Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Friday, September 30, 2016

Nothing happening

Just another Saturday that has gone by way too fast.  I realized this morning that I didn't feel like knocking myself out over anything - I did enough of that yesterday.  I did a load of laundry, line dried, and folded it, and that makes me feel virtuous enough!

I was talking to Ara on the phone when the electricity (which means no water as well) went off in the entire Park.  A little over an hour later it is now back on, but I passed the stage where I feel like cooking dinner, a shame because I had everything ready to start.   I opened the fridge quickly and retrieved a bottle of beer, got out a bag of cheese puffs, and may fix a turkey sandwich a little later, or maybe not.

Ara says "thank you" for the birthday wishes in my comment section.  She and a friend have been rafting, biking, camping, etc., in the Ozarks and I want photos!  She said something about the fact that she doesn't take many photos.  I thought everyone with a smart phone took pictures incessantly!

I just looked out the window and the sunset this evening is beyond words.  I wish I could paint those colors.

The planes practiced a little today, but not as much as I thought they would.  There were a couple of breath-taking maneuvers though.  Would you believe that neither of my cameras would take a photo?

It is so much cooler today and I hope we are past the sizzling summer so common in Sacramento.  We might even get a bit of rain by Sunday.   I'm going to enjoy sleeping tonight with the cold breeze blowing in through my window.

I just looked outside again and couldn't believe the colors.  It looks like a Bob Ross painting with the palm trees silhouetted against the beautiful sky with all shades of red streaks.  I did run out with one of the cameras, and I can tell that the colors are going to be drab.  Some things you just have to store in your memory.

I've just about decided that I'm going to set the painting aside as whatever I do to it now is not going to be an enhancement.  I plan to use some small 5x7 canvas boards and am looking for easy, uncluttered pictures as subjects, but having a difficult time finding anything.   I looked at the magazine racks at Michael's this morning but they aren't the type of thing I'm hoping to find.  I think I'd like to paint a flower, or a piece of pottery, or just something more simple where I'm not so attached to the colors.  I need a rest from the one I started on, and a couple of weeks doing the small and simple scenes will get me back on track, I hope.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


I went to Target before I started on the clean-up job I am dreading.   I was nearly out of Pine Sol so that was the first thing I put into the cart, and to the produce section for bananas.  Target is the only store around here that sells Chiquita bananas, which are so superior to Del Monte and Dole that there isn't even a question about which one I prefer.

I finally got started in the kitchen, and I think I've cleaned just about everything except the floor, and I'll try to do that tomorrow.  I also did the railings and spokes on the front and side porches, as I could barely stand to touch them they were so dirty.  I washed the kitchen window that looks out on the front porch also - this is the window where I cleaned the venetian blinds not too long ago!  I could probably go over them again but not just yet.  I wiped off a lot of surfaces in the living room but everything in here needs to be done, and then there is the dreaded floor, the one I do on hands and knees.  By the time I get to the back of the house the front will be needing to be cleaned again.  I don't know if my old knees can take it again.

I noticed early on some rumbling in the skies and at first couldn't figure out what it was.  Then I heard planes streaking overhead and remembered there is an air show this weekend at the old Mather AFB.  Joe has an excellent view of those shows from his house.  The racket they were making was tremendous so I finally went outside to investigate.  At that point there was one jet flying in huge circles over the city - I think they must have covered the entire Sacramento area taking into consideration the time they flew over me and direction they headed in, the direction they came back from, and the length of time in the air.   I eventually went outside with my camera but of course the planes never flew anywhere nearby when I was ready.  

That was when I did some cleaning on the porch, so I could run down to the street and see the planes when they flew overhead.  Two appeared, and eventually four of them together, looking so close to each other I could hardly bear to watch.  What a noise.  Neighbor Ed came out and told me they were F-18's.  Couldn't prove it by me but even though I'm not a big fan of jets I'll have to admit they are spectacular to watch in the air.  Never did get a picture, but I'm sure they will be practicing again tomorrow and I may just go out and stay out watching the sky until I can get a photo.

I'm just finishing Series 3 of the Bob Ross youtube videos.  Each series has about 13 videos, running close to 27 minutes each.   I'd love to try the oils, but not right now as I've spent a lot getting the acrylic paints, and oils are  even more expensive.   I'm wondering if my vision problems won't overtake my ambitions.  In the meantime I love the videos and have learned quite a lot just from watching Bob paint.

My granddaughter will be 27 tomorrow.  Happy birthday, Ara!

Busy Day

I had a difficult time making up my mind whether to post today or not, so maybe I can keep it shorter.   Joe came over this morning and we spent a full 4 hours cleaning up the yard, driveway etc.  In the back yard a lot of the debris blew onto Ed's property, so he ended up getting a good cleanup as well.  I was absolutely worn out by the time it was over - I helped with the bagging of the debris and a few other smaller jobs, but it was as if I put in a lot longer day, and when Joe left I just conked out on the couch.

I have mentioned that all the dirt, dust, and debris from this part of the park blows right into mine and Ed's properties, and since I don't close my windows it gets into the house, although today was even worse.  There is a film of dirt on everything, so I think tomorrow I will have to spend cleaning.  When I turned on the shower a rim of grimy black dirt was all over the tub, and I had to clean that before I could even get into the water.

Art class was this evening.  I thought I was over it as I've really tried to not let anything bother me and to become more laid back as I age.  I have always held myself to an impossibly high standard and it sure hasn't changed.  I'm not that way with other people, but I can never do anything to satisfy the perfectionist standards I set for myself.    I can be a slouch on many occasions, but when it comes to something I want to learn and to become good at, I have no mercy.  I have to do something about my attitude or I'll never continue with wanting to paint.  To be fair to myself, my vision is a big factor in how I paint, and I have to figure something out.  I had a good talk with the art instructor, and I think we can come up with a solution, although I'll have to give up some of the control I have always wanted to have over myself and how I do things.  Maybe this will be one of the best things that ever happened to me - it is certainly an eye opener into how i must appear to others.

I had an unusual experience today when Joe was here.  I was in the bathroom trying to reach the thingy that releases the screen as we wanted to plug the leaf blower in the bathroom outlet.  I pulled the shower curtain aside and stood on the side of the tub, leaning towards the window and reaching up.  Joe walked in and caught me!  Anyone with several children knows how there is a dynamic with each one that is different from the others.  Joe is my youngest, and while the others often feel free to tell me how or what to do (absolutely knowing I will do what I want), Joe never has, and he's never criticized anything I do or don't do.  I'm sure he has his own opinion, but he's never said much one way or another about what or how I do anything.  Today was an exception!  He saw me on tiptoe on the side of the tub, stretching upward, and handed me a lecture on falling, lying in the hospital, getting pneumonia and all the rest.  He didn't yell, but he didn't mince any words either.  I was shocked, but also pleased.  

So much for keeping this post short!  

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

i met a new neighbor

I was at my kitchen sink this morning looking out towards the street when I saw a woman walking by with a beautiful dog, so I ran out (in my pajamas, yet) to tell her how beautiful I thought her dog was. The dog started walking toward me and I knew she was a good one.  I conversed with the woman, Carol, and her dog Kelly, a rescued, formerly badly abused golden retriever, for about 15 minutes.  The dog was the sweetest girl I've ever seen.  Carol said she had problems with her spine and back legs from the abuse, but what a docile and loving personality.  

Carol told me about the rescue site, Outward Bound, that has mainly goldens but some labradors as well, and from looking at their website it seems many of them are senior dogs who need a loving family or person to spend their last years with.  Carol lives a couple of streets away from me, and would like someone to walk with from time to time, and we hit it off well enough I think we could become friends pretty quickly.  She and I feel the same way about a lot of things in general and in the mobile home park.  

I spent so much time talking that I was later going to the gym than I like to be as it gets so hot by mid morning.  I walked 1.6 miles today and want to get it up to around 2 miles.   I've also been doing some exercises at home - one that I did back when I lived in an apartment where I would stand back away from a wall, place my hands on the wall in front of me and lower myself so that my face was just about touching the wall.  Then I push away, trying to put a lot of force into the push, just like you would when doing a regular push up on the floor.  When I did this before I tried doing a push up and I think I was able to do just one before collapsing.  I am not worried about how many pushups I can do, if any at all, but it does keep the muscle tone in my arms.  I rounded it out with 4# of hand weights in each hand for a few exercises.  I don't knock myself out with these kinds of exercises but just want the nice muscle definition I get.

Tomorrow will be in the 90's again and then the temperatures will head down into the 70's and 80's.  I love the temps in Wasilla - high 40's and lower 50's, my kind of weather.  That will no doubt change very soon, when the temps plummet to below my comfort zone, even in warm clothing!  I could do it, but it would take an attitude adjustment. 

I'd like to thank everyone who has commented about oil paints, and I definitely hope to give them a try.  I feel I need to finish my commitment to the classes in acrylics, and I may end up preferring the ease of use and clean up with acrylics, but I certainly haven't ruled out the oils, or painting along the lines of Bob Ross' style.  I'm currently watching series 3, which was filmed at a TV station in Indiana, and features a covered bridge, rustic barn, campfire, and things you might find in the midwest.  I love those scenes, but still prefer the majesty of mountains!

Joe is coming over tomorrow to finish the job I started with the leaf blower.  I didn't get very far because I can't control the thing.  I really need to clear out all the debris in the bushes in front, so I can start watering the tree and bushes now and then.   I absolutely hate paying for water to just go into the ground!

I have everything ready to cook for my dinner, including a cod filet to bake, but I'm not very hungry yet.  I broke open a bag of dark chocolate chips an hour or so ago and think I ruined my appetite for the day!


Monday, September 26, 2016

Good start to the day

I woke up early and stayed up; went to the gym where I walked about a mile and a half, then drove to my chiropractor appointment.  I got there half an hour early and left at exactly my appointment time.  After stopping at the grocery for milk and a few other items, I came home and stayed home.

I did stop to take my car through the car wash just outside the gates of the mobile home park.  I don't know how it happened, but one whole side of my car was covered with a sticky substance, in big drips someplaces and a sort of fine spray on the windows. I don't think it happened accidentally,  but it looks like someone shook up a bottle of soda pop and sprayed it all over the side of my car.  It's clean now and looks great, although with all the activity in this place it will be dusty and dirty again in no time.  There is a constant parade of equipment and vehicles owned by the Park that go by my house, plus trucks pulling small dumpsters for disposal of green waste and just plain junk.  Tomorrow the garbage trucks will roll by, and the landscapers will be cutting the grass in and around the dog park.  They use a really heavy duty leaf blower to gather all the green waste, and I'm sure it sends up clouds of dust that settle on the house, porch furniture, car, etc.  I really take a hit here, and add to that the noise of all this coming and going on top of the yapping dogs!  I think I would give anything to live in a quiet place on a quiet street, with a little more space between houses.  Dream on, gypsy.  (I am truly grateful to have a place to live in that I can afford, but I can complain once in a while if I want.  It isn't an idyllic situation by any means.)

My absentee ballot came in the mail today, and I still don't think I'll vote for anyone on it.  It doesn't seem like the country I grew up believing in, when you end up voting for the lesser of two or three evils.   In every other election I can remember, I was FOR somebody.    No more to come from me on the political situation.

I have to find myself a new scale, one with an old fashioned dial.  I never did like or trust digital, and this morning I got on the scale first thing and it read 116.4!  That nearly scared a few more pounds off me.  I don't believe I lost 4 or 5 pounds overnight, so after drinking a glass of warm lemon water, eating a banana, and drinking a cup of coffee I stepped back on the scale - 120.4!   I am not convinced I gained 4 pounds that fast, and think it's just the scale.  I recently put a new battery in it, so that shouldn't be the problem.   It's hard to find the older models with a dial.

I'm still watching a few Bob Ross videos each day - I'm up to Series 3 so I won't run out for a long time.  In my lifetime I have gone through lots of stages in artistic preference - from the Renaissance to the French Impressionists, to the American Hudson Valley painters, and lots more.  I still love the Hudson Valley style and find it so inviting and relaxing, but even though Bob Ross is quite different (and I wouldn't put him into the category of "great masters"), I find that at this stage of my life I love the peace and contentment I find in his nature paintings.  Even the less peaceful, such as storms at sea, are relaxing to look at and I'm getting more and more hooked.  That is the kind of painting I wish I could try.

The big problem I see with painting in oils, is do I have enough space.  I have a spare room where I store my camping gear, unsorted photographs, a fairly large desk with my iMac computer and a printer, etc., plus a big comfy office chair.  I don't know how many square feet I would need for an easel, paints, and cleaning supplies, and I don't know how "splashy" it might get.  I'd definitely need to put something on the floor to protect it, as well as to store away the camping stuff in the big closet there.

I'm also embarrassed to say I have several boxes with my fine china stacked in them, the ones I got for wedding presents for my first marriage in 1970.  None of the kids wanted it, although one of them took the sterling silver.  I thought I might use the china once a week for myself but that is never going to happen.  I figured I would just keep it and when I'm gone it will be my kids' problem to dispose of it.  I don't do that with most things - I'm trying to pare down all my stuff to a minimum to keep them from having to deal with it.   The only treasures I have from my first marriage are my children.  I loved my silver, having bought that when I first went to work and every girl had a "hope chest".  I also picked out the china to suit myself, so I still have a slight attachment to it.   I could give it to someone who really wanted it, but wouldn't want to sell it on Craigslist or eBay.  I'll just have to find a place to safely keep it out of the way of oil paint splashes!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Brushes & Brews

I went with Jeannie, Donald and Autumn to the last hour or so of the Brushes & Brews exhibit, and was delighted to see an artist from my class and well as meet some new ones.  In think Jeannie & her family also enjoyed it, and the time went by pretty quickly.  We carried a glass of brew around with us while we looked at the different exhibits, and then found a table where we could sit and talk (and drink another brew - not Donald, the driver!).  Their golden ale is to me the very best tasting brew I've ever had, even compared with other local craft breweries.   One of the artists in my class sold a painting and I was very happy for her.  There were some excellent entries and I really enjoyed looking at them.

I went to Michael's earlier in the day and purchased art classes for each Wednesday for the next 8 weeks.  I also bought a tabletop easel which should help, as well as a few accessories.  This stuff adds up and I have to quit buying for a while.  I don't know how I'll handle it if I decide to try to oil paints, but I'll manage.  I think looking at art overall, I really like Bob Ross' method (as well as his mentor, Bill Alexander).   I am not into most of the modern type art, but like the ones that depict nature as Bob Ross does.  It can get monotonous, and I sometimes think he should stop 5 minutes before he does, but the style is what I find most comforting and attractive to me - nothing fancy, but just nature in its finest.  I am old fashioned in this regard, and probably an irritation to an art teacher, but that's the way it is.   I know I will have a constant battle of wills with the instructor over what I do and how I paint.  It's ironic - I have always had a wild streak but not when it comes to art.  In that regard I've always loved the style that "looks like something", whether it is Michaelangelo, Renoir (in his earlier years), and so on.

My granddaughter, Ara, is moving back to Sacramento (from Philly), and Jeannie is flying out soon to meet and drive back with her.  I envy them the road trip and  tell them to keep a constant eye out for changes in the weather, and to not be hesitant about changing their itinerary.  I'm an old pro at that, but have to let them get it right themselves.  I will worry though, and got Jeannie a complete set of maps from AAA as they would rely on an iPhone GPS which doesn't give a big picture in case one needs to completely change their route.

I'm so happy that Ara will be here, in the fold of a loving family.  She is very artistic in her own right, and I think Jeannie talked to a few artists about venues for selling their art.  Ara doesn't like to sell what she paints, but maybe she will change her mind.

I know from experience that it is not easy to go back home and live under one's mother's roof.   I can only offer her the opportunity to drop in and stay whenever she feels like it.  It would be totally wonderful to me to have a younger person around from time to time, but I realize that a younger person needs their space and people their own age.  I'm cool with whatever comes about - I've been there, done that.

Jeannie hadn't heard from Ara for about a week and was so worried.  I told her that I worry constantly about her (Jeannie) as well, and I don't think she even thought of that.  I worry about my kids and grandchildren, although I don't let it get the best of me.  They will be fine, and what is a mother or grandmother to do if they can't fret about their chicks.

Life is so good it's almost scary sometimes!

Friday, September 23, 2016


For some reason I'm glad to see Friday, but it usually doesn't make much difference to me what day of the week it is.  I will go to the event "Brushes & Brews" at American River Brewing tomorrow, maybe have a glass of golden ale, and if it's very crowded I won't stay long.   I also have to make the stop at Michael's to buy the half-price classes.  I had finally intended to pay for 4 future classes, but I think I might still go for 8, which would be $100.  I should definitely know if I want to continue by then.  I've been searching online to see if anyone offers classes in oils or water colors, but it's all acrylic paints that I can tell.   I want to stick with it until maybe the end of the year, and then decide what I might want to explore.  

I read something that came to my email box that is very inspirational to me, and I know the first art class in Alaska came at exactly the right time in my life.  I have always thought of myself as having no artistic creativity, and I probably don't have much at that.  I like things to look like I think they should look, and if someone else wants to see everything in geometric angles and circles, or strange colors, then that's fine.  But I'm realistic, which doesn't mean I have no vision or imagination - I do.   But I like order in things, which you would never know to look at the state of my house right now!   I like order but can live quite comfortably amid chaos.

The article states:  "The truth is, you are not too old....Recognize that the obstacles you find before you have arisen from a place of fear and that they will wane in power every time you do something creative.  Each creative act takes you deeper into a realm of beauty and magic; a realm that you have every right to return to and reclaim."

I apologize for the long quote, but I suddenly realize that it's already happening - the fear wanes in power with every class I attend, and every intention I make to continue.  That in itself is the best reason to continue and to keep my mind open to new ways of doing things.

Grandma Moses I will never be, but Grandma Gypsy is a good old gal herself!

I recently mentioned that I was getting bruises all over my arms and hands, and traced the cause of them to the green tea extract in some supplements  I was taking.  The bruises went away when I stopped those particular supplements.   Almost a week later I was bruising again, and you would never guess the reason.   I love green vegetables, especially spinach, chard, and kale, and often eat it along with a main course for dinner.   I think one evening I made cooked quite a bit of greens so I could use them before they became seriously wilted.  When I did some online searching to find a reason for the bruising as I take no aspirin or blood thinners, I found that some people should avoid fruits and vegetables!  That's exactly what the medical site said.  Well hell, that is most of my diet, and I'm not going to quit eating them.  I just have to use a little caution on the amount of greens I eat at one time.  The bruises have nearly faded completely by now, but I miss my spinach salad at lunch, and greens smothered in cheddar along with dinner.  Moderation is the key I suppose.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Annoying chopper

A helicopter has been flying overhead in circles all afternoon, and I can hear the loudspeaker they are using to announce they are looking for a man about 5'11, 170#, with gray hair.  Then they announced he has the mental capacity of a 10 year old, and that makes me feel terrible.  Of course they don't say why they are looking for him, and they haven't said he is dangerous.  Poor old guy, I feel sorry for him and hope that maybe he's just up and left a care facility or something like that.

It has been wonderfully cool today, and while I'm indoors with the doors and windows open, I'm wearing sweatpants and sweatshirt.  When I'm working outside a little at a time, I take off the sweats and wear just shorts and a t-shirt.  I am really looking forward to this kind of weather being our normal fare, but we are going back up into the 90's.   It's autumn now though, and I hope it will cool down a lot.

My art class went well in that I really enjoyed the conversations with other women.  I know the instructor is frustrated because my picture is turning out to lack bright color.  I think I will suggest that I do all the trees with leaves that are turning yellok and that can brighten things up.

When I think about Alaska, I don't recall a whole lot of color in the landscape.  Not like Hawaii or someplace tropical.   The mountains are dark, and you either see the rock or the trees growing on them, or some of both.  There is snow and there is sea, and green fields and marshes.  But no big splashes of color.  I was only in a very small part of the largest state in the Union, so I can't speak for what the rest of it is like, but I think this might be the reason the tourist places and towns have flower boxes with bright flowers overflowing them.  I've seen pictures of such but don't recall seeing them on my trip, even in Talkeetna or Seward, and I think the beauty to me is in the mountains, sea, sky, and clouds which are ever-changing.  I didn't see sunrise or sunset, and it rained a lot of the time (sometimes just a mist or drizzle), and when the sun shone through it was glorious.  But I wouldn't call it colorful.  I'd love to hear the opinions of those who live, have lived, or traveled to Alaska.  I was there the last two weeks in July and the only thing that reminded me of fall were the temperatures, but I don't know if they had anything to do with the season there.  I didn't miss color, nor did I miss the sun when it was behind the clouds.  I can't stress enough how beautiful I think this place is, and a big part of the beauty is the majesty of scale.    Please weigh in if you care to.

It's ironic that I've started watching the Bob Ross videos, and last night the art instructor announced that she is planning to teach something about the Bob Ross method in the coming weeks.  I asked if you could do the same strokes with the same effects in acrylic and she shook her head "no".  I'm not sure how she will approach Bob Ross, but I'm looking forward to it.  This weekend Michael's is having a great sale, and also an exhibit called "Brushes and Brews" at my old favorite American River Brewing Company venue.   The only time I was there  since they opened up their new space I was disgusted to see TV's (turned on) on every wall.  It looked like a damn sports bar, not a  friendly bar where you can try their brews, talk to the other customers, and generally feel like a welcome guest.  Jeannie and I have been to a craft brewery a few blocks past Costco on two different occasions now, and the atmosphere is friendly and inviting.   On the other hand, ARBC's sports bar now has a shuffleboard game and another type of game, which means you can keep the kids (and the husbands) occupied.  I think I will show up on Saturday and see what they have, and enjoy a glass of golden ale!

I just realized the helicopter is gone.  I hope all is well with everyone involved.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Day for Art

I haven't done anything today - my son said he would come over about midweek and help me with the leaf blower, so I didn't go to the gym or do much of anything else.  I need to eat supper early and get ready for the art class this evening.   I will see how things go before I decide if or how many half-price classes I will buy this Saturday when they are on sale.   I have real difficulty figuring out which paints to mix to get exactly (or close to) the shade I'm looking for.  I'm also going to experiment with several different types of brushes tonight - another factor that has never really been explained although it makes a big difference.

I've continued watching the Bob Ross series and am now up to Episode 7 (out of 13) in Series 1.  I have no clue how many there are total, but I'm sure it will take me a while to get through them.   I feel like I'm learning a lot about brush strokes just watching Bob Ross.

I wish I'd taken this up years ago, and I remembered yesterday that when I first moved to Ireland several of the ladies insisted that I should go with them to the art class being taught locally.   I got together all the necessary items, paints, brushes, etc., but one thing on the list I did not have:  RAGS!  When I moved I certainly didn't take rags with me, but one morning when I went outside my door I found a neat little packet all wrapped up, and it contained rags - pieces of sheets that were torn to make different sized rags.    God love those Irish women!  They can and will do anything for you.  As far as the class goes, I didn't like it at all.  Not the way the instructor taught it, and the fact that I got more help and advice from others taking the course than from the teacher.  It was my first ever, and I thought my last, experience with trying to be an artist.  My attitude has changed since that time, and I'm not really trying to be a good artist - I just would like to see improvement in what I'm doing, and to have fun with it.  I'd like to complete a painting that I could show to another without being embarrassed.

This isn't scientific, but I notice on my weather widgets it's staying dark later in the morning in Alaska.  I have four of the widgets on my Mac, for Sacramento, New York, Philadelphia, and Wasilla.  During the daylight hours the background on these widgets are a medium blue, and get darker as the sun goes down.  At night they are a dark maroon.  I noticed this morning that Sac's was blue, but Wasilla was still the dark maroon color at 8:45 am.  I don't pay much attention to sunset and sunrise times, but I think their sunrise is much later now than it was when I was there.   I'll have to check sometime to see when it turns dark in the evening.  At any rate, they are experiencing shorter daylight hours as winter nears.  I was fascinated by the long daylight, and I'm sure I'd be fascinated by the long darkness as well.  At least for a 2 wk vacation!

Ms. B., I notice that the Shell station is 2.70/gal. for regular, whereas Mobil which is cattycorner to them charges $2.85 for reg.  Both stations are the first when getting off Freeway 50, which is no doubt why they can charge so much.   I haven't paid attention to any other stations lately.

What a beautiful day this has been - started out with lots of clouds, a few raindrops, and has only reached 80.   I haven't had to turn on a fan or the swamp cooler all day.  Tomorrow should be a few degrees cooler, but in a day or two will climb back up into the 90's.  I can't wait for some lasting cool weather, and rain sure would be a treat (although this is not the rainy season). 

I think I have all my art stuff together but I'd better make one last check.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

It's always something

While walking on the treadmill, I often use the  option of checking my heart rate.  Remembering that I climb 30 steps to reach the treadmill area, I try to take it easy for the first minute or so.  Initially, my rate is around 100 and very rarely in 20 minutes of increasing speed does it even reach over 120.  So this morning I was surprised that it started out higher than usual, and in the 20 min. at a good clip it was over 130.  Not that I worry about numbers, but it seemed odd to me.

I was reminded of an old TV show, Saturday Night Live, which I watched for the first 2 seasons.  If you watched it too, you may remember Gilda Radner, who kept me in stitches just looking at her.  She was everyone's Mom or older aunt, usually pessemistic about everything in life.  Her signature line was "It's always something, if it isn't one thing it's another."   Those words are so meaningless that they always sent me into fits of laughter.  Well, this morning when I realized I feel a lot better today, and then to find my heart rate is up beyond what it usually is, those words came to me in a flash!  I didn't know whether to laugh out loud, but most of the patrons at the gym are too young to remember Gilda or SNC (1970').

I usually use one of two treadmills that are older style and I can read the buttons without my glasses and having to get within 2 inches of them.  To make it even better, I can understand what they are telling me.  But being older machines I have never completely trusted the heart rate monitor, usually for the opposite reason - I walk my head off and it doesn't get up to 120!  I came home and dug out my BP device; taking it in both arms I'm about 110/68, and the heart rate is 86!  I'm good.

I found an old art class series by Bob Ross on YouTube this morning and watched a couple of episodes.  I like them so much I am going to watch all the series in order.  Bob was born in Orlando and fell in love with Alaska while stationed there by the Air Force.   In one of the episodes I watched he said that he had moved to Fairbanks, so of course I was all ears!  Ross is gone now but fortunately he left public television with a wealth of programs and they are available in several different formats.  He also left many of his students who have gone on to teach in his style.  He paints in oils and for now I think I prefer acrylics, but it is primarily his philosophy that I find so wonderful.   .   Bob Ross stresses that you paint how and what your heart tells you to.  Of course that means you have to quiet your mind so you can listen to your heart.  I am working on it.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Feeling better

I saw the dentist this morning and he is happy with the way things have healed so far.  I made an appointment to have the other molar pulled Oct 7.  I just want to feel like living again!

I also visited the gym and walked on the treadmill.  I have to get back into wanting to do it.   It can be boring, but I can take 25-30 min. of boring if it prolongs having something go wrong with my heart.

My appetite is still like a hungry bear waking up from hibernation, or maybe one getting ready to go into hibernation.   Sometimes it is just too much trouble to cook something, as in last night, when I finished off the ice cream - way too much for one sitting.  I just brought the spoon and the ice cream container into the living room and didn't stop until it was gone!  I didn't get the best night's sleep of my life, but I'm not surprised.

I love to work crossword puzzles.  Difficult ones and challengers, not the easy ones.  It's hard to find a book with only difficult puzzles, and with the last one I noticed they are throwing a lot of pop culture questions in there - who won an award for best producer (etc.)  in 1985, and garbage like that.  Also they ask a lot of questions about band members; I've heard of many of the bands but if I know the lead singer that would be about it.  I sure can't name the rest of them.

So I went online to see if I could find puzzles with an intellectual bent, and sure enough, they are out there although more expensive than the pop stuff.   I've been working these puzzles since I was a kid, and it does wonders to enlarge a person's vocabulary even though many of the definitions are pretty obscure.   I want to keep my mind sharp, still learning the language, and find some enjoyment while I'm at it, so I'll probably fork over the $40+ for a subscription.

So after a couple of really hot days we may have one or two in the 70's, and if that happens I think I will venture down to the American River Parkway to see if there is anything to photograph.  I want to test the Fuji camera as it's been so long since I've used it.  My son, Joe, who often rides his bike along that trail will be here to help me with the leaf blower about mid-week, and I might see what he thinks about me going down to the river by myself.   I don't know why I worry about something that has never bothered me before, and I hate to change what I do in my life because of fear.  In fact, I'm determined to not fear a damn thing!  I'm going to go find something to eat now - be back tomorrow.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Another lazy Saturday

I came up with a number of things to do today when I got up, but they all stayed in bed and under the covers!    For one thing I was surely going to the gym.  Then I figured I could find things to do like go to the market this morning.  I got dressed,  said "I don't feel like doing a thing today", and that's exactly how my day went!

I hope you had a more productive day than I did.  I'm still not feeling up to par though, and even took something for pain when I went to bed last night.  I see the dentist on Monday and hope he says everything looks good, although I have the feeling there are more dental problems to be dealt with. 

My ex-husband would have been 75 today had he lived.  

Friday, September 16, 2016


I'm always ambivalent about the weekend as every day is like a weekend to me.  I have a few appointments and have to make sure I get to them on time, but most of my days are my own to choose.

I made a trip to the dollar store today, and had a list of about 6 items.  While shopping I heard a cashier who was ringing someone up, "That will be $29.++", and I wondered how you could buy $29 worth of stuff at the dollar store.  I was pleasantly surprised when my bill came to just over $11 as I put several items into my cart that weren't on the list.  There is one thing I can return - a plastic vase that looks like cut glass, that I bought to hold my paintbrushes.  The vase is too tall for many of the shorter brushes, so I found one of my mason pint jars which seems to work very well, although I have one very long handled brush that might tip the whole thing over.   I'll just keep looking - if I bought coffee in cans I would have the perfect brush holder, but my coffee beans come in bags.

I watched another Alaska weather report from last night, which comes to me the next day.  Not a single word about a 500 ft wave or a collapse of anything.    It's odd how the USGS seems to pick and choose what they tell us - they often don't report on an earthquake that is of enough magnitude to shake bricks off of chimneys.  And on the ones they do report, the magnitude they originally put up is invariably reduced by several points - like they don't want anyone to know the true details.  I'm suspicious as I've taken note of a lot of instances lately where details are ignored or simply not mentioned, like they never happened.  No doubt a lot of these events are caused by man's activities.

 Dinner is over and it is still a long while until I will have my ice cream, so I'm sitting here with a bag of chocolate chips.  I thought I bought the dark chocolate but I find they are semi-sweet.  Oh well, I'll eat anything at this point.   I've thought about drinking a beer but I' ve gone this long since my dental work that I can wait a few more days.  At this point if I had TV I would turn it on.  Normally I don't miss it at all as there so few programs I watched, and I'm surprised I still think about it at all.

I can't remember if the harvest moon is tonight or tomorrow night.  Last night it was positively gorgeous!  I hope you all get a good look at it this weekend and have your cameras ready.  I need to rig up something to set the camera on so I don't move it at all while snapping photos.  I have never been good at photographing the night sky, except for a short time when I lived in North Carolina and actually read (and followed) the instructions for taking pictures at night.   The most beautiful things and people in my life are forever in my memories.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

I run out of steam easily!

When I got up this morning I had to decide whether to go to the gym, or to stay home and do some deep cleaning which needs to be done.  I really don't feel like going to the gym yet, but soon, maybe this weekend.  I did 2 loads of laundry and hung them on the line, and cleaned the bathroom.  Then when it came to moving on to another room I just wasn't up for it!

I did make a quick trip to Michael's to cancel the free drawing class I signed up for, and to pay for next week's painting class.  On the 24th, as I think I mentioned, they are offering classes for 1/2 price but you have to reserve the dates when you pay.  I'm not sure how far out I want to commit.  I love the class and have learned a lot that I'd never know otherwise but there is still so much I don't have a clue about.  Such as why do you use one brush over another?  I also realize I'm woefully short on paint colors, and I know you can mix several together to get the desired effect, but mixing 2 or 3 is enough for me.  I will wait until the Level 1 acrylic paints are on sale before I spend the money.  I will definitely continue trying to paint even if I don't go to a class every week.  I had several items in my cart and took them out before I hit the cash register, although I was enchanted by the jar candles with pumpkin spice aroma.   
I'm feeling a lot better although I still get tired fast.  And I can't eat enough to fill me up for more than an hour.  I wonder why the huge appetite.

I think the guy who has been at Ed's house the past week was a visitor, probably from out of town, and possibly a relative.  They were outside this morning and Ed was talking up a storm, about his favorite subject - cars, engines, fixing said engines, troubleshooting, etc.   Maybe they just went somewhere for the day, but I have the feeling the guy is gone.  Whatever the situation it sure was nice of him to come and stay with Ed for a few days.

I went to the Weather Channel's website to see what we could expect for the next 15 days (temps back in the 90's) and a story was headlined, "Mountainside Collapse Caused 500 ft. Wave in Alaska, and More Could Happen!"  I tried to read the story but the damn weather channel has everything programmed so you can listen to someone reading it for you.  I finally shut off all the arrows that indicate they are going to read the story.   That makes me really angry and most news sites do the same, although with most of them you can opt out of the professional oratory and read the story in print yourself.

So I haven't been able to find out much about where the 500' wave was, damage done, and what more could happen.   It's frightening to think of what the weather is becoming and the damage we are going to suffer from it.

This weekend I would like to get outdoors and try out my old Fuji camera now that the battery is inserted properly.   In the old days I will have to say I usually set up a photograph very well - and those were the days of film.   I'm sort of astonished when I see some of the old photos.  But when I had a few of the Alaska pictures blown up and now I can see the focus of the picture, the detail, the balance, etc., I think I'm doing pretty well without good eyesight!  Wonder what it would be with 20/20!

I notice that the car is back in Ed's driveway, so maybe they just went out somewhere and the guy is still staying there.   I used to make fun of my Mom when she watched and wondered what was going on in a neighbor's place.  Good lord, have I turned into my Mother?

Art Class

I have about an hour before I leave so I thought I would start the post and finish it when I get back home.   I think I have all my supplies together - I need to get a set of wheels similar to what you roll luggage on around the airport.   

I saw my chiropractor this afternoon and feel so much better.   I told him I feel like death warmed over, but I guess it's not that bad.   On my way home I stopped at the grocery and among other things, bought a quart of Tillamook Vanilla Bean ice cream.  You can see the tiny little flecks of the bean, and of course I ate a sample spoonful before putting it in the freezer.  I will enjoy it after art class.

The class went pretty well .  I am almost 100% certain I have no talent, but the instructor acts like I'm doing a great job.  I told her that 5 years ago I would have quit the class, thrown out the canvas, and sworn off ever trying anything artistic again.  She asked what was the difference 5 years made, and I think it's just that I'm finally growing up and getting some maturity.  Even though I'd love to be as talented as the others in my class, I am who I am and I'm enjoying myself.  I hope nobody is thinking to themselves that I am making a fool of myself, because only I could do that and I choose not to.  I'm just doing my best as I'm trying to learn something and enjoy my time.  And of course, as the old saying goes, "Hope springs eternal".  I never want to give up hope.

I had a bowl of ice cream and it was super delicious.  I hate to admit it but it's better than a beer, except I can draw out drinking a bottle of beer to at least an hour, maybe a little longer!   The ice cream was gone in no time flat! 

I wanted to mention that while I was at the dentist, the assistant was telling us how she was defrosting her freezer, and was using an ice pick to get the chunks off the coils.  (Bad move!)  You might guess that she punctured one of the coils and had the quick reaction to turn her head, but her hand and part of her arm were burned.  Her husband got out a tube of toothpaste and started spreading it all over the burn, which immediately took the sting out of it.  You can see some swelling in the burned area but she has had no redness and no pain at all  since then.  I have an aloe plant that I use for burns, cuts, stings etc., but in the absence of aloe, I thought it might be of interest to know that toothpaste works also, at least for burns.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Not ready to run races!

Although I'm feeling so much better, I'm still a bit under the weather.  Eat and sleep - that's all I want to do.   But I'm out of ice cream and will have to get in the car to go get more - I need something to look forward to in the evening and I can't drink a beer until the healing is done!  (Not that I even want one.)   

I agreed to take an antibiotic since the other molar to be pulled is also infected, and  I don't want any more problems than necessary.  When I went to pick up the amoxycillin at Bel Air's pharmacy the total came to a whopping $.43 for 30 pills.  I told the pharmacist, "You are breaking me!"  I am sure there are more expensive antibiotics on the market, but some of them have given me troubles in the past whereas I've always tolerated amoxycillin, and i'm gratefui for the low price .

This cooler weather is so perfect if it would only last - still 66 at 2pm and only going up to 76, but then there will be an inching up  to the 90's for the remainder of September at least.  I love the cool, especially during the night when it's down into the low 50's!

I promised myself that when it cooled down I would get outdoors and try my leaf blower.  Needless to say, that plan went out the window!   I think I'd faint!

After all my camera woes I came across the Fuji camera I always liked the best for the photos it takes, although it is larger, heavier, and a pain to carry around and use.  I had recharged the battery and the camera still would not work so I just about gave up on it.  When I got it out and looked at it, I decided to see if the battery was correctly inserted - I seem to never put them in the right way.  Sure 'nuf, the darn thing was in backwards or upside down, and when I corrected it the camera works fine.  I took a photo to make sure, but haven't felt like taking it outdoors to find something to photograph and have printed just to check it out.  I'm glad I didn't rush out to buy another camera, although a nice small, lightweight model would be good to carry and use, but I definitely don't need another one.

That's it for now - I'll be glad when I can get out and do something to write about.  I'm hoping to have a good evening at my art class tomorrow.

Monday, September 12, 2016

What a morning!

I was up early so I could call the dentist 1st thing, and made an appointment for 8:40 am.  I then called the chiropractor's office and reset that appointment to Wednesday afternoon.  I hope I will be feeling fine for my art class.

I didn't take the valium and was fine except that I keep clenching my hands.  It's much harder to relax them and keep them relaxed.  This dentist makes sure there is no pain and I didn't feel any at all.   I came home and crawled right back in bed, fully clothed, but the pain woke me up when the anesthetic wore off.  I got up starving!   I love my mornings and eat and snack until just after lunch - so if I miss breakfast and mid-morning snacks then I am likely to skip supper as well.  I drank a protein shake and ate half a sandwich (carefully) and feel a lot better.  I also got a small ladder to search the back of the upper kitchen cabinets, and found a bottle with 6 or 7 ibuprofen tablets.  I've taken two so far and that will likely be it for today.  I don't expect anything but maybe discomfort after that.  When the Dr. was trying to get the molar out, it broke into several sections so he had to get one root at a time.  My heart sunk when I heard that, but there was nothing to it really.  

The forecast for Sac calls for two days in the upper 70's, two in the upper 80's, and then back into the 90's.  I haven't looked at the 15 day forecast yet, but I hope we've left the worst of summer behind.  I dressed for the weather before leaving for the dentist office this morning, and now in the middle of the afternoon I had to change back.  My desktop widget is showing 70 right now, and is on its way up!  I'm so ready for a crisp fall day, say in the 50's or 60's.

All I've wanted to do today is sleep.   And when I wake up I'm as hungry as a bear, but my menu is a bit limited today.  At least all the pain is gone!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Just holding on

I have been able to maintain the status quo on the dental work until the coming week.  It maybe getting worse, but the Anbesol seems to hold the pain and discomfort at bay.  I quit using the waterpik for now, and I really miss it.   I will call the dentist in the morning before I go to the chiropractor, and if he can get me in early enough in the day I will probably do it, and without the valium so that I don't have to worry about getting rides to and from.  If I have to wait, then I want to wait until Thursday so I can go to my art class.  You can see where my priorities lie at this point in my life, and it is with what brings me joy, companionship, good conversation, and a feeling of trying something new!

I have mentioned my next door neighbor, Ed, in several previous posts.  He hasn't looked or moved well lately, and I notice a  vehicle has been parked in his driveway for several days & nights now.  At first I think they left at night and came back in the morning, but now I see it there most of the time, day and night.  Ed really shouldn't be left alone and I guess he's like the crotchety old rest of us who refuse to lose our independence and our homes to go live in a facility somewhere.  I shouldn't knock it because I have never been to a retirement or care facility, and who knows how beneficial they might be to some folks.

I've given up on doing anything except the absolute necessities until I get this dental work taken care of.  I'm sure it has been working on me for a while and is what has sapped my energy.  I was so disappointed when I got on the scale this morning and discovered I lost 2#, and now I'm under 120.  Those will be the hardest to put back on,  and I've been trying to eat regular meals today, although I know I'm not keeping up the calorie count.  It is so disheartening, so since I'm obviously feeling sorry for myself I will cut this off right now.  Be back tomorrow in a better mood - promise!

To leave on a comical note:   I got showered and dressed this morning and gave myself one last look in the mirror - damned if I don't have a "pouch" on the left side of my face!  I look like a squirrel getting ready for winter.  (I guess it's swelling.)

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Trouble Brewing

I hadn't been up long this morning when I realized I have a big problem with one of my molars that probably should have been pulled but I wanted to try to save it.  I know the dentist does emergency work on Saturday, but I didn't call.   I will call Monday but I have a chiropractic appointment in the morning, so I guess I could make it to the dentist in the afternoon if I can get someone to drive me.  He is adamant about my not driving after taking one little 5mg Valium!   (I  probably don't need the valium any more, but it's like a crutch.)   I wish I could hold out until Thursday of next week as I don't want to miss my art class on Wed. evening!  

I am so excited about my photo enlargements!  Viewing them in a 9x12 (or whatever size I've had them printed) makes many things more visible to me.  A lot of the reprints are of water - rivers and of course the Kenai Fjord, and I've been looking at the reflections in the water, the waves and how the movement of water actually looks, the effect of light on part of the photo, etc.  What fun it's going to be to try to paint my own version, but that is probably a little ways off!  

I'm still sleeping in the bed with framed photos lined up along one side.  Good thing I don't move around a lot in my sleep.  I bought 8 new 5 x 7 frames to match what I already have and find I need more of them!  I'm one short for grandchildren, once I add Ara and Steve & Meg's new baby girl!  Then I want to arrange their family photos above the kids - I'm so glad the photographer did one with each family itself.  She also took one for each of my kids with their family and me, but I won't hang them on my gallery wall.  I am so slow getting this started I just hope I live long enough to see it done and enjoy looking at them!  (Just kidding, a little bit)

I am really hungry by now but so far haven't eaten much since I can't chew on one side.  I was able to eat a Klondike bar with no trouble, but don't know what in the world I'll do for dinner.  Probably skip it entirely.  I no doubt could manage another Klondike bar though.  I've never been a big soup eater and when I do eat it I make it from scratch.   I may break down and buy a couple of cans of Campbell's soup, but don't even feel like getting in the car and driving anywhere.

The break in our water lines yesterday was fixed within an hour, as promised.  I have several gallons of bottled water for such an emergency, but I'd hate to have to use them for very long, not knowing how long I would be needing them.  We take so many things for granted that are at the flip of a switch or a tap.

I did buy gas this morning and it has gone up 10 cents in just the last few days.  I noticed the Shell station up at the corner has gone from $2.60 to $2.70 in a single jump.    Costco also jumped a dime a gallon to $2.22.   I knew from watching Shell every time I enter or leave the Park that I should top off my tank soon.

I just decided I couldn't go on without food, so I made myself a small batch of soup with what I have on hand.  It sure looks, smells, and tastes great!  Maybe I can save half of it for tomorrow?

Friday, September 9, 2016

Just a note

I'm going to keep this short because I really didn't do much today except for the gym, pick up my eyedrop Rx, and exchange the photos at Costco.  The woman (I need to find out her name) said that the lines were on the photos she was copying from, and now she would like to see them on the USB drive.  I'm wondering if the lines aren't in my camera itself, maybe because the battery compartment door doesn't close all the way?  Personally I can't see the lines very well, if at all, but this woman wants the copies to be perfect!  I'm going to write a letter to the company about how dedicated she is to producing a quality product.

Our water was off for about an hour or so, because of a break in the lines.  It scared me when I turned on the tap and only a dribble came out.    I had just opened up a Klondike Bar, and of course I had chocolate on my fingers!  All's well now though, and my fingers are clean.

Have a good weekend, and I'm going to try to do the same.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

A clean house?

My house smells very clean, in fact, PineSol clean.  I noticed a few sticky fingerprints on the coffee table last night and went to grab what I thought was the Old English furniture polish.  The bottles look similar at least in color, although the PineSol is much larger.  I opened the bottle and started pouring a little out - wow!  I had Pine Sol running all over.  I quickly dabbed it up and then went over the table with the real Old English.  No matter what, the house has a strong Pine Sol aroma.  That was a pretty dumb mistake for me to make!

I enlarged some photos taken in Alaska at Costco this morning, to a 9 x 12 size.  They are some that I might like to use as something to match in acrylic paint eventually.  I have the canvas I worked on last night sitting on the table, and every time I walk past it and don't focus completely on it, I find it looks pretty good.  Not really good, mind you, but in an out-of-focus sort of way I can see the potential.  Every time I look at it though I have questions to ask, and the list will be long by next Wednesday evening!

The woman who printed the Alaskan enlargements at Costco was unhappy because a slight line was showing up in the pictures.  I couldn't see it and told her what I was going to use them for - as potential models for a painting class, but she felt like she owed me as perfect a product as she could get.  She cleaned the printer but the line remained, so she told me to take the photos with me and come back when I can, and in the meantime she will do a deep cleaning on the printer and make me some perfect copies.  I really am awestruck at some of the views enlarged to that degree, especially of the glacier, as well as some seals on the rocks, birds, and other shots.  I also enlarged some animal photos just in case I want to try painting them some time - I want to stay away from trying to do people for now.

I described in a comment on yesterday's post, that I am going to attend the class once a week for at least 10-12 weeks, which should give me a pretty good idea of the direction in which I want to go.  The classes are $25 each, pretty much standard for anywhere, according to Pam in Alaska.  Michael's is having a sale soon where you can pay for classes in advance at 1/2 price, but the catch is that you have to assign a date to each, which I hope can be changed if necessary.  I'm going to buy 10 classes for $125, so I've decided to forego the idea of getting a new camera yet.  I can still use the old one that doesn't have a good battery cover, and I've found an old Olympus Styles film camera that I want to try again.  That thing is heavy though!  The first thing I found out is that the battery was dead, and the stores I checked this afternoon don't sell that battery.  I found it on Amazon and ordered two of them although they won't get here for a couple of weeks, but I can use the other camera in the meantime.  It's not as though I take that many pictures.  Walmart carries film but I was disappointed to find that it is for 27 photos.  I would rather try it out at 8 or 12, or something less than 27.  I'll look around some more and maybe even find a camera store at the mall.  

It is pretty disheartening when I see the difference in pictures I take now as compared to those of 20 or 25 years ago.  I truly believe the film photos have a warmth and depth to them that digital does not, although digital is probably more technically accurate.  I noticed that when I began to go through my old pictures with the intent of sorting and categorizing them all.  I haven't done much on them lately, but I'll get back to it one of these days.  I was surprised to see how good many of them are, and how well I set up some of the best shots.  Those days are gone forever!


Art classes

I'm leaving in under an hour for my art classes.  I tried to take a nap twice now this afternoon but I just can't do it.  If I can, I will write about the classes when I get home.

About the Waterpik, I think I'm getting the hang of it, or more likely the device has me fairly well trained.  I don't understand what I'm doing differently now, but whereas I had water all over the bathroom and myself, it is now very well controlled.  I think I like using it, and hope there is a noticeable improvement when I visit the dentist in 6 months.

I had such a relaxing morning, and didn't rush or do anything except eat my breakfast and get ready for my day, which started at the gym.   I kept this walk to about 3.5 mph and for some reason I walked the same distance as when I set the speed higher for part of the walk.  I start out slow and raise it by .1 of a mile at a time, thus not noticing that I'm going appreciably faster.  It's amazing how easy it is to fool an old lady sometimes.  I have had a steady ache in the calf muscle of my right leg since yesterday, and can't figure out what I did to cause it.

Michael's messed up on their scheduling of classes, evidently something they do frequently.  When I arrived I found that the class was for kids, so I came home and went back in time for the "2nd class".  I think I'm going to love it.  There are a group of about 4-6 regulars who come every week and paint for 2 hours.  Two of these people are professional from the standpoint that they sell a lot of their work and are entered into art shows.  The instructor had time to spend with me working on my first attempt, which I will hope to finish when I go back next week or the following.  This is more what I had in mind - an ongoing class with the same people.  The instructor is very encouraging and no matter what my level of talent turns out to be (or maybe not much at all) I'm going to enjoy myself immensely!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


I have two cameras, the smaller one for which the battery compartment door doesn't always stay closed, and another one that I can't get to work at all.   Neither of them is that old!   An extensive search online and in the stores makes me wonder if I can buy a point & shoot camera with a viewfinder.  The viewfinder is a requirement, and I find absolutely no cameras that have them any more.   If I hold the viewfinder up to my eye, it is possible that I can see what I'm photographing and get it fairly straight, whereas holding the camera at arms' length and trying to see what I'm taking just doesn't work.  I may end up going to a camera fix-it place and see if I can have one or both of them repaired.  It's discouraging because I still like to take pictures, even if I can't take good ones these days.  For the record I didn't even look closely at expensive cameras to see if they are missing the viewfinder as well.

I stopped taking the eye supplements (the expensive ones touted by the guy on HSN) - yesterday morning was the last one I took, and today I can say there has been no additional bruising.  I received the supplements I ordered from Costco containing lutein and the name I can't pronounce (zeaxan....).  I took the first one this afternoon, only one a day being called for.  I hope I can see an improvement, or at least no more visual problems or loss over the 140 days of capsules in the bottle.

A search online didn't say much about the diuretic effect on macular degeneration and one doctor even wrote that it didn't have an effect at all.  He may be weighing a medically prescribed diuretic rather than one that just happens to occur in a vitamin supplement.   I had a scary incident driving to Jeannie's yesterday which I'm attributing to the effects of those pills; I didn't drive much today but had no problem when I did, but I'm calling at least a temporary break on driving children in my car.

I went to Walmart to see if I could find the tape for hanging pictures on the wall.  I looked around at other things and was totally amazed at how many items I stopped at that had no price shown whatsoever!  Of course they don't usually tag the item individually these days, but the shelves were mostly missing price tags for many things I was interested in.  I know, I could carry an item to the nearest scanner placed on posts around the store, but I shouldn't have to.  If it had been just one item I might consider it, but this was multiple items and I could see nearby shelves were missing prices from random items. 

 I managed to get myself to the gym to walk before going anywhere else this morning.  Sometimes I look forward to it and other times I dread it.  I usually feel so good for going that I wonder why I fought the idea to begin with.

I bought parchment paper yesterday and made some cookies this morning.  What a difference the paper makes and I wonder why I've never tried it before!   The cookies come up from the pan very easily and there is no clean-up, which is perfect for a lazy person like me!

Monday, September 5, 2016

End of "Labrador Weekend"

If you didn't see the photo on my last blog entry you won't get anything from the title of this one!

After a beautiful day yesterday, it is starting to get warmer and will be downright hot for the rest of the week  I'm tired of the ups and downs and am ready for a cool fall (in Sacramento, yeah right!)

I spent the day with Jeannie and Arianna yesterday - a trip to Costco and trying to figure out how to hang some photos on a blank bedroom wall.  I've decided that will be my rogue's gallery of my kids and grandkids.  I need to buy a few more 5 x 7 frames to match the others and then we can start hanging them on the wall.  They will be the last thing I see at night and the first thing when I wake up in the morning.

After being off blood thinners for at leat 2 years I was doing fine without the awful bruising, but it's started up again.  Some internet searching of ingredients in one of the new eye meds I'm taking reveals they contain green tea extracts as well as some other herbs that act as diuretics.  Needless to say I'm not going to take them anymore.  I also think it is affecting my eyes now and then, and I'm wondering what a blood thinner would do to the eyes.  Hopefully I'll see a change fairly soon.   I even bought some teabags a few weeks ago containing green tea as I read somewhere that it is so good for you.  I've only brewed one cup of it because I didn't care much for it.  I am glad to have an excuse to not drink any more of it!

Today Jeannie and I cashed in our recycled bottles, cans , etc.  We had very few cans but lots of heavy bottles.   The money goes into a savings account with the kids' college funds.   I'm happy to contribute my recycling but my kitchen really doesn't have room to accumulate the stuff.  I'm thinking about buying a smaller garbage can with lid and keeping them outside but I'd better check with the Park police first or they will "ding" me with a  "no no note"!

I know I've been sitting too much in the past few months, so I've been trying to do more around the house.  Since I spent the time cleaning the venetian blinds in the kitchen I decided to wash the windows today - can't have clean blinds on dirty windows - my Mom would come back to haunt me. 

I'm so looking forward to my art classes the day after tomorrow (Wednesday).  I may end up wishing I didn't take them back to back, 2 hrs each with a 30 min. break in between, but I think I'll keep my enthusiasm  and energy levels up for both classes.

I didn't walk today and am debating driving over to the gym, or just forgetting about it until tomorrow morning.    I'll probably wait until tomorrow.   I am craving sweets right now and don't know where that is coming from - I had a good dinner and am full.  I already ate my ice cream bar for today (the skinny cow stuff).  I'll be glad when I can finish what I have and go buy some really tasty stuff.  Costco was handing out samples of their signature vanilla ice cream yesterday and I could easily get re-hooked.  The trouble with buying it in half gal. containers is that it's so easy to go back and add a little more ice cream to the bowl, whereas I won't go back for another individually wrapped ice cream bar.  For anyone who doesn't shop at Costco, you should know they give out samples throughout their store.  It's a great idea for them as well as for their customers - some of my favorite products were foods I tried as samples.    

Saturday, September 3, 2016

A few good laughs today

I've been emailing back and forth with Steve & Jeannie about their water fights with the Waterpik.  Steve said now the statute of limitations is up, he admits they did it all the time, and a favorite trick was to shoot cold water on one of their unsuspecting sibs while they were in the shower.  I have the feeling I've just hit the tip of the iceberg, or should I say, the "tip of the Waterpik".

I just tried to take a nap but as soon as I would start to relax I would think of the water fights and laugh uncontrollably.  Forget taking a nap.   I still can't stop giggling, and especially when I think of an occasion that involved other people.   An incident just struck me and I had an "Aha Moment"!

I was at a PTA meeting waiting for it to start.  Two of the nuns from the school were sitting across from me, Sr. Mary Louise and another one.  I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to their conversation but they had obviously just acquired a Waterpik at the convent, and they were laughing about something to do with it.  I now know, almost for sure, that those nuns were enjoying water fights just like my kids were.   How did I miss out on the fun?  Being the only girl for so long and the oldest of 5 brothers, I took my role seriously as their protector and as giving them good example.  If waterpiks would have been around in those days  my brothers would have enjoyed them immensely, surely at my expense some of the time, by I don't think I would have reciprocated.  What a ninny I was!

The heating and A/C guy with the penguin in sunglasses & tropical shirt was back across the street today.   I don't know if I can make it another winter with my old heater, so I should keep this guy in mind.

I walked about a mile around the Mather Field sports complexes this morning, and it was so nice to feel the breeze.  I arrived just before all the teams got there - soccer and baseball, but saw people in a skating rink as well as at the Skateboard park.  I'm always amazed at the control the skateboarders have, as well as their ability to take a tumble seemingly with ease.

It's funny how sometimes I'm sitting at home and think "maybe I'll see what's on TV",  and then realize I no longer have service.  I can't say I miss it at all - there isn't one single program that I think about and wish I could watch.  Old habits die hard so I guess I need a little more time to totally get rid of any thoughts of television.  When I was camp hosting at Lassen Volcanic National Park I had no electricity - just a generator when I needed it - and lived for over 3 months without the boob tube.  (Actually, I never had the TV connected during all the time I lived in the RV.)  I sat outdoors a lot and just took in the beautiful sights and sounds and smells of the forest.  I miss being outdoors so much at my current dwelling, but there isn't any way that I can see to enjoy being outside except for maybe sitting in a lounger on the driveway!   I've done it occasionally and let me tell you it is depressing!

In honor of our upcoming holiday, I thought I would post this picture:


Friday, September 2, 2016

Troubles with Blogger

I don't know what Google is doing with Blogger, but it's a mess.  They have made it difficult to go back and edit a post once you've published it .  Yesterday it created 3 separate blog entries when I tried to edit.   Another thing it's doing to me is that any comments left on my blog come to me in my preferred email program.  Well now, it is not only sending comments to aol but also to my gmail account.   Whenever things go way wrong on my computer I blame it on the developers changing things to suit folks who do everything on their smart phones.  I think they want to phase out us oldies who don't want to change.  If they ever make it so that I can't publish my blog or write & answer my email, then there is no reason for me to even bother with a computer.   What I don't understand is why they want to make it so you can do everything with one device.  That doesn't work for all people but it makes no difference to those making the decisions.    Sure, you can take a good photo with an iPhone, but it won't be as good as one taken with a real camera, special lenses, etc., and the know-how to use them.

Well, now that I have that complaint out of the way, I need to come up with some good news.  Frankly I can't think of anything superlative to write about.

I was telling Jeannie about my troubles with the Waterpik and getting water everywhere, and I mentioned that I had wondered why I didn't remember the kids getting into water fights with it.  She replied, "Oh, Steven and I had a major water fight - we got water everywhere including out in the hallway!"  They must have cleaned it up before I found out, and here I was thinking that if anyone would have done such a thing it would have been Mike (the oldest).   It turned out to be my two middle kids!   Sometimes it is interesting to ask your grown kids about things they did as children.  They tend to come clean and be pretty honest about things they got away with, but it makes the parent wonder how they could have been so dumb as to miss it entirely!   The irony of it is that they probably are completely blind as to what their own kids are getting up to!  That is one of the payoffs of being a grandparent, and you have to root for the kids even if you can't say anything out loud!

Last night we worked out at the gym.  Today my muscles are a little sore, but my upper arms look pretty good for an old lady!  I just can't understand why it doesn't translate to being able to lift heavy things more easily.  I have to say though that I don't knock myself out about it.   No matter what I do I will still have saggy skin in places, and I've long ago given up on the idea that I can turn back the clock.

I stopped at the AAA office to get a couple of maps for one of my kids, and got the BC/AB (Canada) maps and tourbook.  The tourbook includes all the western  provinces plus Alaska!   I haven't had a chance to do anything except give the map a cursory glance, so the dreaming hasn't really started yet.   Any possible trip is still so far off and with the uncertainty of my vision by then, I just have to be patient and let things happen, or not.  

I keep forgetting this is a holiday weekend, not that I'll do anything much different than what I normally do.   I stopped grilling outdoors a long time back and can't say that I miss it.  There is nothing like a well-grilled hamburger, but I get one now and then when my kids get together for a cook-out.   I had hoped to get a short camping trip in this fall but so far no plans have materialized.   It was so much fun camping when I had a 4-legged friend to go with me.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Another good breakfast

I baked muffins for breakfast, using walnut flour, eggs, just a tad of sugar (I don't like honey or other syrupy substitutes for sugar), a few other ingredients, and a cup of fresh blueberries.  The walnut flour is grainier than the almond flour the recipe calls for, but I like the muffins and will use up what I have on hand.  This recipe makes 12 muffins and I ate half of them for breakfast - will warm the rest up tomorrow morning.

All I did today that I can remember is that I washed a load of towels and dried them on the line.  I have another laundry basket ready to go, but it can wait.

I'm still reading Fred and Jo's blog of their trip to Alaska.  I was so anxious to get to the Alaska part that I started reading there and continued through their drive back through Canada.  Now I'm catching up on the border to Alaska section of the trip.  I think I would like to see the Canadian Rockies myself one of these days.  In fact, I've been looking up info and what I can find on my maps.  I recently got rid of nearly all my AAA maps - they were getting old anyway - and I debate getting a whole new set now.  Even if I don't use them on trips it is fun looking at them and seeing the detail, planning how I would drive from one point to anothr, etc.

So I've been doing a little daydreaming.  What if I would drive next spring from Sacramento up to Glacier National Park, and from there to Banff or nearby site in Canada.  I could do it if I made myself find camping spots along the way instead of paying for motels each night.  Of course if it is raining then I'm glad to get a motel room!

I think I would prefer going in the spring although the weather that far north can be so unpredictable.  So alternately, I could drive to NY in spring, stay 2 or 3 weeks, and then return by a very northerly U.S. route with a little "jog" north into Canada.  I had once planned to drive from Duluth up Lake Superior, into Canada and around and down into Michigan, but illness from some meds that had been prescribed to me made me have to cancel those plans.  Also, I'm not sure if I can compare campgrounds in the U.S. to those in Canada.  A campground is a campground, eh?  But maybe it is the manner in which they describe them that confuses me.  I would definitely do tent camping, not RVing, and would prefer to be in tent-only campgrounds.  I would welcome comments and suggestions from anyone who has info on camping in Canada.

This is what I do periodically when I get antsy for the open road.  I know that open road is slowly closing for me, so I have this strong feeling that I should do it while I can (and if I can).  As I have mentioned before, driving is the one thing that doesn't bother me as much, sight-wise, except I CANNOT do interstates any more.  I can't turn my head quick enough to merge in or out of a lane, for one thing , as I require more time to get oriented and by then traffic is whizzing around me.  I also CANNOT do cities, the size of which are almost always located on an interstate.  The traffic and looking for signs while keeping an eye out for everything around me, is just too much any more.  Little towns out in the sticks are great though!

The photos on the Wishnie's blog are superb and if you see the camera equipment he operates with you can understand why.  They are avid birders and I know many of my readers also love to see, identify and photograph birds, so you may want to check out Fred & Jo's.   I love to see birds but can no longer look through binoculars or at least not as quickly focus on them as I should.  When I lived in NC I could tell you every bird that passed through Asheville (with a stop at my bird feeder), and I loved being able to identify them.  Now I can't do it, and my memory fails me as well, so I am content to just look at a beautiful bird and admire it's glory!  But I get my "fix" when I see bird photos on your blogs.

Another good breakfast

I baked muffins for breakfast, using walnut flour, eggs, just a tad of sugar (I don't like honey or other syrupy substitutes for sugar), a few other ingredients, and a cup of fresh blueberries.  The walnut flour is grainier than the almond flour the recipe calls for, but I like the muffins and will use up what I have on hand.  This recipe makes 12 muffins and I ate half of them for breakfast - will warm the rest up tomorrow morning.

All I did today that I can remember is that I washed a load of towels and dried them on the line.  I have another laundry basket ready to go, but it can wait.

I'm still reading Fred and Jo's blog of their trip to Alaska.  I was so anxious to get to the Alaska part that I started reading there and continued through their drive back through Canada.  Now I'm catching up on the border to Alaska section of the trip.  I think I would like to see the Canadian Rockies myself one of these days.  In fact, I've been looking up info and what I can find on my maps.  I recently got rid of nearly all my AAA maps - they were getting old anyway - and I debate getting a whole new set now.  Even if I don't use them on trips it is fun looking at them and seeing the detail, planning how I would drive from one point to anothr, etc.

So I've been doing a little daydreaming.  What if I would drive next spring from Sacramento up to Glacier National Park, and from there to Banff or nearby site in Canada.  I could do it if I made myself find camping spots along the way instead of paying for motels each night.  Of course if it is raining then I'm glad to get a motel room!

I think I would prefer going in the spring although the weather that far north can be so unpredictable.  So alternately, I could drive to NY in spring, stay 2 or 3 weeks, and then return by a very northerly U.S. route with a little "jog" north into Canada.  I had once planned to drive from Duluth up Lake Superior, into Canada and around and down into Michigan, but illness from some meds that had been prescribed to me made me have to cancel those plans.  Also, I'm not sure if I can compare campgrounds in the U.S. to those in Canada.  A campground is a campground, eh?  But maybe it is the manner in which they describe them that confuses me.  I would definitely do tent camping, not RVing, and would prefer to be in tent-only campgrounds.  I would welcome comments and suggestions from anyone who has info on camping in Canada.

This is what I do periodically when I get antsy for the open road.  I know that open road is slowly closing for me, so I have this strong feeling that I should do it while I can (and if I can).  As I have mentioned before, driving is the one thing that doesn't bother me as much, sight-wise, except I CANNOT do interstates any more.  I can't turn my head quick enough to merge in or out of a lane, for one thing , as I require more time to get oriented and by then traffic is whizzing around me.  I also CANNOT do cities, the size of which are almost always located on an interstate.  The traffic and looking for signs while keeping an eye out for everything around me, is just too much any more.  Little towns out in the sticks are great though!

The photos on the Wishnie's blog are superb and if you see the camera equipment he operates with you can understand why.  They are avid birders and I know many of my readers also love to see, identify and photograph birds, so you may want to check out Fred & Jo's.   I love to see birds but can no longer look through binoculars or at least not as quickly focus on them as I should.  When I lived in NC I could tell you every bird that passed through Asheville (with a stop at my bird feeder), and I loved being able to identify them.  Now I can't do it, and my memory fails me as well, so I am content to just look at a beautiful bird and admire it's glory!  But I get my "fix" when I see bird photos on your blogs.