Vivid Dawn's random ramblings

Camping trip 1



Antelope Island State Park – Utah

April 21-22, 2014


7:00 pm


Finally packed up and on my way. The drive through the city was as expected…nice and boring and frustrating because I wanted to get there NOW!

I finally got to the park gates, paid the $15 fee, and started across the causeway. I didn’t remember to record the drive, but it probably wouldn’t have been a very good video as I was heading west and the sun was directly in my vision and would have been glaring the whole scene on camera too.



8:00 pm


People had been warning me about the bugs, but I didn’t bring any insect repellent. I have been to Willard Bay State Park many times, and they have TONS (probably literally) of bugs, and I’ve never really been bothered by them. But the ones at Willard don’t bite/sting…the ones on Antelope Island do! The whole time I’m setting up camp, I’m getting little pinches and stings all over my face and neck.

I hurried to get the fire going, so that I can sit in the smoke and use that as a bug repellant. Since I was in a hurry, I made the fire wrong. I put kindling down, then plopped a single log on top of that… the kindling had flames, but the bigger chunk of wood didn’t have any air circulation under it and really just smoldered… at least there was plenty of smoke for me to sit in!


There was a little black beetle bug sitting in a space between my car and the campsite. Every time I went past, it raised up it’s end and waved it at me. I think it was a stink bug warning me it wanted to spray (never did, though).

Didn’t see any Bison, but did see evidence…very old droppings! LOL



9:00 pm


I start to get a little nervous. I know the wildlife there, so I knew what to expect. The sun had set just under an hour ago, but it was still rather light for a while. The birds were twittering, squawking and otherwise making nice background noise… until they all went quiet suddenly!

A bison I can see coming, and birds probably wouldn’t have “alerted” to that anyway. So now I’m wondering if there’s a cougar slinking around somewhere, and I get on high alert too! After a few moments I heard a coyote do a yip-howl, and felt much better. A coyote is more intimidated by humans, and I could likely scare one off with just standing up and waving my arms. A cougar, especially a hungry one, would be another matter!



10:00 pm


The fire is out and it’s dark enough I don’t feel safe with being outside anymore (coyotes still yipping ever so often). Plus, I want to get enough sleep to get up in a few hours to watch the meteor shower. So I pack up all my food and put it back in the trunk of the car so no critters will get any bright ideas about a midnight snack from my camp.

Even with the windows rolled up, I can still hear coyotes carrying on ever so often. The sky has large patches of clear space and stars twinkling though. Looks promising for the show!



April 22, 2014


12 am


Finally get to sleep. I’m warm, but underestimated how uncomfortable the back seat of a car is. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was flat, but there’s that hump in the middle between the two main passenger seats (supposedly 3 people can ride back there, so why the huge lump??). And a seat belt was jabbing me in the ribs.



3:30 am


Woke up just before my 3:45 alarm. The sky is one huge dome of dull gray…not a single star can be seen glimmering. Bah! So much for that idea. I decided to go back to sleep until the sun is up.



6:45 am


Once again beat my alarm by about 15 minutes. I get up, get dressed – and very surprised it’s not colder than I thought it would be – and use the toilet, which smells pretty good for being a hole in the ground kind!

While I was awake, but still in that mode of sitting around and getting more alert, a beautiful yellow bird flitted to the bushes next to my car. I scrambled to get my phone off the charger in the front seat to get a picture, though it doesn’t seem to be quite as nice as I wanted. In flight the bird showed off it’s bright colors more, but being landed it of course wanted to blend in with the ground cover.



7:30 am


Now that the sun isn’t blaring into the front window, I enjoy the scenery a little more. And finally remember to record a bit of it. Of course there’s lots of different birds, and I finally saw a larger animal! There was a lone deer on the causeway, who ran off when a construction truck went rumbling past. I could see plenty of tracks in the mud of the salt flats a little closer to the main land too.



Whenever I tell people I went camping the other day, as soon as they realize I meant JUST me… “You went by yourself?!”

Um…is there some law saying I can’t, that I don’t know about? I don’t understand why this is such a shock. Yes I have a bad heart, and it does randomly have “episodes” that need a trip to the hospital to remedy. Yes I’m a little 5-foot 80 pound weakling girl. Yes I’m going in just my car with a cooler of food.

Yes, I can do this! I can’t refrain from having fun for all the “what if”s. What if my heart went crazy? Cell phone, and I pace myself so I don’t get over-exerted. What if I can’t prepare my camp on my own? Don’t take too much and distribute weight into smaller loads. What if it gets cold? I have wool blankets (actually had to take the blanket OFF a couple times last night as I was so warm!). What if there’s wild animals? That’s why I’m in a car, not a tent!

I’ll be honest that last night was a little intimidating and daunting. The fire didn’t get going big enough (my own fault for rushing it), and therefore got into my car as soon as it got dark enough I couldn’t see anything bigger than a chipmunk coming near my camp. I had plenty of gas so I could run my car and use the heater if needed…but I didn’t, as the wool blanket was plenty!

But I had fun, and I will definitely do this again! All by myself!

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Creepy Crawly Cookies

I decided to try a new hobby – entomophagy. As with most hobbies I enjoy, this will probably prove to be too expensive to pursue very much.

I bought some wax worms from San Diego Wax Worms ( $13 for 125 worms plus shipping. Next time (if there will be a next time) I think I’ll have them packed in newspaper instead of sawdust, for the simple convenience of not having to pick apart worms and shavings when prepping them for freezing.

Here’s my video of prepping them.

I decided the darker ones were not worth frying (only 2 moved if I poked at ‘em), and just threw them away.

Today I made cookies. It was supposed to be this recipe (, but I am horribly lazy when it comes to cooking and baking, so I cheated with this easy/quick recipe:

1 box yellow cake mix

1/3 cup oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

1 bag chips (I used butterscotch, as I had an extra bag)

½ cup nuts (obviously I used my worms instead)

Mix half the cake mix, oil, vanilla and eggs until smooth. Put in chips and nuts, stir until all blended. The dough will be very thick (this was an understatement! I had to quit using the spoon and knead it with my hands to get all the cake mix powder combined in the dough).

Bake at 375f for 8-10 minutes. My cookies were about 9 minutes, and are still soft/chewy (I don’t like crispy treats…partly why I don’t like nuts!)

It was interesting in a disappointing way. I ate one cookie, taking care to notice any particular uniqueness. The worms were chewy themselves (kinda like soggy popcorn – head and legs were like the kernel sheaths), had no distinct flavor apart from the general sweetness of the cookie. I even picked a couple out to eat alone without cookie, and still didn’t really notice anything different. I drank half a glass of chocolate milk. A few minutes later I did have an aftertaste of walnut.

Supposedly wax worms taste similar to pine nuts. I’d rather have pine nut than walnut 😦

So! Verdict is that while I guess they’re okay, I won’t be spending $13 on wax worms. They’re just not different enough to warrant that price.

Next adventure is meal worms, which I can get at Petco for only a couple dollars. They can go in cookies too, which I will try. But I guess they’re good for stir fry also, and I can do BOTH recipes without spending my whole week’s entertainment budget 😉

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Rootin’ tootin’ shootin’!

A local, certified firearms instructor offered to give me a free (first time) private class, as I’ve been getting an interest in guns. So he met me at the gun range yesterday. For the most part it was great and I learned lots of nifty stuff and had fun shooting. Didn’t have much fun with the heart freaking out and ruining our fun with an ambulance arrival :p

Short story long:

We met in the parking lot so I could learn some basics before just going right in and getting ahead of myself. This is okay with me, as I’m in no rush and realize it will take time getting to know about guns. He showed me all about bullets, casing, priming, cleaning, loading, general safety tips, etc. I asked questions, got clarifications, and I hope I’m a good student 🙂

So then we go inside and get to the cleaning supplies so I can see the different oils and brushes and all that good junk. Then to the counter to rent an aisle (free! Apparently Tuesday is Ladies Night) and a gun. Another .22 but a little bigger than mine, and honestly a little intimidating. But I guess bigger is better for my worries of the noise and recoil and all that junk. Got the ear and eye gear on and went into the shooting booth.

I expected it to be noisy, but good grief! That gunfire was still loud even with earmuffs, and I could also feel it physically in my chest. And it startled me the first couple times, as nobody gave any warning (aren’t you supposed to yell “Fire in the hole!” first? LOL) just all of a sudden BOOM!  … BAM!  But after a few times I got used to it and focused on him and learning more. At this point I’m thinking “Okay, this is it, I’m really doing it” and getting both excited and a little nervous. So my heart is a bit jumpy – but I figured that would happen. No big deal.

We get to our aisle, and I wanted him to shoot first just so I could watch how that particular gun (the rental, not mine) sounded and acted when shot. I have seen slow-mo video on YouTube and know that there’s a small fire burst when they’re shot, and wondered if it would sting my hand. Also worried that any recoil would make me drop the gun, since I have wimpy weak little hands. Over-all I’m just sort of worried about shooting and ending up hurting myself.

So he did a few first, and my heart starts pounding a bit faster as it gets to be my turn. So I adjust my hands how instructed, take a deep breath and slowly pull on the trigger. Click. Eh? “I think I broke it!”

Nope, he messes with it a moment and hands it back. Another deep breath, clench my teeth and slowly pull the trigger… BOOM! goes the gun, and BOOM goes my heart too.

It didn’t hurt. In fact, it really didn’t even ‘kick’ at all. The only thing I wasn’t expecting was a dull tingling in my trigger finger (kind of like how you hold a vibrating thing for a while – vacuum cleaner handle, electric screwdriver/drill, etc.) and have a mild numby feel). It wasn’t painful, just odd and unexpected.

And it was fun!

But my heart decided I was having a bit too much fun and excitement and kept pounding and racing. I sat down and tried to relax a bit. Big steady breaths, clearing mind…. He suggested I go out into the shop where it wouldn’t be so loud and cramped. So I do and take all my head gear off and take another breather. After a couple minutes I could tell that it was “stuck” in an episode I’ve had before…200 beats per minute and pounding hard! The only fix is IV meds. Oiy!

So. I got to shoot ONCE, and we were only there maybe 20 minutes or so. I feel bad for ruining the fun so quick. And kind of embarrassed to be toted off in an ambulance! LOL

Since I haven’t had SVT in a few years, and it took over an hour for the meds to fully work (they’re supposed to work instantly, but I needed 2 doses and my heart kept trying to go back to speeding), they decided to keep me overnight for observation. And I got new meds.

The morning doctor who came to see me said maybe I shouldn’t do gun shooting for my poor little heart’s sake. But MY doctor (who came in the afternoon) actually encouraged it. He wants me to not only be out, active and enjoying life, but wants to see if these new meds work. I hope they do! And now that I know better what to expect, I probably won’t be nearly as nerve wracked either…I’m looking forward to next week! 🙂

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Good times

I got my paycheck from TextBroker. The bad news is that I didn’t put it in savings. The good news is that I get plenty of stress relief and laughter – I bought the kids a new toy! It’s one of those ball track things. Ollie (currently a foster) seems to think it’s a good place for a nap. The two black brothers play with it the most, as they’re the youngest and easier entertained than the older cats.

Ollie toy nap
I also bought a new litter scooper – metal, because the plastic one is just too flimsy. I also bought 140 pounds of litter, so that should last me a while!

I have decided to try a new schedule. I will wake up at 4am (give or take an hour), and start my daily To Do list. Then a nap, THEN go help Gabi with her chores. Bedtime is now set at about 6 to 8pm.
Two days. So far, it’s going pretty well! I have cleaned up a major section of my main room, almost caught up on laundry, and better about eating more often. Even though I don’t actually have more time, it certainly seems like I do!

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Aaand another thing!

I had a friend comment on the “excuses” post, and it reminded me… I volunteer at a cat shelter for an hour, twice a week. Again, the boss lets me go slow and take all the time I need. Because I AM willing, I wanted to do my fair share and not be a “slacker”. Well… I tried mopping the floor. 5 hours later I was in the ER with A-Fib (a heart arrhythmia that can cause strokes!).


So see… I keep trying, and it just doesn’t work! *sob*

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Excuses, excuses…

I have to rant.

Whenever people (usually online, sometimes in “real life”) find out I’m on Disability/SSI & food stamps, 99% of the time they automatically make the assumption that I’m a lazy moocher and tell me “get a job!”.
Good grief, you don’t think I’ve tried?? For one thing, this economy doesn’t make that task the easiest to fulfill. For another thing, I am limited in what I can do on a daily basis.

Here’s a history of what jobs I’ve tried – and failed.

These are jobs I got when I graduated high school AND had Voc. Rehab “assisting” me.
3 months = Video game store at the mall. – Yes it was seasonal, but they did say employees could stay after the season. Obviously I wasn’t good enough to be ‘rehired’ after New Years.
0 = McDonalds. Interviewed but not hired.
0 = Wal-Mart. Didn’t even get called in for an interview at all.
0 = TONS of secretary/office clerical jobs that I applied to. Never got past a first interview, if even that far.

I decided that Voc. Rehab was not being very helpful, so I started looking for jobs on my own. While I knew I had to be a little picky (couldn’t physically do stuff like construction work or anything requiring more education than HS Diploma), I did try to do what I thought I was able.

2 months = soup & sub sandwich shop (quit because standing for 6 hours was KILLING my back, even though I liked the job…didn’t like the daily pain that made me lose focus halfway through my shift because I was so distracted with HURTING!)
3 months = “bather” at a dog grooming place (I can’t lift more than 20 lbs, so was constantly having to pull other workers away from their jobs to help me with hefting dogs up into and back out of the tub)
3 weeks = Target (explained my disabilities and they said they’d work with me… yet 3 weeks later I was fired for being “inefficient”). Really the only reason I got this job at all, was my sister works there and put in a good word for me.
2 years = telemarketing (had 2 heart attacks where the ambulance had to come get me, and I finally quit from the stress)
2 years = accounting (also had a heart attack with ambulance called AND had a stroke and heart surgery before they finally let me go).

So when people say “just get a job, and stop giving excuses”, it really annoys me. Easier said than done.  Mentally, I would love to work. I am more than WILLING! However, actually being ABLE to is another matter.
Yes I help a friend (also with disabilities) do her house chores a few times a week, but it’s only for a couple hours (10 per week max). And unlike a regular employer, she lets me go slow and take a break if I need to. There’s been many times that I end up taking a nap in the guest room halfway through chores, and resuming later after I feel better. It takes me a good 3 hours to do 2 hours of work. No true employer is going to be as lenient and accommodating (even if they SAY they will, like Target had).
Doing simple things either put me in pain, or aggravate my heart problems. Sweeping or vacuuming a floor gets my heart pounding and fluttering. Standing to cook or wash dishes makes my back hurt and cramp.
I understand there’s lots of fraud with the government assistance programs, and it irritates me too…because it’s not fair to the people who REALLY need it to be ruined by the few “bad apples” in the system.

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The good, the bad, and the wonderful!

Wow, I haven’t written anything in “forever”! (well okay, just over a month…but considering I wanted to do at least once weekly… oiy!)


Okay, so… the good is that I got a blood test and apparently I’m perfectly healthy. I thought I was low with Magnesium, but it’s just right… maybe I’m just a wimp and fret about every little thing. The bad, is that even though all my electrolytes are fine, I have another ear infection. Had fevers on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Now my ear is ringing, sounds have a metallic quality, I have pressure and feel like a bobble-head. In May I had this, and was given antibiotics which really did nothing…so I figure it might be viral. It could be worse though, at least I have no pain…just the little annoyances.


The wonderful… well, just about everything else. I am so grateful to have luxuries in life like a home to live in, any food I want to eat, a car, a computer. Yeah, some people think those are life’s “basics”, but really… there are plenty of people living in the streets with literally nothing. I am soooo not in a position to complain about anything!

I should go to church tomorrow.


And I have 3 foster kittens that are all black. Big Brother is doing just fine. Little Brother should gain at least half a pound (if not more), and Sister is right about at 2 lbs when I weighed her last week. They’re all playing and healthy, so I guess I shouldn’t worry too much. At certain angles, they look like wingless bats… of course I can’t take a decent picture because they’re constantly moving! (except when they’re asleep of course).

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Sunday service

I did not go to church (yet again!). I did, however, serve my fellow men… well, women actually.

Today I delivered a live trap to a lady who is trying to catch all her ferals and get them spayed.

Then I went to Gabi’s and scooped litter (only did her bedroom and the 3 biggest boxes downstairs).

On the way home I decided to take the scenic drive by the river. I was just under 60mph, and would have liked to go slower, but I’m not sure if I would get in trouble for that. Probably not, as there was hardly any other traffic and I wouldn’t be impeding it. Besides, I had medicine for the foster kittens that needs refrigeration and as it is was kinda warm when I got home.  No pictures of course, since I was driving  😉  Maybe next time I’ll stop on the shoulder if I see something particularly pic-worthy.

Now I’m going to put new linens on the bed, take a long bubble bath, and go to bed. Got a doctor appointment in the morning, then back to Gabi’s to do a FULL job of scooping all 20-ish boxes.

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Such a busy weekend!

5/16 Thursday – The weather was stormy. A little too chilly for my liking, but certainly nothing like winter…sooo glad THAT is over! Anyhoo…there were dark rainclouds high in the sky, and the white cotton fluff kinds hanging along the mountain side, and just enough sun peeking through to illuminate everything beautifully! I wish I could have taken a picture, but I was driving where the most beautiful scene was.

My dad went to the emergency room because he was worried about not having a bowel movement since his surgery on Monday morning. Apparently the narcotic pain killers they gave him made him very constipated. An injection of some sort, prescription strength Metamucil, and he’s just fine now.

I took in four kittens who are about a month old. One I gave to Gabi because it just wasn’t gaining weight, but otherwise seemed healthy. The other 3 are a pound, though I wish they would gain a bit more. However, they have plenty of energy!


5/17 Friday – Went to help Gabi with chores a couple hours early. Then we drove to Salt Lake City and went to a German deli/grocer so she could get her “homesick fix” with buying lots of breads and meats (she stores them in the freezer and has a supply to last a few months – then she goes back and does it all again, 3 times a year or so). Then we went to a Brazilian Grill type restaurant where they bring the roast meat to your table and carve it right off the spit. I have been there about half a dozen times, this was Gabi’s first time…and certainly not last! We kept thinking of all the times we could have the excuse to go there…birthdays, anniversaries, or just for the heck of it. That place is wonderful!


5/18 Saturday – My birthday. But did I get to have the day off and be pampered? Noooo, I’m too nice for my own good. Work at the cat shelter at 11am, then drove cats 30 miles up to the adoption event at Petco. Of course this was the day that the store was crowded (dreary weather seems to bring everybody to the pet store) and we were understaffed with volunteers, so I stayed the whole time. Usually I don’t do much other than sit around and answer customer questions, but with fewer other volunteers, I actually worked! Made sure all the cats had food and water during the day, changed soiled litter boxes, and finally packed up cats and drove them back to the shelter. I didn’t get home until after 8pm!


5/19 Sunday – Since I was so busy yesterday, today was the family birthday party. My sister and dad each gave me $35 (a dollar for every year), my 6 year old nephew gave me a penny (he couldn’t find anything else! HAha!). I got cookies-n-cream cake, and actually was able to blow out the candles… since my sister was nice and didn’t use the trick ones this year that re-light.

The directors and supervisors at ANBAR gave me a cat tower/condo, since I don’t have one and always wanted one (I have a little scratching post, but nothing elaborate for my kitties to climb on/in).

I used my birthday money to buy a futon, since I really have no furniture in my apartment. I don’t like to use my bed for anything other than sleep, and my computer chair really isn’t the greatest for lounging around and reading a book or something. It will be delivered some time next week.


Yesterday I let the kittens out of the bathroom, since they have been meowing pitifully for a while the other day. All my cats are vaccinated, so I figure it’s okay. And I supervise the outtings, and now they’re basically out the whole time. I do put them back in the bathroom when I leave the house, though…just in case!

Elly doesn’t like them too much. She gets all growly if she even hears them. Nebbie will sniff noses, but if they try to cuddle up to her, she gets hissy and leaves. Xanthe also growls, but is usually in the other room anyway. Zinny seems more scared of them, and will jump back and run away when they get close.

I clipped their claws (very carefully!) today, as they are just shredding my legs to bits when they try to climb up me.

And I still haven’t chosen a name for Scooter…

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Scooter – aka: ?

Kitten season has begun!

In the last few weeks, the no-kill rescue I volunteer with has gotten over two dozen kittens! Oiy!

One of the kittens seemed to have deformed back legs. Special needs cats are extremely difficult to adopt out – and since I already owned a crippled cat, my boss asked if I would take this one. She was calling him Scooter, because he would scoot instead of crawl. His feet also point outward to the side, rather than pointing straight in towards the front paws like they should.

In the last couple days he has started walking better and better, so maybe his tendons were just a bit too short when he was born. He’ll probably be perfectly fine, once he gets moving around more and can stretch out his muscles a bit. He’s already lifting himself up on them, rather than just pushing against and going forward along the ground.


Anyhoo. I refuse to keep his name Scooter. For one thing, that’s sort of mean (I didn’t name Paizly “Stubby”! Though my dad did call her that, but it wasn’t her official title), plus if he’s getting better it wouldn’t fit anymore anyway!

So now I need to come up with a proper name. I want it to be unique and reflective of either his appearance or personality (he’s much more calm and quiet than his siblings).

3 or 4 weeks old

3 or 4 weeks old

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