Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Beat Goes On!

I sort of grew to like 2016, and tomorrow (a leap second late) we will be into 2017.   I wish everyone the best life can offer during the coming year.

I will hope to see an end to the constant requests for money at year's end so whatever organization/charity it is can meet their goal.  I really dislike the ones that send a large packet of calendars, return address labels, pocket planners, etc.  Some of the stuff is pretty decent but I don't want to  use it without paying something, even though I didn't request it, so usually end up throwing it all out.   I got some very nice stuff from one charity that suggested donations in varying amounts, beginning with $5.  I decided I will use the return envelope and cut all my info out of the accompanying card that identifies me. and send a $5 bill.   They are lucky everything is not landing in the trash and that they get $5!

I don't want to begin the new year complaining, but I suppose this is sort of ending the old year complaining!  Mostly I'm happy about everything.

I am NOT going to get a dog.  The organization offered me an opportunity to take one of their dogs for 10 days, they would deliver him to my house and bring all the food he needs.  At the end of 10 days I could make up my mind.  I thought long and hard about it, but the dog is a mix and I'm not at all familiar with one half of the mix.  He is 6 yrs old which means we would probably reach the end of our days together, or relatively close.  I just decided if I can't have what I really want, I'm not going to get a dog at all.  I wish I could rent-a-dog to go camping with me in the summer though. 

I notice I'm spending more and more time in my studio/catchall room with the big wall maps, thinking about where I might like to do some camping.  It would be in Northern CA or maybe Southern Oregon,   I'll probably find myself back at Lassen for a couple of days for old time's sake.

The 2+ miles I'm walking nearly every day sure has me worn out afterward.  I would think it would get easier but so far it's just tiring.   I'm determined to keep it up for as long as I can.   Some of the equipment there leaves a lot to be desired and needs a good servicing - one treadmill in particular that I often walk on has a feature to check your heart rate.  I'm usually around 100 when I start, and not much over 120 when I finish.  Imagine my surprise when I stepped on the machine and after beginning the walk I used the heart rate  feature - the reading was 183!  I knew that was incorrect because I wouldn't be walking on the treadmill if it was that high.  There's no way I wouldn't realize something is wrong.  I took it again various times throughout my walk and it did settle down to the 130's, but still much higher than usual.    I should have come home and checked it with my own monitor, but I was totally unconcerned so I forgot about it.   I refuse to be a obsessed with those or any other numbers.

After writing the above I got curious and got out my BP monitor:  
123/63; HR 81.  I think that is pretty good, and I'll let it go at that.

I will get back to painting pretty soon.  With the potential for me adopting a dog I have tried to clean up the paint and supplies - no dog, but at least my living room and studio look a little neater.  I have a long ways to go before I can say they look good!

Happy New Year to everyone!

Friday, December 30, 2016


Does anyone else go through the farce of making resolutions at the New Year?  If you make them, do you keep them, and for how long.  I've never been very good at it but this year I have to do something and I might as well start the year out right.

I have to clean and organize my house!  I began doing that when I read Marie Kondo's book (The Magical Art of Tidying Up), but I got thrown off course with trying to sort and organized photographs - probably got 1/4 to 1/3 of them done.  But other things have sprung up to take their place, specifically artists canvases of all sizes, paints, and all the necessities  to calling oneself a bona fide beginner artist!

I am on a registry for adoptable pets, and yesterday was notified of my dream dog:  a black labrador retriever, between 6 mos and 1 yr old, a beautiful boy who looks just like my Smoky.   I contacted the organization who is responsible for him and they asked me to submit the required info so they could have me come and meet him soon.

In the meantime I wrote to my son Steve, who was the one that got Smoky at the pound in Richmond, VA.  That dog owned my heart from the minute I laid eyes on him, and fortunately Steve needed to give temporary custody to someone when he decided to move to NY for a job.  When the job moved him to Columbus, Ohio a couple of years later, Steve said he'd take his dog back, and I told him his dog was now my dog.    So Steve is a dog lover and understands why I want a black lab.  When I sent him a link to this particular dog, with all the info, he took a long time to respond and then in only a sentence or two.  I wrote him again with more reasons why this was the dog for me, and he gave me another noncommittal answer.  There is a reason he doesn't think I should take this dog and he isn't telling me.  Maybe I'm too old for an energetic young dog?

In the meantime I've been in contact with the woman in charge of adoptions and told her that I reconsidered overnight, realizing that I have many tubes of acrylic paint, some with cadmium and titanium among their contents.  This is no problem for me, but as anyone who has ever had a labrador retriever knows, their appetites are insatiable, and they will eat anything.  There is no way I can secure all the painting stuff to keep a lab puppy away from it if he wants it.

I had a friend at work with a black lab and we used to have lunch together and laugh about our labs and the things they ate.  She came home from work one day to find that Jake had eaten an entire bag of dried beans, and she found him standing over the empty bag barely able to move.  She rushed him to the vet, who sort of chuckled and said he didn't know, but definitely not to give him any water for a while.  I fell out of my chair laughing at that!  So those lovable labs get into trouble very easily and i don't know if I can handle it.  

The lady wrote me back and sent a photo of what she thought would be the perfect dog for me - a 10# chihuahua!  Anyone who knows me would get a laugh from that.  I like big dogs that don't bark at everyone and everything they see.   I've always had big dogs, and even as a kid we had big dogs.

So in my own wordy way, I'm getting back around to my original thought about needing to thoroughly clean my house.  Even if I don't get a dog it needs to be done.  At least last night I had wonderful dreams of taking my dog on camping trips and maybe even a longer road trip.   Morning always brings an end to the best of dreams, and now I just have to get on with my regular life.

Now get busy and make those New Year's resolutions that probably won't last through the month of January!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A day for making soup

I had the chicken all cooked and with the broth, in the freezer,  so it didn't take me long to make the soup although I add this and that which is time-consuming.  I had a taste of the broth when I turned the stove off, and it is as good as I've ever made.  I buy grass fed organic chicken breasts at Costco - comparatively expensive, but nothing can beat it for taste!

I finally got back to the gym and walked 2.1 miles with no trouble this morning.  I could have continued but why knock myself out.  I think being consistent in walking every day is better than racking up the miles, although I need to walk at least 2 miles to get the benefits I want.

Thanks to everyone who commented and made suggestions on my painting.  I think I need to mix up some orange paint although I'm not sure I can ever match the colors - I think I remember the colors I put into it.  You can tell the orange on the left, which would normally be in the shadow of the larger one, but it's lighter in color.  I was running low on the paint, and I think in the end I was drawing it from an outside section that wasn't mixed as well, and the color turned out too light.  I might as well fix it now or I will forever be reminded every time I look at that painting.   After I correct the color on that one, then I will address the shadows, but I sort of like the white background and may leave it that way.

I'm going to call the dentist next week and find out if I can go back to mixing frozen fruit with my protein shakes.  Because of the seeds I've been just using chocolate syrup with a healthy scoop of vanilla ice cream.  I really want to get back to the blueberries, and eventually strawberries.  I have really missed my normal diet and I know I'm getting things that aren't so good for me - way too many carbs and sugars - and I'm getting anxious to get back to the way it was.   This has certainly been a trial for me, especially at the holidays, but I've managed to survive.

Thanks to the bright sunshine and 50 degree temps, people and their dogs are out in droves walking around the park.  (Not everyone is walking with a dog,)   I have never in my life wanted a small dog, but once in a while one goes by and stops with interest, curiosity, and friendliness - no yapping - and some of them are really sweet animals.   Of course some of them may be the ones wreaking havoc over in the dog park!  I try to not let it bother me any more, and there is nothing I can do about it anyway.  I decided a while back that I am of the age where I don't want to be angry or irritable about any situation.   If I don't like it I won't think about it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A visit

I don't know why an empty blog post published prematurely, but with the combination of the computer, Google, Blogger, and dumb luck, it messes with me constantly.  I think I caught it in time to delete it before anyone saw it and wondered what's wrong with me.

I got to visit with my son Steve and his kids Liam and Quinn for a couple of hours today.  Meg had her 6 wk checkup near where I live, so Steve brought the kids by and we had a wonderful visit.  I held Quinn off and on, until she started fussing too much, and then handed her over.  It's so nice to be able to do that.  Hold 'em when they are being calm and happy, and give them back to their parents when they need something!

Other than that I haven't done much today, nor do I plan to do anything except maybe finish my painting of the oranges.  I just need to do a background color, although I think it looks perfectly fine on a plain white background.  What is the reason for the background, anyway?  I might just not do it!

So what do you think?   I drew the big orange first, and as you can see my vision had me painting it way to the right side of the canvas.  I drew another partial oranges next to it on the left so it wouldn't look so lopsided, so it just sits there looking unnecessary!   Does it really need a background in the color opposite orange on the color wheel, which is what I've always been told?  This would mean a blue background, and if I do it I will make it a light blue.  But I sort of like it as it is.   Comments and criticism welcome!  Click on the picture to enlarge it.

I guess I do need some shadowing but I'm afraid I will mess it up, as I always do when trying to put a shadow into the picture.   It's important though, and I know I should do it.

I hope everyone has recuperated from the holiday by now, and ready to take on New Year's Eve.  It's been so long since I've gone out to celebrate New Year's that I've forgotten what it's like.  I don't know that I've stayed up until midnight the past few years!  Now that's called getting old.

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Day After

I had a wonderful Christmas and hope everyone out there did too.  Of course there was pandemonium, especially when it came to opening the gifts, but everyone enjoys it.

I think I mentioned receiving a couple of boxes from my son and dil in NY; one box contained flannel pajamas which I've been wearing for a week because it's so cold in my house.  The other was a beautiful heather colored 2-piece outfit that I saved to wear Christmas Day.  (Click to enlarge)

When I talked to my son on the phone he asked how I liked the pajamas, and I told him I'd been wearing them for the past week.  He said, "But how do you like the other pajamas?"   The other pajamas, I'm wearing them all day today!  I didn't realize they were pj's, but they were the warmest and most comfiest things I've had on in a long time.   Last night I even climbed in bed with them on (I felt fully dressed, somehow), but got too warm so I put on the other pjs.

From my Secret Santa, my dil Sarah, I got a beautiful huge art set that contains all different mediums, even oil paints and oil pastels.  She also included a number of canvasses of two different sizes, so I'm all set.  I am itching to start watching Rob Ross again and try working with oils, but need to wait for better weather so I can paint outdoors or at least open all the windows.  Ross uses odorless paint thinner to clean the brushes, but maybe something less toxic has come along, and if you know of such a thing please let me know.

Barney, you've mentioned using oil pastels, so I will probably have some questions for you when I start to use them. 

It's hard to believe that one year ago I received tickets for the trip to Alaska with Sarah and Joe, and Sarah's Aunt Pam took us to the painting class that jogged something in me to take up a truly fun and satisfying hobby.    I'm enjoying it more every day and hope it continues to be so rewarding.  

I was up early and got two loads of laundry washed, taken across the street and dried, and folded and put away by about 10 am!   I'm glad that's done although I still have sheets and towels to do one of these days.

It's kind of nice to have a blank slate today and just relax.  As usual though, I'm hungry and don't know if I'm up to making a full meal at 1pm or trying to find something to snack on.    

I hope everyone enjoys the rest of the holiday week, ending up on New Year's.  If you'd have asked me about 2017 twenty or thirty years ago I would have said I probably wouldn't last that long, but here I am!


Saturday, December 24, 2016

It caught up with me!

All the extra energy I've been saddled with just caught up with me finally!  I went to bed about 2 hrs earlier last night, and then kept waking up every half hour or so this morning thinking I should be up.  I finally decided to get started with my day.

I drove to the restaurant which was crowded, being right next to a LaQuinta Inn and no doubt getting a lot of their patrons.  Got my gift card and was on my way to the gym.  I just didn't have anything left after 1-1/2 miles so I went home to do my gift wrapping.  I don't know why I thought it would be such a big ordeal - I left all the kids' presents for Ara to wrap, so I only had a few.  We do a secret Santa at christmas and what I bought had several components to it, so it seemed like I wrapped more than I did.

I then caved in and crawled back under my warm comforter for a nap, and now I'm hungry as I didn't eat much for breakfast this morning.  

We had been forecasted for rain today and tomorrow, but it now looks like mostly sunny the rest of the week, but in the 40's for the next few days.  I feel like I will never get warm again.

I hope you all have a wonderful day tomorrow (and always).  See you on the other side of Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Horrendous Traffic!

I have been out several times today and the traffic is worse each time.  I went to Costco early to fill up my tank and pick up a few items.  I dropped them off at home and went back out to the gym (walked 2 miles today).  I needed to make a few more stops but I just wanted to rest and relax after the treadmill.  I am getting tired of doing it but I feel so much more energetic that I just can't even think about quitting now.

I went to the grocery this afternoon thinking I could find most of what I needed, but didn't.  I did get some vitamins I take that I usually get in a different brand.  I'm reading labels like a hawk (a hawk with mac degeneration - the idea makes me laugh) and am sick to think of all the crap they add to a simple vitamin.  Dyes, titanium dioxide, and other unpronounceable ingredients.  I wonder why they must add dyes to their product, or titanium.  I paint with titanium white and yellow, and have been told to not let it stay on my skin if I accidentally touch it.  It isn't that touching it is dangerous, but repeatedly letting it stay on your skin and be absorbed can evidently be dangerous.  I'm determined to replace every vitamin in my cabinet with the brand I bought today (after a careful look at the ingredients of course).

Because I am a frugal person mostly, I will no doubt use up what I already have on hand and replace the products as I run out.   Some have so many bad additives, or have combined other vitamins & minerals to the product so that you have way more than you bargained for, and I will just get rid of them.

It has been raining off and on - mostly not heavy - but when I got into my car at the grocery the wind picked up and the skies looked ominous!   I decided to come home and maybe go back out later to wrap it all up, although the traffic is only going to get worse.   I think I only have to drive less than a mile to a local restaurant for a gift card, and will do it tomorrow morning before I go to the gym.  The traffic is just too heavy now to be driving in rain and wind.

I'm going to eat as soon as the pork tamales have steamed long enough.  My appetite is growing by the day!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The countdown!

I think I have all my shopping done except for one gift card I want to buy.  Now the job I dislike immensely is wrapping everything, and as soon as I got back from the store with wrapping paper & tags, I  realized I need some tissue paper for a couple of small items.  I guess I can pick that up anywhere, and may even have it in the back of a closet.

My walking regimen went well at the gym this morning and it seemed to go by more quickly.  I was back at one of my old machines overlooking the punching bags, raquetball courts, etc., and walked 2-1/2 miles in about 43 minutes.

Jeannie's chiropractor invited me to be present while she went over the problems and treatment she will use.  It is a little different than the one I go to, although their objectives and philosophy are very similar.  One thing Jeannie's chiro does is have them rest in a darkened room after treatment.  She told me I could rest there as well, but that is one thing that would drive me crazy.  I nap once in a while when I'm really tired - on the couch or in my bed - but my internal dialog and energy are raging when I'm awake.  Not that it always translates to action, such as housecleaning and such, but I have extreme nervous energy that seems to be mainly internalized.    It may be the only thing that keeps me moving!  We are going back this afternoon and I will pick her up from work at 1:30; I think today's appointment will be much shorter, and I hope I'm not driving in the dark coming home.  I have done a pretty good job of just dealing with it though, which shows what mental attitude can sometimes accomplish.  

I'm always complaining that I can't find crossword puzzle books that are difficult enough.  I found some online that looked like what I wanted and they arrived yesterday.  Dang, they are really hard and it's not going to be such a breeze working them, but it's what I need to keep my mental faculties humming along. 

It's hard to believe that there are just 2 days before Christmas Eve.    I wish everyone the best of the holiday season.   I didn't think I would write the blog over the next few days, but it is therapeutic to me so I will decide when the time comes.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A different view

I chose a treadmill today that looked out the long wall of windows, but think I'll go back to my usual spot overlooking the punching bags and other tortuous equipment.  I did manage to walk a little over 2 miles, which is what I'm going to aim for every day.  Three or four is fine, but my legs hurt!

The view from the window:  it looks out on the 6 lanes of Sunrise Blvd (plus one lane that leads to the freeway).  Below the windows is a walled in playground area, with nice colorful murals painted on the walls.  Across the Blvd are the rooftops of my mobile home park - nothing to look at - and in the distance I could see the foothills of the Sierra.  I remember when I lived here in the 1980's and drove home from work every day, I saw a view that changed with the seasons.   For a while, the foothills would be prominent and there was no sign of the mountains beyond, sort of like today.  At other times of the year the foothills were not visible but the mountains stood out in all their glory.  While I love and prefer the Smoky Mountains, I'll have to say that the Sierra is a magnificent mountain chain!

The gym has a lot of different models of treadmill, and I didn't care for the ones near the windows as much as I like the ones I'm used to.  Maybe that's it - I like what I'm used to.  No TV's on the window side though, and that is a real plus!

Jeannie and I got most of our shopping  finished last night.  It was a real experience driving in the dark with headlights shining everywhere.  Streets that I know as well as the one I live on were totally unrecognizable to me.  It's a weird feeling.  I finished up today with two gifts I bought at Costco, and now I need to get some wrapping paper and gift tags.  I made my own "card" for Autumn's birthday present, with a paper in which I had sketched and colored in some Christmas bells.  I don't think she minded at all.

I painted my oranges on the small canvas today and will have to say I don't think much of the job I did.  When I paint in the background color I will post a photo of it.  I think I do a much better job of drawing and filling in with  colored pencils than I do with actual acrylic paints.  Now I need one more small canvas for the wall I'm going to put them on, and then I need to find a new theme.   I've done everything worth doing from my refrigerator!

When I took Jeannie home last night I stopped in to visit for a while - poor Autie has been sick with a cold/fever since her birthday on Sunday.  I had dinner with them - eating Donald's meals is always a treat for me.  Ara was baking chocolate chip cookies to give to a friend for Christmas, and she offered me one to taste.  When she wasn't looking I swiped two more.  Yum - I haven't baked cookies in so long, and considering I don't want to eat so much sugar I won't go back to baking.    I'm so hungry from all the increased walking that I could eat at any time I'm awake.   I must be doing ok nutritionally because I seem to be healing from the dental surgery fairly quickly.   I keep talking about traveling and forget I will be paying for partial dentures in a few weeks!  

It will be nice to get past the shortest day of the year, coming up real soon, and start on the trend towards longer periods of daylight.  And when it warms up a bit, I have a bumper crop of weeds to work on!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Ready to Shop!

I'm picking Jeannie up when she gets off work, and we are going to do a little shopping.  I don't have much - mainly for the Secret Santa family adult gift exchange, and just one or two others.   

After a trip to the chiropractor this morning I stopped at the gym that I used to work out with Donald & Jeannie.   I really like it better than the one nearer to me, but the difference in the time and miles to get there keeps me from going except when I'm in the area to begin with.  I only walked 1.25 miles this morning - I needed a break after the 3+ mile walk yesterday.  After that workout I found I wasn't sleepy and felt really wired, up until close to midnight when I decided to just go to bed.  I slept really well.  I notice a few issues I've been having for a year and a half are starting to improve with the extended walking.

I wish I could translate my energy into doing a good cleaning job in my house.  I cleaned all the crumbs around and under my chair, washed the inside of my front car window, and that's about it.   I noticed while driving against the lights last week I couldn't see a thing through my dirty windshield.  It will probably still look smeared, but it's too cold to stay out there long.  I also cleaned the Tiffany lamp a bit.  It's going to sit where I left it until after New Years.  I need some more money, for one thing.

I think I'm going to look for a decent recliner for myself after Christmas when there will hopefully be some sales.  I can't spend a lot of money on one, and an upholstered chair rather than leather is fine with me.  I just want something I can lean back in (or sit straight up) and a footrest that I can pop up when I want to put my feet up.

Does anyone make New Year's resolutions any more?  It seems like a waste of time to me, although I am going to resolve to get back to sorting photographs.   Rather than buy a whole bunch of albums, I think I will sort them as best as I can and put them into the photo boxes I bought when I started this.  The trouble with those boxes is that they don't hold the photos in an upright position, and I still need to come up with a reasonable solution that I can use (and be able to find a photo I'm looking for).   

I've been thinking about one of my favorite things to do, and that is TRAVEL!   I'd love to go back to NY this coming spring, but I hate that plane ride.  Worse than being on the plane for so long is the transfer at O'Hare - I barely have 15 minutes to run between two or three terminals to catch my connecting flight, whereas upon return to CA I have a 5 hour layover!   I do have the alternative to fly into LaGuardia or JFK, but that  makes it so much more difficult for someone to pick me up.  My son doesn't live close to either one.   But driving involves sitting for days on end, with no doggie to keep me company.  I've been thinking about the many times we've driven along a deserted state highway in places like Montana, and stopped to stretch our legs.  Invariably a herd of cows comes over to investigate, and of course I talk to them.  Cows are more intelligent than people give them credit for, but I am beginning to think that about all animals.   Do I sound like I have the classic RVer's "hitch itch"?

So there you have my choices:  settle back in a recliner with my feet elevated, or find highways I've never traveled and drive across the country again!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Getting to my goal

I'd like to walk 5 miles a day if I can work myself up to it, although I would prefer to do some on the treadmill and some outdoors.  But the weather will have to warm up before I do that!   At the gym this morning I walked a little over 50 minutes and 3.3 miles!  If I can just maintain 3+ a day for a while I'll be very happy.  

The huge section with all the cardio equipment has what looks like a row of treadmills that look out the wall of windows on Sunrise Blvd.  I think I would like to check that out - maybe I'll be inspired by a change of scenery.  The thing I hate about it is that there are big TV screens in all directions and it's darn near impossible to keep from taking a look.  That makes my neck hurt, and the news makes me hurt all over, which is why I got rid of my own TV service!   The sound is off and there is captioning across the screen which never keeps up with the picture.   I have come to the conclusion that the news programs are a big hoax.  They always have at least 3 people sitting in front of the cameras, or worse, sitting around a table, interpreting the news to the public.  I don't believe they know any more about it than I do, and they are no doubt speculating about most of it!  What a crock!  It is interesting, though, to see how creative they can be in saying the same things over and over using different words.

At least the sun is shining today, making the temperature seem warmer than the current 41 degres, at least if you are in the direct sunlight. 

I haven't painted the orange yet but it was bothering me because it was so far to one side of the canvas.  So I added another orange slightly to the left of the complete one, and it looks like two oranges now.  There isn't enough space for much detail, so it doesn't look like much but I hope it will look like another orange!

I have been holding on to a Tiffany style swag lamp (anyone remember those?) that was my Mom's.  Ara saw it and fell in love with it, but didn't really want to keep it where she was living in Philly.  Now she would like it but first I have to take it to a lighting place and have them replace the electric connections - the cord, chain, the receptacle for the bulb if necessary, etc.  It's been stored in my laundry room and was filthy.  I cleaned it enough to bring it into the living room, where it is sitting on a quilt on the floor.   Maybe I'll get tired of seeing it there and do something about getting it updated.  It is pretty - amber and yellow colors.    It is extremely heavy for a lamp,  and a hanging lamp at that--I would never even try to hang it on one of my flimsy ceilings.   I had to lean over some boxes to lift it across and out of the laundry,    My back must be in decent shape to not be killing me over that!

I don't care if it isn't even 3pm yet, I'm so hungry I could eat a bear!  I'm going to cook my dinner now.  I hope everyone is nearing the end of their holiday preparations.  For making so few preparations it seems like I have a lot to do!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Colder Days are Here

It was so cold this morning I even wore my gloves, but they didn't last too long while trying to make my purchases at the farmers' mkt.  I didn't buy much but did get a lot of two different kinds of potatoes, plus some kale and zucchini.   I can't stand the foods that I can manage with no vegetables, and I'm not going to blend them to a pulp.  The chopped kale last week worked very well in my potatoes, and I even added some to a fried egg.

From there I went to the gym where I walked 2.25 miles!  That is approx. 4400 steps!  Of course my step counter was all off, so I think I will just keep track of treadmill miles and let it go at that for now.  I feel so much better when I hit the 2 mile mark - it is even a marked difference between 1.5 and 2 miles!

I then went to the grocery and ended up with some various soups that I can have, and a bag of dark chocolate chips.   They are nice to munch on in the evenings.   Feeling lucky, I decided to buy a couple of lottery tickets.  I have mentioned before that when I do this, my ticket doesn't have a single winning number on it, ever, but this time I thought I would beat the odds.  My good spirits are watching over me and would you believe they jammed the machine?   It jammed completely with my dollar in it!   I retrieved my dollar at the service counter and passed the Salvation Army bucket at the door, so the dollar went into the bucket.  Much better odds of winning with the Salvation Army than with a lottery!  Do you think I've learned my lesson though?  Watch for my blog in about 6 months and I bet within that time I will moan about buying a ticket with no winning numbers!   I am really not a gambler and probably don't spend more than $4 a year on it, if that much.

In a recent post of his, Dizzy Dick mentioned playing Mahjongg on the computer.    There aren't as many games available for free for the Mac, so I bought a Mahjongg game online for $3.  I played a game a few minutes ago and won, and the message printed on the screen said:   "Do not gamble, for it will be your downfall."  Words of wisdom, for sure!

Now that I think about it, since I downloaded and installed the game on my computer I'm having trouble with a periodic message that the link I wanted had crashed .    Usually all I have to do is return to my home screen and try again, and it works.  I just now am wondering if there is a connection between the game and the supposed "Crashes" I'm experiencing.   I am really sick and tired of dealing with a computer, but dealing with a smart phone would be much worse so I'll try not to complain too much.   I watched a local weather station last night on my computer, and one of the meteorologists had her nose stuck in her cell phone for the entire 5 min. or so I watched, and the other one was looking at his computer for info.  Is this how the weather is predicted now?    I think it's sad, and who wants to watch people on TV giving them information when they can't even be bothered to look at the camera?

Friday, December 16, 2016

Ready for the drive downtown!

I will leave in a few minutes to pick Jeannie up and take her downtown to her appointment.  I was worried about the drive but decided I'm going to stay off the freeway and I'll take the road I know well.

After the horrendous rain  yesterday we have had beautiful sunshine all day, but the air is chilly, and of course, my house is like a freezer!

I hope you all have a great weekend.  If you're like me, you still have last minute gifts to buy (probably gift cards for a few of them).   There is probably no way to avoid the holiday crowds, so I tell myself to just call up all the patience I can muster and not get upset over anything!  Think it will work?

I'm back and will have to say the trip over in the receding sunlight was worse than the trip back in the dark.  I didn't get on a freeway, and Jeannie used a GPS app on her phone to zero us into our final destination.  She is going to use this chiropractor that a lot of people she works with use and really like.  The place had good vibes and I think she will like it.

I didn't bother with the step counter today as I knew within 15 minutes of putting it on that it was not accurate.  I think I will focus on the steps I take on the treadmill.  1.6 miles this morning, and I'm aiming for 2 miles every day.

Thursday, December 15, 2016


I can't remember the rain and wind being this heavy in Sacramento for a long time.  It's the way it used to be frequently throughout the winter.  This morning the winds were around 25mph but the rain was scant, so I ran a couple of loads of laundry across the street to dry them in the dryer.  I'm glad I got that chore finished before the downpours began.

I had an appointment with the dentist so he could check the healing on the last work he did - the visit lasted only about 5 minutes and I was told everything looks good.   I had another errand to run which was so difficult in the heavy rains, heavy enough traffic, and deep puddles of water on the sides of the roads and in low spots.

Coming back across the bridge over the American River I got a glimpse downstream and was shocked!  Over the past few years a low spot in the river has stayed above the water level and even had small trees growing there.  Today either the river has risen considerably, or it has washed away the trees and "island", or maybe some of both.  I wonder if the water levels are just from the rain or if they are releasing water from Folsom Dam, which they do when it gets to a certain level.  They also plan for snowmelt in early spring, when all that lovely snow at Lake Tahoe begins running down the mountains.  I don't think there is another state quite like California, and especially the constant worries about water - too much or more likely, too little!  It is the stuff of newscasts and weather reports.

I am so hungry, so what have I been doing?   Sketching an orange on a small canvas to add to my collection!  I did the first one in my sketchbook and checked colors to be used, then with my water color pencils I drew the fruit onto a prepared canvas.  It's nice to have something to work on when the mood strikes.  I'll have to say that my orange looks pretty good, but then when I start applying the paint I always lose something in the process.  I'm not sure what it is, but maybe I should stick to drawing and forget the paints.  I love working with a paintbrush though, and want to figure out why I can't seem to make it work as well as I hoped.

For the heck of it I will show you my initial sketch as well as what I've put on the canvas as a guide.  (Click to enlarge)

 Sorry they are so light.  I think the paint will cover the lines of the water color pencils, but I don't want to make them too dark.  I hope you can see them.  I don't know what I can do about my judgement of space though.  As hard as I try, and as sure I am that I am drawing in the center of the canvas, it always is more to one side than another.  That's a problem with my perception, and I guess I have to make it as part of my style.  But there is a part of me that wants things evenly spaced, and perfect!

Tomorrow I am driving my daughter to an appointment downtown - she is still unable to drive after her foot surgery.  Imagine me, on a Friday afternoon, driving in town!  The mapquest directions send me onto the Freeway 50, and then off on the Cap City Freeway for less than half a mile.  I wonder if she would be upset if I drove Folsom Blvd. most of the way.   I can drive on the freeway but it's when I have to merge that bothers me.  I can glance to the side easy enough but when I need to look closely and be sure I can move, then my eyes are off the road longer than they should be.  I'll do fine, but I fret about such things in advance!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Just a quickie

I applied the spray finish to two paintings and I'm glad I took them out on the front porch.  That stuff has some strong fumes!  The paintings are dry and the signatures don't seem to have been affected.  I settled on signing them just Gypsy.

Traffic is the worst I've ever seen - taking my granddaughter home from our ice cream excursion was slow as the roads were packed.  I didn't realize Joe was coming back with Keira to pick her up at my house, and we were sitting in the car outside his house waiting for him to return.  I was glad to finally get back inside my own house and away from all the traffic and noise.

Has anyone else been inundated with spam comments from the same person?  I have received the same long-winded story from the same person for several days' posts, and deleted them completely.  Why do people do things like that.  This one wasn't even trying to sell me something, except maybe to refer me to a good spell-caster to change my bad luck to good.  I have mostly good luck and will just leave it alone!

I'm tired and will go to bed early tonight.  See ya tomorrow.


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Check my Math?

I don't think my step counter has been working properly, especially when I walk on the treadmill  It doesn't matter how fast I'm walking or what my stride is, each .01 of a mile is two steps; that would make it 20 steps for each .10,  or 200 steps.   So multiplying the 200 steps (.1 mile) times 10, would equal one mile at 2000 steps.  Does this make sense?   I am good at some types of math and not so good at others, and i have been counting this in my sleep and always come up with the same answer.

So today I walked 2.1 miles and the counter was barely over 1000 steps, which included what I had walked up to the time I got to the gym.  I think the same thing happened yesterday as the number of steps was low and should have included walking around Michaels and Target, but I'm sure it was way low.  I may be wearing the counter in the wrong spot - supposedly it should be approximately in line with the seam line in the center of your pants leg, or halfway between your middle and side.  I will try for a few more days to see if I can get it to be more accurate and then what do I do.  Back in the late 1990's I owned two pedometers, both gave accurate and almost identical readings.  They involved counting strides, so I had to divide the total number by my stride, which was 2-1/2' at that time.  It has shortened up considerably since then, but stride is not part of the equation on this counter.   Why is it that as things get more technical and can give you more and more information, you still can't rely on them!

The good thing is that my legs don't ache as much today - yet.

I took my car in for an oil change this morning; I had the last change in May and had driven approx. 3000 miles between then and now.  That car needs a good trip somewhere!

I want to take my granddaughter Alyssa out one afternoon this week when she gets off school - maybe wander through the dollar store and stop for ice cream.   We are both the oldest kids in our families, with our parents all being middles or babies, and no one except another oldest can understand the stress we bear having to be mature and give good example all the time.  I want to keep track of how she is doing, although I really can offer no advice (except grin and bear it, and it will make you stronger, yada, yada, yada).   She needs to vent once in a while to someone who understands.

This has been mostly a dreary looking day with a few sprinkles every now and then, but it doesn't feel quite as cold as it has lately, and will be a few degrees warmer tomorrow.  Of  course nothing lasts for very long and we'll be back into the upper 40's for the weekend.  

I get a daily blurb from the Sierra Club, and today's offering is this quote:
"I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least—and it is commonly more than that—sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.
~ Henry David Thoreau"

I got a kick out of reading this - what a twit Thoreau was!  Wouldn't we all love to spend 4 hours a day (at least) absolutely free from all worldly engagements.   Maybe when we are sleeping (unless you're a new Mom or Dad).

A comment on my last post was about difficulties with Blogger.  You should use AOL.  I have been writing them for the past several years, that when I click REPLY to an email, the cursor is now sitting on the SEND button for the reply (but it isn't visible until I move it).  If I remember I move the cursor away from that demented spot, but I often forget and then in the middle of typing my reply the darned thing decides to SEND.   The last time I sent feedback to AOL they responded by saying they could not change that  feature, but would take my other suggestions into consideration!  All they would have to do is to move the options, i.e., SEND, SAVE, SPELLING, and DELETE over one space.  Not being a developer I don't know exactly how to do this, but they are making the bucks to figure it out and I feel AOL is really unconcerned with customer satisfaction - unless of course, you are using your smartphone for everything.  All the changes and modifications seem to be for the benefit of phone users, and I even received that excuse from one complaint I made about another issue.   Sorry, we are modifying this to enable users of smart phones......   They get us hooked on the convenience of computers, email, etc., and then do what they damned please and leave us in the lurch.  I sure wish I had an alternative, especially for email.  I'm trying to use gmail more often but I dislike it since they reduced the working area to - you got it - to be used on phones.

I think all this walking makes me grouchy!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Just a few errands today

I will try to keep this post short (and every time I say that I end up with a really long one!)   I haven't felt like my old self today, but feel really emotional and don't even know why.

I did well at the gym - walked over 2 miles - and had no problems with the machine whatsoever.   I'm so glad to know what caused it to stop abruptly yesterday, and I'll be careful to not let it happen again.  With all the walking, my legs hurt.

Going to Michael's was a big waste of time although I did get the spray varnish.  The can is covered in warnings in 3 languages, but it doesn't say much about how to use it.  I know how to use spray products, but would like to be told about how far away from the canvas should I hold the spray and so on.  I just looked the entire can over again, and it says to go to their website for instructions, which I did.  I have never seen a less informative or less understandable website!  Nothing  there except to allow acrylic paint to dry 4 days before spraying, and  I had to really hunt to find that info!

I thought Michael's wanted way too much money for simple fine line sharpies so I left my car there and walked all the way down through the shopping area to Target, which was even worse.  I didn't even see the kind of sharpies I wanted in that store, so I left without buying anything.   I'll find the products eventually and in the meantime I'll make do.  I have been buying ball point pens at the Dollar store but I notice their quality isn't the best, nor do the pens last long at all.

I mailed my package to NY at the Post Office first thing this morning.  I'm always in better frame of mind when I come out of there than when I go in.  Even though the lines were longer than usual they moved quickly and the postal employees are so darn friendly it's nice to do business with them.  

And with that, I'm outta here for the day.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Slow Sunday

Autumn wrapped the gifts for the boys in NY so I could get them in the mail tomorrow morning, but I had neglected to buy gift cards.   I thought I might stop to buy some on my way home from the gym, but once I was headed toward home the car wouldn't turn into the shopping center!   So I made my own name tags!   The wreath turned out the best and the Christmas tree looks like a Charlie Brown model.   I don't like to admit it but it was the last tag I did and I didn't spend much time on it.

Click on the picture to enlarge it.

Every time I do any kind of project involving art indicates to me I need to buy something for the next time.  In this case I have a red and green fine-point sharpie, plus a black ink pen, but I think I need a full set of colors in fine point.  I used my watercolor pencils for the tree ornaments and they don't look as good as if I had used sharpies.   I will buy some "real" name tags next time I'm in a store.

I found a Priority Mail box and the gifts fit perfectly when cushioned with a little bit of bubble wrap.  The box is sealed, addressed, and ready to go.  

I could have easily (well, not that easily) walked two miles today but had a problem with the machine.  There is a dinky safety button that is supposedly held by magnet in a certain spot.  The button has a long cord - I guess if you had a problem you could just yank the cord and the machine would stop, but I had no problem and for some reason it stopped abruptly.  That reset the machine so I had to start all over again and add the numbers, as well as keep those numbers in my mind as I don't bring anything to write with.  I gave up at 1.51 miles and will try for 2 tomorrow.  I was really on a roll and who knows where I would have stopped!

Can't think of anything else except things to gripe about, and I'm in too good a mood to want to gripe!  I'll wish everyone a good week ahead, and say goodnight!


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Rainy week ahead

It's raining pretty steadily and will rain all week according to the forecast.  I hope this puts "paid" to the drought, although the early spring rains and snow melt will no doubt be the determining factor.

I went to the farmers market this morning, figuring that the ones who showed up in this weather deserved to be patronized.  There weren't many stalls set up, but I did buy some kale and a couple of lemons.  I will try to chop the kale as finely as I can and cook it in broth.   I'm really feeling the lack of green vegetables in my diet and miss the taste - they are probably my favorite foods.

On to the gym after I left the market.  I had planned to walk a bit extra but my right leg is bothering me so I only did 1.3 miles.  About two nights ago I got up out of my chair and turned to the right to walk over by the couch and coffee table where I had some art supplies .  I have no idea what happened but I fell and have a long thin bruise near my knee (a line about 2-1/2" long).   It took me a few seconds before I could even think about getting up, and eventually I forced myself to do it.   It was later that I figured out the aches and pains in my leg are due to the fall, and not to walking at the gym.  My right upper leg really hurts when I do something to use the thigh muscles.
I think anyone near my age lives with the fear of falling.  So far the spills I've taken haven't done any real or permanent damage, but if I live long enough it's only a matter of time.  I really try to watch what I'm doing and be extra careful, but it's impossible to predict when I'm going to fall.  I never really understand why in the first place - I didn't trip over anything, except possibly my own two feet!  Now that's embarrassing!

I put a little shadow under the blackberries and tried to add a few highlights but decided I'd better quit before I ruined the entire thing.  I believe that's what I miss about not having a really good art teacher from the beginning.  I'm getting a little better at some things, but shadows and highlights really have me bamboozled.   (Applying make-up was always the same way - eye shadow and highlights drove me crazy!)   I tried to watch a Youtube video showing how to highlight cherries, and thought I might derive some help from that.  It would have been ok if I had been painting cherries.  The artist talked about adding certain mediums to the paint, and I have never gotten that far.  I'm beginning to blend certain colors pretty well just from trial and error, but adding other mediums to the paint is something I'd need better instruction on than from a Youtube video.

I haven't figured out a way to sign my paintings.  Gypsy97, or gypsy97 was my first choice but it doesn't work well for me - too difficult to do those letters with a brush.   Even plain "Gypsy" just doesn't look well on the small canvasses; I don't want to use my name (too long) or even my first name,  So far the last two I've painted are unsigned.  Suggestions?   Bob Ross often commented on his easy-to-paint last name, and he did his signature with a flourish!


Friday, December 9, 2016

Heat Wave!

I just came back from Costco and thought the weather seemed much milder today.  I checked the weather on my computer,  and it registers 57  and going up to a tropical 59 today, with tropical rain, of course.    (At 4:30 pm it is 63F)  I've put everything away and now need to eat my lunch (which I will call dinner) and then get myself up for going to the gym.  My steps after walking around Costco shows me that trip alone took me about 500 steps, and I did the short route through the store!

On the way back from the gym I noticed the beautiful sky - dark clouds, a few white puffy clouds here and there, and gorgeous blue sky where it is visible.  It makes my heart happy!    I FEEL GOOD!

I did the painting of the berries and took a couple of photos, which show the paint is still wet!  I'm not happy with the berries - I've seen blackberries with a few red little shapes, but not as many different colors as I've put in them.  I just kept on going figuring I can go back later and touch them up.  Also I don't know what is with the lines in the yellow background.  You can't see them when looking at the canvas.  They say "the camera never lies", and maybe that's true.  I wish I knew what it is trying to tell me though.

These little paintings have been a good exercise for me as I can see little mistakes in technique that I make with every one of them.  Now to get rid of those errors in future paintings.   As I have mentioned before, I can take a critical view about what I post.  I am still a newbie and if there are more experienced folks who can see what I'm doing incorrectly, please let me know.  And even if you think you don't know a thing about art, you know what you think looks ok and what doesn't.

I don't know which one to show, so I hope you don't mind if I post both of them.  One is taken a little bit closer to the subject, and it's a very slight difference.  Click to enlarge.

 I have to laugh at myself sometimes.  I mentioned that the paint in the photos looks like it's still wet, and I was thinking I should wait until it dries before I post them.  Duh, I would need to retake them because they aren't going to get any more dry in these photos!

I plan to keep on sketching when I have a few spare moments and the mood strikes me, and I also want to play around with some small sponges I bought for applying paint, as well as some round brushes that I'd like to see if I can use to get a "Bob Ross effect" on trees.

Weekend!  Don't shop til you drop!  I will probably stay away from the stores as I always try to do on weekends.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

No fair!

I went to the dentist this morning to have the stitches removed from last week's extractions, and mentioned again the tooth in front of the molars was still bothering me.  So he suggested he take it out this morning so I could begin healing and be able to get a partial denture sooner.  That was fine with me because I knew it was going to give me more and more trouble.  The big PITA is that I had finally figured out how and what I should be eating, but here I am back to square one.  The alternative was to have a root canal and crown, and at my age I'm not willing to pay for that treatment (plus I can't really afford it).  If I thought I had a few extra years to go over my life expectancy  I might think about it, but the time and expense of all that work made me decide to just have it taken out and get the partial denture once the healing has taken place.

To make matters worse I only ate a banana before going to the dentist this morning and I am ravenous right now.  Maybe a milk shake later on, but probably nothing substantial for me today.  

(Shortly after posting this, I had tomato soup, a little cup of applesauce, and some ice cream.   At least I don't feel quite as hungry now).

The good news (so far) is that the pedometer seems to be working.  Everything is tight, so it isn't easy to open the case to check the number of steps, or to get the device clipped to my waistband.  I hate it that these things are entirely made of plastic, which I'm afraid will crack if I apply too much pressure.   I had hoped to walk at the gym today, but think I will just take it easy and try to stay as warm as I can.  It is a chilly, rainy day, and I don't feel like going anywhere.

I'm bored!  I did some sketching - the panther and elephant, and the elephant surprised me turning out as well as it did.  I feel like doing some painting and am ready to begin a little arrangement of blackberries.  I have the coffee table covered and everything out that I need to work with, but just can't get my act together and get started.   It's too cold in the room where my art table is, and I really prefer painting on it rather than leaning over the coffee table.

I'm just rambling again so I'll quit.  Many thanks to all who helped me out with the pedometer, and have a good day.


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Why Me?

Has something happened to my brain that I can't read instructions any more?  I'm getting old, but I'm still an intelligent woman and don't understand why simple instructions are so difficult.  I'm speaking of the pedometer (I knew I should have waited for one of my kids to do it).   The instructions go into great detail on how to affix this little device to your waistband - "How to wear the clicker".  I know how to clip something to my waistband and this is overkill.  But then it says, "...Put it on and reset it just before you start walking."  Sound easy enough?  I can't figure out how to open the damn thing up so I can reset it.

I doubt these pictures will be very clear as to the what the device is really like, but here goes.  Click on the photos to enlarge.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Much better today

I woke up feeling really good, and ravenous as I usually am in the morning.  This morning was a treat with cream of wheat and maple syrup & cinnamon!

I just ate lunch and tried a marinated salmon filet.  It is much more firm than the cod and I think for a while I will stick to the cod.  The salmon sure tasted delicious though, as well as the mashed potatoes.

When I was young and lived at home we made a huge stew pot full of mashed potatoes every day.  I had 5 younger brothers and their appetites were ravenous, especially when they hit teen age.   I recall how wonderful it was to get our first electric hand mixer which we used to whip the potatos.  Now that I'm older I've gone back to the old potato masher, and I actually like the little potato lumps it leaves!  That masher is going to get a real workout while I'm limited to what I can eat.  The mashed potatoes seem to taste better and better every day, and I hope I don't get tired of them.

I put a second coat of gesso on my canvasses and they will be ready to use from tomorrow on.   I did two coats and hope it prevents the light spots where the paint doesn't properly cover the canvas.  Maybe I should just use more paint!

I am feeling so much better today and bless my chiropractor.  He made some adjustments in the area of my lymph nodes, and I know nothing about why it works but it sure did.   My jaw is still very sore to the touch, making it difficult to even rinse that side of my face much less wash it!

I recently ordered a pedometer which arrived yesterday.  I haven't even looked at the directions and I will have to have one of my kids read them and set it up for me initially.  I bought one that specifically counts steps and doesn't do anything else - no calories burned or other useless (to me) data.  I sure hope it works because I'd like to track how many steps I take daily and hope I can get motivated to do some additional walking.    It's hard to find something that doesn't sync to all your other devices - I have no other devices to sync to - and I don't want to know how many calories I'm burning up.   If I wasn't basically a lazy woman I'd keep count of the calories I take in, but it's too much trouble to look everything up, write it down, and then forget where I put my notes the next time I eat something!

It is so amazing how the world is such a beautiful place when you are feeling good!   The one thing I will always be missing from my life is a black lab!

Monday, December 5, 2016

A Rough Night!

I didn't have such a good night because of severe indigestion.  In one of those light bulb moments I realized I've been ingesting too many fats, which I need for the calories but also need to monitor.  So while I can still enjoy ice cream, sour cream on potatoes, and the like, I just can't have them all at once!  I have always used whole milk and definitely will not change that.  I never have been a milk drinker, but now I get it in the form of shakes and in my cereal, etc., and non or lo-fat milk is like water to me.   I'll just do without before I'll go that route.  And no, I don't drink almond milk or (god forbid) coconut milk.

At lunch today I baked a cod filet that I seasoned perfectly and cooked for just the right amount of time.  It tasted wonderful, and maybe when the stitches are out I'll try a salmon filet.  Salmon seems to me to be a much firmer fish, and the cod was just right.  I did have mashed potatoes but skipped the butter (but not the cheese).  I just need to experiment with what my limits are, and I definitely want to cut back on some of the carbs and sugar.  I could open the door, go out onto the porch, and just scream!  That would do me absolutely no good so I'm trying to look at my situation in the best light I can.  There are many people who are much worse off than I am.

I came home from the chiropractor and opened a package of small canvases, and put a coat of gesso on each one.  I think the bottle of gesso recommends two coats, 24 hrs apart, so I will do it again tomorrow and have them ready when the mood strikes.  At least the artistic endeavors give me something to look forward to, and I can spend a little or a lot of time on them. 

I had considered making an appointment at the local UCD Med clinic to have blood work done (it's been two years).  I'm curious as to where everything stands, although that could open up a whole set of issues that I don't want to deal with.  For one thing I would have to select a doctor because the one I had been seeing left the practice, which is fine with me as I had intended to look for a different doctor.  The one I thought I might try was a homeopathic doctor but either I have the wrong name or he has left the practice as well.  Maybe I don't really want or need to have blood work done.   No matter what the results would be I'm not going to change my lifestyle.   My previous statement is sort of funny to me because I realize I have no lifestyle!   

By the way, with all my questionable eating habits lately, I got on the scale this morning and found I topped 120!  (120.1 to be exact).   

I think I need a nap right now since my sleep was erratic last night.  I hope it improves.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

I'm So Hungry!

And here I sit eating a little serving of applesauce!  It's good, but I need some real food and I have a long time to start getting impatient now!  I should have had a protein shake as soon as I came home from the gym, but missed the opportunity.  I'm tired of shakes and, dare I even say it, I'm tired of ice cream!

It's been a while since I've gotten paint all over my hands and I have been itching to get back to it.  I had already sketched some red potatoes onto a small canvas so I decided to go for it.  I will post a photo, except I don't know what causes the light spots - the actual photo doesn't look like that.  I had made the shadows darker than I like, so lightened them up a bit and maybe something in the 2nd coat is catching the light?  It's too technical for me to figure out.  I hate doing shadows anyway.  (Click to enlarge).

I've been working on sketching birds and animals, trying  to do a small quick one each day, and so far have done a black-capped chickadee that I'm happy with.   Also a crow that turned out so-so, and a hummingbird.  The animals include a black bear, and I'm planning to do a red fox next, saving the big guys til last (an elephant and a black panther).  These birds and animals are all special to me, and include my two beloved dogs, Smoky and Lady.  I don't think I would even try to draw them much less paint them.

Note that the newspaper under the painting is because I did it at the living room coffee table.  I use a blue plastic sheet on my artist's table, and it's a good thing when you see the paint smears on it.

The applesauce just kicked my appetite into high gear, so I had a protein shake with two generous scoops of ice cream!  All I can think about is wanting carnitas, or maybe an enchilada.   

 I just finished watching Bob Ross' 11th season and will start on the 12th season tomorrow.  There are 13 episodes in each season, so I've watched a lot of what he's done.  When I think that maybe it's the same thing all over again, he comes up with something new or something I hadn't seen him do before.  A lot of folks complain that he did essentially the same thing over and over, but what better way for a learner to get a chance to practice techniques and improve their skills.  If you don't know how to draw a tree when you start painting with Bob, you certainly do after a few episodes (there are trees in every painting he did except the seascapes.)!  Unfortunately many of his techniques do not translate over into acrylic painting, but his calm demeanor and positive frame of mind are as essential to him as a teacher as well as his artistic skills.  And as a learner I've already adapted his outlook on the joy of painting.

I may try to get a nap into my afternoon before I start planning my supper.  I think I'm going to bake a cod filet and see how I do with it - hopefully I can keep it away from the stitches.  I will feel 500% better if I can get some real food! 

I hope everyone has a great upcoming week.  The holidays are drawing closer, and I'm glad that shopping isn't a big issue for me this year since I have little elves doing the work for me!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

I need to get moving!

I've been sitting around for too long and it's driving me crazy.  I think I  should do some walking since I've really fallen behind on my vow to walk every day.

Breakfast was interesting this morning.   I cooked grits to which I added salt, pepper, cheddar and a splash of milk.  It was pretty good although I don't think I'd want it every morning.  When I was backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, I carried the individual serving packets of Quaker grits, some were flavored with bacon bits, cheese, etc.  Add boiling water, stir, and voila!  I probably ate four packets every morning and probably could have, and should have, doubled that.  There comes a limit to what you can carry, although they were light enough in weight.   I've tried a packet of them since and don't know how I found them so tasty, but when you are hungry and in the woods I guess lots of things are tasty that you wouldn't eat at home.

I followed my grits with a dish of ice cream with a splash of chocolate topping.   It may sound good, and I love it, but it's definitely not breakfast food.   I don't like this very limited diet that is so high in carbs, and often in sugar, and I think I will have some difficulty getting back to a nutritious low carb, lo sugar diet when I can eat regular foods again.   My dentist recommended Carnation Instant Breakfast as something that is nutritious and easy to eat in my circumstances.   Since I got excellent advice against the Ensure, which most doctors and hospitals say is good for you, I'm wondering what your take on the Carnation breakfast is.  Things like that don't sound very appetizing to me in the first place, but if it would add lots of calories (and not just sugar) I might try it.

I am sitting in the middle of the biggest mess I've made in a long time.  Because I don't feel like moving around a lot, I just bring everything I need into the living room with me, and every available space is covered with "stuff".  I'm going to have one heckuva cleaning job to do one of these days.  OK, I'm not getting anything done just sitting here, so I'll say "have a great weekend, and I'll see ya next time."  

Friday, December 2, 2016

What a difference!

As the old song goes, what a difference a day makes.  I don't know when the injection sites will start hurting, but they haven't yet, and the stitches don't bother me at all.  I can't believe I will get away with having two molars extracted and only need 2 Advil for pain.  

The laundry was building up so I'm trying to do most of it, if not all, today.  
The sun is shining but it's only 55F and there is a strong wind blowing.  As much as I dislike using a dryer I decided to make it a bit easier on myself.  At least I've gotten the  2 sets of summer sheets clean and on the shelf waiting for next spring!   Two more loads to go and I'm finished for a while.

I managed to eat some cooked cereal and a banana this morning but that is only my normal "first breakfast".  I'm trying to figure out what I want for lunch and mashed potatoes topped with cheddar sounds good, although the potatoes I have on hand are better for other uses than for mashing.  I am not going to start complaining at this stage of the game, as I'll probably have much more complaining to do after a week or so.

Ok, so I stopped writing long enough to peel, cook, mash, and eat a whole lot of mashed potatoes with lots of cheddar!  I'm reminded of when my 4th younger brother played high school football with Moeller High School in Cincinnati (along with John Boehner I might add).  A high school junior playing football simply cannot eat enough to satisfy and fill him up, and I probably was not close to what he could put away, but I can say I thought I was making enough for several meals.  All gone and sooo good!

I'll be taking the last loads over to dry them in just a few minutes and the thought occurred to me that I haven't even formed the word "nap" in my mind or on my lips all day long.   I'm so grateful for feeling like doing anything at all, especially the laundry, so maybe I should reward myself!



Thursday, December 1, 2016

Worst day

If yesterday was the slowest, then I hope this is the worst it gets!  I was in the dentist chair for a long time.  Molars often break and don't come out in one piece, and one of them gave him a very hard time.  I ended up with sutures which I think is what is causing the pain once the novocaine wore off.  So far I'm doing ok with Advil (and sleeping) and he told me if I needed something stronger he would prescribe it.  I probably should have gone ahead and accepted the Rx but I want to see if I can get along without it.  I've only been able to eat a spoon or two of ice cream now and then, so far.  I'm hungry but no way hungry enough to bother fixing anything and trying to drink it.  I may make a milkshake in a little while.

I stayed at Jeannie's house until I was sure I could drive after taking a valium early this morning.  I did fine and the traffic was surprisingly light on the way home.  

The sun is shining and I should be doing laundry or something productive, but it looks like sun for the rest of the week so I'll take my time.

So, the gypsy might be down but definitely not out!  At least at this present moment.  Hope you are all having a good day.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Slowest day of the year!

Nov. 30 is turning out to be the slowest day for me.  The clock is advancing, but my feeling is that I'm standing still.  I will sure be glad when this is over with by this time tomorrow, although that is when the hurting will begin.

Hope everyone else has a great day!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Steve & Meg brought baby Quinn to Jeannie's house yesterday and I was there and ready!  Meg handed her to me immediately; I spoke to her in a soft voice and, eyes open wide, she smiled at me!  Such a big smile, no doubt about it.  Need I say that my heart soared.  Jeannie was next, and from then on she was passed around for everyone to hold, even the kids.  There is just nothing like it, and I'm not just being grandmotherly when I say she is a beautiful baby (I've never seen a baby that wasn't beautiful) with a lot of dark hair so far.  She's a tiny little thing, somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 pounds.  I'm glad to have been able to hold her while she is still tiny as all my babies were tiny and it is just like old times.

After looking at what is available in the grocery store yesterday, I've decided I can make a better cream soup from scratch than I can buy in a can, so that's what I'll do for the first few weeks.  I love Malto cereal which is sort of like cream of wheat only made with corn, and flavored with maple and brown sugar.  I'm going to get some cream of wheat and also some grits, and should be ok for breakfast at least, and maybe even for supper.  I love grits with salt, pepper, and cheddar cheese.  If I could only have some shrimp to go along with the cheesy grits!

My rent bill came today along with the newsletter/booklet for December.  I note they have a time at the clubhouse on Monday afternoon set aside for crafts.  Anyone can bring their crafts to work on, and I'm giving some thought to trying it out and taking a canvas, some paints & a brush or two.  I bought a small container of hand wipes that are supposed to be good for cleaning paint off a brush as well as one's hands, plus I'm sure they have a water source nearby.  I haven't decided exactly what I would take or whether it's worth it to haul even a few supplies down there and back.  I figure I only would need to go once and I would be able to tell if I would enjoy it or not.

OK, I'm sitting around long enough and need to get some things done before I am feeling too bad to do anything.  Tomorrow night I will stay at Jeannie's and Ara will take me to my appt at 7:40am on Wednesday morning.  I'm not sure when I will be able to post again, but I hope everyone has a good week.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Ready to paint again

I'm mostly bored without anything to take my mind off how I feel.  I was in the kitchen today and as usual, looked up at the 6 small paintings across the tops of the cabinets, and I like having them there.  Soooo, I decided the cabinets that are one corner away need some color above them as well, and to that end I looked up some fruits and vegetables that I haven't painted.  I think four pictures would do me fine for that wall.  I selected a stalk of celery, 3 red potatoes (I will be careful when painting a few "eyes" on them), and some grapes, both purple and green.  Some people refer to them as white grapes but I always think of them as green.   I think I also downloaded a photo of blackberries but I'm not sure if I want to include those, as I'd prefer something with a lot of color.

I downloaded some free photos from the internet and have roughly sketched the celery and potatoes., with notations as to shades of color, background, etc.  I'm not sure when I'll get started on them, but it's good to have a project or two going.  I do have a "palm tree project" in the works also.  I think I will enjoy working on them although I'm not sure how much I'll feel like painting for a while after dental surgery.  I find I do better when painting a little at a time rather than sitting and doing it all at once.    I'm trying to just mix a small amount of paint at a time so I can use it up rather than try to keep it moist and workable if I take a break.

The rain was really pelting down when I left the gym this morning and I wondered if Steve & Meg would bring the baby out in this.  It turned out Liam wasn't feeling well so they decided to come over on Monday.  I hope I'm lots better by then too.

Tomorrow I might make a run to Costco if I can get started early enough, so I can return a couple of items.  I just hope I can keep walking on the treadmill every day.  I was doing so well but really dropped the ball on my exercise and well being.  

This morning I got up to a house that was fairly comfortable.  Having the heater bring the temperature up just a few degrees before I get out of bed makes such a difference.  I'm happy with the space heaters when I move from room to room, but first thing in the morning the furnace is a godsend.

The rain is falling hard again.  The first clear day I need to go out and pull and spray weeds and grass.  It's getting out of hand.  Steve was planning to redo my back and side yards, but of course with a new baby I understand that is no longer on the drawing board.  

Hope you  are enjoying the weekend, whether you are a shopper who doesn't mind big crowds, or like me and will do most anything to avoid them.  I just hope I can get going early enough in the morning to miss the mobs! 

A word about photos.  It was a decision I wish I'd made in the very beginning of my blogging life to not post photos of my family, especially the children.  I sometimes look at my statistics and one interesting feature is the list of where viewers are coming from.  Most of course are from the U.S. and Canada, with several from other countries where I know people who live there and read my blog.  This month I have about 42 hits on my blog from Singapore.  I don't know anyone from Singapore and am not sure how I get so many "readers"; same is true about Russia and China.  To my knowledge I have never known anyone from those three countries.

I realize I don't know most of the readers from the U.S. either, but I just would prefer to not post my grandkids' pictures when I have no idea who is reading my blog in some of these places, or the attraction for them if they do read it.  What we put on the blog can never be retrieved and the images are out there, like it or not.  With facial recognition technology available to governments and individuals today, I just don't trust that it's all legit.

That brings up something I'd like to ask readers.  I understand many people read blogs but don't want to comment.  I'm ok with  folks remaining anonymous, but I sure would appreciate hearing from some that have never left a comment, and especially those in other countries.  I'd just like to say hello and welcome to all legitimate blog readers.