April 8th, 2021

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

To help not only to lose weight but also keep tabs on my nutrition I paid for a year of a premium diet/food app. In it there are some built-in diets and lots of recipes to look at. It’s a great app and has helped me with this diet.

One recipe I have looked at a couple of times is a Chicken Caprese Panini. I could not take it anymore and I decided to go to the store today and pick up some ingredients to make one. Glad I did.

I grilled up some chicken. While that was cooking I opened up a ciabatta and spread some basil pesto on the lid. I put the cooked chicken on the bottom half and chunks of olive oil/herb marinated mozzarella, followed by a slice of heirloom tomato, fresh spinach, some grilled red peppers in olive oil and more mozzarella.

I sprayed the bottom grill with avocado oil then put the sandwich on. I sprayed the top and put the lid down. What happened in that panini press was magic.

I have been wanting and needing something different to eat and this really filled the bill. Everything was hot, crunchy and delicious. Melted cheese and all those goodies in a crispy ciabatta panini was just what I needed for something tasty and new. I will be making that again. You could even do a meatless version and I bet it will be good.

I’ll let you know.

Another recipe I found interesting is for roasted chickpeas so I got the stuff to do that also. There’s possible rain tomorrow so that would be a good rainy day project.

I could also prep some pasta too. I’m trying to think of things I could freeze for later I can make ahead. I can’t really cook things I used to cook so I’ll be hitting the recipes for ideas.

Getting the last of my organizing taken care of. The kitchen still needs a little love but it’s getting there. I got the old desktop Mac ready to send in for recycling and some cash. One less thing to deal with. I got rid of some things and have more to donate.

Weather is looking good for the weekend and into next week. I’ll be out doing a lot of walking and enjoying that kind of weather. I am still thinking of a road trip but not sure where to.

I’d like to get the trailer out but I cannot unwinterize it yet – still getting too cold at night. I can go open it up and do some organizing in it so maybe over the weekend I will do that. That way if I get the urge I can take off for a few days and dry camp. It will be ready.

I can get my new generator fired up too. It is still in the box because it showed up in Montana the day I left. I picked it up last week with all my other stuff. I am anxious to try it out; it’s dual-fuel and runs on gasoline or propane. It’s also a different type of generator so it should be better than the last one was and have more output.

Otherwise it’s quiet. Got most everything taken care of that I had on my list for post-op recovery things to take care of.

Have a great weekend!

December 8th, 2020

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

It was a leisurely yet productive weekend. I have gotten things done on the computer that I needed to do; updating some more accounts and printing/sending off forms, yet I still had time for some hikes with the dog. It has been too beautiful to not take advantage of that and the exercise is always good for us both. Another eye post-op appointment in a couple of weeks and my calendar will be clear (at least that’s how it is for now…always subject to change, of course).

I have been cooking stuff and putting it in prep containers. Last night I boiled up some chicken thighs and portioned it out to freeze. I can take one of the containers out, heat it up with some additional water and some soup base from a jar. I can then make some homestyle soup or some chicken and dumplings. Today I made up and froze some Sloppy Joes. I don’t know if I can put anything else in the freezer but I will shuffle things around to see what I can do. This is definitely one of the things I missed about being in the trailer.

Tomorrow is laundry day since I will be down to my last change of clothes in the morning. I have to go to the laundromat early to do that and avoid the crowds. I will start my clothes washing and then maybe pay them to dry and fold so I can go do other stuff. They used to offer that service and I will gladly pay for it since it is really not that much. I have to go over to my old storage unit and move out of it, then take that stuff, along with some other things, to the new (and cheaper) storage unit. Now that I am back in a house I don’t need a heated storage unit.

It has been a week now that I have been out of the trailer and it has been so nice to be in a house again after six months. Traveling with it is one thing, but actually living in a 15′ trailer is challenging. It is fun to travel with; it is so easy to maneuver, I can take it in places where bigger trailers are not allowed, I have more options of sites it will fit in…just some of the plusses for travel. Staying put and living in it is another story. They are not made for that unless you get a huge trailer and that is not going to be happening.

I really hope to get some form of travel in soon but it is looking grim with the ‘rona escalating to even more epic proportions and no end in sight. I am starting to think about some local options when I can get the trailer out again. With the weather that may be a while yet, but it also gives me time to see how the pandemic progresses. I am much more concerned about that than the weather. Since travel is my thing I always think about it so looking at ideas is nothing new; not being able to go is new, but we do what we have to do.

For now I am happy just to pack up some snacks and take a drive to get out of the house for the day. It may not seem like much to some people, but it is a change of scenery and an escape from the rampant stupidity that is going on. Living here there is a wide variety of places to go and things to see and do away from the masses as long as you avoid weekends and holidays.

I could do a trip and stay in a hotel – I got over some of that fear on the trip I took over here some weeks back – but I am staying away from them for now so the trailer is the only viable option I will consider other than a daytrip someplace. It would also mean going to get takeaway at restaurants as well so even more exposure. I have had to go into more places than I have wanted to lately since I moved but I have needed to buy things. I still spend as little time as possible in any crowded place and traveling is no exception.

I would really like to do a multi-day Amtrak trip at some point. They seem to be reasonably safe if you spring the extra money for a roomette and keep to yourself in it. I like trains and train travel and the last trip to Vancouver, BC was scenic and fun and I have been on several in Europe. I would really like to do the Coast Starlight train down into California in the future when it is safer to go visit places. I’d have to board the dog but I would not be gone more than a few days. For me it would be more about the journey but I am always open for options (as one who travels should be…).

Of course Europe is always on the list but is closed to US passports for now. I almost seriously considered getting a ticket for next year with my airline miles when the pandemic started to calm down over there a bit. Airlines were doing no change/cancellation fees and that made it tempting with sone of the fares I have seen. With everything going on I wasn’t sure how things would work if I used miles and wanted/needed to cancel or change the flight and I had other priorities than to find out details. I can look into it now that things are calming down personally and I have the time to do it but no hurry. Now things are heating up again everywhere with the ‘rona so who knows when we will be able to go anywhere, be it far away and exotic or close by.

Speaking of travel, I have gotten a few new e-mails about cheap/discounted airfares. The website I use is having a contest for up to $1000 for you and a friend to go on vacation. If you might be interested, click here before December 11th, 2020. If you sign up on there I also get an entry. No pressure…just an FYI to pass along. I get nothing out of it other than an extra sweepstakes entry. Unless you want to take me on the trip with you!

It was another early morning (before 6:00 A.M.) and perhaps my days of sleeping in until after 8:00 A.M. are over for now. It is not getting light until after 7:00 so it’s coffee and a sunrise. I have said before I like getting up early but I like staying up late too.

I think I like getting up early better these days so that’s about it for tonight.

Thanks for reading my blog! Be safe and stay well. It’s all about the science.

April 21st, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Uncategorized

I really needed to do something different so I decided a few days ago to make a few changes to help myself get through staying at home better and easier. As a preface to this post, I am REALLY trying hard to keep my political opinions mine in this blog. I have to say it is sure as hell not easy given what is currently happening in this country.

First and foremost, I quit watching the news and haven’t watched the news for the last 3-4 days; in fact, during this time I have not even had the TV on until late at night and that was to watch a movie (and having some beautiful weather here has helped in many ways). There is entirely too much negativity and misinformation along with the political lies and bullshit. That alone has made me feel SO much better and has helped rid myself of the bad moods and given me more energy. I really suggest trying it to see if it helps you feel better.

Granted I still do get on the internet and do see things on there but I filter through said political lies and bullshit on there as well and don’t click on much news even on the ‘net. I am doing the things I am supposed to do (and much more) according to my state’s orders to stay healthy. I do pay attention to my local news to some extent so I am aware of what is going on close to home. As far as national politics I will be quite blunt –  I don’t fucking care.

Second, I am finding other more productive things to focus my energies on and spend time doing (other than mowing grass). I am looking at new recipes and making up a shopping list with new ingredients that I don’t have on hand (one recipe I really want is the cottage pie recipe from The Shack in Dublin, Ireland). I have an Instant Pot recipe magazine a friend sent me so I am looking through that along with some of the cookbooks I brought back from KS that my mom had.

I will be spending LOTS of time deep-cleaning my house starting tomorrow (supposed to rain so I will be in the house anyhoo) to get rid of the pollen that is all over everything in my house. It was so bad yesterday that I actually had to go inside – my nose plugged up and my eyes watered relentlessly just sitting outside enjoying the day. I am not looking forward to doing it but it has to be done and hopefully it will rain later today and tomorrow to clear the air. At least I got the yard mowed before the rain gets here. I have also been getting more motivated to do a few other things I need to do but have been low on my priority list.

It is easy to get wrapped up in current events but I am now approaching things differently and I feel MUCH better. I wanted to pass these things along in case someone needs some ideas.

February 17th, 2020 – Day 9: Amsterdam, The Netherlands to Kansas City, MO USA

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

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On the way to Schiphol Airport from Amsterdam Centraal Station

I woke up at 4:30, an hour before our alarm was supposed to go off. I laid there in the darkness, contemplating our trip during that time; all the things we saw and did and the fun we had. We have a 9-hour flight to ATL then a couple more hours to MCI.

It was such a great trip and after getting back home I am still thinking about it all. For me returning from this trip was much different than the first time over; having been there I already had that initial excitement of being in Europe. I also knew what to expect for not just going to Europe, but parts of the trip (Köln and Amsterdam, and a little bit in Dublin). I really had no idea what to expect about being all over Ireland and that’s the part I am still having trouble processing. The people were so wonderful and friendly. Everywhere we went in Europe everyone was friendly and helpful but Ireland has the overwhelming feeling of belonging. Galway (and the areas around it) was an even more comfortable place to be…not surprisingly, a feel of home given the centuries-long family history in the area.

The adventure of travel – domestic or international, be it by foot, transit, air, sea, or land –  is so fun and amazing. It is also what you make of it and to be self-reliant in a country where you are a visitor/outsider gives one pause to think about that a little deeper (at least it should) when they return home.

You must get out of your comfort zone to actually learn things and have great experiences when and where you travel; it’s not just about taking pictures of the same famous things like everyone else has posted online. Get in the alleys, go in a coffeeshop or a smart shop, do something you wouldn’t normally do, go someplace where your language is not spoken primarily, eat foods you cannot pronounce, try to have conversations with a local. I guarantee you will have some amazing life-changing experiences and countless stories and memories that last a lifetime.

This trip also included my first stay in an Airbnb property (Landsmeer) and I think that its a great way to travel now that I have done it. I will be looking into doing that more on my own – it’s a great way to get the local flavor of where you are and a great alternative to the same old boring chain hotels here in the States. Being retired, most of my travel will probably be with the trailer but there will one times I need to fly someplace and need a place to stay.

A few thoughts about Amsterdam – it’s a fun, easy city to be in but it is so overrun with cannabis tourists and all of the businesses play it up pretty well – to me it is really overblown and gaudy. I can stay home for that without the commerciality but Washington is overrun with people as well, especially the Seattle area.

I do feel really bad for the residents of Amsterdam; it is tough enough just living in a tourist area but what they deal with is pretty bad. Many tourists don’t care about or respect the locals and that is bad – trust me I know firsthand, having lived in touristy areas since 1996. We avoided being in the city on Friday and Saturday night and waited until Sunday to walk around at night.

I will probably be back, but will stay in the outskirts since I not only want to minimize my impact on the city but I also have other places I want to see in The Netherlands. I really do like Amsterdam’s progressiveness (which some call “freedom”…but only if it fits into their own morals). If you have a closed mind Amsterdam is just not for you.

…and some more thoughts about Ireland – I will definitely be going back to visit this beautiful place, full of some of the friendliest people I have ever met in my life. Dublin is fun and there’s a lot of history there that I still want to explore. There is so much more of the island I want to see. I had a lot of fun driving the car and really enjoyed the challenges and the differences (but not the Dublin traffic madness) and I will definitely get a car every time I go there. There is so much more to see and do in Ireland and I have to see and do it. For me, Galway has that indescribable special magic I feel when I am in the mountains.

In all we walked a total of about 58 miles in 8 days; not counting the day we left that’s an average of 7.25 miles a day. Some days were more – I know one or two were 10 miles a day! Pretty good amount of exercise! The girls did great figuring out the public transit and they fit right in. The only issues we had were the mapping apps not updating like they should (slow data speeds on our free international plans) and sending us in the wrong direction for a bit almost every time we wanted directions.

It was their first trip abroad and their first trip carrying everything around on their backs in a backpack and they did fantastic. They really adapted to this new style of travel really quick and they looked like experienced travel pros from the moment we left. To share travel with someone else makes it even better. When it is with someone you care about it is even better yet. I am so glad we got to go.

Thanks for a great trip, girls. I am looking forward to our next adventure!

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The End!!

February 16th, 2020 – Day 8: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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

Today we got out of our rental in Landsmeer and moved into Centrum near Centraal Station. Our room happened to be overlooking a canal and the station along with buildings in the other side of the canal. From here we go back and catch a train to Schiphol Airport for the trip home.

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Our final hotel room is the second row from the bottom (the First Floor in Europe) and the two windows on the left. Not a bad location!

We got into our room and hit the streets again to find food and souvenirs. One thing on my list was to hit a place called FEBO. Much like the old Automats in NY City, FEBO has two options – you can order from the counter or you can drop a coin in a slot and pick out tasty morsels for €2-4 each. Kroketten, bami, kasssouffle – mostly it is deep-fried deliciousness but there were burger options as well. We went there three different times today!

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FEBO – Goes great with a “coffee”!

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The weather was a bit blustery for our last night. We went different directions for a while and then it started to rain. And then it rained even harder. My pants got soaked so it was back to the hotel to warm up. First, though, there was time for a lamb kebab wrap and it was delicious. This looks to be a second storm that came across the UK that was like the first one we got caught up in while in Ireland. We are leaving at a good time.

We went back out to stroll around some more and take one last look at the city as the rain finally slowed to a few sprinkles. The crowds were thinning since it was Sunday night. But still many people are milling about.

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Back to the hotel one last time for the evening. We put the final touches on our packing for tomorrow.

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The view from our hotel window on our last night in Europe