Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

More about the lentils

I hope you are not sick of hearing about this, but I just want to add a little more about my experience trying something new - something I never in my life thought I would like.  Perhaps it has something to do with the way I cooked and seasoned them, but they will be a part of my diet from now on.

First of all, I didn't cook them until they got all mashed into a paste.  You can still see the individual lentil in the soup, and I can tell you it is as good the next day as it was yesterday!

I started with a couple of tbsp of "Better than Bullion" paste.  It is is organic, reduced sodium, roasted chicken base, and I stirred it into the pan of water.  I added some chopped onion and celery, along with a can of Muir's Glen organic cubed tomatoes.  I added the lentils when I had brought the liquid to a boil, and only boiled them for about 20 minutes, before they turned mushy but were thoroughly cooked.  I threw in a few shakes of pepper, and maybe a tsp of cumin.  If I did anything else I can no longer remember it!  (oh yes, I did dice a chicken breast and added it to the pot.)  Delicious.

The high winds we experienced a few days ago certainly left a mess of dust & dirt, leaves, and other debris.  Fortunately for us, there wasn't damage to speak of in our area, although I don't have TV so I might not be aware of it.   It seems like the winds are picking up again today so it's not worth raking leaves or cleaning the driveway/carport.

Stay safe, wherever you are.


Monday, October 28, 2019

The verdict on lentils

I looked over many recipes for cooking lentils and finally found some suggestions that appealed to me.  I don't eat spicy foods these days if I can avoid them, so that whittled down the list.  What I did was take the ingredients from several different recipes and made my own concoction, to my own taste.  I'll have to say that I think lentils are tasteless in themselves, but with other ingredients and spices, I ended up with a pretty tasty lentil soup.  I think I will buy more lentils to have on hand while they are relatively inexpensive, and from what I've read about them, they are nutritious.  I used red lentils, but will probably buy some green ones to compare.  Thanks to everyone who responded with suggestions, recipes, etc.  I probably included a little bit from each suggestion and it turned out well for me.

Thank goodness the winds have died down here.   If they caused much damage in the Sacramento area, I haven't heard about it.  The winds came in gusts that looked and sounded pretty ominous.  At one point Rocky wanted to go out, and a bit later I saw him sitting on the backyard slope, his floppy ears blowing up and down in the wind.

I think I'm going to have another bowl of my lentil soup!  The lentils are not mushy, though I thought they would be.  Wonder if freezing them will cause them to get mushy when thawing for later use.

Now I'm too full and need a rest before continuing on with the little jobs I've been doing this morning.  I wish everyone a good week ahead, and hope you all stay safe from the disasters that seem to be in all parts of the country.  My heart goes out to all the California residents threatened by the fires, as well as to the brave men and women who are fighting them.

Friday, October 25, 2019


I'd like to say thanks those who responded to the questions I had in my last post.  I am planning to try the lentils within the next couple of days.

Rocky and I took our usual 4 block walk a few minutes ago.  He did so well on the final block - I guess he just needs to settle down a bit for the first part, although I'm going to try to get him to do it correctly from the time we go out the door.  I think a big part of the problem is me - I am not the most consistent person on the planet, and tend to be too easy going and lenient.
I'm going to cook lentils this afternoon (or maybe tomorrow), and I'll let you know how it turns out.  It will be a new taste for me and I'm eager to try them, although I don't cook very often these days.  Costco has such an amazing array of foods/meals that just have to be put into the oven or heated on the stove.  I've gotten lazy about cooking things from scratch.

As for my garden, I don't have the energy to get out there and work on it the past few days.  Grass is growing faster than I can pull it, and I don't understand why I didn't have a grass problem with the first garden square - the one with tomatoes and zucchini (as well as the marigolds).  The marigolds seem to be the best crop yet!  The second blooming is absolutely gorgeous.  They are now twice the size they were when they first bloomed.  I can take photos of them, but when I try to transfer them from my phone to the computer, I just can't make it happen.

I'm not sure if I covered all the questions in my last post, but I think I have.  Rocky and I have been feeling a little "off" today, so I hope things improve over the weekend, and a good weekend for all of you!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019


I have a few.  For any gardeners out there, can you tell me if I need to stake and tie up pea plants?  My plants are growing well, but I really am not sure how tall they will get or anything about them.  I had a seed packet and took out half the seeds for myself, giving the rest of them along with the packet to Ara.  So now I'm really not sure how to handle them, and don't find much help from the internet.  Thanks to anyone who has some advice about growing these plants.

Another question is for dog owners, particularly those with labs.  I just walked Rocky for about 4 blocks, and I want him to match my pace and to heel.  He wants to keep his head to the ground and sniff everything, and in his excitement he wants to pull me along at the pace he prefers.  By the halfway point in our walk he settled down pretty well to my pace, but he certainly isn't very disciplined.  I think part of it is his natural puppy disposition, and I certainly don't want to mess with that.  It is such a joy to try to see the world through his eyes, although I think most of what he knows about the world is through his nose!  He is so big and bold, but got his comeuppance when the garbage truck rolled by.  Rocky crouched in terror as far away as his leash would permit.  Unfortunately, this entire neighborhood as well as those surrounding it, have no sidewalks.  The property owners want to retain the "rural" nature although it is certainly no longer rural.  I'd vote for sidewalks and pavement that isn't cracked or buckled up.  It's no longer a joy for me to go walking with Rocky or on my own.  I miss my old neighborhood for things like that.  I seem to have  lost my original question, which is:  should I be more strict with Rocky, or should I hold off until he has a few more months under his collar?  He is very good about some things, like coming when called, but with others the little devil in his head distracts him completely.

My last question for now is about food, specifically, lentils.  I have never eaten them in my life, but have decided to try them and bought some red lentils.  There are many youtube videos that feature cooking with lentils, but most are of recipes with a Asian accent.  As I grow older I find myself returning to the foods I ate as a child - seasoned, but not too strongly, and certainly not highly spicy.  So I'm basically looking for a way to eat this grain (I think it is categorized as a grain).  Any recommendations will be appreciated.  My mom's cooking was southern, but she learned to like the German influence of my dad's sisters' cooking, so mom's was a great mix of those two cuisines.  Seasoned well but not too spicy.

I am trying to load photos into my blog, but it rarely works out.  I use my cellphone and the option to forward a photo to my email account, but nothing ever appears.  Of course you might note that once in a while I can post a picture and I have no idea how it happens or what I might have done differently.  My personal opinion is that smart phones are too smart for many of the people using them.  And who wants to be outsmarted by a phone - either a smart or stupid phone!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Here's to a new week

I wanted to include this photo in my last blog, but couldn't get it to work.  I will post it here, but it certainly isn't the best photo I've ever taken.  I keep saying I want to go back to a regular camera, but when I tried it I couldn't navigate through all the steps to simply snap a picture.  Why, oh why, do things have to be so complicated.  I think they do it on purpose to make people my age feel dumb!  And I refuse to feel dumb!  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

I think we are going to have a week in the 80's and then drop back to the 70's & 60's.  I'm anxious to see what is going to do well in my garden, as most of the plants are cool-weather varieties.  The grass in my garden is growing spectacularly, and I need to get out there and pull it before it's an overwhelming job.  When I look out the back door and see it, I feel overwhelmed already!

I've noticed that in the past several years I crave sweets more than ever before.  I've always preferred salty foods, but something happened to me.  Today I watched a couple of programs that say sugar is not healthy for the brain, and lord only knows, I want to hold on to as much brain power as I can.  I already find that I can't keep a thought in my head for over a minute or two and then it flies off into the wild blue yonder!  It's going to be hard to do without ice  cream, but I'd rather retain my memory!

Here's to a good week ahead for us all.  I am thinking about the folks in the Dallas area who have been affected by the tornado yesterday, and hope they can start the recovery process soon.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Under the Weather

I have been feeling pretty crappy today and sacked out on the couch for a big part of the morning.  I got up recently to get a pillow for my head, and my warm snuggly robe to cover me.  I was busy doing a couple of other things, and when I came back to the couch I found Rocky, stretched out like a king, with his head on my pillow!

Today is just about a perfect day, and I hate it that I can't really enjoy it.  I think tomorrow might be a good one, so I can make up for today.

Enjoy the weekend.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Days Roll By!

Sometimes I forget what month I'm in, and of course, I certainly can't remember the date.

Ara returned home this past weekend, and almost immediately got a new puppy.  She's been wanting one for some time, and now has a very cute blue heeler puppy.  Like children, the baby stage is so precious, but you can breathe a sigh of relief when they grow out of it.  I'm very pleased with my puppy (and yes, he's still considered to be a Lab puppy at 17 months).   Ara will do well with puppy training, as she really helped Rocky for the relatively short time she was here this summer.

I had my first experience with house cleaners this past weekend, and I'm very happy with their work.  They were here quite a long time, but said the next time it won't take as long.  I'm sure certain jobs aren't necessary as frequently as others.  But today I had an "AH HA! Gotcha Moment" when I found one of the side windows was neglected.  It gave me something to do, and I cleaned the dust off the wooden venetian blind slats and washed the window!  Everything else is just about perfect.

I want to mention that my garden is full of tiny sprouting plants - so many that I need to start thinning them.  As I said before, I was a bit despondent when sewing the seeds and I didn't keep any records of what the seeds were.  I can recognize the peas, and think I see carrots coming up, but I know there are several more veggies growing,  I need to get in there soon and start pulling out the grass that is sprouting.  I'm so happy about the garden so far, and look forward to next spring when I can get an early start and do it all better, I hope.  I will also need to figure out some way to provide a bit of shade in the hot Sacramento sun. 

I'm really sleepy, but am trying very hard to not nap in the middle of the day.  Enjoy the rest of the week, and I'm going to try to do the same!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

All is Quiet Now.

Ara left for home this afternoon, and Jeannie invited me over this morning for coffee and a last visit with Ara for now.  Rocky went with me and is always happy to see them.  He loves being around people, and sometimes I get annoyed with him but he's just showing his lab boistrous and loving nature.

Now I am back home and it has been so quiet this afternoon.  Rocky has snoozed most of the time, but I would like to go to sleep early tonight so I didn't want to nap. 

I went out into the back yard with Rocky a few minutes ago but didn't stay long because there is smoke in the air.  I'm sure there are fires in this part of California, and while the air isn't too bad it's still sort of smoky.

My garden is looking terrific - lots of seedlings popping up, but I need to start thinning them.  I'll do that sometime in the coming week.  I think I mentioned that while spreading a lot of the seeds I was feeling a little down and despondent, so I just sprinkled seeds without keeping a record of what was where.  I really didn't believe anything would come up.  Now I will be surprised to see what is growing.  The only seedlings I am sure of are the peas.   Fresh peas sound good to me right now.  I think I can spot carrots coming up also, but  not entirely sure yet.  I planted lots of either kale or spinach - didn't record which.  That will be a lesson to me to keep records, and I hope I get some nice vegetables before Christmas.

My house looks and smells so nice after the cleaning yesterday.  I will have them do it again the day before my brother and his wife arrive in November.  The cleaners took a really long time but were very thorough.  I think they are trying to get their business moving, and probably are fairly new to this.  I'm a good one to learn and to practice on because I usually have a lot of patience for something like this and don't mind giving someone a chance.  I'm sure they will get faster as the business grows.    Now, what I need to do is to empty out my refrigerator and clean it thoroughly!  It is a side-by-side model which I think doesn't holds as much, although it might just be my perception of how much space there is. 

I went back to my old hairdresser yesterday and once again got a beautiful haircut.  I had decided to find someone closer when I moved since I don't drive anymore, but now she has moved to a location closer to where I live now, and I was desperate for a good haircut.  I couldn't be happier.  My hair grows really fast, so I need a trim more often than I used to get by with.  I take the supplements Lysine as well as Biotin to keep my hair and nails in good condition.  The nails grow faster as well, and with my fading eyesight I don't trim and shape them as well as I used to.   Nothing works perfectly as one gets older!

Another Sunday is rolling around and a new week beginning tomorrow.  Have a good one.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Sitting in my yard!

I am sitting outside because I have a cleaner today.  I decided to hire someone to clean my house once a month, and today is the first day.  Next time she will be here is the day before my brother and sister-in-law arrive, so I will feel better about the house when they are here.

I have never had a cleaning service before and I think I'm going to love it.  I  have to keep Rocky out of the way, so that's why we are in the back yard.  The weather is gorgeous today, and my granddaughter (Ara) is here to take me to get my hair trimmed this afternoon.  Life is good.

I got back from having my hair cut and think it looks great.  The cleaning people are still here and my granddaughters and I are sitting on the deck with the dog.   Ara leaves tomorrow and we will all miss her so much.  She and Rocky have bonded!

Weekend coming up - hope you all can enjoy it.


Monday, October 7, 2019

Tired from the Weekend!

The weekend has been pretty busy for me, especially since Ara is here for a week.  Her mom threw a fantastic 30th birthday party for her and I've never seen such gorgeous decorations, mostly with a "30" theme.  Of course Donald made a prize-winning cake! 

Yesterday Jeannie and the 3 girls came over and stayed for the day, just "hanging out".   Yesterday we worked the Sunday NYT puzzle together which is always so much fun.  At one point Auti asked me "How do you know so many words?"  I told her that when she is my age she will probably know many more words than I do now.  She and I are both voracious readers, and that does seem to help increase one's vocabulary.

I'm pretty tired out today and haven't done very much so far.  If I didn't have the dog I would have gone back to bed for the day, although Rocky and I have both snoozed on the couch for a while. 

I have a renewed eagerness to see my garden thrive.  I mentioned that all the seeds I planted in two big starter trays have not resulted in one single tiny leaf popping up.  Last night the puppy from next door, my niece's puppy,  came over to play.  It didn't take but a few minutes for me to send him back.  He has the unbounded energy of a 5-6 month old puppy, and I noticed even Rocky trying to correct him a couple of times to keep him from getting into trouble.  He turned over one of my seed starter trays (about 75 little sections were planted) and I had dirt all over the deck;  then the little monster tried to chew the starter tray and I've had to throw it out.  But the seeds I planted in the garden are coming up, and as I started out to say, I can actually see rows of little plants.  I was almost despondent when I planted them, and didn't even bother to write down what was planted where.  It should be a fun guessing game as they grow.

I see the oncologist tomorrow and was looking over the results of the blood tests done a few days ago.  Everything looks excellent except I'm low on sodium.  I don't know why that is because I've never given up salt although I'm conscious to taste as I salt so as to not use too much.   Maybe sodium levels don't have anything to do with how much salt is in the food.   I still can't understand why I am so exhausted all the time.

 Have a good week, everyone. 

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Rip Van Winkle

I think I might have a slight idea of what Rip must have felt like, waking up after a 100-year sleep!  I just watched a Youtube video featuring two old guys - grey beards and all - talking about a device which might have been welcomed by airmen in the Vietnam War.

Wait a minute, I remember very well the time of that war, as I was in the age group of those who fought in it.  So back to the YouTube video, he is holding up this piece of survival equipment for airmen .    This old guy with the gray beard mentioned that his father served in the Vietnam War and would have appreciated having this equipment!  So I guess this indicates that I could have a son who looks ancient with a long gray beard.  Thankfully none of my 3 sons have beards, because they would probably have a little or a lot of gray in them!  I certainly feel every year of my age after watching and listening to this conversation!


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

In the Doldrums

I haven't had much energy or motivation for some time now.  I quit taking thyroid pills - I was getting a bottle of them every 3 months and paid all of $.86 for the entire bottle.  The last time I had the Rx refilled they charged me $15, and upon checking I notice the mfr was the same, and everything else was the same.  I think I wrote about this in a previous blog.  I really didn't think the pills did much for me, but now I'm wondering if the tiredness and lethargy I'm experiencing might be a sign I need the meds.  I will be going to the lab soon to have blood drawn for my upcoming visit to the oncologist, and wonder how I could get a thyroid test in the works.  Since I've moved I haven't gotten a GP at the new place and want to get a recommendation from my cardiologist at the same location as to which one she would suggest.  I really wish I had some energy and a positive outlook.

I've been going out for a short period of time now and then and planting more seeds in the garden - I just planted a row of spinach.  I had sewn 6 or 7 different kinds of seeds in special planting boxes about 2 weeks ago.  So far there hasn't been any sign of a leaf emerging, which is really disappointing.  I'll keep watering and hope I see signs of life within the next week, and if not then I will just give up on it.  What a waste of seed!   I'd like to hear from some of you gardeners out there as to your take on what I might be doing wrong.  I bought high-quality non-GMO seeds and planted them according to the directions on the packs.  I might spend a small fortune next year and buy established plants rather than deal with seeds.  Of course, I can thank Rocky for destroying a lot of what I planted.  Now I have fencing all around the garden plots, courtesy of Donald.

Speaking of Rocky, I've taken him for a short walk, about 3 or 4 blocks, for the last few days.  We both miss the exercise and it doesn't seem to make his limp any worse.  The vet told me he is overweight, but she also wants him to "stay quiet".  I think he got way more exercise when we lived in the mobile home park, and of course, it helped me as well.  So we are going to take a short walk each day for a week or so and see how we both feel about it! 

Our weather has been so beautiful and cool.  I'm actually wearing sweat pants and a sweatshirt today and am comfortable.  I think we will be going back up to the 80 mark for several days and then back down to the 70's for a while.  It's so nice to have doors and windows open, and no a/c necessary.  Rocky loves to look out the front door and I hate closing it on him so we can run the a/c.

Since I mentioned I'm in the doldrums, I think it is because I can't drive.  I need to go so many places - all nearby - for things like shopping, haircut, etc., and it's such a hassle to ask Donald to take me so I just don't go until I can't wait any longer.  Being stuck at home I have no opportunity to see and chat with others, and it's a damn lonely existence.