February 19th, 2021

Adventure, food, Just things, Uncategorized

(Just a note that there may be a few words that might, or probably will, offend someone. If you still see it there it’s only because I didn’t edit it out.)

After roughly four full days of very little food because of lack of all appetite, my hunger is finally getting the best of me. On one hand, it has helped me to lose nearly 10 lb. in just this past five days. On the other hand, I do need to get some nourishment to repair some of the damage to my body.

Every day it gets a little easier to breathe; it’s nowhere near where I need to be but it will take time. I got maybe a little too ambitious today but all I did was vacuum the rug and go get my mail. I got my time in for my exercises while doing those few things I really needed to do but I am exhausted.

It does not help that I cannot sleep more than a few hours a night. One of the meds I am on is notorious for causing sleeplessness, hallucinations and nightmares, and even psychosis in extreme cases. I am going to give it the weekend to see if things calm down and I hope it has already. But I still woke up at 2:00 AM yet again this morning.

I heard these nightmares/hallucinations are called “lucid dreams”. It was just like it was really happening. So real. I know you are probably wondering “So…just what KIND of hallucinations?”. Oh just little things, like shadow figures walking at the foot of my bed, lights flickering…and there are no lights on. Things crawling across the walls – like lizards, insects, birds, cats…you know, the usual and the unusual things that crawl across walls. My dog was jumping on my bed…and he is in Montana until I recover. The two nights I spent in the hospital I cannot even describe because I don’t even know what happened or HOW to begin to describe it. I had some weird dream and it raged all. effing. night. long. The second night, it was the same damn dream and picked up right where I was the night before.

The third night I was home and that one about drove me insane. I was basically trapped inside the front of a giant webpage for many hours – like 8 hours. Imagine you are standing under the front of the screen at your favorite cinema. Everywhere in your peripheral vision is a webpage that big. And you are stuck on the front of it. No, really. I could not get away or shut it out, off or down. It was an auction webpage with all of the Le Creuset items I have been buying – at auction. As the night went on it got so bad. The goddamn web page was floor to ceiling on my bed, in my face, and the auctions got faster and faster. I was physically yelling outloud for it to “FUCKING STOP!!!”. It was flashing pictures, insanity, color, intensity…every possible thing assaulting your senses and then much more. I even thought I could come in and shut down my laptop maybe it would stop it. I know, right? All these dreams seemed so scary real.

Fortunately, last night there were no dreams at night, but the dog was jumping on my bed again (he is still in MT), shadow figures paced at the foot of my bed, lights were flashing around in the air, weird noises…sounds horrible to you but a much-welcomed relief for me. Was I ever really scared? No, not overly but not totally without fear. Frustrated, concerned, no control and goddamned tired & pissed off about it? Yeah, let’s say that. I will see how the weekend plays out and call if necessary. I have only been on these new meds for 4-5 days now so I am sure my body has to adjust in more ways than one.

I have been looking at the food I have in the cupboards and the other I worked so hard to cook and freeze. Even though I do try to cook mostly healthy when I cook there are things I will have to get used to not eating or eating less of or ingredients no longer okay to use. I still don’t know what the hard details of my diet boundaries are or will be but a cardiac diet is pretty, well, unfun. I don’t use much salt so that part is easy, and I eat more chicken than beef or pork (gonna miss bacon…). But cheeses?!?!?! Eggs? NOOOOoooooooo! And Kerrygold…I will always remember those buttery, golden times. Speaking of golden times, I’m talking to you, too, Hostess.

All comedy aside, I know it needs to happen and I am good with it. I am looking for ideas to do with some of the things I cannot eat so it doesn’t go to waste. There’s a lot of money and labor of love in that freezer. I won’t waste it for just those reasons, but put simply we should just not waste food any more than absolutely necessary. I have some canned goods but the food bank is not taking outside donations because of the ‘rona. I am thinking of what I can do to make sure it helps someone who really needs it. I have ideas.

Tomorrow I will be taking it easier but I hope to get rid of some stuff tomorrow morning since I am picking up all new groceries from curbside at Safeway. I browsed through various items and found some great ideas. I am getting some healthier frozen prepared meals to eat until I can get my feet back under me and can work on finding some recipes to cook. I will be looking at many plant-based possibilities but some are not healthier than say, a Whopper vs. an Impossible Whopper. They are good though.

Have a good night. Hoping the cinema in my head is closed tonight.

Me and the dog are headed to bed.

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.

February 9th, 2021

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

Tonight’s featured movie is “Groundhog Day”. As if it is not enough that life imitates art right now, why not watch a movie about it.

Yesterday I got the truck out for a road trip/test drive. I had to go pick up something anyway so the timing was good. I left the house and had to make a few stops on the way. All was fine. As I was heading on to my next stop miles away, the Check Engine light came back on again. 🤬

I thought “💩” and went on ahead. It felt like it was running fine and when I checked the codes were just the same as before. After I made my stop I cleared the light again to see what happened. I got all the way back and then made another trip to town. The light is still off so that is a good sign. I did a live read on the truck while running and there are no issues showing up. Success!

After that, it was a little housework and then some pasta. And not really much else other than several walks with the dog. There was even (gasp!) some reading! The last walk around 10 P.M. was definitely cooler and a sign of things yet to be. A few snowflakes fell as we were out for that quick tour of the local “watering holes” that the dog frequents.

As for today, I finally got a road trip in. I needed to get out of the house plus I wanted to get a microplane to do some cooking. No, a microplane is not a tiny aircraft. It is a type of grater that is really shallow. I want to use it to zest some limes for some cilantro lime rice. A couple of the meal kits needed lime zest and it was difficult to get it using a knife edge. Then it was over to Trader Joe’s to grab a few unique snacks and some Gouda cheese (the sliced TJ’s Gouda is pretty good and makes a great breakfast sandwich with bacon).

The truck is really running good now that I got the part fixed. The light came on once today but I was driving over a rough patch and it triggered the light. I know there are a couple of broken exhaust bolts so I think what happened was the exhaust jiggled and it sucked in a little outside air, triggering the O2 sensors. I gained about 3 MPG more after the fix and it may get a little better as the computer adjusts. I guess once I can finally go get my stuff I can put my K&N air filter back in. That will help with a little bit more of a boost in power and mileage. I am really anxious to see how it does pulling the trailer now that it is running better. Hmmm…now THERE’S an idea…

Taking a long drive today helped out immensely and I recommend it if you need a break from the grind. Sounds like snow for this area so I am glad I went today. If the weather holds I may go someplace tomorrow but it is not looking conducive for a good day of driving where I want to go. Even the weather people are not quite sure what to expect yet. If I don’t get out that is fine too – at least there was today. I do still have a lot of cooking to take care of. I already picked up the fresh ingredients so it needs to happen in the next day or two. I will need to make a supply run for a couple of things at some point.

Calling this day in the books. A good night to all.

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!