Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Friday, January 30, 2015

Yikes! Almost February

The site rent bills were sent out today and I paid mine already.  The month of January was a killer for my utilities - both gas and electric.  I hope better weather lies ahead, and wish today was just the beginning of what is to come.  I think there may be some rain in our forecast, but not enough to do anything about the drought, so we'll be hearing about it all year.

I made a quick trip to Costco this morning and topped off my gas tank while there, at 2.099 a gallon.  I've figured out that Gov. Brown has already added the cap in trade tax, and the price should actually be about $1.97.  

With the walking I'm doing at least 5x a week my legs ache, so today I didn't do the incline or "rolling hills".  I'm so irritated about my blood pressure - the doctor wants me to monitor it and write down the numbers.  I suppose he is right because sometimes the bp is normal, but when the top number goes above 140 I've always been told that isn't good.  Sometimes it is in the 150's and close to 160.  How high is too high?   I hate checking it all the time, but if I don't then what happens if it reaches the 180's or 190's?  I'd never know it until it killed me.  What makes me really upset is that all the internet advice I've ever read is that walking is the best thing seniors can do to keep their blood pressure from being a problem.  Well, how much do I need to walk?   I shouldn't complain so much as I actually enjoy the exercise, but oh, my aching muscular legs!

My granddaughter's (Autumn) girl scout troop had some $$ left over in their treasury, and they agreed to spend it on a couple of hours riding horses.  I'm not sure if I'll go but Jeannie just called to invite me.  It should be fun for a group of 8 yr olds.  I wouldn't mind going riding myself even though I haven't been on a horse in years.  I took riding lessons for several weeks when I lived in Ireland, although I never did like the English style of riding, saddle, etc.  I did pretty well but one time I lost control of the horse or something spooked her, and I held on for dear life but eventually brought her under control.  I'm too old to fall off a horse, but never had another opportunity to ride.   I'm willing to let well enough alone, but they sure are beautiful animals.

I'm getting hungry and think I'll see what I can conjure up for supper.  Good weekend, everybody!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Getting better!

The weather, that is.  My desktop weather thingy predicted 58 for a high today, and at almost 5 pm it's already up to 66!   I'm certainly okay with that, although my house is cold enough that I've had my little electric heater in front of me for a big part of the day.

I'm working out tonight, and will stop at Jeannie's first to try out the torture machine again.  I'll probably have to kick the kids off of it first!

Yesterday I went over to American River Brewing Company to pick up 6 bottles of the Golden Ale.  The tasting room is only open Wed. thru Fri. from 4 to 7pm.  I had a glass while I was there, and also tasted a sample of their Hefeweisen.   Of all the times I've gone to Germany I never once tried it - it's okay, but I would only want it once in a while.  Maybe next time I go with my kids I will have a full glass.  The staff and customers are all so friendly, and it's a nice diversion for me once in a while.

If I ever have the choice again for floor coverings I think I would choose carpet.  The laminate is pretty, but the dust is incredibly noticeable!  I dust mop it every day but when the afternoon sun shines in it really shows how much accumulates.  I don't know where it all comes from, and I'm constantly picking up bits of dust and lint.  I've thought about getting a larger area rug, but there are many more things I need more than a rug.

I fixed tuna salad for lunch and it was super delicious - now I'm having super serious indigestion.  I don't take Ranitidine every day but I suppose I should.  I'm trying to get off all prescription meds as well as anything that gives me side effects.  I take an 83mg aspirin about 3 times a week now, and you can sure tell when I take it - bruises all over my hands and arms.  I'm sick of it and one of these days I'm going to throw all the aspirin in the trash.

Quit griping, Marty, and get ready to go have fun at the gym!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

"New" GPS, etc.

I tried out the new maps on the old GPS yesterday, and have mixed feelings about it.  The screen looks different for some reason, or I should say the maps look different.  I still have my old friend, "Lee", the Aussie male voice, calling out "Recalculate" so I felt happy about that.  I think too many people griped about the "Recalculate" thing, but at least it let you know you were off the directions - and maybe it was intentional or maybe it wasn't, but it at least alerted you to the fact that you took a different turn or missed one entirely.  The newer model GPS's just recalculate the new direction from where you are without ever letting you know (unless you are looking at the screen and see it changing).

I think there is so much more volume to the map sets, voice commands, favorites, etc. that it seems to take a long time to load everything up.  After all I've gone through to get the darn update working, I sure hope it performs well and that I'll be happy with it.

QVC asked me to write a review on the elliptical, which I tried to do this morning.  I had to sign in with my acount name and password; then they wanted me to select and answer a security question; then to pick a nickname, but after trying two different nicknames and being told they were already taken, I just quit.  I wrote to QVC explaining that I was trying to do them a favor and not the other way around, but that it's their loss.

I tried out the elliptical at Jeannie's house last night, after watching the kids do tricks on it, Donald looking like an old pro on it, and Jeannie, tentative at first, but then getting into the groove.  Then it was my turn.  Jeannie thoughtfully held my arm so I wouldn't fall (or at least wouldn't fall so hard) and I stepped on the machine of terror.  It wasn't too bad and I was eventually able to balance on it.  But I wanted to look like the models on TV, swinging my butt back and forth and doing curls at the same time with the straps/handles, and generally look like I was having the time of my life.  Instead I probably look like a 74 year old broad who is trying to limber up!  It's going to take a little more practice, I can tell you that.  I left it at their house as Jeanne and I went to the gym.  I probably should practice on the thing with others around rather than at home alone - at least until I get a little more proficient.

The news at the dentist wasn't all that good.  I have a wisdom tooth on the lower left side that has had a root canal and definitely needs a crown ($$$).  During the open season last November I signed up for dental insurance, but found out that while it will cover minor work during the first year, it doesn't cover anything major for the first year.  The cost of the crown is beyond what I can pay right now - I need to direct all the funds I can come up with towards my trip to the east in April.   And as you may have noticed, I've spent some money a little frivolously now and then, such as on exercise equipment from QVC, etc.  I will have to just pay for the crown out of pocket, but hopefully it can wait until August or so.

There you have it!  My aging eyes are giving me fits; my dental situation isn't what I'd like it to be; I can't swing my butt and stay on the elliptical at the same time (although I can walk and chew gum at the same time, that is, if I chewed gum which I don't).   The clock can't be turned back, but to tell the truth, I enjoy it right where I am now.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


I can use my computer again!  I've spent about 3 days trying to update the maps on my old GPS, and dealt with three very helpful techs at Garmin.  I didn't have enough room to load the entire country, so this morning I bought an SD card for the unit and all is well.  I tested it out just now by putting in my son's address in New York, and everything seems ready to go.  The first download was only good as far east as Michigan!

I had an appointment with my opthamologist yesterday and this morning took the prescription for new glasses to Walmart Optical Center.  That is about the only good thing I can find at Walmart, and I'm sure the department is contracted out.  (While there I bought the SD card in W's tech department, where I also got excellent service.)  The glasses I'm replacing are titanium frames - very lightweight but I don't like them.  I love titanium for camping gear, but the glasses were never satisfactory and felt too flimsy, so I'm getting a new pair with plastic frames - a bit heavier but they seem to fit and feel better.   I will probably look like a dork in them, but I'm beyond caring about that.  I hope my kids don't tease me too much about them.

My eyesight continues to get worse, especially in my left eye.  I'm told I have swelling in the back of the eye indicating macular degeneration, and I'm going to have to live with it.   It is fairly tolerable until I try to read something.  I get so irritated with websites that have such a washed out look that I can barely read the print - usually I just don't.   

I need to keep my eye on the clock as I have a dental appointment at 4pm, which means I have to take the antibiotic an hour before.  I lost a filling in one of my molars and it is so uncomfortable.

I haven't yet tried the elliptical I bought from QVC, but Donald assembled it at their house and he and the girls like it.  Arianna says she loves it!  Jeannie tells me she falls off, which is what I'm really afraid will happen to me.  I can't use the elliptical at the gym, although Jeanne has no trouble with that one.   I will probably miss my gym workout and walk on the treadmill this evening, but with getting novocaine for the dental work I can't imagine feeling like doing anything afterwards.

I haven't been able to read many blogs since I've had the computer tied up with the GPS installation, so I have a lot to catch up on.

My son and his family in New York are all at home today although the area they live in didn't get hit hard enough to make a difference.  Sandy works in CT and is working from home today.  It looks like the islands off Massachusetts are getting the worst of the storm so far.  I remember the days when I kind of looked forward to the big snowstorms, although Cincinnati didn't get the worst of them.  I remember Buffalo and how the tv news showed  snow being piled at the sides of the roads, usually measuring 12 ft or more.  The plows kept the streets clean and just piled it all at the sides.  I miss the east at times like this.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Updating my Garmin GPS

This is going to be quick.  I've been trying since yesterday to update the maps on my Garmin GPS.  Today I talked to a tech at Garmin who ran me through the whole process to the point I had started to install the new file.  He told me at 3 pm that it should take about 2 hours, but at 7:30 pm the thing is still running.  I haven't been able to read much of my email today, haven't read any blogs, and I don't know when I'll get a chance.

I have looked for several weeks at new GPS models, but all have new extra features that I don't need or want, or they have taken away some of the features I really liked about my GPS.  I decided I'd try again to install new maps, but so far I haven't had much luck.  I will leave my computer running if it hasn't finished when I go to bed this evening, and you can bet I'll be back on the phone with that tech 1st thing tomorrow!   

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Saturday is flying by at warp speed!

I really wish the days didn't speed by so fast, although I'm sure it has something to do with age.

Yesterday evening I went back to Jeannie & Donald's house after our gym workout.  Donald had made pizza dough beforehand and left it to rise while we were exercising, and he put the toppings on the pizzas to order.  I had asked for everything on mine - zucchini slices, pepperoni, onions, mushrooms, two kinds of cheese, and much more.  He cut two large slices for me but I was filled up after eating the first.  I then decided to just cut a little bit off the end of the 2nd slice; that was so good I cut a little bit more.  Darned if I didn't end up eating the entire big slice of pizza.  I asked Donald why did I even bother to keep slicing bits of it off the larger piece - I should have known I would nibble away at it until I ate it all.

Shortly after that I left as I was anxious to get safely home.  I had forgot to bring my purse, meaning I had driven over without my driver's license in my possession.  When I left their house at 10 pm it was pretty foggy but enough visibility that the driving was fine.  At least there isn't as much traffic at that time of evening, although people still drive as fast and weave from one lane to another and then back again, trying to jockey into position to be the first car in line, which never happens as there is always someone in front of you!

I was "up" from the exercise and had to stay up for a little while longer than usual.  I did get a decent night's sleep but haven't done much of anything today.  Television is a wasteland today (as on most days).  I put on one of my favorite outfits, my hair looks fabulous, and I have no place to go!  I will probably skip the walking today and take a day of healing and rest.  At 3 pm it still hasn't climbed out of the upper 40's, and I could sure use just one or two nice warm days.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday, Already???

Yep, another short week gone by.   I had to make a couple of short trips this morning,  Costco and the grocery, and I couldn't believe the traffic.  I wondered if there had been an accident or a lane closure somewhere, but it's just plain old everyday traffic.  Costco's gas price has gone down 3 cents to $3.14/gal. since I last topped off.   I have almost a full tank but I'm hoping it drops a few more cents by the time I can once again top off a quarter of a tank.   Right now I'm just waiting for the cap in trade tax to kick in.   At least Gov. Brown is letting us enjoy the decent fuel prices for a couple of weeks.

When I left home the air was hazy and everything looked weird.  Driving home the beautiful sun was shining, and visibility seemed to be unlimited!

I finally got the two "Best in Tent Camping" books I ordered - Pennsylvania arrived 3 days ago and Montana came in the mail today.   As I opened the Montana book I immediately came to what seems like the perfect campground for tenters, and I'm putting it on my list, in fact, I've already used my yellow hi-lighter on it!   I'm afraid early April will be too cold for camping in Montana, so maybe I will try it on my way back.  Both books were purchased "Used" for $1 each plus $4 S&H.    It's a good deal to me since the new books cost around $15, and both are in pristine condition. 

I'm working out this evening which always does me good, both mentally and physically.     Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

One step forward, two steps back!

That's how my day has been going so far, like my brain is fractured - shattered into so many pieces I'm not sure if they can snap back to their original place!

I decide to do a task, walk into a room and see something that needs doing so I switch gears.  That leads me to another part of the house, and switch gears again to begin a different task.  It has gone that way the entire morning, with two jobs done and a number left to finish!  I may as well realize it's going to be that way today, all day.

One of my jobs had me walking to where I could see the front porch, and of course the hummingbird feeders caught my eye.  They needed cleaning and refilling, and I had boiled the water and added sugar earlier so it was cool enough by now.  One of the feeders was really bad and I had to take it apart completely to get the moldy stuff cleaned out.  I don't like that feeder to begin with so when I dropped the newly-filled feeder which shattered, I was glad it wasn't the other one that is easy to clean.

I scrambled some eggs for lunch and toasted a "morning round";  when I tried to pick up the toasted, buttered and jellied round, it fell jelly side down on my plate.  That just goes to show how my day is going!  I bought the rounds, not because they sounded so healthy - organic, heart healthy, muesli, etc.  I don't have a clue what muesli is except that I think it's cereal, and I wouldn't normally eat it on a bet (simply because of the name).  But these rounds have cranberries, enough of them that you can see many of them in each breakfast "round".  I toast and butter them, then add homemade cranberry sauce/jelly which I have grown to love.

Regarding a couple of questions and comments on my planned quilted pot holders, yes I intend to use a batting especially for such things (not polyester).  I actually want them to set hot plates and pans on.

Jeanne called me a few minutes ago to let me know they aren't going to the gym tonight.  I think I will go walking, and hope that clears my brain out!  The rest of me feels great! 

I just came out of the gym after walking the treadmill and passed two guys, probably mid-40's.  One is saying, "...and my knee hurts and my back hurts and my elbow is jacked up..."  I wonder what he will feel like after he comes out of the gym.  My legs ache a little but I feel like I'm flying on a cloud right now!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

It's a great life!

I'm feeling on top of the world today, no doubt from last night's gym workout and this morning's treadmill walk.  I set the treadmill for "rolling hills" - it doesn't actually roll but the resistance makes it feel like rolling.  My legs hurt a bit, but "no pain, no gain" as they say.   

Thanks to all who have offered encouragement and suggestions regarding my quilting attempt.  I'm taking a day off from it, and when I finish I will use the leftover fabric and make some quilted pot holders.  Can't really fail on something so simple, right?

The sun is shining today!  Even though it's only in the mid-50's the sun is so warming and changes everything.  I don't think we had any fog last night and I could see the major stars in the south-southeast sky before going to bed.  The next two mornings the fog will be back but it will be sunny in the afternoon.  I think I can live with that!

I've been sitting here looking at the computer and supper time has snuck up on me!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Back to sewing

I'm doing marginally better this morning - only slept a half hour later than normal.  For all the napping and lethargy of yesterday I slept so well.  

This is the gloomiest day yet - a foggy mist still keeping the streets wet.  I made an early trip to Costco and decided to top off my tank before shopping.  I can't tell if CA has added the cap in trade tax, but the price has dropped 10 cents a gallon from last week, to $2.17.  I pumped a quarter of a tank for about $10!  I'm sure this isn't going to last; by the time the governments take their cut, the price of fuel will rise again and we'll get a double whammy!  

As for quilting, I sure do need those classes.  Of course, they might not help me sew a straight line!  I've modified the piece I'm working on so as to have all the stripes going the same way.  I have to keep in mind that this is just going to be a small sample and I need to keep in simple.  It's going to be short even for a small table runner, but I'm tired of working with it, so the blocks I have finished are IT!

These are the fabrics I am using; the flash sort of washes out the color density on some pieces.  The "orangey" looking piece is actually more of a melon pink.

I also find that I do not like the rotary cutter, although it is faster than scissors and it cuts through several layers of fabric much easier.  I am going to try using scissors the next time.  One thing I can say is that I have the perfect sewing machine for me.  It sews!  Beautifully!  There are a couple of dials if I want to change the settings, but no computerized features to learn to use.  I'm an old dog and I'm just not as interested in new tricks as I once was.  I wish Lady was still with me - I could tell her all about it and she would understand.  I need another old dog, but definitely not until after my trip.

Monday, January 19, 2015

A "Day down the Drain" !

I have had no energy to do anything today, and it was sheer determination that made me go walk the treadmill this afternoon.  When I came home I took an Advil and crawled into bed fully clothed (including lightweight jacket) - about 2 pm.  I just woke up 2 and a half hours later!  I must have needed it, but at my age I sure hate to waste even part of a day like that.

I had dinner courtesy of Donald last night, and enjoyed talking to Martha (his Mom) who is back from San Antonio where she has been since just after Christmas, for her brother in law's funeral and then visiting with her sisters and going back to old haunts in the area.   She looks great and the girls are very glad to see her back.  After raising two sons of her own, I think having two little granddaughters is a delight to her.

While there I used Jeannie's blood pressure monitor because I have felt like my bp was back to normal, although I couldn't say why.  Well, it was absolutely back to normal at somewhere around 117/68 (or somewhere very close to those numbers).  I sure don't know what caused my recent aberration in bp, but I'm happy it's ok again and I don't have to worry about it.  To this day I cannot figure out why it went up to the levels it did for 2 or 3 days. 

This morning I laid out some of the pieces of my quilt design and I 'm not very happy with it.  Maybe there are too many different prints & colors, but this is a patchwork quilt design after all, or maybe it's just the pattern of the design.  I think I do better with more specific instructions rather than trying to wing it on my own.  The only area where I do great with making it up as I go along is in cooking, (but I don't cook much any more).

Although I've seen no rain the streets have remained wet.  Both last night and this morning it seemed like I could feel the mist in the air - I guess from the fog.  I used to love the fog but now I'm just looking forward to a warm sunny day!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Back to Jo-Ann's

I must be spending a fortune in that store!  I went back today to get a small piece of contrasting fabric, and ended up buying a rotary cutter, which of course requires a special mat to use the cutter on.

I originally thought I didn't need a new piece of equipment, and that scissors were good enough for my grandmother so they would be good enough for me.  Well, to tell the truth I prefer the scissors but I don't have enough years left to do everything the old fashioned way as I'd like to.  A rotary cutter can be likened to a pizza cutter, except that the handle is a heavy, sturdy plastic, and has a shield that can be brought down to protect the blade (or to protect Gypsy from the blade!)  I got a cheap cutter for $20, which is ok to begin with.

So I cut some fabric this afternoon with the new cutter and managed to keep my fingers out of the way of the blade.    That thing is some kind of sharp!  I sewed some pieces together on my new sewing machine, which I love, but my sewing skills have deteriorated over the years.  Perhaps it is my eyesight that has deteriorated, but I managed to get several blocks pieced together.   Now putting them all together in a larger design is the next challenge.  I'm making this Whatever on my own with little or no instructions - just winging it.  Fortunately I plan to keep it small so that I can get used to handling fabric, pins, scissors, the machine, etc.  It's been such a long time.

I still hope to take a class in quilting when I'm back from NY in the summer, and learn the correct way rather than make it up as I go along.

Dang, it's cold here.  It actually isn't all that cold outside, about 50 right now, but it has been a grey day and feels cold to me.

I mentioned Gemini in yesterday's post, and in case some of you may not know what I was talking about, Gemini is one of the astrological signs.  It is my ascendant, or rising sign, and people with Gemini in their chart love to talk and can't keep their mouths shut.  In my case, I intended to write a short post which is very difficult for me to do, and I tend to blabber on and on.  My Dad was a Gemini (b. June 11) and even though he was a shy man for the most part, he loved to talk as well as to write.  He wrote poetry to my Mom, and letters to politicians.  I don't write poetry but I do write letters, and I think there is a bulletin board in the Congressional Cloak Room as well as in the White House, with a list of names that can just be disregarded as harmless complainers.  None of them ever pay attention to what I'm saying - and that applies to both sides of the aisle!

I'm going to drop off my unassembled elliptical to Donald & Jeannie before heading to the gym this afternoon.  I think I could actually assemble it, but my brain cells are currently in use by the sewing machine!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Brief post

I'm just going to do a quick post today as I haven't really done anything, nor has anything happened to me.  

I do want to reply to Nancy's comment; she mentioned that the QVC site references the weight of the elliptical being 28 lbs.  That is probably about right.  It feels heavier when trying to lift the box, and I wouldn't call it lightweight, but it's manageable, or it will be when assembled.  I lift a 32# bar at the gym, but wouldn't be able to lift that box over my head - at least I don't think I could.

Yesterday I mentioned that my doctors would like to see me get off HRT, and that I wrote the ob-gyn about half doses for a month to see how I feel.  She replied and said I could do that, so I used my pill cutter to halve today's pill.  If I start sounding like a crazy woman you will know why!

I have several blocks of fabric that I want to arrange in pieces for a mini quilt.  I still think I can do a runner for the top of a dresser - that is, longer than wide.  I have been wracking my brain over how and what size I should cut the pieces, and today played around drawing the layout on paper.   I finally found something I think will work, and cut out a template from a manila file folder, stiff but easy to cut.  It wasn't easy to come up with a design only using squares, but triangles and other shapes are more difficult to work with and get the corners crisp.  I'm not totally happy with the fabrics now that I have the design, but I'll work with them or else go buy another 1 or 2 swatches.

So there you are - not exactly what I would call a quick post, in retrospect.  That's my Gemini (ascendant astrological sign) working!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Not so bad!

The news from the doctor this morning wasn't so bad.  Evidently it's not unusual to have higher blood pressure at my age, but it isn't at a critical stage and doesn't require treatment or meds.  He told me what the ob-gyn told me earlier this month, that the HRT I'm taking raises my risk for a number of diseases.  I'm already at the lowest dosage, but if they will let me cut that low dose in half and wean off it rather than all at once, I will try to do it.  Those meds have contributed more to my feeling of well being for the last 20+ years than anything I've ever taken, so of course they want me off of them!  Can't have old ladies feeling too good, ya know.  Actually I trust both the doctors, whereas I would just blow it off if the advice came from any other doctors who told me the same thing.  It's ironic that a doctor can stand in front of you and tell you to stop taking something that has been wonderful for you, and to start taking a drug such as Lipitor (which caused me a lot of pain and anguish during the 6 wks I took it).

I decided I'm not going to worry about my blood pressure.  I feel great, love my weight, am getting stronger and more fit every day, so if I'm dying it's not a helluva bad way to go!

I drove out to pick up a few more supplies from Jo-Ann's and when I came back I checked the hole in the fence.  I saw a man securing large items that were all wrapped up to his bicycle, and it is probably tent guy ready to move on.  I didn't see the dog, but since he was so close to where I was looking through the fence I decided I'd check it out when he's gone.  I hope he's leaving of his own accord rather than being told to move on, and I hope he finds a safe and unobtrusive campsite along the way.

I almost forgot!!! The elliptical was delivered today.  The box was HEAVY, and it wasn't easy bringing it into the house.  I opened it up and set the pieces next to the box - assembling this baby is not something I am going to try to do.  The next of my kids who walks in the door gets the job.  (And if they read the blog I might not get any company for a long time :)  I can't imagine how portable this device can be as I can't see myself carrying it out of the car and into a motel room along my way to NY, then schlepping it back into the car.  Actually, it would sure build up my biceps if I did that.  I don't have anything but a 7# limit food scale, so I can't weigh it just yet.

Click on photo to enlarge it.

I will post a picture of it when it has been assembled, and you probably won't recognize it as the same thing.  It also came with a CD so I suppose there are many ways to exercise with it.

The weather has been cloudy all day and in the mid-50's.  I don't feel very warm in those temps unless the sun is shining. The fog starts to roll in during early evening, and by the time I go to bed everything looks surreal in the fog.

That is about it for my day, so far.  How can it be a weekend already when I'm not yet done with the week!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Just when you think you're fine

I've been feeling great lately, and gaining a little more energy each day.  Last night I was relaxing in my recliner and decided to take my blood pressure - I really wanted to find out what my resting heart rate was. 

The bp rate was just over the high mark, so I took it again in my other arm - same thing.  I waited for a while and repeated taking my bp several times, and then went to bed.  This morning I drove over to the UCD Med clinic and asked to have my bp taken, thinking my monitor wasn't working correctly.  The results were the same, so I have an appointment with my doctor for tomorrow morning.  Since tonight is gym night I asked the advice nurse if I could still work out, and she will check with my doctor and call me back.  What a bummer this is for me!  Damn, I hate to go back on hydrochlorathiazide.  

I did some internet research and found I am doing all the right things to avoid high blood pressure - weight, eating healthy, no smoking, minimum of one drink a day, exercise, etc.  The only thing on the no-no list that I do is drink coffee in the morning, and I'm not giving that up.  I already mix the coffee beans with 1/3 organic decaf beans, and I'll go up to 1/2 decaf if necessary, but coffee is the best part of my day and I'm not giving it up.

The nurse just called from my doctor's office and he said it was ok for me to go to the gym this evening.  I feel a lot better about that, and just hope this is a temporary blip.  But if I need medication to treat it, then I'm prepared to take medication as long as it's HTC (I know the way it works and the side effects, and a 3-months' supply cost me about 56 cents).

I have been working now and then on a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle.  It's been slow going because I just can't stay at it for long.  Every time I sit down and look at the pieces I spot several that go together, and I could probably finished it in a few days if I could only concentrate on it.

I just went outside to get the mail and made a tour around to the back.  From the hole in the fence I can see that tent guy is still in residence.  Dang, that's a nice big tent, and I don't think he's alone with his dog.  There are two bikes outside the tent, and I thought I saw a flash of pink on one of them.  I could be wrong of course, and I felt silly looking through the hole in the fence.  I don't think anyone could see me from that far away, but I hate to be so obviously nosy.  

I can't imagine anyone getting away with camping there for very long - for one thing I wonder what he's using for bathroom facilities.  It also makes me wonder who else is camping along that trail.  I walked Lady back there every day, going in one direction in the morning and the other in the afternoon, and often saw remnants from someone's camp, but they always tore it down during the day.  Without a dog I'm a little hesitant to walk back there, though a lot of people, some with their families, ride their bikes there.  It's nice to have a bit of a mystery in my surroundings, and I'll keep you posted.   I'm pulling for tent guy, just so you know!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Excitement out beyond the weed patch

After wearing myself out walking a mile and a quarter at a very fast clip, I decided it was too early in the day to knock off.  I donned my gardening gloves and carried a big plastic trash bag to the back yard.  After pulling two weeds the gloves came off. (I bought a pack of 6 prs of women's garden gloves at Costco and after giving several pairs to others, I still have a lifetime supply left!)

I was hacking away when I heard a ruckus on the other side of my back fence; they were shouting at each other and I peeked through a hole in the fence to see a big guy on the paved trail yelling for another guy to come and get his dog.  I never heard any barking or growling so I don't know what caused the fury.  Then I saw a very nice tent setup in the trees, between the paved trail and the light industry behind that.  It would seem that he is probably homeless and living in the tent with his dog.  

I don't have a clue how long he's been there, but he's in full sight and there are plenty of people who would love to turn him in for some violation or other.  While I would hate to see a full blown tent city back there, a tent or two doesn't really bother me, especially when I've never heard anything from him or his dog.  There is a locked gate from the mobile home park to the paved trail, and while I know some of my neighbors have complained about things being stolen from their property, it could very well be a resident doing the stealing.  I'm not going to rat the guy out.

There is a couple about 6 houses up the road who have covered their entire yard with artificial turf, and it always looks spectacular!  I wonder how you keep the tenacious weeds from pushing up through it or on the edges.  The folks who live there have a really nice setup with patio table, umbrella, and chairs, and sit outside on summer afternoons sipping something that sure looks refreshing.

I would love to do that except the only space I have for a patio set is in my back yard, with just 8-10 ft or so between my house and the fence.  If I was a younger person I'd probably do it, but it wouldn't be a priority now.  I need a new dishwasher first, and will get one this summer or fall after my travels.  The one I have works, but only.

All this exercise makes me hungry and it looks like dinnertime before 5 pm!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

When hearing that some of y'all are in the 20's I feel a little guilty to be sitting in a balmy 48!  We will be in the 60's for the next 10 days, and I can deal with it but I have to dress warm.  It was terribly foggy in the Sacramento Valley last night, which caused a terrible car crash (I think it was in Stockton).   The forecasters said that visibility was zero.  I've driven in that kind of fog and couldn't believe how fast cars drove around me, and it's a wonder there aren't more fatal crashes.

I went out and pulled some weeds from the side yard today until my hands became numb.  I'm going to resort to Round-Up one of these days, and even then the weeds just grow back.  I have also tried a mixture of salt and vinegar, which you would think would kill the weeds but it only stops them for a few days and then new ones pop up.  I'm tired of this place, the weeds, the threat of the weed police, the wind which blows dust and leaves constantly and  directly at my house and driveway, as well as a few other things.

Several readers have written to ask me about the elliptical I ordered.  Here is a link to it, and I think there is a little video which is the same as the QVC program that made me buy it in the first place.

I'm eagerly awaiting delivery of the elliptical and hope it works for my purposes in buying it.  I also should be getting two books in the mail any day now - "The Best in Tent Camping - Montana", and "The Best ... Pennsylvania".  I have about 6 other books in this series and they are nice for traveling.   I get a lot of use out of the book for Northern California, and have not yet used the one for Oregon.  I buy used copies, usually at about $1, and the S/H brings the total up to $4 or $5.   Although the titles suggest that you can find a lot of campsites for tents, the reality is that the RV's usually have them filled except if you go in an off season, and definitely not on weekends.  
I've usually found that the RV's don't bother my camping experience until last summer, when a neighboring RVer set up light poles that flickered off and on throughout the night, and the horrible motion detector that blinded me as I walked to the bathroom.   Uncalled for in a campground, if you ask me.  These are no doubt folks who don't travel/live in their rigs but just use them for occasional outings and maybe vacations, so they don't know anything about etiquette.

The weed pulling wore me out.  Maybe I should try sorting and throwing out some of the junk I haven't gotten around to dealing with.

The sky in the west looked so beautiful last night I had to take a couple of photos of it.  I waited too long to get a good sunset picture, and the reds in the sky don't show up as well as I hoped.  (Click on a picture to enlarge it.)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Stay home for a change

I decided that today I would stay home and get some work done that I've been putting off doing.  Three loads of laundry was at the top of my list.  I pulled a clean bath towel from the linen cupboard this morning and it was line-dried, stiff as a board, the way I like it!  With the cold dreary weather lately I've had to dry everything in the machine and this morning is the perfect weather for drying clothes outdoors.  I had a problem at the laundry room with the lock on the door to the courtyard - the bolt was stuck and wouldn't slide.  I came home and got a hammer to help it along, and got the door open but killed the lock!   I snuck the hammer back home.

Joe stopped by with Keira, who wanted to know about my clothespins - what I do with them and how, and where are my clothes hanging with the clothespins.  So I took her across the street to show her and Joe came with us.  I guess he doesn't ever remember me hanging clothes on a line.  The kids love to play with the pins when they visit me, and do all sorts of clever things with them.

Rvers, fire up those big engines because according to the news, the price of diesel is coming way down.  Of course you know it won't last long, but it sure is nice to see fuel at an affordable price.

I'm a little tired from a brisk walk on the treadmill a few hours ago.  It is amazing at how the walking affects my heart rate - I don't reach the max advisable rate for a few minutes longer each time I walk.  I am feeling so much better day by day, and hope the trend continues.

I almost feel like taking a nap in my recliner but don't think I'll do that.  I don't like the way napping keeps me up so much later at night. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

In a "buying" mood!

I seem to be spending a lot of money lately, both on healthy food, snacks  (healthy and unhealthy), as well as new walking shoes, etc.  I needed the shoes and went back to Fleet Feet where I always get a good pair although expensive.  I messed up my feet with all the backpacking I used to do (under too heavy of a pack), so I have to pay dearly for footwear that fits well and feels good.

I've been wanting a simple pedometer, not one of the $100 wristbands that does 50 different things - just something to tell me how far I've walked.  I found such a pedometer online for only $10 - the price should tell me something, shouldn't it.  It arrived in the mail, and I'm going to ask Donald to set it for me this afternoon.  We'll all be going to the gym at around 3 pm, and I hope to start out the new week walking every day and knowing how far I've walked.  My Blue Cross plan offers a pedometer for free, but for some reason I could never get the darn thing to work.  I hope this $10 one is a little better.

Then, something I know better than to do, is scroll the TV past the QVC station.  I happened to see a pitch for an "In-Motion Elliptical", a portable device that allows you to walk in place, plus has a feature for pulling on two handles as you "walk", exercising your arms and shoulder muscles.   It also has other features which I will soon be able to try out, because I ordered the thing!  I actually started to order it, then decided against spending the money and cancelled the order, and then had 2nd thoughts about 10 minutes later and actually went through with submitting the order.  I can't wait to get it and try it out.  

I have a good reason for buying a machine that duplicates what I can do at the gym.  This is a little over $100, plus shipping & handling, of course, and I chose the 5 EZ payments.  I can return it within a month if I choose.  I've been thinking about when I'm traveling in April - no gym workouts for several months (I will put the membership on hold so as to save the monthly fee, which will easily pay for the Elliptical.) as well as that long drive where I'll be sitting all day.  I can take this small exerciser into a motel room and get my workout.  I stop early in the day, so I might put the spare time to good use.  On the days when I find a camping spot (weather permitting) I can find a place to walk, but for the other times, and at Mike's house in NY, I hope to get good use of the machine.  My arm and leg muscles are getting in too good a shape to let them turn to flab while I travel.

Now I need to stay home and keep the TV off so I don't spend any more money.   I don't often buy things online, but this month I've shot a big hole in that practice!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Visitors today

Joe came by with his two girls and I gave Alyssa her birthday present!  The girls are fun to be around and I enjoy their visits.  I don't get as much chance to visit with Joe now that he works crazy hospital shifts.  Keira likes tangerines and now I have just 3 of them left.  Do I want a tangerine now or a good craft beer?  I might just eat a tangerine or two and then have the beer, it's Friday night after all!

Keira told me she loves my house because the "attic is downstairs".  I obviously don't have an attic but she probably means the moldy storage room with the washing machine, or the camping gear storage room!  Kids have such a cute and innocent way of expressing themselves as they see it.

I spent the morning with my Brother labeler, file folders, paper shredder, gathering  and sorting papers.  I was able to whittle the stack down, but there is a whole lot more everywhere I look.  I will just work on a chunk at a time.

I worked a bit with Mapquest and some of  the new maps I recently got at AAA, trying to figure out how I want to travel to NY in April.  As much as I hate interstate travel, I might do it to drive fewer miles and use less fuel, at least on the outbound trip.   I have no idea how I will drive back to CA in June or July.  One of the biggest drawbacks of being on the interstate for an extended period is that there are few, if any, suitable tent camping places along the way.  I don't mind a motel now and then, but since I prefer to drive fewer miles a day I don't want to sit around in a motel room in the afternoons, whereas in a federal recreation area campground there are usually trails to hike, at least, or something to see and do.

For the return in mid-summer, I love the National Parks and Forests in the northern U.S., but there are a few places I wouldn't mind going to in the south, depending on the weather.  If it's hot then I ain't going there!   The Natchez Trace has been calling me for years, but when I get from Nashvile TN to Natchez, MS, then where do I go.  Who knows but I might just get to see those western national parks after all - me and about a million other travelers!  It's way to soon to stress about the return plan.

My brother and sister-in -law (Bill & Wilma) who live in Milwaukee are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary on the 28th of Feb.  I didn't think I would be able to make it since I had committed to going to NY in April for my grandson's First Communion on April 25, as well as to celebrate his birthday on June 4th.

My son Mike surprised me with a Christmas present of an airline ticket to Milwaukee in Feb., so I will be able to attend the anniversary celebration, fly back to Sacramento to get my car ready and packed to start the drive to NY in early April.   It is almost overwhelming to me and it isn't that far off.  

I wish the weather would warm up for a few days so I can pull some of the weeds that have grown in all the rain a couple of weeks ago.  The Park Police do their annual lot inspections beginning April 1st and I won't be here.  I'll explain to them that I'll be away, but I need to get the worst of the weeds pulled and disposed of, and maybe they will go easy on me.

That bottle of craft beer in the fridge is calling me, and I'd better go open one up!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Target, etc.

The day has been a little overcast at times, but it's 65 degrees so I won't complain.  I went to get a few birthday cards at Target, and also dropped by the library where I checked out four books on quilting.  Target could have been a disaster.  I was parking the shopping cart and ready to carry my purchases out with me when I heard someone calling "Ma'am".  It was the cashier running to give me my wallet, which I left on the counter.  

I came home to eat a bowl of the soup I made yesterday, and packed about 4 big servings away in the freezer.  I'll have to say it's pretty good, but if I continue a daily diet of it I will quickly get tired of it.

I am so frustrated with the state of my house.  I clean it up and in two days everything is covered with paper - mail, magazines, things I want to save, etc.  The mail is pretty easy to dispose of, but there is always something I save.  No, the "neat" contraption that scans and saves copies is not for me, and thinking about it makes my head spin.  I would love to have room for a nice file cabinet or two, and place items in manila folders in the old fashioned way.  

I had a great system going when I lived in Asheville, and have never duplicated it.  When a folder began to get full I would go through it to see if I could throw something out.  Worked fine and I could put my hand on anything in a matter of a minute or so.  I miss my Asheville house to this day.  For some reason it rarely looked messy, crowded, or dusty.  I will always miss it.

NOTE:  Since I published the blog today I found a plastic tub that I used for filing my important papers when I moved into my 5th wheel.  I cleaned it up and will do my best to gather all the paperwork in every room and either figure out a folder to file it in or to shred it!

I'm hoping to go to the gym this evening.  I'm walking on the days I don't work out and hope I can keep it up and increase the mileage.  My arms and shoulders are looking good (and muscular).  (Note:  I'm fixin' to challenge Billy Bob to an arm rasslin' contest!)

What I would like to do is walk along the American River and carry a full backpack while I'm walking, just to get in shape - in case the opportunity ever comes up to hit the trail.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A rare trip to Walmart

I didn't spend much money, and I never spend much at Walmart because I can never find what I want.  I bought 3 items and got cash back from a $10 bill.

I was going to walk at Mather Field while I was out, but ended up going to the gym near my house and doing a little over a mile on the treadmill.  I vary the pace, starting off fairly slow and then ramp it up until my heart rate is close to the maximum rate for my age, then gradually drop down to a little slower pace.  It works out that most of my mile is at 3.5 mph.  I keep trying to walk 4 mph, but for some reason I can't keep up with the speed of the tread and am afraid of falling off the back of the machine.  Wouldn't that be a sight!  A lot of folks must have made New Year's resolutions to get fit because there were so many people working out both last night and this morning.

Last night was gym night with Jeannie & Donald, and Don called and asked if I would come over early, have supper at their house, and then help Autumn with a school project.  She has to interview several relatives and then prepare a report of her genealogy.   She was given a list of questions to ask, including those about the days I grew up in.   Then, "What makes you happy now", to which I replied "Being with family".  She started writing it down and said "Everyone says that".   I guess it's true for most of us who are grandparents, and I also added "traveling as much as I can".

We are a long way from spring, but I think I'm starting to get spring fever!  I have a fabulous spring planned, and hope everything works out the way I'm planning it, although there are bound to be hiccups along the way.

I'm fixing a big pot of chicken vegetable soup this afternoon - I'll love it for the first couple of bowls and then get tired of it

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

$hopping and $pending!

I had a more expensive morning than I bargained for:  I finally found my way to Joann's Fabrics.   I was like a kid in a candy store, but unfortunately I had to buy basics, such as needles, threads, pins, scissors, thimble (I never could use those things, but I'll try again), seam ripper, etc.   Now that I'm home I am thinking of about a dozen more items I need.

I don't know where to start, but I suppose I should open up the sewing machine, read the instructions, and start with the real basics!   I bought my first machine in the mid-1960's, probably a Singer, and in the mid 70's I bought a Viking.  By then I always had numerous sewing projects in the works.  I'm sure I went straight into using both machines, but It's been so long now that I am actually afraid of beginning.   

Among my purchases at Joann's were three blocks of cotton fabric that I can practice on.  If I don't screw it up entirely I think I can make a small runner for a table or even a dresser.  I may decide to add a layer of padding as well as a piece of backing.  But turning on the machine and taking the first step is a big one after all these years!

I want to explain what the "cap and trade" mentioned in yesterday's blog is supposed to accomplish, but I'll be darned if I really understand it, and I doubt it does what it's intended to do in a fair manner.  But this is why California is going to tack a 10+ cents a gallon to the price of gas sometime in January.  I got this from Wikipedia (and I don't like to rely on wikipedia very often):  

"Emissions trading or cap and trade ("cap" meaning a legal limit on the quantity of a certain type of chemical an economy can emit each year) is a market-based approach used to control pollution by providing economic incentives for achieving reductions in the emissions of pollutants."

Does anyone buy that?  I agree with the desired end result but don't trust corporations, industry, or the government to accomplish that result.

I'm in too good a mood to let something like this ruin my day, and that sewing machine is sitting there patiently waiting.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Yesterday (Sunday) I drove to Costco to fill up the gas tank.  Local news stories say that gas will go up 10 cents/gal. or more in January because of "Cap in Trade", whatever the heck that is.  I think it's a way for the states to charge more tax.  I don't understand the thinking as it has also been reported that consumer confidence is way up, due in part to lower fuel costs.   So California and many other states will add a tax onto the price per gallon, thus adversely affecting those who are being helped by lower costs.  It seems obvious to me that consumers will spend more money and contribute to the economy if prices go down a bit.  California would benefit by collecting more sales taxes, and businesses will benefit as well.   But what do I know - I don't have a degree in economics!

I should have bought gas when I was at Costco the day before, but yesterday the cost had gone down another 2 cents a gallon, to $2.27.   Some of you lucky folks are paying below $2.00, which we haven't seen anywhere for a long time.

I bought a good pair of walking shoes yesterday and tried them out today - walked a mile.  I  should pick up the pace and go for 2 miles, but walking on pavement makes my heels hurt.  The shoes feel pretty good though, and my old ones were shot!  I'm hoping to got to the gym tomorrow and will try to do the same distance on the treadmill.  

I ran my dishwasher this morning but noticed that the items on the top rack had a bit of sudsy residue on them.  I'm not sure what is going on, but I'm aware that this dishwasher is on its last legs, and I need to buy a new one soon.

I can notice the few additional minutes of light each day now, and it is so welcome.   I really don't mind the cold as long as the sun shines at least part of the day.  I believe January will be critical to easing the drought, so I hope we get a couple of weeks of rain during the month.    Personally, I don't think we will get completely over the drought, at least for the next few years. 

My walk made me sleepy, and I'm already in my recliner.......zzzzz.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Dead battery!

I'm sitting here on a Saturday morning waiting for AAA to show up and jump start my car.  I went out bright and early to drive to the farmers' market when I discovered the battery was dead.  After the jump I will immediately drive to Les Schwab and buy a new battery.  My regular mechanic is closed on Saturday, but I have always liked the service at Les Schwab, and it isn't far from my house.

Things happen to mess up your plans, and you just have to accept them and go with the flow.  I sure didn't want to spend my Saturday chasing a new battery!
 Jeannie and I did some shopping yesterday - Costco, Target, etc.  I think my purchases at Costco were likely the highest I've ever spent without buying a higher priced item - just under $250!  My fridge and freezer were nearly empty and I needed quite a bit to fill them.  I also got a few snack items, but not nearly as many as I did for the last few months.   The best part about the day was spending it with my daughter!

I must really be feeling better because a week ago I don't think I could have been on my feet walking around stores for such a long day.   I'm amazed at what a good night's sleep I've been getting, and really happy about that.

I'm just back from getting the battery situation resolved.  After thoroughly checking the battery, alternator, and all relevant parts I was told the battery was fine and that I really didn't need to replace it.  It is possible I left something on - I often don't get the door completely closed on the first try because I hate to slam a door.  While I was there I had them replace my windshield wipers which were not working as well as they should.  I am relieved to not have to spend the money on a battery.

One of the things I bought yesterday at Costco is a big bag of tangerines.  I normally don't eat citrus fruits - I used to love oranges and tangerines, but a few years ago they began to give me a bit of upset.  I figured I might eat one or two of this purchase and then give the rest to the grandkids.   I got started and have just finished my 4th one at this sitting!   They are so sweet and just perfect this time of year.  The grandkids may not get any of them after all!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year

I thought I'd spend a quiet new year's eve at home, but ended up staying with the girls while Jeannie & Donald went to an early movie.  

I was entertained by a dance recital, card tricks, an assortment of games, and some good conversation with a 5 and an 8 yr old.  Sometimes that is the best conversation in the world.  I thought it was so sweet that both girls were sort of giving me subtle clues so I could win a few rounds of the games we played.

I spent the night at their house and then drove home fairly early this morning as Steve had said he'd try to come over to fix my dishwasher.  I've been doing without it for over a year, and while I've never minded hand-washing dishes, I notice the glasses and other items are getting a bit cloudy.   It was really cold last night, at least for Sacramento, and my car windows had a film of ice this morning.

LATER:  Steve was able to get my dishwasher going and i am ecstatic that I can maybe use it for a few more months, but I will eventually replace it.  He also has offered me an extra refrigerator he needs to sell on craigslist or otherwise find a home for, and I'm quite happy about getting it.   Mine has gasket problems among several other things, and I know it's days are limited.

We took a look at the small space where I have my washing machine plus use as storage for some boxed materials, painting equipment, etc.    This space was originally a gap between the two roll out rooms - living room and tiny bedroom.  One former owner enclosed the space and made the laundry/storage area, but it was never insulated or finished properly.  The ceiling is just the same as the porch and carport awnings, and there have been leaks in this room resulting in mold spots on the aluminum.  He thinks this could be causing the constant allergy symptoms I have had for quite a while.  If the weather warms up just 10 degrees, I will wash the affected parts of the ceiling with a bleach solution, as well as pull off some of the warped ceiling panels and asbestos insulation that is still up there, replacing them with foam blocks of insulation.   It sounds like a fairly optimistic plan for me, but I need to do something to fix the problems of that room.  I waiver between wanting to find someone to give this broken down place to, as someone gave it to me, and just trying to make a few small improvements at a time and continue living here for the time being.

Before he left, Steve looked at my Highlander to see how we could adapt the cargo area to include a sleeping area for when I'm traveling, as well as storage for my camping gear.  I like to camp in a tent, but when it is raining or windy I would like to have a vehicle to climb into and stay warm and dry for the night. 

I feel good about what I've accomplished today, and this is a good sign for the year to come.  I'm going to travel across country once more, fix up a few things in my living space, and try to get rid of a lot of things I've held on to for so long because I'm a pack rat!