December 23rd, 2018

Adventure, food, Just things, Scotty Hilander, Travel, Uncategorized

2018 State of the Union

For those of you who read my blog regularly you know it’s been another eventful year for me and my family. Quite a bit happened throughout the year.

The biggest (and by far the most devastating) news was, of course, losing my Dad to cancer. We all miss both him and my mom a lot. My sister seems to be doing okay currently but that still weighs heavy in the background. I am fairly certain that you know my thoughts on cancer by now…

I have been going through and organizing and putting my digital photos into albums and sharing them with family. I had to sort through over 8,000 photos in the computer and I have to scan probably hundreds more into it; at least we will all have them. It got to be pretty tough looking at some of the pictures of me with my parents, thinking back of what we were doing and where we were when we took certain pictures – Wyoming, Washington, Kansas, Colorado…many, many places. There will also be many more from their own adventures and trips in the scan pile.

Looking through all of these pictures definitely brought back many other memories, too. Pictures of my three daughters and five granddaughters certainly bring back lots of memories along with many of friends, other relatives, reunions and such. Sorting through my digital pictures and organizing into albums has been on my personal to-do list for a while and now it is done. I definitely will keep them organized into photo albums as I add new pictures.

Speaking of the trailer, it was a very big travel year for me. My life-changing European Tour in Jan/Feb, a trip or two to MT, a road trip to KS, several flights to KS to see my Dad and family, a day trip to Victoria, BC, a trip to CA in the Scotty and numerous nights spent in Seattle making the most out of any trip there to either fly out or to get personal things done.

In a previous post I mentioned that I was pretty lucky to be able to travel as much as I did, albeit some of it was certainly not for pleasure. I definitely had other plans for travel but those were plans were changed due to the cancer my Dad was diagnosed with. I was hoping to involve him in some of these travel plans but it was not able to happen since his health deteriorated so fast.

I got in extra work hours in the Winter/early Spring and that helped pad the savings a little bit. I moved to a new studio in a new area this year in order to take a new job with a new employer. There ended up being some more changes at work that turned out good for me. I even got in a little more work in the late Summer/early Fall. I also ended up  moving to the house next door. More room, no more storage unit or storage lot for the trailer.

The new house has a much bigger kitchen and I am taking full advantage of it. The Hello Fresh boxes are filled with tastiness but I’m going to have to scale back and do it intermittently – I can save a little money that way and I have other things I want to eat and like to cook other than what they offer (which is a decent selection). Getting six single meals out of three meals for two really is a lot of food and cuts back on my variety of choice with all of the leftovers.

I picked up a Cuisinart Toaster Oven/Air Fryer combo appliance to use up some of the newly-found kitchen space and I am very impressed. Usually combination items like that do everything half-assed, or maybe only one thing pretty good, but this one does it all and does it well. It keeps me from having to heat up the big oven (saving money and heat in the middle of summer), I can air-fry stuff so it is healthier, and it’s one appliance and not three (saved MORE money!). That was a really good purchase.

Around Black Friday I was lucky enough to get in on a Hulu subscription for 99 cents a month for a year. It really helps out with getting through the short daylight hours here in the PNW.  I have been bingeing on TV shows – “Three Sheets”, “Scrubs”, “Seinfeld”, and a few British shows (the selection is slim). I find their movie selection a bit thin as well but I got to see some interesting documentaries so far. With a price like that I definitely couldn’t lose. Plus, I still have my Apple TV box with free Pluto TV, local news on my KIRO 7 app, and the PBS app.

I have some friends out of town and they asked me to check on their chickens for them – mainly it is to grab the eggs that are laid so they don’t lay on them to hatch. I went over there the first day and when I went to the gate it was just like going to Meghan’s house. They ran up to me and looked up at me like “So, where ya been? Got anything to eat?”. They were not skittish at all and would not leave me alone. I snagged the two eggs after cleaning out the water container and the feeder. Next day I took a few apples from my tree over to give them and they liked them. I got three eggs from the nest box and as I was leaving the pen a couple of the chicken-puppies had to see me to the gate. I reached down to grab one and it walked away but the other one stopped and stood up very straight…sure enough he was waiting for a back scratching. Cracked me up. So, I obliged and gave him a scratch and he just stood there taking it…just like we all do. One of them even stuck its butt in the air like a cat when I scratched back by it’s tail.

I am more than ready for this shitty year to get out of town and I sincerely hope the door hits it in the ass on its way out. I am looking forward to a better year in 2019. I am sure there will be more travel and adventures. I know that I am very fortunate that I get to live my life as I do: living in a great places, working with some fantastic people in a fun places doing a fun job, getting to have plenty of time off to do what I want, traveling as much as I have gotten to travel and seeing the places and doing the things I have gotten to see and do (and more to come!). I have worked very hard and made sacrifices the last six+ years to get to this point and I do not take any of it for granted.

Concerning this blog, yes I have slowed down on my posts a little but there has not been much new to write about. There are no plans to stop blogging and will continue to keep you posted. There are a few people who read and/or subscribe to it and I thank you for that. Hopefully you find it interesting and get something out of it on ocassion. I’ll continue to post my adventures or anything else that may (or may not) be of interest. Send comments if you like, and I will approve to post them (usually all of them) if I think it’s okay. Maybe you have a question…wanna know about something I post about? Perhaps a personal question? Feel free to contact me and ask. Personal questions will not be posted but I will respond to you.

I saw a woman at the Post Office a few days ago that had on bell-bottom jeans. I thought I was having a flashback. Many years have passed since I have seen a pair of those things, and many more have passed since I bought my last pair. WTF were we thinking?

Overall it was a good year, but one thing – the loss of a loved one – can really bring the whole year down – and that one thing was terrible. I do my best to keep my head up, though. Life carries on and we need to as well. Doesn’t make it any less painful; it’s just the way it is. It helps to have support from family and, given what we have gone through, my family has shown over the last two years we are incredibly strong.

Here’s to a better new year in 2019. Hopefully the world will be a better place. Sooner rather than later, preferably.

Peace to all.

 

 

 

December 8th, 2018

Adventure, food, Just things, Travel, Uncategorized

It’s been a bit busy lately. A plane ride to Montana, wrapping up holiday shopping in Seattle, getting some things done around the house – filing away and getting rid of old papers, going through stuff to put away and getting rid of some things.

Lately I have gotten to try a few new places to eat. Before I went to MT I ate at a burger chain called The Habit. It is supposed to be an up-and-coming place but I was not overly impressed. The burger was decent but the fries were rather generic and boring. I felt that it, much like Five Guys, was way overpriced (but not AS overpriced as FG). Five Guys has some of the best fries I have ever eaten. and all of the toppings included for no extra charge…but too pricey. To me the best burgers for the money are usually the greasy ones at the dives.

Thai Basil in Bozeman was pretty good (found out it is a chain, casual atmosphere), and The Local in Belgrade, MT had a delicious Wagyu burger at a reasonable price for the quality (but still a little higher price than average). They had an interesting cocktail called the Bridger Sunset. It was a cocktail with a giant ice ball in the middle that could only be melted by the superpowers of an additional shot of Grey Goose once the drink was gone (the “shot” being defined as a finger+ of Grey Goose in a highball glass). The drink alone was pretty damn strong but after the first drink it’s easy to like. Wouldn’t take many of those to call it a night.

I forgot what it was like to be in the snow and cold, and I got a bit of a reminder while in MT. I can honestly say that I still don’t like the snow even if I go to it and it doesn’t come to me. One morning it was 12 and I am not used to that nonsense anymore. But, as they say, “it is a dry cold”. I don’t care if it is dry or not…it was still too damn cold. Better than summer’s heat though. But I STILL want to see Alaska/Iceland/Scandinavia in the middle of winter.

While there Meghan gave me a discount code for Hello Fresh, which she had been singing the praises of. I signed up and got my first box of three meals yesterday. I chose pork carnitas, cauliflower bacon mac and cheese, and beef bulgogi that I made last night. Very impressive menu and quality of ingredients plus I don’t have to go shopping for dinner.

The bulgogi was absolutely delicious and easy to make. Each meal comes with a recipe card and you can keep those filed away in case you want to buy the ingredients and make it again. Ordering the meals for two, since I am single, gives me two meals of each of the three entrees and the portions are decent size. That is almost a week’s worth of dinner! If you are interested in joining click on the link and save $40!

Looks like I’ll be going back to work late January so I better get busy doing things I might want to do and going places I might want to go. Not really ready to go back to work yet but it’s gonna happen eventually for each of the next few years. I may have another road trip or two I can take the next few weeks but we’ll see what happens. I thought about going south into CA again and taking the trailer out, but I have it winterized and don’t want to undo that work.

Yesterday I went to a mall. I rarely do that but I needed to get a few things in the area and I found a great sale on my Levi’s 501s. I had not been to Skipper’s (a local seafood fast food joint) in probably five years so while in the area I got to enjoy some of their clam chowder and the Skipper’s Platter – fish, shrimp, clams, fries, slaw (no thanks – don’t like mayo slaw). The clam chowder there is not really creamy like New England clam chowders I have had. It is more like a thicker gravy full of delicious oceanic goodness. They even have various “All-You-Can-Eat” menu options for just a few dollars more. I have not eaten the chowder at Ivar’s so I cannot compare the two. It is on my list to try theirs though.

I had a Roomba I had purchased a few days back but it didn’t work out real well so I took it back yesterday to B3 – Bed, Bath and Beyond. It was a lower-level model – the 600 Series. It just ran around the house like it had ADHD. First the dining area for a lap, maybe two. Then it was off to do the same thing in the living room but repeat a few times. Same thing in the bedroom and kitchen and then take off and repeat areas. It was crazy how it would do little bits here and there instead of doing a whole room at once.

Today I went to a market and saw something that I had never seen before. In the produce section was something called “oca“. I thought “why not?” and bought some – about a handful – to try. I looked them up on the interwebs and found out they are quite nutritious. I ate them raw and found the texture like a cross between a potato and a radish. The taste is varied from little flavor to sweet to sour to potato-like. They appear to be quite high in carbs and energy.

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Oca

I found them to be tasty and an interesting thing to eat. I will probably get more but they are pretty spendy (but you have to try them!). They would be a very healthy snack. The info on the link above talks about them dried. That might be interesting to try out.

I stopped by the local bakery to get croissants to go with my fruit, prosciutto and gouda for a healthier/lighter breakfast the next few days. I don’t want to buy them too far out – I want them to be as fresh as they can be. Yeah, a bit more inconvenient but that’s okay for the quality.

While I was out and about I also got the recycling taken to the dumpsters. I found a bed frame at a thrift store so I can FINALLY get the bins out from underneath my boxspring. That was never intended to be permanent – just a temporary thing to get me by. I can get that sorted out tomorrow and rearrange the bedroom. I’ll try to put away more stuff in bins and eventually sell them since I am in a bigger house now. I think I will move my ginormous upright toolbox to the utility room and just deal with moving it around to maneuver into the basement. I wouldn’t have to do it that often and I want the closet space for other stuff.

It is nice to be home and have some time to not only relax, but to also get some things done like arranging the bedroom and getting more organizing done. I have been enjoying too much of the relaxing and not doing enough of the organizing.

I ordered some new coats from Outdoor Research and they came yesterday. I have had one of their water-repellent rain shells for five years or so and it has been great. I got a new shell for rain, one of the same the next size bigger, and a down hoody for insulation to wear under the larger one. My experience with the 3-in-1 jackets is the shells are always too big on them.

It’s been a while since I posted so I guess I had a lot to say.