January 5th, 2021

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

Welcome to my first post of the new year.

Been fairly rainy around here lately, but I was able to get out and get some walking miles in during the clear moments between deluges. The dog about went nuts a few times; with the rain coming down it just was not walking weather so he slept and laid around as much as he could but that won’t last all day. Then he attacks me.

I did try to make a pie last week but it was a big fail. I gotta work on that a lot more. I am not gonna give up so maybe next time I will try to make small ones and see how the first one turns out before going farther. I have a long way to go with baking from scratch and I see why it’s spendy going to a real bakery.

Monday I got up and after coffee and breakfast I made up some breakfast sandwiches with an organic, free-range egg (nice dark-yellow almost orange yolk!), bacon, Gouda cheese, all on a whole-grain English muffin. It is good for a quick snack or meal; I am trying to eat more oats and fruit at breakfast but who doesn’t like a good breakfast sandwich?

I got my Hello Fresh box yesterday and had some pork flautas. tomorrow night will be Silky Sicilian Penne with zucchini, mushrooms and tomatoes. Shepherd’s pie (it’s actually a cottage pie; shepherd’s pie is made with lamb, hence the name) is tonight’s dinner, complete with never-before-made-by-me-from-scratch mashed potatoes. I even had to go buy a potato masher to make this meal; I never had one but I do now! Thanks to Goodwill and lots of hot, soapy water I got myself a heavy duty masher. It turned out really good and I will be making it again. Just wish I had some Irish brown bread with Kerrygold butter slathered all over it. Then wash it down with a pint.

While I was out picking up the spuds masher and a few other items for today’s cooking lesson, I saw some custom bodywork on a car that I just have to share:

I think the blue distracts from the main color scheme, but very nice work drilling a hole at the end of the crack to keep it from going farther

The U.K. lockdown is some pretty serious stuff and it makes me think that perhaps travel, especially international, may be farther off than I want to believe it will be. I still try to be optimistic but know the realities of the situation. I just cannot wrap my head around getting on a plane and going anywhere yet. But…

I also have a couple of hundred dollars in vouchers from a cancelled flight that I need to use to book a flight someplace in the next couple of weeks. I am not real excited about doing that, but I cannot let it go to waste. I will book it as late as I can and cancel if need be. On the bright side it will be more miles to my frequent flier account. I just need to figure out where I would want to go.

Last night I took the dog out for a walk. It was really dark out and no moon due to the clouds. Any darker and I would have needed a flashlight, which I didn’t have with me but soon wished I did.

Across from where I live is a huge field. We had walked up the road so he could make his rounds and mark his special spots with a wee dab of wee. We stopped, and all of a sudden about 20 coyotes started carrying on sounding like hyenas yipping & howling and they were really close – closer than the last time this happened. We turned about and got the hell out of there quick. I did not want to run to get them chasing us, but I woulda easily won a speed-walking contest.

That’s about all for now.

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.

You’re Gonna Feel a Little Sting…

Adventure, Just things, Outdoors, Travel, Uncategorized

I had a blood test a few days ago to get my cholesterol checked. While they were at it, they tested my blood for antibodies for MMR vaccines. Well, I have antibodies for both of the “Ms” but not the “R” and that means I have to go get another shot for the trip. I’m gonna have tracks on my arms before long if this keeps up!

It’s been good to be able to get out of the house more lately. It was nice to avoid all the holiday traffic. I missed getting out to go places but not enough to fight that cluster. I do think that I am going to get away for a few days. I need it and have nothing else going on so why not. Catch up with some friends, maybe grab a hotel or two.

I went to a mall yesterday to get something and it was quite a depressing place to be. More empty storefronts than occupied ones, so little foot traffic, and employees/owners working their asses off to keep their places open. You can just feel the “last days” vibes in most malls these days. Southcenter Mall by SeaTac is an exception, though. It is always packed with so many people it is just madness. The Jollibee there always has long lines to order food, and the Asian market next door does a booming business.

It was really rather sad, thinking back to the malls of my youth as I walked around the mall. Leavenworth HAD a mall, and it was where we liked to hang out because they had a Musicland record store among other places. Going to Indian Springs Shopping Center in Kansas City, KS after it opened was a big thing and a rare treat. Why, they even had a moviehouse in the building! More than one screen Рthey had SIX!!!! Oh, the humanity! As the cities spread out and crime started to filter in as the suburbs grew, Indian Springs fell into disuse and disrepair, eventually torn down.

I am going to buy a luggage scale. Looking over our flights we can only have a carry on from 10-12 kg each and one small “personal item”. I want to make sure we can avoid checking our bags. It is very expensive to check them last minute, and much more than a domestic flight. Being able to weigh our bags will be important enough to warrant spending the money on it.

I am really packing light in anticipation of not only the bag weighing too much, but also needing a little extra room for souvenirs. Trying to stay under 22-26 pounds will be tough. Watching some videos others post about packing has really made me rethink and refine and I think I have removed most of what I can get by without. I’m still going to think about any other things I can leave behind.

I got a few more details wrapped up today with regard to traveling over there. I found a few details that needed to be handled, and I am trying to get other things like this that I think about and find buttoned up in plenty of time. If there’s an issue I want time to fix it. We are both still quite excited to go and the time cannot go quick enough for us to go. We have a ways to go, though.


I Had a Staredown With a Hummingbird

Adventure, Just things, Outdoors

Yesterday I took the day off. Well, for the most part I did (I thought it would be wise to go check on my boat). I got some things done – pictures set out, things put away, tossed a few things away – that I had not gotten done yet but needed to do.

At the marina I saw many different birds down there – mergansers, buffleheads, Canada geese, and others. It is always fascinating to see the different species. All the different colors and their different behaviors and mannerisms.

I came back up and I sat up on the upper deck, looking out over the mountains and paging through a magazine. While sitting there minding my own business I heard a hummingbird pretty close by. He was actually right in front of my face about 6 inches away when I looked up, hovering in mid-air as they usually do, just staring at me for about five seconds, as they don’t usually do.

Sure… birds don’t have opposable thumbs, but then again they don’t have to open jars or roll their own smokes. Just think about it… they can fly! Do you ever just sit and watch a bird and think about what it would be like to physically be able to fly? No, it’s not the isolation of being on this island getting to me – I have thought about this when I was over at the spit watching the birds over there. It has to be such a feeling of freedom to be able to fly like that.

I do notice a difference with the bird behavior here. Since the island is closed to the public they do act differently here without that constant interaction with lots of people. As I sit here in my recliner looking out the window, I can watch the different things that the gulls do. Many people complain about them, but the gulls are actually very interesting to watch if they don’t think they are being watched.

I wonder if they think the same thing about us…