December 28th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Travel, Uncategorized

It did not turn out to be a sunny day today after all. I went to get the mail then into town and it was nice to just get out and about for a few since I stayed home yesterday. It was a leisurely day, walking the dog and getting the recycling and garbage together for a trip to the bins. I did not get my helmet today so probably tomorrow I will take a drive and have a look in another store. The store I was in the other day did not have much in the way of helmets that I was interested in. I am really trying to buy locally if possible.

One of the pieces of furniture in the house is a bookshelf desk. Looks like a bookshelf but has a fold-down desk with letter/bill sections and places for stamps and such. I think I will be making good use of that for my laptop desk and my mail & bills. I will need to get a chair for it. With my limited dining space moving the laptop in there not only gives me more room to actually eat at the counter, but it also gives me some separation between the computer and the living room/kitchen areas.

I decided to restart the Hello Fresh meal kits again. Now that I am back in a real kitchen I can do some real cooking. I paused my account for a while and saw a few new recipes on there while making my orders just now so I have to try them. The ingredients were always great quality and the recipes were easy to follow. I assume they still give you recipe cards you can save to make the recipes again – guess I will know next week. On top of that, a study said that it actually lowers your carbon footprint by not driving to pick up groceries. If you are interested in trying it out for a $40 discount, click here to sign up for an account. DISCLAIMER: I will get an account credit for each person that signs up.

I have been hopping around on different streaming services and decided to watch a few more “A Cook’s Tour” episodes to get my travel jones calmed down but it has actually made it worse. It is pretty frustrating to see the ‘rona infections (unsurprisingly) skyrocket and now, with another mutation of it spreading, my optimism on travel possibilities in the near future is diminished somewhat. I know it will open up at some point and things will be better, but along with that I have to be patient and keep my expectations within reason. I also know it will be different when we can travel again; we will all have to adapt in several ways.

Like I said a few posts back I was considering getting a ticket with miles but I was unsure how that would work if I had to cancel a flight because of the ‘rona and I am not interested in going through any hassles. I remember before 2020 it seemed that domestic flights were the expensive ones and that was where I would plan to use them. I have paid less to go to Europe than the fares on some of the domestic flights I have taken so it made more sense to use them for more expensive flights. Now, however, in my casual glances at airfares, I am seeing some really cheap domestic flights so who knows where things will end up at some point. All I do know is that miles don’t come cheap so I want to maximize that investment. I just now remembered that I also have an airline voucher I need to use on a flight in the next month and a half so I gotta get a flight booked somewhere and hope it will be refundable if cancelled. Hopefully they are still blocking middle seats (and still refundable) in the Fall so I can book one wayyyy out.

I have not really thought too much about any road trips, either local or long-distance. I have been too busy to consider driving very far but now I may be able to since my calendar is fairly clear. That would mean either a long day or a hotel since I would not take the trailer out due to unpredictable winter weather. I’ll get to go in a few months, but for now getting out on hikes and walks close to home is good given the short daylight hours.

It is officially now tomorrow so I am off to bed.

December 27th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Road Trip, Travel, Uncategorized

I finally got a decent night’s sleep last night and today is a slack day. Well, it started out to be one but I ended up rearranging the kitchen a little. I took out my toaster oven since I have both a toaster and a convection microwave. That freed upon some space so I put the Nespresso over in its place. There is a big drawer to put coffee in but I can put my coffee cups in there. I still want to get a set of espresso cups and have also been looking at a pod storage drawer that goes under the Nespresso. That would free up the drawer space in the cabinet to put the coffee and coffee accessories (thanks, Hank..Ha ha ha).

After that I had to do some sweeping but I wanted to wipe the counters down before I did and pick it all up at once if there was anything that fell. It’s not that I am a slob; my countertops are fake granite and it hides stuff pretty well plus there is dog hair. The heat is radiant built into the concrete floor so there is no air circulation. The means I have to sweep every day at least once. I’ll get my dehumidifier and air filter in here at some point and that will help with dust and the dog hair (even after I brushed him).

I still have not gotten a bicycle helmet yet. I have had other things going on that I needed to do, plus crowded stores means I was not going to the store until after the holidays. I have been fine with that since I have been busy but I will get out in the next few days to see about getting one. I would really like to ride the bike! The pavement has been a bit damp, so that means slippery and I don’t care to do that with or without a helmet.

Even though I haven’t been doing any biking yet, I am still dedicated to getting in a good amount of walking every day and I should start seeing some benefits from that soon. I think I am even wearing out the dog! We went out several times earlier and he was walking a bit slow the first time for some reason so when we got to the driveway I took off running and he perked right up.

I am getting a grocery list together and I am finally gonna get the ingredients to try to make a cottage pie. It doesn’t look that hard so I hope this recipe turns out. Luckily I have most of the ingredients and don’t need to buy more than a few things. I am also getting the stuff to make a fruit pie. Actually, I am buying frozen pie crust and gonna use frozen berries to make the filling from scratch. Last time I bought a can of pie filling it was almost $4 and the can was mostly goo and not much fruit. Not doing that again. Eventually, when I get ambitious, I will try to make the whole pie from scratch.

I remember when I was a kid one of my grandmas made the best apple pie in the world. She would slice up the apples and toss in the spices and sugar, spread some out in a pie pan, and freeze them. When she was ready to make a pie, all she had to do was whip up a crust – which she could do from scratch in about 17 seconds. She would take a pan with filling out of the freezer, pop it out of the pan, toss the crust in, toss the fruit frisbee back in the pan, top crust it and toss that bad boy in the oven. She also used to make these incredible fried peach pies cooked in lard in a cast iron skillet. I want to learn how to make those peach pies and try some other fillings as well. Wish I had that recipe…oh well. I will see what I can find online when I am ready to tackle that.

Along with those fried pies, after I can learn to make a flaky crust I want to try baking a savory meat one like in the UK and Ireland. I have food in the freezer to eat while I experiment with recipes and I have plenty of time on my hands to expand horizons. The last few days I was able to free up some real estate in the freezer to store some new creations.

It’s nice to not have anything to do now, but I have to say that it is still odd having no place I have to be. The holiday rush came and went, appointments are taken care of and a few things were changed around in the house (a work in progress as needed). It is looking sunny tomorrow so I will be taking advantage of that with the chance of rain looming the few days after that.

That’s a wrap for today.

December 26th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, pictures, Road Trip, Travel, Uncategorized

A belated Happy Festivus to all. I will not be doing Feats of Strength or an Airing of the Grievances, as most of 2020 has mostly been one giant grievance as well as a feat of strength just to get through it…’nuff said.

My oldest granddaughter and her boyfriend were here the last few days. We hadn’t seen each other in quite some time (several months) so that was fun. We went to a few uncrowded places close by and did some hiking and tide pooling.

It was cool on the water but not cool enough to turn around and go back to the car. It is always fun to go tide pooling and it is good exercise, too. I left them on the beach so they could have more time there while I went on a hike to get the car. It was a trail I had not been on and it was a really nice hike.

We had a couple of really nice days then some clouds but very little precipitation. It did get pretty windy last night but nothing came of it other than a wind chill. There were a couple of nights of some great stargazing even though the moon was so bright.

They went back home today so I have been catching up on e-mails from the last few days and relaxing after doing a bit of straightening around the house. We were pretty busy and I am tired. I forgot my coffee this morning and fought a headache from it all afternoon.

I think I am going to kick back with a cup of decaf and watch a movie. I have a feeling it might be an early night.

December 19th, 2020

Adventure, Just things, Travel, Uncategorized

My sleep is getting out of kilter again. I woke up yesterday at 3:45 and today 4:50. No idea what is wrong but this needs to stop soon. I may need to go to bed later so I sleep later but what usually happens is I just get less sleep since I still wake up early. I will definitely need to get another eyemask before summer and the daylight that comes with it at 4:00 a.m. but I have plenty of time to do that.

It was an overcast day today and a chance of rain with a possibility of some flooding – a great day for a bowl of chili. I have been in the process of converting and organizing files on my Mac like I posted about previously. Part of my organizing involves consolidating my four email accounts into two – one personal, and the other for business – so I have to update my business accounts with a new e-mail address along with with making sure I did not miss updating my mailing and shipping addresses. I got most everything that is important updated. I’ll catch the ones I missed whenever I get an e-mail.

I have written in previous posts that I use Tripit to organize my travel reservations. It is a very useful tool for travel planning and organizing when it comes to reservations and is top-rated by many travelers. Flight and hotel info is displayed in chronological order, with the details you need and more that you can add. You get suggestions for things to eat, see and do around where your reservation is, weather reports, airport maps and other pertinent travel info. You can add other travelers so everyone has all the same info and anyone in the trip can add a reservation. It is such a useful app/website I use it for all my trips. It links to your email; it looks for any emails for what look to be travel reservations, automatically importing and adding them into your itinerary on the app and website, and adding to your calendar if you want.

The reason I talk about Tripit is this: I got on Tripit this morning to update things and saw something that really surprised me. With all of the trips I have made just since I started using Tripit in 2011 – Europe twice, countless trips back and forth for family, vacations, etc. – I have gone 71,710 miles and 49 different locations. I was astounded by those figures, especially the mileage. One thing to keep in mind is this doesn’t add in miles for places I have gone on day trips or road trips where I drove straight through, such as here to MT so I have many thousands more miles…and that is just since 2011 and I have tens of thousands before that. For some reason, Tripit is logging only 9 countries; I have actually been in 10. Can’t wait to add to all of these totals!

If you are looking for a great travel organizing app I still say that you cannot go wrong with Tripit for its organizing of your itinerary and the details you see all in one place. There are two versions. I find the features in the PRO one better-suited if you travel constantly but are handy for anyone. I can get all the info I need in the regular version since I am not traveling frequently. Traveling in the trailer even the campground reservations I make import in, and I have even had events like concerts show up. Pretty useful. DISCLAIMER: I get nothing out of this endorsement. Just passing along info.

It ended up a lazy day today. I went to mail a package using the automated system but a) there’s a line of four out the door to use the machine (lobby closed on weekends), and b) it’s not presents; it can wait until after the first of the year. We got to get out of the house for a little while today at least, though. I am holding out to get supplies until Monday, avoiding crowds until then hopefully. I think it is supposed to rain tomorrow so it may be another indoors day. With football on and the rainy weather it could actually be a good day to get out and do what I need to do and it would be done. Maybe I will take a ride over and see how many cars are in the lots. If I go early I can get in the door while people are doing their Sunday rituals.

Oh, and I scrubbed the toilet today, too. I know how to party.

Later!

December 17th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, pictures, Road Trip, Travel, Uncategorized

…think I’d rather walk, thanks. LOSER!

No more eye appointments! Yay! Everything has healed up fine and now I don’t even need to get real glasses unless I want to get real glasses for reading and not the $5 ones from the store. I haven’t had any problems so I would have been surprised if they would have found a problem.

The girl said she needed to dilate my eye. That way, when I got in there they could check it one last time in detail. I told her if they had told me I could have dilated both of them myself. She said it would but not the way they need it dilated. We both laughed. They gave me those cool little rollup sunglasses that hug your face. When I came back outside it was so bright it was like the sun was right in front of me. And I had to drive home. I did fine with the “glasses” I crimped onto my face.

I figured while I was in the area I would hit Trader Joe’s so on the way out I stopped. It would also give my eye a chance to calm down with the light. I barely got out of the car and saw that there was a line to get in the store. I’m just not going to be doing that. I am not waiting in a line or going in a store that is so busy that that there has to be a line to get in. I was just gonna stop and grab a few unique things they have while I was in the area. I guess I really should consider getting a few extra perishables with the stores getting busy and they will be closed the 25th. Gotta love that curbside pickup!

I started the truck this morning and it was running a little rough, but maybe not as rough as before. I know when you change things or even unhook the battery a car can run bad until the computer sorts things out. It did seem to run better after a while. I was averaging 14.4 MPG, but today the readout on the dash said 17.5. I’ll take that; it used to get better mileage but recently it seemed to have decreased. I am thinking it might make a difference pulling the trailer and I can hopefully get more mileage and power. I will still have them check it to verify and hopefully all it needs is a code reset to clear the check engine light in the dash.

Along with some great deals I have been seeing some clever travel ideas lately. Pre-flight ‘rona tests, non-stops, post-flight tests…some interesting ideas but I would not get on a plane yet. I am always ready to go again but I just cannot do it yet, and the places I am most interested in going are still closed to Americans anyway. I need to get my passport renewed before I can really go anywhere. It expires next year and if you have six months or less before it expires many countries won’t let you in. I’ll be working on that and some road trips after the holidays.

Another day marked through on the calendar and it’s time for sleep. A good night to all!