July 17th, 2021

Adventure, Just things, Motorcycle, Outdoors, Road Trip, Scotty Hilander, Travel, Uncategorized

What the…

The tree above is called a “monkey puzzle tree”. I did not know much about them other than there are a few around the area that I have seen in various places – you cannot miss something that unique.

I had to know more so I did look them up and they are from South America. It can grow up to 150 feet tall with a 7’ diameter trunk and, get this, can live for 700 years or more and up to 1000! It is a prehistoric tree that dates back 210 MILLION YEARS! Crikey!

I got more caulking done on the trailer today after a trip to do laundry and get a couple of things from the store. I’ll be working on it more tomorrow and now that I am getting better at doing it it’s going faster so I can be done with it this week hopefully. I got one of the storage compartments sealed up, a window, and one side of the front. The rear window is the only window left but I need to find out about getting it fixed so I will check into that before I seal it up in case it needs to be removed to fix it. I am hoping the wind dies down tomorrow so I am not getting hit with it all day while trying to get it finished.

The winds are still blowing, both literally and figuratively. It just won’t stop and I hate being out in the wind while trying to work on the trailer. We need rain pretty badly and the snowpack in the mountains is all gone now and the winds just dry things out quicker. Might be a scary Summer and Fall until we get some precipitation and the fire danger is extremely high. It has been averaging around 60° F here so it has been very pleasant as opposed to the 100° F weather we had a few weeks ago.

I am still planning on getting away someplace in the next week or two after I get some appointments out of the way. Cardiac rehab is the biggest hurdle to doing so but it is going good. I am learning some things about exercises and diet that I needed more info on. I feel confident I won’t need to go for the full 12 weeks and quite possibly even less.

I should be able to start riding my bike again in a few weeks so that will help with my exercise regimen. That will be strange to do. I won’t be riding to town anytime soon though. It’s hard to believe it has been almost three months since my bypass surgery and nearly six since my heart attack. My chest is still tingling & numb and that gets annoying since it seems to change all the time.

The new iPad and keyboard cover are awesome. I have been using it and trying to learn some new things about it, especially using the Apple Pencil. It is odd not having an old-school computer but I think I can make this work pretty well; it’s just a different way to use a computer. This tablet has plenty of power and a much better keyboard than my MacBook Pro did.

I am starting to replace my DVDs with digital downloads when I find them on sale. This also gives me a chance to see what DVDs I can get rid of. It also gives me a chance to revisit movies I used to like to see if I still like them enough to replace but I am certain that I won’t replace them all. Digital copies are sure a lot easier and some have special editions that are not available anywhere else.

That’s it for today’s entry.

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.

December 16th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Uncategorized

As I sit here and start typing this post I am enjoying a cup of Cuban coffee. It is one of the coffees in last batch of coffees I ordered. It is not bad but there are others I got in that order that I like better. They have so many coffees I have to keep a list of what I like and don’t like so I don’t re-order one I don’t like. I should have had a decaf but it is early enough in the day I will be able to sleep after drinking this. At least it’s not a double espresso, but I do need to order a few tubes of those and single espresso. It’s a great jolt first thing in the morning and the flavors are intense but delicious.

It’s a cold, blustery day here today and the wind has picked up this afternoon. Glad it is the exception and not the rule or I would not be hanging around here. That means today is one of those stay-in-the-house days, but I have things on the computer I am trying to do. It also means getting out for walks is only out of necessity and they are quick trips out and back in.

I am trying to organize and clean up files on my devices and on my cloud service, which I should have been doing all along but didn’t. I am also trying to get Word and Excel documents converted to their Apple counterparts. I purchased a year of Microsoft Office in August and I am really disappointed with Outlook, the main reason I spent money on the program. Microsoft just cannot make Office work on a Mac like it does on a PC. I am tired of fighting it and going back & forth between different programs so I am gonna simplify it. I don’t really need Word or Excel bad enough to pay for it and I can use the web version if I need to, but my Apple programs will open those documents and spreadsheets with decent compatibility. And I don’t need to spend money since Apple’s programs are “free” (there is that premium price on Apple products though…).

My gripe with Apple’s native programs has been that they would build a basic program and then let third-party developers do the real work on apps that you then have to buy those to get the cool features. Apple has apparently heard the complaints and is putting out some pretty decent apps for their products. Since they are doing that I find myself embedded deeper into Apple’s “walled garden” and I am fine with that. Not an Apple Fanboy; I just like technology that works; I don’t like it well enough to camp out in a line for a week in front of the Apple Store.

Other than organizing that stuff most of the day I went to town and got the new airbox for my truck. I hope this fixes it but I will still have the dealer check it Friday in case it is something else. I hate chasing problems like this with my wallet as it gets expensive fast and you may end up spending money on changing parts that were not bad. The lid on my airbox was cracked so it needed replaced anyway. I cannot really check it to see if it runs better at idle until the engine cools down. At least it is in there.

I ate the rest of my Lou Malnati’s pizza for lunch. It is odd to have room for so much food that I cooked ahead plus things like the pizza. It is convenient but cooking is SOMETHING to do during a day and on a day like today it would be a break. I took some of that chicken/broth base in the freezer and cooked up some chicken and dumplings. It is a great day for something warm and rib-sticking and it hit the spot. Another thing to make with dumplings is a recipe my mom made only once for some reason when I was a kid. Blackberry dumplings. Make the dumplings the same and drop spoonfuls into some boiling blackberries. It is sooo good and filling as well.

I don’t remember if I posted anything about my microwave or not; it is a convection oven/microwave. I bought one of these for the trailer – I had too many other things on my mind to figure it out so I never used it. When I made the Malnati’s pizza I did it in the convection mode. I am very impressed by the utility of this appliance. Two handy appliances in one! I will have to experiment with mine since it is in a tight space in the trailer so I don’t know if it will get too hot or pull too many amps. If it won’t work I have used the microwave part; next time I move into someplace I can use it for baking too.

One more eye appointment tomorrow and I think I am done with follow-ups for that. It is amazing that after 35 years of wearing glasses (and a brief couple of stints trying contacts) I no longer need glasses except to read. It is so fantastic. Everything is so clear and better looking than through glasses. I need to get laundry done tomorrow some time since I have the truck service on Friday and I also really need to wash clothes. Apparently I am back in my old habit of waking up in the mornings around 6 so I can hit the ground running to get it done and have some downtime before I have to leave.

I decided to get my guitar out and try to get back into playing now that I have room to stretch out. Having a hard time with dexterity in my hands so I don’t know how this is going to work out and for how long. I had to struggle a little working on the truck because of arthritis in my left hand and some possible nerve stuff in my right hand after tearing up my shoulder in 2019 – I kept dropping the bolts. However, a few years ago I kinda saw where my hands were headed. I thought I would play around with the keyboards and the textures and things I can do with my limited knowledge of digital music creation. I think I have come up with some interesting things for my tastes but it doesn’t mean that I would do some things a bit different here and there (I still could at some point).

As usual I loosened up a little and it was a little frustrating doing so fumbling along. I did come up with two ideas in about 30 seconds so I recorded those. Then I started some music on the computer to play along with before I started to really work on a few ideas old and new. The next song up I have talked about before. It is an instrumental by Camel (*and that is NOT Frampton’s Camel or Sopwith Camel), and the song is called “Ice”. A beautiful, emotional, heavy/melodic guitar-oriented beautifully-constructed song with a keyboard solo. I used to be able to play along with the guitar parts fairly well but I could not do it tonight. I will not go quietly into the night. I am not giving up. Then some Metallica came on and the mellow mood got moshed. It was an old one called “Escape” off of “Ride the Lightning”. Certainly picked up the mood.

Wow. Talk about some great memories. A song that John and I wrote – actually, it is the very first one we did together probably somewhere around 2006-2008 – just popped up in the shuffle on my computer. He had written the music before we met. I threw the lyrics together in about 20 minutes as I remember and then we recorded it. Those were such great times. Some good stories from those years! Hahaha.

That’s it for tonight. Be safe!

*obscure musical group references from the 60s & 70s

December 10th, 2020

Adventure, Just things, Outdoors, Uncategorized

Relief.

I believe I now have pretty much everything important done that I needed to do after moving. I am finally able to do some kicking back, getting outside doing some walks and dealing with this pesky animal I have 😁. I got the storage items swapped into the new unit this morning so that’s done. I was even able to take a few more things out of the house over for storage. It’s not heated, but it is a bit bigger than the one I moved out of and it’s cheaper. If I need to keep something out of the cold I will simply bring it home. I got it when I was in the trailer and had no warm storage for things.

I did some living room area rearranging and organizing so my desktop 27″ Mac is now my TV. After being offline for six months it finally updated the software as much as it can. It is eight years old but still works so I am taking advantage of it, watching movies and videos on it and I will use it as a bigger monitor on my laptop on top of working on more music. I only watch streaming and DVDs so I don’t need a TV and don’t really want to buy one anyhoo.

I take the dog out after dark every night so he can take care of his evening paperwork (since he doesn’t have opposable thumbs he cannot open the door himself; I figure since I’m up opening the door for him I might as well just take him out and get some exercise too). I have been taking him out in the yard, but a few nights ago I began taking him down the driveway. Then we take a walk up the road, and there’s no mud like in the yard.

We made a few trips down and back last night. It was a beautiful clear night so I was hoping to catch the Northern Lights they talked about on the web. I never saw them but I read today where the forecast was incorrect – that kind of thing is very hard to predict I guess. We never saw anything other than a sky full of stars and the Big Dipper spinning in a circle. I need to get my tripod and DSLR book out and make a time lapse of that.

The final trip out last night we were starting down the driveway and all of a sudden a chorus of what sounded to be about 20 coyote pups started yipping and barking. He stopped, I stopped…and we called off the mission and went into the yard instead. I guess that’s why I keep a towel for him by the door.

I have to take the tailgate apart on the truck and fix the lock so I guess I need to look it up on YouTube. While I am on there I will have another look at some ideas and ways to test the MAF sensor. The check engine light is on so it throws an error for the sensor and I just replaced it. I’ll look into that maybe tomorrow and fix the lock, but I also need to get it into the dealer for an oil change. If I cannot figure out the issue then they can look into it when the oil gets changed.

I picked up some mouse-repelling packets for my truck and trailer. I have had them build a nest in the console of my old Explorer before and I know someone whose wiring under the hood had to be completely replaced due to mouse chewing. This repellent is all natural (peppermint leaves and some other herbs) and non-lethal – it just keeps them away. I have heard of people using dryer sheets but others say it is a myth. I should go do that tomorrow. With the cooler, wetter weather I am sure they want a dry place to be so I need to stop it before it starts. With my freed-up schedule and okay weather I need to get things done while I can.

I am still waiting for my e-bike to get here. I knew with the holidays it would be slow to arrive so it’s fine. It’ll get here when it gets here and not before. It is in the pipeline so I may have it early next week. I have been watching videos on helpful tips and am anxious to get it. I think it will be so much fun to travel with when I get out again. The one big thing I am excited about is using it to go to town on the trail and not taking the truck. The Post Office is even closer so that will be a great e-bike errand as well. I don’t get the mail every day usually, but I may now and get some exercise doing it. I do plan to use the pedal-assist mode – it’s not going to be an electric motorcycle. I guess I need to start looking at helmets…

That’s about all for now. This blogger is headed to bed.

July 20th, 2019

Adventure, Just things, Uncategorized

It’s hard to believe that fifty years ago today a man actually walked on another planet. Despite the fact that it was solely done to give a metaphorical finger to “those commie bastards”, the fact is it was an amazing achievement for ALL mankind.

Perspective – an iPhone has enough power in it to manage 120 MILLION moon missions simultaneously! Think about that backwards – in terms of how little computers may have done. That is just amazing.

There is an excellent three-part documentary on PBS about it and I learned so much about it – the good and bad. I thought back to what they had done, but seeing how political it was really was very disheartening; it was not for the exploration of our universe.

I remember seeing the missions on TV as a boy; you really had no choice as ALL THREE TV CHANNELS covered it. I remember thinking about what these brave explorers were accomplishing but I also remember discussing it in school and, at the ripe old age of 9, creating a “protest poster” asking why we are wasting money doing this. The money would be better spent fighting cancer and feeding people was my thought. Boy, that really hits close to me these days in one regard. It turns out that it would have been a better choice of things to do with all those billions of dollars.

Regardless of the disgusting politics involved it still takes nothing away from the accomplishments of all the people involved and it was so amazing to be able to witness the history unfold.

Otherwise, I am still recovering from my surgery and I have a long way to go. I still cannot drive, but at least I can take the bus to pick up groceries and mail and get to my PT appointments. I have not been more than eight miles from my house the last six weeks and it probably won’t change anytime soon. I had so many things I wanted to do this summer – road trips especially – but those things are not going to be happening and it’s so frustrating. It looks like there will probably be nothing happening like that until late this year.

At least the weather has been nice so I can get out for walks and get to the bus without getting soaked. The rain has pretty much stopped so I can care even less about how tall the yard is. The cherries on my cherry tree came and went and they were sweet and delicious! When Meghan and Addie were here we ate quite a few of those along with the raspberries on my raspberry bush and my sugar snap peas. Even the dogs were picking peas and raspberries to eat!

I’m still really excited to get my dog but he won’t be a puppy any longer by the time I get him. Unfortunately Meghan had to take him back because we weren’t sure if I would’ve been able to handle him while recovering. It seemed like the smart thing to do and it was. I really hate to miss out on some of that puppy stuff, but Meghan will be able to whip him into shape until I can get him.

Otherwise life is pretty uneventful. I’m just trying to get through all this recovery and I’m anxious to move on with my life.

I need a vacation really badly.