January 15th, 2021

Adventure, food, Just things, Music, Outdoors, Road Trip, Scotty Hilander, Travel, Uncategorized

It was a busy afternoon today.

I got up this morning and it was time for coffee, then I got the dog out for a walk. He never seems to be in a rush to get out in the mornings so I am gonna caffeinate myself first. It seems odd that he doesn’t wake up doing the pee-pee dance, but then again he is odd. He didn’t even eat his breakfast until a few hours before dinner.

I locked the dog in his crate and got the bike out for a longer shakedown ride around the block (2-3 miles or so). I need to make a few adjustments – the front fender is rattling a bit against the front fork and the brakes need tightened up some. I really don’t know much about working on bicycles but these are minor things that I feel comfortable with tackling. I can look at some videos online and figure it out if necessary.

It is definitely a different feel riding this bike and it will take some getting used to it. Small tires and sitting up so high are not what I am used to but I will adjust. I also need to get mirrors, a bell, and more lights along with maybe some other things for more visibility. My motorcycle wreck affected my neck and I now cannot turn my head very well to see if anyone is coming so some mirrors are high on the list before I ride it again very far. It does move along pretty good without the Class III setting, but I DO like speed…

I got back and we went for another walk, then came home and started cooking. I made some beef & bean burritos and some beef stroganoff. I got everything labeled and in the freezer; I have a total of 12 meals frozen as of now. I still have to cook dinner yet, and I got another EveryPlate box yesterday so that will be for the next few days’ meals.

I went to Costco yesterday to get a few things and got the 1000-pack of tortillas (you know what I mean), so I used some for the burritos and I will be making up and freezing some breakfast burritos the next few days. I am still trying to do the cold oats with berries and cashew milk for breakfast every morning but breakfast burritos are great any time of the day. I always like doing something different for breakfast on Sunday mornings so since I cannot go out for breakfast I cook something for myself and forgo the overnight oats. It breaks up the week and when it is possible I’ll be meeting up with friends for a restaurant breakfast on Sundays.

While cooking I decided to listen to some music. Last night I watched a couple of videos from the new AC/DC album. Damn, that album rocks and sounds like the old days. I got on Apple Music and added that album and Highway to Hell. I listened to Highway to Hell while cooking and that is a great album. I am waiting until later to listen to the new one; I have a giant playlist of new music I have added but have not listened to yet so I am trying to knock that list down a little before listening to anything else. I listened to some old Porcupine Tree while cleaning up the kitchen and doing the dishes.

After taking my truck in to get fixed, the “Check Engine” light came on again; it is why I took it to the dealer to start with and they replaced the part that THEY said was bad after I replaced parts I thought were bad. It is going in early next week to get looked at again. I am really hoping to get it fixed correctly this time and get out for some long day trips to help maintain sanity. I don’t need (or want) to be around groups of people…I just need some new scenery to look at. Once I get this fixed I will feel better about going in the forest to explore or on a longer drive, plus the fuel mileage will improve.

I guess I could even take the trailer out to get away once the truck is fixed, but I must say it has been nice being out of it for a while so I have not been too excited about getting back in it yet and I am fairly certain the dog agrees. I would have to de-winterize it so I will wait a few more weeks to do that to make sure the danger of freezing is past. With the last-minute storage after finding this place I had to put water line anti-freeze in it again so I would have to go to a campground to de-winterize for the first trip. I am glad I did dump some in it since it did freeze several nights, but I still hate putting that stuff in there. It makes that first trip a pain and it takes a while to flush it out of the system.

I am still working on the airline tickets but I am finding more places, even in the US, are talking pre- and post-arrival testing and quarantines. With these things looming, and the additional concerns of new strains being discovered, it is extremely difficult for me to get very excited about even looking at flights let alone actually booking one. I won’t let it get me down and I will keep looking. There are still a couple of big U.S. cities I would like to go visit but I have big reservations about doing that since I travel to cities to explore and try the local foods. On top of that, I don’t feel safe with all of the nonsense going on and that is also a problem for me wanting to go on long road trips. I will get something booked before my vouchers expire.

That’s about all for this update. Forgot to send it before I passed out last night!

November 26th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Music, Outdoors, Uncategorized

Where has this year gone? I cannot believe that it’s already the holiday season for those who celebrate those things. I guess, in reality, even those who don’t celebrate are along for the ride. I need to get out for a few things but for now I will be whittling that back to one thing and then the post office.

I bought my turkey, stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce and it was delicious. I have enough for another plate tomorrow and after that I am good with it for many months. I don’t eat turkey but two or three times a year (I like chicken better) but it is a long tradition in families and I still do the meal even though it’s just me. Now that I can go where I want whenever I want to visit family it will be better and I will be able to see them on holidays more. They are the ones that live in the middle of nowhere, not me. 😁

It has been a lazy day for the most part, but I did do some cleaning and organizing earlier so I could have some extra room, a clean kitchen and a clean table to eat on. All day I have debated doing laundry just to get it done while there’s no one else in there with the same idea. I finally decided that I needed to just get it done so after I ate I took care of it. I would have had to do it in a few days and I am going to be moving around that same time so it’s just easier to do it now. I need to do my sheets and comforter but I will do those later. Maybe tomorrow morning would be a good time, when everyone is at the stores acting like two-year-olds fighting over the last big-screen TV on sale.

When I was at Trader Joe’s a few days ago I picked up some frozen gnocchi in a tomato sauce with mozzarella. I have wanted to try gnocchi so a few nights ago it was time to do so. Perhaps it needed to heat a bit longer/hotter as it was a little “doughy” to me. It was not horrible or disgusting; I just don’t know WHAT they are supposed to be like. I will keep trying, maybe find a restaurant that makes it for takeaway.

Yesterday I had my eye appointment but I went early to get some seafood for lunch. There is a local fast seafood chain here in Washington called Skipper’s. They have a location near my cataract surgeon so I stopped to see if they had salmon and chips. And they did. And so did I. I love fish and chips but salmon that is breaded and deep-fried is fish on a whole ‘nother level. When I finally get a normal fridge again it will be so nice to have the extra space. In the trailer I do miss having the freezer room to buy salmon burgers and other seafood on sale.

It has been a really nice day today with cool sunshine. I was running inside and back out in short sleeves and it was comfortable. I would not have wanted to be out all day without having a sweatshirt or jacket, but it was pleasant out walking the dog and doing some cleaning things outdoors.

I am not sure if anyone has become aware of this or not, but I bet you will now! Lately, I have noticed that wearing a mask has really changed human communication. Being one with hearing issues, I found that before this pandemic I was unconsciously reading people’s lips to help myself understand. Now, on top of not seeing (reading) lips and listening to voices muffled by a mask we are also not seeing facial expressions and that is certainly affecting our communication. It’s like we are all faceless – like we are living some episode of “The Twilight Zone” in real time. At the same time, I have noticed some very amazing eyes. Yes, I have been captivated by eyes before, but when you cover a face in a mask and the eyes are all that is there it is just incredible. I have seen some eyes that just smiled so big, and I have seen some incredibly beautiful eyes. I have also seen dark, intense eyes, sometimes a joyless, exhausted stare. I have seen all sorts of communicating with the eyes that wasn’t as prevalent before. It was there; we were just focused elsewhere. It’s really amazing. It’s like learning a new language.

Okay, enough existentialism. But I know you’re gonna be looking now! And you’re welcome.

It will be nice getting some stuff set up to work on my music again. I wish I had the setup I had in Colorado (I have mentioned this previously); a complete stage in my basement with instruments, monitors, P.A. system, and recording gear was pretty sweet, and next to it was my Irish pub – affectionately known as “The Morningwood on Dick Mountain” – complete with a billiards table and a bar.

It was nothing fancy but it was pretty nice and we had many, many weekends and evenings of entertainment and fun along with the countless memories. And oh…the parties. Every weekend ended up a party. Always Saturday, but sometimes Friday too. And if it was a holiday weekend you best buckle up when you get back from the liquor store because it’s gonna be one for the books. Never knew who was gonna show up or who would be passed out where or what was grilling at 3:00 A.M. (but it was gonna be tasty!).

We always had so much fun; those were some really good times – living life large. I had people from out of town out for the weekend over St. Patrick’s Day a few years before I left that house (you know who you are, Chelsea). The first night we gave it hell and lived to tell about it the next day, but there was one weak individual who said something along the lines of “I’m not playing tonight”. I believe I replied with something like “Yeah, um okay. We’ll see how that plays out.”. Of course, he was right in there with the rest of us later, trying to hold on to the Earth to keep from flying off into space. Sunday was worse than Saturday, and we couldn’t drink it off since the next day was back to work. So many great days and nights playing, writing and recording music by myself or with John, my friend and neighbor.

During this time it was a phase of life that usually involved Guinness, Bailey’s, and Jameson’s. The name for this is something I have quit saying, but if you look those three ingredients up you’ll see what it is. We drank these profusely, but then we quickly learned of the magic power and deliciousness of Grey Goose and two freshly-diced pineapples in a container for 14 days. It was game on after that. Many came, they all saw, and they were all conquered. I know…I had to find places for them to sleep afterwards!

And yes, my backyard went up the side of Dick Mountain. For real. Now can you please stop snickering like a 12-year-old-boy.

It’s a nice distraction to go back and think about those good times, especially during these not-so-good times. It’s good to think back and laugh, or shake your head in amazement that you did this stupid childish dangerous stuff, and you KEPT doing this stuff AND lived to talk about it (so far). It’s good to live life and have fun in the process.

November 13th, 2020

Adventure, Just things, Music, Outdoors, pictures, Road Trip, Scotty Hilander, Travel, Uncategorized

Outside my door…this view certainly doesn’t suck!

I finally got to where I was headed. The weather cut me a break for a day on Wednesday, which was what I was planning on, so I made a run for it. It’s a good thing as that was the only day it was okay to travel. There have been snowstorms before and after so the timing was perfect. Glad to be far away from that nonsense.

I got things set up and found a heated storage unit close by so my extra groceries don’t freeze. I try to keep stocked up on things like canned goods same as I would if I had a house – I just have to store them elsewhere. It also helps keep things like repair stuff (tape, caulking, etc.) from freezing as well. It’s nice to have all the stuff out of the truck and trailer and I can have room to move around now. Plus, the extra weight in the truck doesn’t help with the already low gas mileage.

I’ll be looking into re-doing the cushions in the trailer pretty soon. They are starting to break down and need new foam; on top of use, it is also 13 years old and foam doesn’t last forever. I can do this myself if the covers are still in good shape and they look to be fine. It will be pretty nice to have new, comfortable cushions to sleep on!

I did replace the roof vent covers and sewer valve before I left. I had decent weather and the time to do it so I got it out of the way. The sewer tank was empty so it was the perfect time to do that before I started using it again. It’s less stuff to haul around too. With it being windy today I notice it is much quieter with the new vent covers installed. It may even be a bit warmer too as I did notice a few days ago when it was so cold that the heat came on a little less frequently.

It’s odd to be sitting still again and not being at Meghan’s house . I will be stationary for a while probably, avoiding pandemic hot spots and winter driving with a trailer. Now that I am not quite as hesitant to stay in a hotel if I need to go someplace I can still go; I’ll just grab the cleaning stuff, the dog and my suitcase and head out. But I will be doing that sparingly.

It feels like I should be doing something but I have most everything done I needed to do so I guess I will just need to relax! I need to go set up a hearing aid appointment and grab a few things but I think I will wait since it’s Friday and the stores will be pretty busy. That’s fine since I have plenty of time.

I might even find time to take a nap today!

August 21st, 2020

Just things, Music, Uncategorized

My first taste of Scotch was in the early 1980s when I was a stagehand at the Uptown Theatre in Kansas City.

The Uptown was (and still is as far as I know) a beautiful old theatre. It was built in the 1920s and opened in 1928. It is adorned with balconies, columns, and a black ceiling with “stars” (lights) to emulate an outdoor nighttime setting. It was a movie house in the grand tradition and had a proscenium stage with big maroon velvet curtains. It was like many other theaters back then; some, like the many Fox Theatre venues still left in the country, were owned by the studios. It is a special place and holds a spot in my heart.

Back in those days the Uptown was a very busy place and was staging several shows a week. I had started there without any experience after losing my job in 1980 (given a job out of compassion by a big burly guy named Jimbo). I had earned my place as a regular on the crew through hard work and perseverance and worked many shows through both of my stints there (second run was in the late 80s in charge of the lighting rig and as house electrician).

The shows ran the spectrum – Toots and the Maytals, Johnny Rivers, Men at Work, A Flock of Seagulls, Nick Lowe, Steppenwolf, Jean Luc Ponty…and so many, many more. It was also the place I met and hung out briefly with Robin Williams. It was a great, intimate venue for a show.

One show in particular in the early 80s I got to have a conversation with a guy in one of the bands that came through. He was one of the nicest people I ever met when I was doing stage work. Between the years that have passed and, well, it WAS the 80s, I cannot remember the date or the two or maybe three acts that night; I narrowed it down to these bands: it could have been Dokken, Streets (Steve Walsh’s band after he left the band Kansas), or Strange Daze (a great Doors tribute band who I was asked to tour with in Europe but the tour unfortunately fell through), but I am thinking that it was Dio on his first solo tour after leaving Black Sabbath. Thinking back a little more in depth I think the other bands I mentioned were all together on another show there.

At sound check, the drummer for the opening act came up to me as I was standing off stage left near the monitor console and we started talking. Not like rock star talking, but as two guys just talking about topics now long forgotten (again, the 80s). I know from being around this type of work for several years and being on the road it’s nice to just have a conversation without the star struck condescension, and that’s what this was. Human interaction.

As a stagehand you pretty much know to be a wallflower. It’s unprofessional to be star struck; your job is to make the show happen and stay in the shadows. You would get a “how’s it going?” or an unsaid “thanks” sometimes via a nod or smile, but you don’t approach people. To have someone come up to you and strike up a conversation was very out of the norm. If you think about it they are surrounded by fame, drugs and people kissing their asses constantly – all leeches and posers. I would think just having a normal conversation with someone was not very common and something longed for those in the entertainment lifestyle.

He went onstage to do his sound check and came back by. We chatted a bit more and he asked me if I liked Chivas Regal. I said I don’t even know what that is. He said to me “It’s Scotch and when I come back for the show I’ll bring a bottle and we’ll have a toast!”. I said “Okay”, thinking it was “rock star talk”.

The doors open for the show and we are all putting on the final touches dressing the stage. I get back in position by the monitor console again, ready to run onstage during the concert to fix something if need be (as I had to do about 90 minutes later in the middle of the Dio show and during other shows).

The guy I was talking with earlier walks up to me, and sure as hell he had an unopened bottle of Chivas in hand. He cracks the seal and hands it to me. I give him a toast and a nod and take a big hit off of it. I hand it back to him. He gives me a toast and a nod and takes a big hit off of it, we smile and shake hands and he hits the stage with that bottle. They were on fire that night and had the crowd in their palms. They left and we passed each other, nodded and smiled and I told him “Great show!”. Since I was getting the stage ready for Dio I did not have time to talk.

The band was Quiet Riot. The guy’s name was Frankie Banali.

I write this story because Frankie lost his battle with pancreatic cancer yesterday. I had read articles lately about him being sick and it made me think about that special moment all those years ago.

I have read many tributes to him and everyone says he was such a nice guy. He really was a nice guy that night to some lowly stagehand.

Rest peacefully, Frankie, and thanks for the Chivas and the memory.