Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Clampetts Go Camping

We just got back from our family camping trip. I tell ya, camping is the highlight of the year for me. This trip I decided I need to have my morning coffee while looking at views like this much more often in my life:

I need more of this.

We went back up to Panguitch Lake, Utah. You might remember we went there last year, which is where my sister almost caught the whole campground on fire. It's a wonder we were allowed back.

My brother came with us this time, which was great because he's the master fisherman in the family and this trip I actually caught fish! It's been a few years since I caught anything, so the first time I saw my pole moving (If I were a guy, here is where I 'd say "giggity") I got super excited at the thought that it could be an actual fish bite and not just the wind or my line getting snagged.

I started reeling in like crazy and then I saw the fish jumping and fighting and that was all she wrote. I was reeling and laughing and jumping up and down like a dang fool. And for some reason a hillbilly accent found it's way into my voice and I started yelling, "Ah hooked me a big'un! Come on babee, com-m-m-e to mama!" Like I was some kind of deranged Clampett.

Here's me and my big'un
I have to say...I totally get fishing. And can I just say, it's a hell of a lot more fun when you're catching fish! I caught 4 the first day. Mr. Fishy in the picture there was 16 1/2 inches long, which was a pretty decent size. I know this because my brother meticulously measured each and every fish everyone caught. He'd announce the size like a proud papa announcing the weight of his newborn son, "2 pounds and 16 1/2 inches long. Woooo-hoo!"  I guess that Clampett trait runs in the family.

My brother, the best fisherman I know

When I told my sister my fish was 16 1/2 inches and I felt like I just had a baby, she says, "Or you were with a Jamaican!" 

That's my sis. The Trampett. (Tramp + Clampett. Get it? Hee hee. Just kiddin', sis!)

My sis and her dog, Buddy
Speaking of her dog (well, I guess I wasn't, but that's him in the picture), every dang time she'd come over to our campsite with him, he'd lift his leg and pee on something. It got to where we'd see her and him coming and we'd scramble to pick up sleeping bags, shoes, and anything else we didn't want dog pee on (I know grammatically that should be "on which we didn't want dog pee", but that just sounds completely wrong!).

Speaking of bodily functions, last year when we camped at this campsite, all but one bathroom were shutdown for a few hours one afternoon due to a water pressure issue. I had to stand in line for 45 minutes and swore that I would buy a portable bathroom for this year's trip so I wouldn't have to worry about such things again.

So I bought a Luggable Loo, which is basically a bucket with a toilet seat on it. You may laugh, but it worked quite well. We bought a privacy tent, which we, in true Clampett style, renamed The Poop Tent. And our own personal outdoor bathroom was born. After my hubby put it together, we began looking for the perfect spot to put it. 

I now understand why dogs sniff around for 20 minutes before finally settling on a spot to poo. You should have seen me walking around, trying to find the perfect Poop Tent spot. First I wanted to put it by a tree, then I didn't want it too close to our tent, but I didn't want it too far away either, in case I needed it in the middle of the night. I didn't want it too out in the open, and it couldn't be on a slope because that would be a disaster waiting to happen. I could just see myself tipping over. 

After making my husband follow me around for 20 minutes, carrying the Poop Tent, while I sniffed considered several spots, I finally found the perfect one.

Now isn't this a cozy spot to do yer biznus?
Then some very high winds kicked up and it looked like this:

Not pretty.
Fortunately, no one was occupying the Poop Tent when that happened. And yes, that's cat litter you see knocked over in the picture. I read that you put a scoop in the bucket before and after and it absorbs moisture and cuts down on odor. It worked quite well, actually.

Didn't I talk about poop in my last post too? Sorry about that.

This trip was even more exciting than usual because we bought a new camp stove and I couldn't wait to try it out:

Now that's a serious camp stove!
I loved cooking on this thing! And it came with a dutch oven so we had biscuits and gravy and peach cobbler. Yum! I wrote a review and article about it with recipes over on Hub Pages if you want to check it out.

And then our trip was over. I made a resolution this trip though. Come hell or high water, I'm getting a travel trailer and dragging my hubby and dogs with me across this country so I can have my morning coffee while looking at beautiful scenery. And I need to get my butt in gear and figure out a way to make a living while on the road to make it happen. I've got some plans cooking though which I'll share in future posts. Because this here is good for the soul:

That's it for our camping adventure this year. I hope to go again in September though. My sister and her husband and me and my hubby are thinking of getting a cabin for a few days. Hopefully, that will work out.

Until next time, this deranged Clampett is signing off. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

It's Not Easy Being Green

I've never been a very consistent blogger. From the very beginning, back in January of 2010, when I made a resolution to blog (among other resolutions, a few of which I haven't kept), it has been a rhythmic pattern of surfacing and submerging that continues to this day.

It's kind of like when I tried to keep a journal consistently over the years and I'd write a couple pages in February 2000 and next thing I know it's 2003. Yeah, it's kind of like that.

So...sorry that I've been submerged for the last 6 months, but I'm going to try to surface again now.

I'm not sure what to surface with...a post about my green smoothie every morning, or about my daughter Sissa who's off backpacking in Hawaii.

Guess I'll start with the smoothie thing (Yup, it's all excitement and edge-of-your-seat thrill rides over here). I know you're thinking, oh yay. A smoothie story.

I'll keep it short.

So my last post I told you about how I fractured my back from bending over to tie my shoe right? And I was feeling a little better by late October, but not as good as I thought I should. I was eating better and taking vitamins, had lost a little weight, but I still just wasn't feeling...healthy.

I had even bought some stuff called "Go Ruby Go" from a vitamin catalog that my mom had. It's a fruit powder that you can mix with juice or water and is supposed to give you energy. The ad shows old people riding bikes and Skeedos and rock climbing and stuff. So I thought if it can give old people energy, maybe it would help me too.

Let me just give you a little warning about ordering something from old people junk mail. You will be added to all the old people junk mail mailing lists in existence. And there are a lot of them. A lot. I get vitamin catalogs, gardening catalogs, testosterone replacement ads, reverse mortgage ads, even offers to pre-buy my mortuary plot.

They could save some postage and just send the mortuary plot ads and gardening catalogs together. "Your loved ones will never have to be bothered bringing flowers to your grave again, with our new forever-blooming bulbs!" or "Sow your tomatoes and meet the reaper in one convenient location!"

The worst ones are the ones with pictures of poop in them. Yes, apparently, pooping is a hot topic among old people. I kid you not. Take a look:

Yes, those are supposed to be photos of poop. I know, right?
This was just one page of a 12 page newsletter ad whose topic was poop. So my point is...don't order from old people's junk mail unless you are prepared for a deluge of poop ads.

Your mailbox will be overflowing. (Get it?)

ANYhoo, even Go Ruby Go (and as I typed that I realized that name could very well have been a product advertised in the poop ad.) was not not giving me energy or vitality.

So I went to see a homeopathic doctor. Don't judge me. I believe in medical doctors, but I believe in alternative therapies too. If something works, then it works. Does it matter whether it's homeopathic, chiropractic, psychopathic...whatever? Well, maybe not psychopathic, but you know what I mean. I just wanted to feel better. (Defensive, much?)

The first thing she told me was to drink a green smoothie every morning. Green being...well...greens. Spinach, kale, collards, leafy lettuce, those kinds of greens. I add in a little fruit, carrot or cucumber if I like, and non pasteurized orange or tangerine juice. She gave me other nutritional advice also, but that was the biggest change for me.

And you know what? I finally started to feel better.

I've slowly made some other changes in my diet, like eating less processed foods and less animal proteins and animal fats. I cut out red meat, but I still eat fish and some chicken. I eat a whole lot more vegetables and fruits than I used to and I pay attention to food labels more than I used to. I buy organic whenever possible and try to cut down on the toxins and chemicals that I put in my body. Some we can't control, but many we can.

After about 3 months of doing this, my sister told me I look younger. I've lost 23 pounds and dropped my cholesterol by 33 points. My regular doctor was genuinely surprised that I did that by diet alone. He had been trying to get me to take cholesterol meds, but after seeing my blood test after a few months of my new eating habits, he said, "Just keep doing what you're doing."

I now realize what a powerful thing diet is. It's one of the few things in our lives that we have control over, yet it can be so hard to just take control of it. It doesn't help that processed food loaded with chemicals are cheap and easy and fast to eat while the healthy stuff takes time to wash, cut, and prepare. It's much harder to eat healthy than to eat junk. Hence, the obesity problem in our country.

But that's a whole 'nother post. I guess my point here is...we are in control of our health. And diet and nutrition are powerful, powerful things and the right changes in those areas can make a huge difference in how you feel. It did for me.

I didn't mean to get on a soapbox, really. Just sharing my experience.

This post is going longer than I intended and I didn't even get into the endearing little nicknames my hubby and brother called me while I was wearing that awful brace. Names like Borg and The Metal Menace, to name a few. Nothing like good 'old family support, right?

So that's it for now. Next post will be about Sissa's backpacking adventure in Hawaii. Leave it to my hippie daughter to find a spot in Hawaii with no cellphone service and where supplies come in by boat.

At least they don't get poop junk mail there.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fractured Fragments

It's Friday Frag time! Yaaay! Time to sum up your month week with a bunch of tidbits thrown in one post.

So here we go:

Frag #1
I've been MIA. I know. Last I wrote, I was getting ready for my Sisters Zion camping trip, then for all you knew I fell off a cliff or got eaten by a bear or something because I didn't write again until now and it's been about a month.

The thing is, the morning of the trip, I bent over to tie my shoe and felt my entire spine shift. Yeah. Freaky! Well, to make a long story short, I went on the trip and went to see the doc when I got back and after a bunch of X-rays and tests, I found out I have a compression fracture. Three, actually, but two are old.

Apparently, I have Osteopenia, a precursor to Osteoporosis. So my bones are week and can just fracture for no good reason. Perfect. Oh, and I'll probably shrink a few inches too. Getting old is a bitch.

ANYwho, to help the fractures heal, I have to wear this brace. No, that's not me in the picture. I don't smile when I wear the damn thing. It's uncomfortable and makes me feel like Robo-mom.

So, I haven't felt like blogging because sitting at my desk was just too uncomfortable. By the time I get home from work, I just want to rip the brace off and lay on a heating pad. I'm feeling better now though, so hopefully I can get back to my Friday Fragging. Unfortunately, I have to wear the brace for another 4 weeks or so.

Frag #2
My male co-workers have told me I share a bit too much of my personal life with them. A manager at my job very politely informed me that all of my doctor appointments were showing on his calendar. I realized that I had put them into my shared google work calendar instead of my personal one. Great. He now knows about my Saturday mammogram at 9AM.

As if that wasn't bad enough, I sent out an email to my co-workers letting them know I'd be in a bit late one morning so I could refit my brace. If you have your phone set to notify you when an email comes in, it will show a line or two of the email, like it does for a least the iphone does. Well, one of my co-workers showed me how the email notification appeared on his phone. Here's what it said:

"Hi Guys, I'll be in a little late because I have an appointment for a refitting of my bra..."

Perfect. Another TMI about my boobs.

Frag #3
My sister and I did go on our Sisters Zion Camping Trip. Yes, that should be capitalized, because I'm going to declare it a holiday to celebrate every year! We had a great time, despite my back. I'll post about it over the weekend, complete with a pee can story or two. Yes, pee can. My sister pees in a can when she camps. Meanwhile, here are a couple of pic:

This was right behind our campsite.

This was the view on one of our scenic drives. 

Frag #4
I've spent the last couple evenings googling Fall crafts to make and found the cutest ways to decorate with pumpkins. My sister, daughter, and I are going to do some pumpkin crafts next week for Fall. Here's a couple of pics of ones I want to try:

How cute is this?? Sequins!

What's not to love about polka-dots and glitter? I want to try to do these in Fall colors.

This website has directions on how to make the polka-dot ones (they're super easy!) and links to a bunch of other easy pumpkin decorating ideas, if you want to take a gander:

Don't you just love Fall?

Frag #5
I haven't been doing much comic making recently due to my back problem, but here's a couple I made before we went to Zion. These are actually recycled ones I had made a few years ago on a different comic making site, but they got no recognition over there whatsoever, so I remade them on my new favorite comic site. Because I like validation.
(Remember, click on the 4-arrow thingy in the bottom right to make it bigger.)

Well, that's it for my Frags this week! Thanks for indulging me once again. If you want to read more frags, or post some of your own, be sure and link up with Half-Past Kissin' Time!

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Keepin' Calm and Fraggin' On

Friday Fragment Time!

Oh, how I love the fraginess that is Friday!

If you want to write a post about the bits and pieces of your week, do it and link it up at Half-Past Kissin' Time so we can all see what you've been up to. Because we're a bunch of nosy mothers.

Frag #1
Menopause makes me snarky. That's all I have to say about that.

Frag #2
My daughter, Sis, who is 22, went to Portland, Oregon a couple weeks ago to visit a close friend who moved up there. Sis was so taken with the place that she's making plans to move up there too.

Apparently, it's not against the law to walk around the town naked. There's even a lady they call "Naked bike lady" who rides around town naked, then parks her bike by the local bank, puts on a dress, goes inside and is the teller.

It's quite an open, accepting town, Portland is. On the one hand, I'm excited for my daughter embarking on an adventure...on the other, I'm worried she'll be "Naked Dog Lady" or "Naked Loud Girl" or some other such thing. She's a free spirit, my daughter. It's something I admire about her. I just want her to keep her spirit clothed, that's all.

Frag #3
My other daughter, The Girl, invited me to something at her Church called Cardboard Testimony. I guess it's a thing many churches do. She wanted me to go because she was participating in it. 

I'd never been to one and it was so inspiring and moving that I cried from beginning to end. I know it's silly, but it inspired me to post a comic about it (not that the service was silly, but the wanting to make a comic about it was). The signs in the comic are a few of the real signs that I saw during the service.

Faith, no matter what it is that we have faith in, is a powerful, powerful thing.

(Click on the 4-arrow thingy in the lower right corner of the comic to make it bigger, then to scroll it up just click and drag)

Frag #4
My sister and I decided to go on a girl's camping trip to Zion, Utah. We're going in a couple weeks and I can't wait. There won't be any fishing adventures this time. Just her and me tubing down the Virgin river, tooling around the lovely Springdale town right outside of Zion and where we'll be staying, and going on a hike or two inside the park.

The only thing I dread is that my idea of a hike and my sister's idea of a hike are quite different. I want to sort of, moderately stroll, and she's like exercise Hitler. I might have to put some booze in her water bottle to slow her down. Of course then she'll get chatty. Damn. I can't win either way.

Frag #5
And speaking of camping and travelling and such things...I made another comic featuring my little trailer. Have you ever looked up "Vintage Trailer Interiors" on Pinterest? Oh, My. Gosh. I could look at those cute little decorated trailer pictures all night.

Anyway, my comic site had a contest to make a comic about your dream home, so of course, I had to feature my trailer. Here it is:


Frag #6
My last frag is just to say that I actually wrote more than one blog post this week! I know. I can't believe it either. We visited my mom and her husband in California over Labor Day weekend and I took some lovely pictures and did a quickie post about it.

If you want to take a gander at it (because I don't think anyone has read it yet, besides my sister-in-law - Hi Trish!), you can read it here. And here's a picture of my lovely mom and her sweet and supportive hubby:

Well, that's it for my frags this week. Hope you have a fun weekend and remember, "Not all who wander are lost."  - J.R.R. Tolkien

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Monday, September 2, 2013

How to Pretend to Be Retired

I didn't do a Friday Frag post last Friday, but I have a very good reason. They hubby and I went up to Hesperia California to visit my mom and her husband for the long weekend.

We love visiting my mom because she lives in a semi-rural area in Hesperia and has a large yard filled with a garden and birds and squirrels and other wildlife. We like pretending we're old retired people with nothing too terribly important to do.

So, what do you do when you're visiting your mom for the weekend in a somewhat small town? Well, I'll tell you:

First you get mani/pedis, of course. I forgot to take toe pictures.

Then you visit a bakery called Bodacious Buns ( I know, right?) and look at the cute cakes on display and wish you knew how to do cake decorating.

It's a couple in a hot tub. Isn't that adorable??

Then you split a scrumptious lemon bar with your mom and talk about how delicious the shortbread crust is and the lemon curd filling and the cream cheese frosting. And you and mom chat with the shop owner about Garden club and organic food and religion.

Then you move on to an antique store that just opened up that your mom's been wanting to go to. And you ooh and aah over all the cute vintage-y things like these jars that have been decoupaged and embellished until they're just too cute for words:

Decoupage, beads, lace, tiny flowers and a glue gun. Couldn't you see your makeup brushes standing up prettily in this?

Love the shape of this one!

After browsing for an hour at the antique store, you go back to mom's and take pictures of her garden:

An old ladder with a few old, worn birdhouses sitting on it makes for cute garden decor, don't you think?

I love Mexican Bird of Paradise. Mom has several of these bushes in her yard.

Then you take pictures of mom drinking wine in her garden:

My beautiful, happy mom.

And you can't resist taking pictures of the sky at dusk because it's so beautiful and every single dusk looks different:

Dusk from Mom's yard

The next day you sit in mom's garden again and you and mom decide that the side of the chicken house needs some paint. You have no mural painting skills whatsoever, but decide to start painting then and there:

Planted myself in the dirt and decided to paint me some flowers on the chicken house.

Then you make your husband take pictures of you and mom painting the chicken house and you make sure and pose like an idiot.

Add caption

By then it gets hot, so you go inside and decide you want an agave margarita (of which my step-dad makes delicious ones), but he gets out the blender and you say, no, they were on the rocks last time he made them and he says no, he blends them and you say no, you're sure they were on the rocks, and he says fine, you make them.

So you do. You mix tequila, lime, agave, ice, and a little water in a cocktail mixer and shake it up real good and oh, they are delicious. Then you all laugh about how you bickered over how to make them. Then everyone takes a nap because you made them too strong.

After passing out napping, you finish painting the chicken house:

You can't see it real well, but the left side and the right side are painted tree trunks. Those green things on the top are leaves. Mom had a bunch of old birdhouses, so we nailed them up like they're hanging on the branches of the tree that you can't tell is a tree.

After another beautiful dusk, you help cook dinner and you have delicious homemade ice cream for dessert. Ice Cream made with homegrown figs and peaches:

There's fig ice cream with bourbon sauce, peach ice cream, strawberry ice cream, and carmel ice cream. 

Of course, you have to get up early the next morning to head home and you must take a picture of the pretty sunrise which you can see from your bed:

No filter on this one. Can you see the little sliver of white moon off to the right?

 On the way home you must take pictures of the cloud formations because they are so clear and white:

No filter on this one either. Doesn't it look like a swan, with the neck to the right and the body on the left?

I did put a filter on this one. The sky was just beautiful on the drive home.

And that's what you do when you visit your mom in a small-ish town over the weekend and pretend like you're a retired person.

I can't wait to retire!

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