February 7th, 2021

Adventure, food, Just things, Uncategorized

Yep…it was a good weekend. Got some things accomplished.

Yesterday I woke up, had a shot of espresso and a cup of coffee, and said “I need to cook”. So I cooked. I got to try out my new (to me) Le Creuset stockpot and made what ended up being a huge pot of pasta…MUCH more pasta than I thought it was. I browned up some chicken Italian sausage, added some fresh garlic and lots of olive oil, stirred in some of the pasta, and I instantly had five meals’-worth of dinners from that.

With the pasta I had left, I portioned it out and added some Muir Glen Garden Vegetable red sauce, plus a dash of garlic powder and a drizzle of olive oil to each tray. I ended up with four of those trays but they are pretty hefty portions now that I look at them; I probably could have gotten another 2-3 dinners out of the bunch but I was also worried about having enough sauce. I was lucky I had that on hand, but I do have some canned fire-roasted tomatoes so I can make my own sauce from that. I can also use some to make salsa and have some cilantro, and a fresh onion a couple of jalapeños to do just that. In fact, that is why I bought a case of those tomatoes.

It was extremely windy yesterday. I mean horrible winds almost all day and then it was a little rainy at times. This morning I woke up and saw a bright sunny day and some gusty winds that have lasted all day; nowhere near as bad as yesterday though. When I saw that sun I figured the dog and I needed to be outside some. Plenty of walks but too windy to play with his flying disc that he loves so much. The week is shaping up to be poopy weather- lows in the teens and highs in the 20s/low 30s – so I am trying to get out and keep the dog happy too. That’s unusual for here; it happens a couple of times every Winter for about a week.

Seeing the forecast for this coming week, I saw that I was going to have to put it off for another week, so I finally got the problem emissions part replaced on my truck! I thought while it is windy, it is not raining or really cold, I might as well see if I can get it done today and I did. Took me about 5 minutes and $40 or so for the part. Saved another $20 from the dealer repair AND the OBD-II reader paid for itself as well. It is running better and after I cleared the light it is not coming back on and it runs better and is getting better gas mileage. Glad to have that done. I guess the fuel filter will wait another week. I will be borrowing some ramps from a friend and try to do that in his driveway. It is another five-minute fix. Well, it SHOULD be…

Now that I have that main problem fixed I feel much better about taking a long drive (it iorobabky woulda been fine), and I plan on doing that very soon. I’d probably have to do it so soon so it may be tomorrow or Tuesday given the weather that the forecast says is moving in. The fuel filter does not seem to be causing any issues and there are no codes in the computer for errors so I feel confident. I am so glad to have that finally done.

I just saw an article today about the pandemic and what to expect. I think that I may be a bit too optimistic about going to Europe (or anywhere international) even as early as Spring of 2022 according to this news story but everything is even less than uncertain for the foreseeable future. I am still watching some travel shows and keeping an eye on travel articles as it is something positive to look forward to. I reactivated my Scott’s Cheap Flights notifications (I stopped updates for a while since I felt it was pointless) and have been looking at prices in searches. I also realize there may be other options besides Europe but all of that remains to be seen given the constantly-changing pandemic regulations.

It is interesting to hear about a real push for high-speed rail in the U.S. That would be so cool and so convenient. I think once people see how easy and efficient it is to go around the country by train it would sell itself. The key, of course, is public transit infrastructure available near each rail station to get people close to where they want to go. It’s odd that in Europe public transit is something everyone does because they want to, while here there seems to be a stigma where it is the poor people who ride the bus. I have ridden public transit quite a bit in various places and it is a great way to get around. My fingers are crossed that we can finally make some progress nationwide on this.

It had a good run, but I think my 27″ iMac is ready to give up. I have been using it for videos in place of a TV but I noticed a few days ago that it was extremely hot to the touch. I used some canned air to blow it out and cool it off but it’s about used all the runway. I cannot upgrade the OS anymore so I am looking at recycling it and I will get some cash out off the deal. It’s ten years old and has moved all over the PNW with me to most of the 18-20 addresses I have lived at, and it is remarkable it stood up to that.

It’s why I buy Apple products.

That’s all for now.

February 3rd, 2021

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

I have been receiving some things I bought at an online auction and a few other goodies.

On Monday I got this week’s HelloFresh box. I got beef bulgogi bowls, cheesy smothered mushroom chicken with mash and roasted carrots, and plant-based protein enchiladas rojas. I am not doing them every week so I can have other stuff too plus it saves a little money.

I also won an auction for a vintage off-white Le Creuset porcelain-coated steel stockpot with lid and colander and it came Monday too. It is much larger than I imagined so I need a garage to park it in. I really like this porcelain stuff for clean up and this will be great for cooking spaghetti, linguine, and rice noodles for stir fry. I still want to try to can some home-made pasta sauce. I can’t do it yet since I would like to use my Instant Pot to help with the canning part. I need to fire-roast some tomatoes somehow; maybe on my grill after I get it here too. I have to research that.

The box of 17 Zwilling/J.A. Henckels knives showed up yesterday so I got them washed up and used a couple to cook dinner – beef bulgogi bowls. What a difference a good-quality knife makes. A little disappointed that the most expensive of the bunch – an 8″ chef knife – has a broken tip but the whole lot was still a great score for the money. I will take it to the knife sharpener guy and see if he can do something to fix it. I still need to get a sharpener but they are in pretty good shape for now. A couple of the handles have a melted spot on them but I can work on smoothing those marks out with my Dremel.

Today I got two Le Creuset salt cellars I won on an auction for way less than the price of one. I plan on using one for salt and the other for pepper. and they will be a help in the kitchen when cooking. I got another package today from a friend – a really nice bell for my bike and some chocolate Guinness candies that look like a little pint.

Tomorrow I am finally getting some Espresso cups I won in another auction. These are vintage Italian but they have no matching saucers. The price of the four (two red, two black) with shipping was less than a single cup on eBay! They are heavy ceramic and will come in handy since Monday my coffee order came in and I got several espresso pods in this box.

Also I have a few other needed things showing up tomorrow, and one of the items is an OBD-II vehicle code-reader that sends info about my truck to my phone on an app. This will help me clear out the codes and see there are any other things wrong without going anywhere and having to have it done. I hope to get the fuel filter and the vent solenoid changed in the next few days and it will be handy after that is done. It has been wet and it is certainly no fun laying on cold, wet pavement so I have put it off and the stuck fuel line needs to soak up some oil to loosen up so more time won’t hurt. Tomorrow I have to call and find out if they have the solenoid in stock then go get it and install it in the parking lot since I don’t know if it will cause any further problems.

I still have not gotten my airline plans done yet. I have been trying to get it finished up, but I have been back and forth quite a bit on what to do with Europe, vouchers and my miles and trying to make the most sense out of it. I think that with everything going on Europe will just have to be pushed to next year. I was hoping to go back in the Fall but now that is one less thing to figure out. There are so many unknowns and I don’t want to have to straighten out things if there is a border closing or a flight cancelled or a pandemic. It’s also some extra time to shop for fares. Now that I got that part decided on I have been looking at a different place to go along with the other two options that I have been considering. Notes are being taken and I think I have somewhat of a plan.

I will be getting my passport in the mail in the next few days so I can start the renewal process with hopes of getting the new one back in a reasonable amount of time. They are saying the turnaround time is only 10-12 weeks so that is not bad considering the country has been needlessly on fire for a year now.

There really is not much I can do in the trailer at the moment. It is too cold and damp to do much as far as re-sealing windows and the shower floor pan so I still have to wait to do that. I cannot really do much organizing since I ransacked some things out of it to use in the house until I get to MT for my things.

So there has been a little going on but not much, and I am sure that we all have a little different version of the same story right now – day in and day out. And, also much like many of you, it gets to me a little sometimes but that’s okay. We just gotta hang in there.

Have a good day!

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!

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.

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.