February 11th, 2021

Adventure, food, Just things, Uncategorized

There was about an inch or so of snow this morning when I woke up and it has been very lightly snowing off and on all day. It was a little icy underneath it but it was right at the point of freezing vs. thawing so it was not very slippery. I needed to get the truck out to see about getting the wheel bearing fixed so I ventured out early this morning and got it to Les Schwab so they could have a look.

It tuns out it was not the wheel bearing after all; it was the whole damn hub assembly. Yet another $400. Still cheaper than buying a new car.

This means that pretty much the next five days I will be at home, going nowhere unless really necessary. They said it is in bad shape so I figure I should drive as little as possible and only when necessary. I don’t want to take any chances with getting myself (or anyone else) hurt or further damaging the truck. Or spending money on what is usually an overpriced tow bill on top of any other problems.

One of my new demitasse cups; it’s the red one with the handle

I stopped by the Post Office while on the way home to get my mail since it will be a few days before I can get out again. All I had was one package, and it was my vintage espresso cups I got from the online auction. As you can see by the picture above they are not very big, and actually tinier than I thought they would be. It’s hard to believe that I saw these on some websites for over $60 a pair! I got two pair in the auction – two black ones and two red ones like the one pictured above (and no…the green thing is not a giant lime). Unfortunately there are no saucers or spoons that came with them. Since an espresso is only a little over 1 oz. the cups are not big and are designed a certain way to enhance the espresso (much like a Sam Adams beer glass or a Guinness pint glass does). Science is everywhere whether you believe in it or not.

It’s looking like I’ll have plenty of time to be doing some cooking the next few days since I probably won’t be driving much. With the temps being in the 20s it was looking like a good day to make up a pot of chili…so I did, and it turned out pretty good. I even had two extra portions for the freezer. I also made up some fresh salsa to maybe have some nachos or chips & salsa. I will be making up some chicken & dumplings and biscuits & gravy for some rib-sticking warmth over the next few days as well. Unfortunately I did not get eggs while out but I have plenty of oats and fruit and a box of Cheerios I can eat for breakfast. I will definitely need to make a grocery run after the truck is fixed.

At least I can still get out with the dog for walks the next few days if nothing else. We just have to get through the next few days of cold weather and snow. So far we are not really seeing the winds they were talking about previously, but it looks like they have posted new watches/warnings about strong winds and up to another 3″ of snow in the area. I tossed another blanket on the bed so I’ll stay toasty there next few nights.

That is all for this post. Stay safe.

January 25th, 2021

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

I had to buy a stick vac to clean my house. I do have a broom but it just doesn’t work on the rug that well. I guess the one I have in storage in MT will get sold and hopefully I can get rid of a few other things as well so I don’t have to haul some of it again. It’s really looking like it may be a bit before the ‘rona calms down but I need some of my things and am thinking of alternatives on getting my things.

One thing that I have been needing to get (that I do not have in storage) is some decent kitchen knives but they can be expensive. To get a really good one you need to spend some real money, but there are a couple of low-cost ones that get great ratings. I found some on an online auction so I what bid an amount that I considered to be kinda high (but low compared to what I though they were worth). Looking at the pictures of the knives, all 17 of them, I saw what looked to be a decent collection of hardware so I started checking the values to figure out how much to bid.

I watched the auction when it was getting ready to close and I still had the high bid by quite a margin. Suddenly it started to make a run and my bid was in serious danger. It got to the last minute and I won it…but by only 89 cents. What a close one since I had to refresh the screen to see how the bids were going. The last few bids told me that I had made the right call bidding the amount I bid on this lot.

One or two of them may have a little damage on the handle but I really think I scored a major deal. They look to be mostly, if not all, German-made J.A. Henckels/Zwilling knives. It’s an assortment of several different types. I think that just one knife is worth about what I paid for all 17. They will need some cleaning up and I guess with 17 of them I better start learning how to sharpen them.

I also got a Le Creuset enameled steel stock pot with colander at another auction. I think it may be vintage and from what I can tell they don’t sell the colander any longer except in stainless steel. It is in very good shape from what I see in the pics. I am also looking for coffee cups to fit the different sizes of my coffee pods as well.

After doing the laundry I went to the store to grab a couple of things to make up some more burritos. This time I will make up some with Southwest ranch chicken, black bean, and lime cilantro rice with some roasted salsa verde. Luckily I forgot the limes as I have no room in the freezer! All of the other stuff I made up has filled the freezer so I will be eating that for a bit to make some room. I have another meal kit coming this week, then another break for a couple of weeks. I certainly won’t be starving!

The forecast for snow was wrong and it was a sunny day for most of the day. I really need to get the filter on the truck changed so maybe I can look at that tomorrow if the weather is good. I might even make another attempt at the last spark plug. My arthritis hand still hurts so I don’t know if I can get it changed or not, but I did get 7 of 8 replaced and it does seem to run a little bit better. I need to call the dealer service department to see what the other part needing replaced was; that is on the reminder list for tomorrow.

That’s it 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 4th, 2020

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

Not much downtime the last few days, but I art this very moment I am finding time to eat one of those cheap Party Pizzas. You know the ones. Used to be round but now they are square, red package…the one many a poor student has survived on. I have not had one in quite some time so I fixed that.

Meghan and Addy came in yesterday and left this morning – can’t mess around with the weather. She was picking up another dog for her breeding program. He was a pretty nice looking dog. She brought her guardpup – a giant Russian dog that will get to 140 lbs. Some even get to close to 200. It looked like a bear.

After dark we took Addy to see some holiday lights and found some really nice displays. Some of the businesses were really lit up. The pictures at the top of the post are from last night. Looking at these pictures it is just amazing how far a camera on a phone has come the last few years. I actually got this phone right before going to Europe for this very reason. I guess the latest iPhone is even better.

So after they left I started getting some personal business things done; renter’s insurance, P.O. Box, updating my address with the places I do business. This is somewhere around the 18th or 19th address I have had in the last 8+ years. That game is getting a bit tiresome truth be known, and with the changes in the world at the moment it is probably the best thing to do.

Speaking of mail, Meghan had brought my mail so I went through it this afternoon and one was actually a check for $140 from a credit/overpayment after my last cataract surgery. SCORE!!! Don’t know how that happened, but maybe it’s a quantity discount. If I were a cyclops I bet that I would not get a refund.

I was really thinking of staying home today since I have been on the go but everything else I had to do today was dependent on getting renter insurance and then the P.O. Box so I did the insurance over the phone and the mailbox I did mostly online but I did have to make a trip to sign the paper, get the key and box number. Took me maybe 20 minutes total with driving. The rest is more tedious, but I wanted to get it done. Not because it is Friday, but because I just wanted it done and off the To Do list. It was a nice day out but I had stuff to do indoors. I got outside as much as I could.

Tomorrow I am thinking of getting out for a walk before I get a few things done. I would rather do the walk afterward but I believe the weather is thinking differently. We will see what ends up happening when I get up. It was an early one this morning – five a.m. – and I have not been up that early in a while. I may be able to get to sleep earlier than I have been lately so I can get an early start tomorrow. Lately I have been sleeping really good but getting to bed after midnight and waking up around 8:00 a.m. It has been a long time since I have slept in like that.

I do like getting up early to see the day in with a leisurely cup of coffee, and tomorrow I can do just that while I try some of my new coffees I got today. I got several in this shipment that I have not had before and a few reorders of some I really liked. I am anxious to try some but it is a bit late and I do want to sleep. And it is still odd to me that I drink less; I find the flavors and richness are very satisfying so I usually drink half or less than what I was drinking (sometimes a decaf sneaks in there in the evening). That really helps to offset the cost of the pods but the tradeoff is so worth it and I drink less so much less caffeine.

I’m wrapping this post up. Gonna go play with the dog.

Stay safe everyone!

November 22nd, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Scotty Hilander, Uncategorized

Apparently, the sealant over the crack in my shower floorpan came loose today. I happened to see it was wet from under the wall after I took a shower this morning and stepped out. I got some clear Flex Tape for a temp fix to work on tomorrow, but it looks like I’ll be taking the shower apart to fix it very soon. I don’t really want to put that stuff on there but I cannot have it leaking. At least it is clear, and maybe it will come off with a heat gun and some Goo Gone.

Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know. I shoulda done it this summer. I can’t really do it while I am staying in it so that is the issue. Now that I’ll be getting into a place I can focus on getting that done since it won’t interfere with daily life. I imagine the door has to come off the toilet and another one near the floor will as well. Pull out the toilet fixture, take the wall panels and fixtures off, pull the pan out and fix it with fiberglass, then add supports in the floor and re-assemble it. No, I have not been real excited about doing this (I think I summed up why) but it will definitely need to get done before I take it out on another trip. I just remembered I am going to have to buy a new cover for the trailer.

I went to Costco today and got my hearing aids. It’s so good to be able to hear better again. I am going to have to go back tomorrow for them to have a look at the fit of my hearing aids, though. One side doesn’t seem to be positioned correctly inside my ear and it is affecting everything in that ear quite a bit. It really doesn’t feel or sound right. This happened to me before so I am not surprised. These are a different brand so I have some things to get used to, but this is definitely not correct. I think it’s one of two things so I will find out hopefully tomorrow.

I had the dog with me but locked him up in his crate in the back seat while I was inside the store. I let him out of prison so we could leave and he hopped into the front and just went stark-raving mad. He was so excited it was like we had not seen each other in a year. He was jumping around, bouncing off the seats and me and trying to play. I looked over out the window beyond the dog and the woman in the car two spaces over was staring at us. Then when she saw the dog going nuts she started laughing while telling the guy in the car to look. She was cracking up, I was cracking up, and Rider was just having a big time for several minutes’-worth of laughs. It was very entertaining for everyone.

I just cannot get over this vision thing! This is so much better than what I was expecting. I still need to get readers to read up close, but I think it is a good tradeoff. No, it is actually AWESOME!!! I’ll see what they say Wednesday but I think the healing is going good and the weird things are getting better.

As soon as things calm down a bit more I will be contacting an upholstery shop I found to ask them about the supplies for me to re-do my cushions or maybe the shop re-doing them. They are really getting bad in a couple of spots – mashed down and staying that way. Not much cushion whatsoever so they need new foam rubber. There are a few RV shops around so they may also be able to give me ideas on what to use, what’s popular, what wears best, etc. I can get by for now (shower is the priority), but sometimes winter months are slow, and with the ‘rona going on they might be needing some business and cut some deals.

It’s getting close to time I need to be ordering coffee pods for the Nespresso. Now that I understand it better and know what I want (I really like all but one of the coffees they have that I have tasted) I’ll be better prepared with some knowledge on how much to get of what. I know they have several new ones out but many of those are seasonal things like peppermint or that pumpkin-spice garbage. Last time I got 120 pods, but it doesn’t store as easily as a canister of coffee that makes twice that much so that took up some room. Once I get settled into the studio, though, I won’t have to worry so much about room.

Other than checking on getting my hearing aids adjusted, no other plans until my cataract appointment then the holidays. I got the stuff for my feast today. I am not much for turkey, but I do like to have some turkey, dressing, gravy and cranberry sauce (the jiggly one – not the chunky one) two or three times a year. I might go just absolutely berserk and have mashed potatoes too. Having a real kitchen again is one exciting thing about having a place to live. I’ll be able to really cook again. I have lots of new things I want to make but it takes room to spread out and cook, plus a regular fridge and freezer helps too. Unfortunately much of my kitchen stuff is all in Montana so I’ll be making-do with what I have in the trailer until I can get there. It’ll be fine.

That’s about it for this post. Until next time…