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 24th, 2020

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

Clouds draped over the Olympics

It was a beautiful morning, but when it decided to rain it came down pretty good. I was out doing some errands this morning, and when I got back it started to rain and the winds started picking up so this afternoon it was inside. Right now the stars and moon are shining on a cool night with a few clouds in the sky. It’s a very calm, peaceful night. Such a nice thing to have right now – peace.

I started looking and contacting some places about a secure place to store the trailer today. One company owns about 10 different places so I covered all that with the one e-mail to them so I just might have some luck. After my eye appointment tomorrow I’ll come back home and look some more if I need to but I hope something comes through with the one email. It’s a whole lot like shopping and I am not a big shopper. I am getting into the new place in a week and with the holidays the time is cut shorter. Gotta get something found soon.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”.

I saw this saying paraphrased on a bumpersticker today while I was out. It really made me think and I wanted to know who said it originally. First, the part that was paraphrased was the first eight words; I was surprised to find out that it was not only longer with more meaning, but it also is attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt. Thinking about it more it is actually a pretty profound quote. It is simple, yet says so much.

Whenever I see things like this it makes me think about what it says and ponder things in my life that may fit. I think at times in our journey we all ask ourselves questions about what we are doing with our lives, thinking about some of the decisions we have made along the way. I freely admit I do and I think it is good to do that to keep you centered.

Feel free to philosophize amongst yourselves…

I have been getting some more good airline deals lately. Montreal, Tokyo, Cambodia, and Dublin to name a few. Dublin was a screaming deal and it is so tempting to book one since they are all refundable. I would still have a hard time being on a plane with all those people for a non-stop (or a 1-stop) to Europe. It’s a hell of a long time to wear a mask for another thing, and that’s not including being in the airport masked-up. Not much other way to go unless it’s by boat or beamed by Transporter.

I have begun to start thinking about a timeframe to go again and start looking for travel partners. I know my daughters are itching to go so I think it’s time to start considering when to go. I have been in January and February so now I’d like to go during a different time of year. Not summer and the crowds. No thanks. Perhaps we will see some advances with fighting the pandemic so I will not be booking anything until I see some progress in fighting it and countries I want to go to open up. I have resigned myself to the thought it may not be until 2022, but we will see. I still want to go to Montreal so that would be a good short flight to a place that is different than the rest of Canada.

In the meantime I can dream (we all can!). I have been thinking about ink and getting more done. I have ideas for the beginnings of my left arm sleeve (to go along with my “Slainte” tat). I want to get my left arm done when I visit different places, but I am gonna need to practice getting one or two here to see the precautions being taken. I still think it is safer than a haircut (and I STILL have not gotten one!). I hope to get several tats done at different shops while I am in Europe next time. I feel certain I will be going back to most countries I have been to for at least a few hours so that is long enough for ink.

So things are falling into place as the year winds down. I don’t think that I will be doing a year-end summary going forward. You can always go back to read the posts if you want to see, and feel free to go all the way back to the start to see how this adventure has unfolded over the last 8+ years. It’s all in there.

November 18th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Uncategorized

Yakima River

It has been a really busy couple of days and there’s more coming up.

I got up yesterday and went to have the tires rotated on the truck. After that I had an early afternoon hearing appointment. As expected, my hearing has gotten worse and my hearing aids are at the end of their lifespan so I got fitted for new hearing aids. I did a test fit and they made a big difference for my hearing. After that I went and picked up an insurance reimbursement check from my towing bill last week. Then I came home and binged on “Scrubs”.

Today I got up to go check out a place to rent. It’s a studio set-up built in one side of a garage. It’s in the country, it’s nice & quiet and it has room – much more than my trailer. Staying in the trailer full-time in campgrounds while stationary can get expensive, and if I am spending that kind of money to just stay put I might as well rent a place and just make some trips. It has wheels for a reason! I think with the pandemic (and the politics) really heating up it is probably the smartest thing to do. Along with that many of the forests and campgrounds are closed now so there’s not much free camping available at the moment unless I went to the Desert Southwest.

I then took Rider to the boarding place for a few days. It’s weird to not have him around but I get my other cataract out tomorrow and need to have some peace and quiet. Friday is a follow-up for that surgery, then I will pick him up on the way home after he gets a bath and his nails clipped (good luck to the groomers). Sunday I’m picking up my new hearing aids, then another cataract follow-up next week.

I came home and did the laundry. I have a few more things on the calendar in the weeks ahead I will need to do. It’s certainly a relief not having the hand surgery, but then it isn’t. It will have to be done at some point perhaps but it’s not worth it to me right now. It IS one less thing to have to worry about, though.

I have not eaten much today and decided that after the laundry it was time to crack open the cheddar smoked sausages that are in my fridge. Can anyone really think of a better way to heat them up than over a wood fire on the grill? The rains came, but I did not care. I was grilling, and it was awesome – even in the rain. I grilled ’em all and ate three. I might use the others for making an omelette or breakfast casserole. They are great in scrambled eggs with some cheese and veggies.

Speaking of grilling in the rain, it’s been raining a lot here. It is not that unusual, but it is definitely quite a bit different than the weather where I have been the past few months, and even last week. We had some winds here yesterday but it has mainly just been gray and rainy. Being farther north the days are also noticeably shorter. Sunset is around 4:30 and it will be getting dark around 4:00 P.M. when Winter Solstice rolls around.

I think I am headed to bed. An early and big day tomorrow.

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!

October 29th, 2020

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

Tuesday I returned from the northwest and another adventure. I went back up to Washington to take care of a few things and hopefully see a few people.

I got up fairly early to get some things done before taking off on this trip. I had to wait for things to thaw and have a little bit more daylight so I ended up leaving a bit later than I usually like to but safety is important. I am leaving a day early to get up there since the weather has been nasty yet unpredictable and I need to be there.

Yes. There really is a town in Washington called “George”

The forecast for the weather was bad and got worse plus the following weekend was going to be bad as well. I just did not feel the need to risk safety to pull the trailer over and back. On the way over the winds were ferocious; there were whitecaps on the Columbia River! I had to cancel my campground reservations due to the weather and it’s more than strange for me these days to stay in a hotel. But I am doing it.

I stopped at a hotel on my way; these days I’d rather make it more leisurely if possible. Staying in a hotel kinda freaks me out more than a bit right now to be honest, but it is getting better already. I got to thinking about it differently, trying to assure myself it’s gonna be okay. The logic I am using is that we were in Europe in all of this at the start. We were careful and avoided touching surfaces in public place with bare hands and were always very conscious of our hands. We were still elbow to elbow with people from all over in Amsterdam and on the trains in Germany and the Netherlands plus all of our flights. We all came back as fit as when we left, and it is because we were cautious.

That said, though, I sprayed the hell out of everything with industrial disinfectant the moment I walked in the door to both my hotels last week. Sure, it is a pain in the ass the first time for certain but worth the trouble sanitizing everything in the room. They can say whatever they want but I do it myself and I know it is done. Not saying anything about anyone in particular, but it is for MY peace of mind.

It’s a big jump for me personally. I want to go back to Europe as soon as I possibly can, but I gotta get past some of these phobias to be able to go and be comfortable and have fun. That way when things get a little better I can face it and go without hesitation. My dream trip is I want to go for 6-8 weeks. Many places are closed to US passports right now, so it’s either wait or cut back on the time and maybe get to go earlier to fewer places. Finding someone to be able to go with for that long may be tough, too, but I could piece it together with a few people meeting up in different places. That might be kinda fun to do but someone for the duration would be cool too. I got an e-mail today for cheap airfares to Finland. In January. Just imagine how damn cold that would be…

So no big plans while I was there. Saw one friend the day after I got in to drop off some hot sauce for him to try. We stood about 20 feet apart in his driveway. Almost all my friends are quarantining out of caution so I did not see anyone and I do respect that. Otherwise I just kicked back relaxing and taking a few drives based around my appointments. That was the plan.

Meghan ended up going over to a place south of Tacoma for some dog-related things. We decided it would be best for us to follow each other back given the possible road issues so we met up in Ellensburg and went on to Coeur d’Alene for a night in a hotel. Beyond there hotels are few and fart apart, cell service is spotty for quite a while and there are a couple of mountain passes to be concerned about.

We got up the next day and left. It is a real good thing we stopped when we did, though. A few spots were pretty nasty and we would have been driving through there as darkness fell. We have been through there enough to know the roads pretty well and when to not take chances.

We got back to the house and it was time to take care of a few things in the trailer. I was pretty concerned about my new Nespresso machine freezing after the heater shut off and things froze. Luckily I emptied the water before I left and it is working fine. The extreme cold stretched out a few of my canned goods but everything else seems to be okay – no fluids anywhere. With winter in the neighborhood I will have to be leaving here a little earlier than what we had originally thought. The electricity I need to be hooked up to for heat and keeping the battery charged is needed to keep the horse trough (and the hose to fill it) thawed out. Meghan won’t be working as much so it all works out good other than I will really miss seeing everyone here.

With all of this going on I am now in the stages of thinking about wrapping things up to leave. It’s a bit odd to think of after being here helping out for the last five months. I didn’t want to be here in winter; I lived in a house for six years at 10,500 feet with seven months of winter (one storm alone five FEET accumulated at that house – not including the gale-force winds), and after that it was a house at 8400 feet for ten years and snow often. I have had enough winter. I am no longer a fan of the snow like that after dealing with it living in the mountains for many years. If I want to drive to see the snow that is one thing, but I don’t want it coming to me. I certainly won’t miss these winds either!

I am not quite sure where I am going for the next few weeks yet but know where I am going after that. I have appointments next month I have to be at but I have the time to go someplace now if I want. This time of year is tough with the possibilities of weather challenges, and the pandemic adds another dimension. I was thinking of a few places to go but the ‘rona is really making me consider my options differently and more closely.

I’ll be heading over to get a few things from storage before I take off. With the trailer being only 15 feet long it is very limiting so I have to choose what I need to take very carefully while realizing I won’t have access to my storage unit for a while. I really don’t like not having my stuff scattered states away but for now it’s best to leave my storage here. Extra clothing this time of year is important and that takes up extra space. Luckily I have had the time to shake things down as far as needs vs. wants. One big thing was realizing that I will have to make more frequent trips for groceries. Not that I will have to go daily, but limits such as there’s only room for one box of pasta and not two without giving up room for something else. It’s been an adjustment (along with no freezer space for prepped meals) as I usually have well-stocked shelves.

That’s to0day’s update.