moved over from another Saturday market that closes for the winter.   Most of the stalls have signs declaring "We grow what we sell", and I believe it because everything is so very fresh.

Steve, Jeannie, and Donald took me to the local brewery and tasting room yesterday for my birthday.  It is in a big building and consisted of the "bar" area and another large room where you can sit and drink your beer, and I believe their hours are 4pm to 9pm - or something like that.  I liked the golden ale and bought three 22 oz bottles to bring home.  I need to find a bottle stopper so I can drink half a bottle and then save the other half for another time.  Jeannie and Donald both got samplers - 6 smaller size glasses with a variety of beers.  I also tasted a stout which reminds me of Guinness but not exactly.  I think I might try a larger glass of it next time.  You can see the various brewery equipment all around the huge room, and I enjoyed it so much.  

Steve said there are about 16 breweries within the Sacramento area (at least I think he said 16), and I would like to try a few more.  I have sampled beer from Hoppy's, another local that has a very nice restaurant and bar.   We have gone their a few times to celebrate different family occasions.

Thanks to commenter Clark Rambling who reminded me that Yuengling beer is locally owned (Pennsylvania) and is available in the east.  I love Yuengling and drink it when I'm in the east.  To my knowledge it isn't sold here, although I should try one of the warehouses such as Bev Mo to see if they carry it.

I've covered two of my favorite things - fresh produce and beer!  Here are some pictures from last night.  (Click on a photo to enlarge.)


I think I'm going to zone out for the rest of the day.  Reaching and celebrating 74 can tire a person out!

Friday, November 14, 2014

A Fine Friday!

I won't become a year older until 5:45 pm today.   My dad used to call me every Nov. 14th and tell me "In ** minutes you will be ** years old".   I really didn't care to be reminded back then, but I'd sure love to hear his voice today.   Well, maybe not just yet - I'll join him and my mom soon enough!

Jeannie/Donald and Steve/Meg will be going with me to a local brewery later today.  I didn't even realize we had one just a little over a mile from where I live.  

I was astonished to find that all "American" breweries are now owned by foreign brewers.  I think at one time Cincinnati had well over 100 breweries in that city alone, and I'm sure Milwaukee was the same.  And to think we don't have one of them any more!  That's when I decided to quit drinking Millers and PBR, and start drinking only local brews.  I've always believed in buying everything local when possible, and I know Sacramento as well as other cities have micro-breweries that turn out a good product.

So today we are going to the micro-brewery near my house and visit their tasting room, where I'm hoping to find a brew I love.   I don't drink much of anything now, so I can afford to pay more for something that is local.

The visit to the gym last night was a bit disappointing as they had the biggest part of the area closed off.  They are replacing the flooring and the only areas available were the cardio section (which I don't care much for), and a section of free weights.   It was good to be back, even though the facilities were somewhat limited.   

I got on the scale at the gym and nearly fell off when I saw the reading - 130.2# .  I haven't weighed 130 since the year 2000!  I might be overdoing it on the snacks and sweets and should probably look more closely at eating the right foods.   If 130 sneaked up on me like this, then 140 can be here before I know it.  Although I feel pretty good about 130, I'd prefer to not go over 140 at the max and should probably stop right where I am while most of my clothes still fit!

Today is going to be a good day!


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Rainy Day

Well we did get some rain, and at 4pm the streets are wet again.  I'm going to meet Jeannie & Donald at the gym in about 2 hours, and I'll be driving both ways in the dark.  I hate that.  It's also chilly, about 61 degrees, and I'm wondering how fast the heater in my car will warm up.

I tried to clear out a lot of old paperwork and junk that I never seem to throw away, and I found some medical forms - the doctor I saw for my cough wanted me to see a dermatologist to have a growth removed from the side of my face, near the hairline.  I had it removed when I lived in Asheville, about 10 years ago, and it has since started to grow back.  I was waiting to hear that I had an appointment, but it seems that I have to call and make the appt myself.  It figures.  I haven't been thinking (or reading) straight for several weeks, so I just had it wrong.  I made the appointment for Nov. 25th so that is taken care of.

I  need to select a primary care physician and really don't know what to do about it.  I don't want to have to drive for miles for appointments, so it make sense that I need a doctor at the local UCD-Med Clinic.  I think I'll go with the first one I saw there.  He's kind of young but I won't hold that against him.

Jeannie just phoned me and said she would pick me up on her way home from work.  I hate for her to do that because then she will have to drive me back home, but she said she knows I hate to drive in the dark.  Now that is thoughtfulness!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Following up

I have racked up a lot of things I need to follow up on, make phone calls or write  emails on, etc.  Today I really made a dent in my list, and I feel positively virtuous about it!   Are there readers out there who do the same thing - procrastinate until the eleventh hour?  
The only time I left the house today was a trip to Costco.  I believe I went up and down every single aisle, but bought very little.  The only treat I got myself was a package of little sweet cakes with raspberry filling!  I ate two of them after lunch and they are ok.  They are very small - about two bites worth each.   There are berries and other fruit I like better than raspberry, but they will do.   I was still able to get strawberries from California, but the blueberries were from South America so I didn't buy them.  I'm a "buy local" person to the extent I can."

This is "Space Week" on the Science channel, and I'm recording everything that sounds interesting to me.  I prefer to watch and be able to fast forward through the stupid, monotonous commercials.   For not having a scientific mind I am really interested in scientific subjects.  I doubt if it would have made a difference for me, but when I was in high school I could count on one hand the number of girls who did well in science (I went to an all girls' high school).   It was really pathetic the way girls were limited to feminine pursuits in those days.  Home Economics was always a large class.  I managed to escape it!

We might get some rain tonight.  It is badly needed, but I doubt there will be enough to make a dent in the drought. 


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans' Day

As most Americans do, I take time today to remember our country's veterans and the sacrifices they have made to ensure our freedoms and way of life.  Three of my five brothers are veterans, and my oldest son is a Lt. Col in the Reserve Army (with several deployments).  I know a lot of readers are vets, and I salute you today and every day for your service.

Dinner last night was great, and we sat around in various conversations - you can't get a few of us together without  the conversation turning to politics, social issues, and the like.  It's fun for all of us, and while everyone is a unique individual, we are all made of the same cloth.

When I was younger and living back in Cincinnati, we usually all gathered at our parents' home on Sunday afternoons.  There was ALWAYS a political discussion which ended in someone storming out of the house, and then slipping back in when he or she had cooled off.  My dad was a real instigator and would take an opposite side of anything to get a discussion (argument) going.  With 5 hot-headed sons, (and 3 equally hot-headed daughters) he knew which buttons to push.  It drove my mother crazy!

There were no arguments last night, just sociability and fellowship.  Steve and Megan's house is beautiful and on an incredibly spacious lot, although it was already dark when we arrived and I'm looking forward to going back in daylight and enjoying the back yard.   It is so strange to have daylight fade away by 5pm, and we haven't even reached the shortest day of the year.

I forgot my camera, so I have no photos to post.  Today is the day Ara returns to Philadelphia and while I hate to see her leave, I know she will be back in a month.

I've been seriously thinking about trying to give my house to someone (as it was given to me) and finding an apartment to live in.  I like the privacy I currently have and not having any common walls, but I just don't want the maintenance any more.  Plus there are still so many things that should be done to upgrade this place, but as always, I prefer to spend my money traveling across the country at least once a year.  

The coming year will be no exception and I'll be making the drive to New York in early spring and returning in mid to late June.   I've thought about flying, but the beauty of driving is that I can explore roads I've never been on, stop at National Forests and Parks, visit folks along the way, and just enjoy the beauty that lies in between California and New York.   I  definitely plan to do some camping this next time, and have just about decided to have one of the back seats removed so I can have a place to throw down my sleeping bag in case of rain.   There were several times on my last trip that it rained heavily and I was in a tent that leaked.  I have two good tents this time, a smaller one (2 person) and the larger one (4 person).  The advertised number of persons that can fit in the tent is greatly exaggerated by the manufacturers, so I really have a 1 person and a 2 or 3 person tent.  

Of course, with a tent I am self-limited to campgrounds or places where other campers are in the vicinity.   I find I'm more cautious in my older age, but maybe that is because I no longer travel with a dog.   It's about all I can to do hold myself back from studying the maps and meticulously planning routes that will be discarded as soon as I hit the road, and decide to take the road less traveled.  But to me, half the fun of a road trip is in the planning.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Another Birthday

I have never wanted to celebrate my own birthday, and would prefer to just sleep through the day or have everyone forget and let it pass by without notice.  But you can see I have a celebrating family who never want to miss an opportunity to get together and have a good time.

It's still morning, I'm still in my pj's and robe, and I just got a call from Steve asking if I could come to their house this evening for my birthday dinner.  I have been anxious to see their house, and now I have an opportunity to let someone else drive me there.  My birthday isn't until a few days from now, but everyone would like to get together while Ara is in town (she will leave for Philly tomorrow).   I have gone through my meager lot of "celebration clothes" the past couple of days, and I have no idea what I can wear - I have sweat pants set out for today!  Gotta go check my closets again and see what I can come up with.

I'm a lucky woman - every one of my kids is as sweet and thoughtful as can be!  I thank God every day for them.

So be prepared for more birthday party photos in the near future.  Then we have Joe's birthday on the 25th of Nov. - more opportunity to gather, eat and drink together, and raise a ruckus!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Birthday Fun

We celebrated Jeannie's birthday on Saturday.   Her choice for cake was German Chocolate.  Here's the cake and the baker!  (Click on a picture to enlarge.)

The best present Jeannie could have received was to have all her family present - husband and 3 daughters.

Joe with Amy's daughter Stephanie.  Steph and Ara planned her trip back when we were in Baltimore, and Steph was the only person who knew she was coming for her Mom's birthday.  She picked her up at the airport and drove her to Jeannie.



Donald and Martha, his Mom:

Today, Sunday, we celebrated Keira's 5th birthday at their new house.  One of the fun things they got was a bounce house for the kids, and Ara finally gave in to her "kid" persona.  Of course the other kids jumped all over her:

And then, as always, there is the cornhole game:

It's been fun celebrating the past two days.  Ara is here until Tuesday, I believe, and then comes back for Christmas vacation and Autumn's birthday on the 18th of December.

Joe and Sarah just recently moved into their new house, and still have furniture and a couple of appliances to buy.  It is beautiful and the lot is large enough to add a pool, which they intend to do.  They also added a gate for an RV on one side of the house, although no one in the family has an RV so far.

Steve and Meg just moved into a new house in Sacramento, and I haven't seen it as yet.  I understand they also have a huge yard (by California standards), and I'm anxious to visit them.

I'm exhausted, but it sure has been a fun weekend for me - I am happy when I have my kids and grandkids around me.  I also know how much it would have meant to Bill (my ex) had he lived, as he was also very family oriented, especially in his later years.  I hope my grandchildren continue the trend and stay close to one another.

Surprise visitor

I went to Jeannie's this evening to help celebrate her birthday, and got a big surprise.  Ara flew in for a few days, and gave her family a big, big surprise.  Stephanie picked her up at the airport and delivered her to the house.  Jeannie was ecstatic!

I tried to get pictures of all of us this evening, but I'm too tired to even look at them to see how they turned out.  Tomorrow I will be going to Joe & Sarah's house for Keira's birthday.  We have a lot of celebrations in October and November, including Joe's birthday on Nov. 25th.

I haven't been out for so long and it was great to be among people again.  I'm still not feeling all that great, and the heartburn is driving me crazy.  I found online a long list of foods to avoid, and last night baked a cod fillet to go along with some vegetables.  I felt so much better than after my previous meal which was a hamburger.  I'm going to avoid meat for a while and see what happens.  One thing on the list to avoid is caffeine, but coffee has never ever bothered me, which is a good thing.  I don't want to even think about doing without it, and I still love it with half & half.  The heartburn came on so suddenly and i wish I knew the cause of it.

I think I'm just falling apart, a little more as each year goes by.


Friday, November 7, 2014

In the Neighborhood

I had planned to walk at Mather this morning and then stop at a Rite Aid or Walgreens to find something for my heartburn.  It's driving me crazy and appears a couple of hours after meals.   I decided at the last minute to just walk around my neighborhood, and quit after a mile.  It's much more difficult walking on the paved road than at Mather where at least half the walk is on packed sand or dirt.  But I finished it, then got in my car and even turned the ignition on.  I decided to just try some peppermint tea when hit with heartburn and see if it helps.  The tea, while still in a sealed package, has been on the shelf for a while.  I may have to resort to Tums or similar.

During the first half of my walk I had to listen to a firestorm of yappy little dogs.  Even when their owners try to shush them, they still bark even louder.  I definitely could not deal with that behavior.

Having been pretty much immobile for the last month, I have resorted to watching a lot of television.  I figured out how to deal with the DVR and record a lot of shows I want to watch, but want to fast forward through commercials.  I mostly like the science and history programs, but have noticed that there are an awful lot of WWII documentaries and I'm getting pretty tired of hearing about Adolph Hitler!

The science and pseudo science programs lean heavily toward alien visitation and presence on the earth.  I have an open mind about it, and have little doubt that there are many other worlds with civilizations, and surely some of them are visiting ours.  But some of the stuff on TV is ridiculous, especially the theory that ancient man had absolutely no brains in his head and had to be taught everything by alien visitors.   On the other hand, there are a lot of humans today without a brain in their heads and could use a little alien tutoring!

The above paragraphs show how desperately I need a little human contact rather than the substitute of media.  Tomorrow is Jeannie's birthday party and I'm looking forward to being among lots of happy people! 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Another nice walk

I went back to Mather Field this morning to walk.  I quit after a mile because I was getting really warm.   After a beautiful week in the mid to high 60's, this week is in the mid to high 70's; that extra 10 degrees makes a big difference.  And since most of the walk is in the sun it feels a lot warmer.

I found the skateboard area vacant, which is really unusual as I have never seen it without at least a few skaters.  I took advantage and got a couple of photos.

The skaters usually wait their turn in front of this wrought iron fence; can you make out the sculpture on the other side of the fence?

I thought I could get a good shot of all the ramps, jumps, bowls, etc., but since it's all concrete there isn't much definition in the photo, but I'll include it anyway. 

I really like this sports complex and it is such a good use of part of the former air force base.

It is so wonderful to feel good enough to venture out every day, to get some exercise, and to hope I will soon be back to normal.  I just wish the damn cough didn't linger on and on.  It's mostly gone but of course comes back when I'm in a check-out line somewhere.

I'm going to a party at Jeannie's house on Saturday, to celebrate her birthday.  I'm eager to get out and be with family and friends, and especially my grandchildren.  It's been ages since I've seen them.

Life is looking up again!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My laugh for the day

I'm not feeling well as you can tell from my recent posts, but I did get a huge laugh from one of the comments to yesterday's post.  Normally when I get ignorant and rude comments I delete them as soon as I see them and was going to delete this one, but somehow it struck me as funny and I wanted to share it with anyone who reads the comments.   Just this once it's funny, but if this joker enters another ridiculous comment like this one I will start moderating the comments before they are published.

I've had a difficult day with the UCD Med system today.  I tried to get an appointment with a specialist I saw a few years back.  I got a response from one of the nurses in her office, and traded a few emails with them; then this morning I heard directly from the doctor who gave me the phone # to make an appointment.  When I called, the person who makes appointments insisted I needed to have my primary doctor give a referral.  I said my primary has resigned and now I have no doctor, but the scheduler kept insisting I needed a referral.  I wrote to the doctor that I was just going to deal with my problem on my own and that I decided not to see a doctor.

It seems the rules over-ride common sense and sensitivity to the patient.  I don't need that at all.

This morning after breakfast and several cups of coffee, and checking emails, reading new blogs, etc., I headed over to Mather Field and walked.  I only walked 20 minutes on a loop I consider to be a mile, and then headed back home.  I've been so inactive since I came back from NY that I didn't want to push myself too hard the first time out in weeks.  Next time I'll try to walk the loop twice, for 2 miles.  I'd like to do that tomorrow - maybe walk at least 4 days out of the week.  I sure felt a lot better after today's walk.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Still Laying Low

Just checking in to say not much has changed for me.  I'm feeling better and would probably do well to get some exercise.  I think maybe I'll go walking at Mather Field tomorrow and see how far I can walk.  Walking from the house to the car is the hardest part.    I made a quick trip to Target today and did ok except that I started coughing when I got to the check-out.

I'm sure sick and tired of feeling sick and tired!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

You just never know . . .

. . . when something will come along to brighten your whole day.  This morning I drove to the farmers' mkt.  It is held rain or shine throughout the year, and the one closest to me is in one half of the parking lot for the light rail.  Parking is always abundant and easy in and out.

There are a lot of markets in Sacramento, and every one I've been to seems to have a middle aged man and woman singing dismal folks songs.  Don't get me wrong, I like most folk music, but some of it is plain garbage, just as some of any kind of music is garbage.  When I got out of my car this morning I heard the voice over the microphone, but something sounded different.

There was a woman with a gorgeous voice singing and playing a tambourine, another woman playing a guitar, and the best part of it all, a young boy about 8 or 10 who had a drum on his lap and was providing an exotic beat.  I don't know drums so I can't say what kind it was, but this young kid was the most endearing little thing.  He also was very good on the drum.  They played some of the better folk music that I've heard before, and some I haven't.  They looked Mexican but not really, but of course that's kind of a stereotypical statement and I'm not sure it matters what their heritage is.   As I said in the beginning, you just never know when something will come along to change your attitude - I have always wished these markets would just forget the music, but this small group changed my mind and my mood.  I'm going to have a very happy day!

I want to thank all those who have written me such encouraging comments.  Your kind words are lifting me out of the mood I've been in the entire month of October.  To have spent a wonderful 3 weeks in New York and then come back to being ill ever since is not conducive to writing, and I apologize for the negativity.

So I've spent $10 on produce this morning (and come away with all I could carry), plus $1 I threw into the flower pot in front of the singers, and now I need to decide what I'm going to use in which dishes.  I'm definitely going to make my own tomato sauce!  Not too much of it at first because I'm not sure how I will like it.  Tomatoes don't agree with me since my gallbladder removal, but I can eat heirloom tomatoes with no problem so that is what I bought this morning.

We had occasional periods of heavy rain yesterday and throughout the night, but not enough to even put a scratch in the drought, much less a dent.  Anything we get will be good.  I'm a bit jealous of the folks in the southeast this morning when I think of the snow they are getting.   Too bad I can't be in the Smoky Mountains right now.