Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Monday, August 30, 2021

Living With Others!

I've mentioned previously that until the new house is ready Jeannie and one daughter are living with me, and Donald and the other daughter are with his mom.  On the one hand, I love having other people in my house and it is very comforting to me that they are near.  On the other hand, it can sure upset a routine when someone else has a hand in it.

Jeannie is an excellent organizer (she gets that from her late father, God rest his soul, and she has organized my kitchen cupboards, fridge, etc., so that I can't find a damn thing!   I really don't mind, because at my age I'm just glad I have the company, and Rocky and I really love the chaos.  As the oldest of 8 kids and with 4 of my own, I've lived in chaos all my life and thrived in it.  But finding things in my kitchen has become a little more difficult.  As long as she doesn't touch my bottle of scotch, I'll keep my mouth shut, just grin and bear it!

Sunday, August 29, 2021

The Caldor Fire

The fire keeps burning and continues to cover thousands of acres in the mountains.  I took Rocky out very early (for me) this morning, and the air doesn't look very healthy - yes, you can almost "see" the air.  I didn't walk far as I noticed and felt the poor air quality.

At this time of year I get a lot of mailings from nurseries, offering sales of plants and seeds for the coming spring (2022).  I am so anxious to get started in a new place, and design and plant a garden.  I think Donald is getting interested too, and would like to have some input on what to plant.  He is a gourmet cook, and I'm sure I will have a really good variety of produce and herbs with his collaboration.   

Last year I grew tomatoes from seed, but this year I think I will buy established plants.  I'd rather grow from seed because I love watching the tiny shoots when they pop out of the soil, but it is a crap shoot as to how they will turn out.  Last year I had about 26 tomato seedlings and gave half of them to Megan (my d-i-l).  She has done wonders with her gardening this year and has really reaped a good tomato harvest.  I think I didn't enrich the soil enough or with the right enrichments, because nothing i tried to grow was very productive, if it came up at all.  What a let-down after my success last season.  I won't give up though, because it is such a joy to me to see any results at all.

I can remember years ago, when I was just a child, visiting my grandmother, whose garden behind their house was probably just short of a quarter of an acre.  I still see her in my mind, in the garden with some type of hand plow, and a mule pulling it along as it dug trenches in the soil.  I wish I had been more attentive to her gardening, but my favorite thing to watch was when she made biscuits every morning.  Those biscuits were heavenly when just out of the oven.  But I also ate them cold and leftover, which amazed her.  She saved leftover biscuits for when she made dressing (or stuffing as northerners call it).  When I was a bit older I often made biscuits myself, and although they couldn't hold a candle to my grandma's biscuits, they were pretty good.  My husband and kids didn't really appreciate them for the amount of effort I put into making them, so I quit doing it.  I think about it now and then, but probably wouldn't try it at this late date.  It takes practice, and a person gets better at it as they get used to handling the dough, and I have no one who would help me eat them now.  Not that I couldn't eat a half dozen fresh warm biscuits at a sitting, but I wouldn't eat them cold, and I certainly wouldn't make home-made dressing!

After writing about biscuits, dressing, etc., I'm tempted to go make a small batch of biscuits!


Friday, August 27, 2021

"Another "T.G.I.F." Day!

 Fridays used to be looked forward to, and weekends planned with fun things.  Those days are long gone for me - I just appreciate living each day at a time.

This wait until our move is getting to everyone, and it isn't easy for any of us.  As I mentioned, Donald is staying with his Mom and Jeannie with me, with the two girls switching every now and then.  With the current fire situation, I'm worried the air quality will be such that the construction workers won't be able to do much on our new house until the air clears up.

Speaking of the fire, it is further "up the hill" as they say, meaning up into the mountains and towards Lake Tahoe.  But we get a lot of air pollution from the blaze, even here in Sacramento.  I certainly think the firefighters are true heroes, and pray for their safety as well as their mental health.  Just looking at videos of the fire on the news brings me to tears over the devastation, and those who witness the destruction first hand won't ever be able to forget it.

For those who have never been in this part of the country, I can tell you that it is probably one of the most beautiful places I've ever been in all the world - nature at its finest.  Now we are seeing nature at its worst.  I always loved backpacking and hiking in the Appalachian Mtns in the eastern part of the U.S., and they are like an old friend.  The Sierra Nevada in the west are more dramatic and powerful in their beauty, but often foreboding as well.

I am ready to get back to the cancer treatments on September 3rd, and hope they can give me a couple years more of feeling well.   Then I will have to start the process all over again.  I wouldn't want it any other way though - the dr. mentioned there was an ingredient they could add to the cocktail they inject into my veins but that it had side effects.  I replied that I don't want anything with side effects, and I've never been sorry, so far.  The only thing I have is fatigue, and that's bad enough.  Fatigue with hair loss or constant upset stomach would be much worse!

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

New Phone

 I am getting so tired of changes in technology, rearrangement of websites, and always something new.  I guess nobody else goes by the old saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"  Even writing and publishing my blog post is a challenge these days - I just want it to stay the same - easy to learn and easy to use - as it has been for a long while.  What improvement is made by changing things around just for the sake of change?  I'd be interested to hear from people who might like and look forward to the occasional changes.

I'm irritated because I got rid of the phone I had - way too many options for a person who uses their phone to make and receive calls and maybe to text and read messages now and then.  I opted to go back to a flip phone, and my son, Steve, set it up for me last night.  I like the phone, but when I wanted to make a call it wasn't all that straightforward.  I think once I get used to it I will really like it, but I don't recall having a problem with my first cell phone, a Jitterbug, touted as a cell phone for seniors.  That's all I want - a cell phone that works like a telephone - not a secretary to manage my life!  (I even went online and found that there are still regular old-style phones available.  The kind that sit on a desk or table, that many of us grew up with.)  I wish I had thought to look it up before I bought my new cell phone, although it would no doubt take having someone from the phone company come out and install the hook-up. 

I am so sad about the fires burning in the next county over, which is the county I hope to be moving to by the end of this year.  I can probably assume that the move-in date will be delayed - the folks who are working on the house might not want to go into all that smoke filled area.  The fire isn't to our new neighborhood yet, but the smoke is likely unhealthy to say the least.  Planes (tankers, I think) are constantly flying over my current house, no doubt carrying fire retardant, and the skies are hazy even here, about 30+ miles away.

The area burning right now is a special part of California, and the terrain, flora and fauna are beautiful.  Or at least they were - before this fire.  All my kids spent a week with their 5th grade class at a place called "Sly Park".  It was so special, and they learned much about the geology, geography, plants and animals, and the ecology of the area.  It has been a "rite of passage" for kids in the Sacramento area, and no doubt other areas of the state.  Now, I doubt if it will be replaced any time soon, if ever.

The stack of boxes in my living room has steadily been reduced - mostly because Jeannie has been advertising and selling a lot of small appliances and things from their old home.  She mostly does that on weekends, so nothing moves very quickly.  I grew up as the oldest in a large family (8 kids), and had 4 kids of my own; I have never been a stickler for a
"model home look".  Chaos has always been more of my style.  But I have had to look in the other direction many times in the past 4-6 weeks, as I know this chaos will pass.  I'm glad I've been able to "go with the flow" throughout my life, even though sometimes it felt like the chaos was going a bit too far and too fast!   And now this fire has caused me a lot of stress about the future move, but I feel guilty even thinking that.  The people who have had to leave their homes are the ones with a lot of stress!  My heart goes out to them, and to the precious wildlife who have lost their habitat, and even their lives.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Caldor Fire

In times of disaster it is wonderful to see where help comes from.  In the case of the fire burning in Northern CA, a nearby Walmart has offered a large chunk of their parking lot for people who have been displaced by the fire.  Cars, RV's, and tents are all welcomed, and different organizations are bringing food to those in need.

Our weather has been cooler since the fire and smoke block and/or diminish the sunlight!  A good breeze is blowing as well, which certainly helps the comfort level.  I haven't needed the a/c running for the past two days, but I think that will change by the end of this week when we will go back to triple digits. 

I took Rocky for a short walk this morning, and couldn't believe what has happened to the driveway at the nearby school.  Construction is underway for a fairly large new addition, and the heavy trucks pulling in and out of the school driveway have really torn it up.  It is certainly a hazard for me, and probably for many of the kids as well.  The entire street will need to be repaved when the construction is finished!  

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Visit to the house site

Today, Saturday, 8/21, we visited our new house site, and the construction is coming along very well.  The air is smoky from  nearby fires, but we were able to comfortably view the home.  This is my patio area, just outside my bedroom.  I will love being able to sit out on that patio and drink my morning coffee.

 Standing in front of my garage.  (Garage door to left of structure).  I have windows in my garage!  I think I've mentioned previously that the garage is going to be used as an art room by the kids and me, and will hold things such as my treadmill.

The house - my garage on right, and my kitchen, living/dining room, and bedroom behind it.  I will take pictures as the construction and finishing comes along, but this will give you a pretty good idea of what it's all going to look like.

My rooms are all behind the garage, all the way back, shotgun style.  It is small compared to the rest of the house, but is plenty big for Rocky and me.  I can use the living/dining and bedroom furniture that I have and won't have to buy furniture at all - maybe some lamps, but otherwise, I should be all set with a minimum amount to be purchased.

Jeannie's office will be upstairs over my suite -- you can see the three windows up there that will give her a million dollar view of the area for miles around!

This builder (Lennar) advertises the fact that everything is included, so you don't have to buy/add anything except your personal furniture.  I'm really looking forward to see the house completed and ready to move in.  Next time we are there I hope I can get more photos that will show it in a more finished state on the inside.  There is a closet that will hold a washer/dryer, and will be very convenient for me to use.  The kitchen space is small, but adequate, and Donald has helped me pick out some appliances that will be perfect for the space.  I don't cook these days, so I don't need an elaborate set-up - just enough to prepare my basic meals.  I also don't eat much, so I sure don't need to be bothered with a full, family-size kitchen!  It will suit me fine because I will have the space I need in my living and sleeping areas, rather than in the areas less important to me.  I basically need a place to plug in my coffee maker, and room for a small dinette set, plus cabinetry for food and utensils.  Oh, and a perfect spot for Rocky's dish!  And when I'm hungry, I will just go next door where my gourmet cook-son in law will feed me!

Speaking of Rocky, he's been limping this afternoon.  He won't let me look at his paw too closely, and I don't know what he did - if it's something he stepped on, or what.   I feel so bad for him.  He has certainly changed since he turned 3 yrs old at the end of May.  He no longer gets into things or destroys them while I'm gone, so I can safely leave him with the run of the house.

The Mom of a friend of Arianna comes by now and then, and yesterday she brought two of their four dogs with her, one being a beautiful black lab.  I just love the lab's temperament and easy going nature.  Of course they can find their way into trouble if not kept busy and challenged.

I mentioned the fires burning up in the mountains - we are getting a lot of smoke and skies are hazy, but so far they have presented no immediate danger to us.  We always pass a deer or two on the way up to the house site, and they don't seem to be skittish - the first time we drove around the nearby neighborhoods we passed a contingent of deer peacefully grazing at a crossroads.  I worry about the wildlife in the vicinity of fires, from deer to snakes.

Sorry to be so wordy this evening.


Fire in El Dorado County!

I am not sure how close our new house site is to the terrible fire burning in the county.  I don't think it is in our area - my son, Steve, and his family live close to where we are building, and he told me the fire is moving in the opposite direction.  I'm not familiar enough with the area to be able to say one way or another.  It's a horrible loss of property, forest, and wildlife, but so far I haven't heard that there have been human casualties.  Fires are to be expected in  northern California in the summer, and I think it will be worse for the next few years due to the predicted drought.  I am currently in a safe place, but it is terrible to hear the planes flying over constantly, no doubt to get water to drop on the fire.  I haven't heard many today but the past 2 or 3 days there has been a constant run of them.  I'm not sure where they are getting the water as every source is currently lower than usual, and I doubt if they would use ocean water - it seems the salt water would kill every bit of foliage and wildlife it comes in contact with, and the fire is doing just that.  The flames have consumed an area we have always looked to for recreation, boating and camping.

Today has turned out to be a beautiful day here in Sacramento - temps this week are predicted to be in the 90's which will be comfortable as opposed to the triple digits we've had lately, and will probably return to before winter arrives.

I had to have blood drawn this morning for a couple of my doctors, including the cardiologist and the oncologist.  The results all look normal except for one that is a little outside of the normal range.  The woman who drew blood did an excellent job and I only have a tiny red spot where the needle went in.  I haven't heard anything yet about a booster for the Covid vaccine, but I've reached the six-month point and I hope to renew the protection for the next six.

My life has been so boring since the first of this year, and the highlight of this week will be a trip to Costco this evening.  I always enjoy walking through Costco even when I don't need or buy much.   

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Spring Planting

I get so excited this time of year as I look over mail from flower & bulb growers, and try to decide what I'd like to plant this coming year.  It may be tricky because while were supposed to be in the new house before Christmas, the delays associated with the pandemic might push the date back a bit.  Most of the bulbs and plants I'm looking forward to growing will need to be in by early January.  I want to try some new things this year - as well as the tried and true daffodils and tulips.   My daughter-in-law, Steve's wife Megan, has offered to help me out.  She has done absolutely wonders with gardening this past year, including things I've never thought of as far as where to plant.  She has the standard garden, but also uses other available spaces that normally wouldn't have flowers and vegetables growing in them.  I think she's a genius, and I look forward to her helping me.

I've been getting mail and suggestions from Spring Hill Nurseries, and think I will go to them for all my plants and seeds.  Their selection and variety is astounding, and they guarantee everything they sell.  I wrote them a few weeks ago to ask some questions about their selection, planting times, etc., and they responded immediately.


I just hope I have the initiative and energy to do a garden this coming winter 

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Fire Danger

 I would estimate that I live about 35 or more miles from the area where the fires are actively burning.  The smoke makes things hazy, and because it cuts off direct sunlight it is a bit cooler than it would normally be.  Planes are flying overhead every 10 or 15 minutes, no doubt carrying water and/or fire retardant.  

I could cry when I think of all the poor animals and reptiles that can't escape it.  I haven't heard of any loss of human life as of yet, and hope those who need to will all evacuate safely.  Jeannie smells the smoke although I can't because I've lost most of my sense of smell.   

We are in the first stages of a predicted five-year drought, and can only hope that there will be a break in weather patterns that will allow us to get some much needed rain.  I have also recently read that there will no doubt be water rationing in our future.  I have always tried to be frugal with finite resources, but I don't think my kids got the message.  Those of you who are close to my age probably experience the same - kids today have no understanding of what life was like before telephones in every house, or cars in every garage.  No television, videos, or electronic devices of just about any kind.  We played outside nearly the entire day, and had to come inside when the street lights came on!  In a way, it's a different life for each generation.  I'm glad for the experiences as well as the deprivations I had though.




Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Better than I Thought!

I just had a phone visit with my oncologist and it looks like I'm doing better than I thought.  I guess I'm not ready to "check out" just yet!  Sometimes how you feel depends on how you think you are doing, and I wasn't holding out much hope.  I'm going to do an "attitude adjustment" and see if I can get myself to a more positive outlook.  I have a lot to live for, but have to just keep my "eye on the prize"!

After so many days and weeks of extremely hot weather, it looks like we have a week in the 90's ahead.  That will feel a bit like a cool spell.   You  have to keep in mind that with so little humidity, the 90's can be tolerable!  But your skin dries up like a prune if you don't take good care of it.  I have always hated smearing oily and greasy lotions all over my skin since I was a teen, and I'm paying the price now for years of neglect!

 I just decided to take Rocky for a walk before it gets too hot.  I set the broom I was using against the wall, got Rocky ready, and picked up my hiking staff which was right next to the broom.  Of course you can tell what I did - I was out the door and halfway up the driveway before realizing I was carrying the broom instead of the hiking stick!   I often give myself plenty to laugh about.  Imagine someone seeing an old lady walking up the street holding her broom in one hand and her dog's leash in the other.  We had a nice walk and I need a short rest.  Rocky is already on the couch in his favorite spot.

I wish you all a good day today.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Heat wave!

I'm sitting here in the pleasant morning drinking my coffee, but I realize the day is going to get hot.  I went to a weather website to check it out and nearly fell over!  The temperature for the next week, starting today, will be:

109, 110, 105, 102, 102, 103 and 104!   Then we will revert to a cool and more comfortable stretch of days in the upper 90's.  Probably not quite hot as hell, but close!  And it's dry as a bone.

Yesterday Donald drove us all up to see the new house in progress.  My son, Steve, his wife, Meg, and their two kids met us there and it was a nice get-together.  Their house is fairly close to where ours is, which will be nice.  The house looks huge to me, and it is large; I am going to love my space!  I couldn't take photos because Arianna is using my phone until her new one is fully activated.  How times have changed.  When I was her age we had one wall phone in the kitchen area.  It was opposite the stairway to the basement, and my parents got so mad at me because I would stretch the cord so that I could sit on the stairs and close the door for some privacy.  I'm sure I messed up more than one phone cord.  Now, everyone in a family has his or her own phone, with no cords attached!

Sunday, August 15, 2021

New House Coming Along!

We went out to see the new house today, and I can actually see so much progress and look ahead to how it's going to be when we are ready to move in.   My space is absolutely perfect, and I couldn't be happier about it.  Just enough for Rocky and me, and not too much.  The kitchen space will be a great adjustment to make - it's actually just adequate to be functional, and without excess.  I think it will be all I need, and plenty at that.  I didn't take any photos but hope to get some from Donald or Jeannie, and by my next visit - hopefully one week from now, I will take many pictures.  We drove around the adjacent streets and I am really looking forward to moving in and meeting our neighbors.  There will be enough "Next-Gen" models that I hope to meet at least a few compatible folks.

I have been depressed lately at how my life is going - the cancer returning makes me a bit anxious.  But seeing the new place makes me determined to start feeling well again and get some enjoyment out of life at the new house.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Planning is Half the Fun!

I've been looking at gardening websites and can barely hold myself back from ordering plants, seeds, bulbs, etc.  I discovered that if I order bulbs which will be delivered in November, I can keep them in the freezer until I am ready to plant, which would probably be January, the month after we move into our new place.  There are so many gorgeous iris, as well as tulips, daffodils, etc., that I want to buy.  I will include Arianna in the planning and planting, as she will likely be the one to care for them when I can no longer do so or am not around.   I would also like to plant some flower seeds, as well as a few veggies.  But I will be moving to someone else's house, and I will be subject to their ideas about what they want in their yard!  I sort of wish I had my own place where I can do as I choose, but that time of my life is over!  I will have my own patio, but growing plants in the ground is my first choice - I cannot imagine a potted tomato plant!

The kids have started school and I think they are all happy to finally be able to go back to the classroom.  They also love being with their friends again - they did visit back and forth with a couple of them during the past year, but I'm sure they are happy to be back in a structured environment for a change.  Of course they wear masks while in school, and many of them keep their masks on whenever they are away from home.  I can't imagine what the past year must have been like for the kids - their whole world was altered.  Mine too!

I would love to see some rain for a change, but it seems that we are in the beginning of an approximate 5-year drought!  I've given up on gardening for the rest of this year - the tomatoes that I planted aren't the tastiest, nor did they grow to their full size.  The sun is way too hot for them as well and many of the plants didn't survive early summer.

I'm not giving up on anything, but will have to look at alternate ways of doing things in the future!  

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Another Hot Spell!

After a week of temperatures a bit lower, we're headed back into the 105+ range.  I can't describe how much I dislike weather this hot.  I haven't been able to walk Rocky for quite some time now, and won't be able to take him out for a while to come.  He doesn't even want to go outside in this oppressive heat that makes it difficult to breathe.

The new house is coming along with the second floor being framed in.  Jeannie & Donald drive out every week to look at the progress on the house, but they usually go late in the day and by that time I don't have the energy to go anywhere.  I'm determined to go the next time unless they have other stops in their plans.

I am looking forward to September when I can resume the cancer treatments (infusions), even though they take away all my energy.  I wonder how well they actually work in the long run - I'd be happy with two or three years of being symptom free.   The doctor offered me a choice to have another ingredient added to the infusion, but when she said it had a side effect I didn't even bother to ask what that effect would be.  It is sure to be hair loss or nausea, and I don't want either one.  Since I'm not in any pain I feel like I can make the choice, and if it shortens my life then so be it.  I still have a good enough quality of life, but I'm not afraid to pass on either!  I'd like to remain for Rocky's sake.  I wish I'd get my appetite back, although I'm not losing any weight, but not gaining it either.  I snack on a lot of junk rather than sit down to a decent meal, but at least I eat what I feel like fixing.  My younger self who always cooked everything "from scratch" wouldn't recognize me now.  Thank goodness for frozen foods in individual portions.

Speaking of cooking, my space in the new home doesn't really include a kitchen; just a small fridge, sink and a microwave-convection oven (I think that's what I'll have).  I bought an electric hot plate that is big enough for a large pan or skillet.  Since I rarely cook these days I won't miss the big kitchen appliances.  I think I've written previously that I will have a private patio, where I can sit and enjoy my morning coffee!

And finally, speaking of patio, I've decided I am going to buy myself some really nice patio furniture.  I've always used an assortment of odd pieces and used items that have been given to me, so I want to indulge in a nice, pretty, matched set.   Something that includes a chaise-lounge would be sweet!


Sunday, August 8, 2021

Losing It!

What I'm losing is control over my life, and I don't like it one bit.  Maybe someone else out there has the same thing happening to them - either adult children or someone in your lives taking over everything, telling you what you should and shouldn't do, etc.  I'm fed up with it, but I don't like confrontation so I put up with it for the most part.  But I do a slow burn inside! 

As I'm sitting on my deck writing this, a small bird flew over my head, probably missing me by an inch or so.  It then landed on the deck railing and perched there for a bit while I looked at it and tried to think what message he has for me.  He flew off into the trees as quickly as he came. 

This is the first time in a long while that's been cool enough to sit outside and enjoy the evening breeze.  I think we are returning to hot weather 24/7 later on this week however.

My sister and brother-in-law visited me today, and we had a nice 2 or 3 hour chat.  I really enjoy it when they stop by - they live up in Carson City Nevada, so I don't see them but about once a month. 

That little bird flew up to the top of a tall tree in my back yard, and is still there, flitting around and doing acrobatics, and then returning to the branch.  He must be catching insects in the evening air.

As I've mentioned before, the first 79 years of my life have been wonderful, happy, and fulfilling.  But oh that number 80 is a P.I.T.A. and I don't know if I'll make it to 81, or if I even want to.  It's just not fair.

Thanks for reading, if you've gotten this far, and I know a good night's sleep will do wonders.  

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

We're all vaccinated!

I'm so glad that all my kids and their families are now fully vaccinated.  Jeannie, Donald, and their two girls got their second shots yesterday and are a bit under the weather today, but they'll soon be feeling fine.  I wish they would announce availability of a booster - I was vaccinated in Jan/Feb of this year and it's now been about 6 months.  I don't think they really know how long the immunity lasts, but since I rarely go out of the house I'm not too worried.

I have a couple of medical appointments, but they like to make them remote via the computer.  I think it's a total waste of time, and absolutely useless. But at least I don't have to go into a waiting room where I sit in an uncomfortable chair until I can be seen.  I'd rather sit and wait at home! 

I will be so happy when the fall weather is here, as I've had it with summer heat!  The outlook is for more hot days in August.  Thankfully it gets down to the 60's at night and I have a wonderful cool breeze flowing in the bedroom windows.   I think the elevation change in our new location is only about 600 ft., but there is probably much less pavement to reflect the sun's heat.

I recently watched a video on productivity, using a planner, etc.  I don't know about you, but I have never found a planner useful in my life!  I write all kinds of notes and plans for my week, and within a couple of hours I'm already behind the plan!  Either that or I become obsessive about doing a task because it's in my plan.  I admit I just don't have the self-discipline to follow plans or rules, but I've been that way for 80 years.   No use changing now!  I do write things on a monthly wall calendar.  The calendar makes me so happy to use it as there is a different picture of black labrador retrievers on each monthly page.  Sometimes I just gaze at the pictures and admire the beautiful breed!