June 15th, 2021

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

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As you can see by the graphic above I am getting skinnier.

Just one more pound and I will hit my current weight-loss goal! Yep, I weighed myself this morning and I am down 39 pounds…so far! I say “current weight-loss goal” because that was my very ambitious starting-out plan. I would still like to drop ten more but I am quite happy with my results so far and I figured 40 was ambitious enough.

I have expanded my diet to include some different foods and I have really changed my eating habits quite drastically. It has been an adjustment after eating a certain way for many years, but between the diet changes and logging all of my food into the app it has really been helpful, made it easier, and I feel pretty successful with my efforts so far. I feel better, my health is better, and I still can have the occasional splurge. “Occasional” is the key word.

I will say that last week I was sick and tired of the routine of the last four months. I didn’t mind staying on my diet, but I was damn tired of the routine. Between having to walk after surgery because I was required to and staying home and not being able to do anything the last month I was fed up with it. All of it. I had to get over it and walk but the rains also did not help. Being able to go other places has really made a difference and got me back into what I need to be doing.

Saturday was one of those days. I went to my favorite local Thai bistro and ordered up the Basil Noodle with Chicken, a heat level of 2. The thing I like about the Thai bistros I have eaten at is the food is lighter – no thick, sugary, syrupy sauces; just amazing flavors without the goo. It tastes so much better and feels lighter on the stomach after you eat.

I got a call yesterday from the shop about my truck. I was kinda scared as the voicemail sounded a bit ominous. I called them back and the fuel lines are in pretty bad shape with corrosion. I believe it is the lines on top of the tank so there is no additional labor charge – just the price of the parts – so I got a little break. That means a few more days for the parts to get in so I am still driving the Soccermommobile. I don’t mind driving it though. I am still mobile!

With some gorgeous weather coming up I am really hoping to get the final organization on the trailer done in the next few days as I wait for my truck. I am not really sure where to go, or even if I can manage hooking the trailer up yet. I also need to think about potential mechanical issues – I still cannot do much heavy lifting, such as a flat tire, or using tools for fixing problems, such as the same flat tire. That means I may have to make other arrangements for lodging if I want to go someplace.

With that in mind, today I finally signed up for an account with Airbnb. I really enjoyed the Airbnb properties the girls reserved that we stayed at in Europe this last time. I know I am late to this party but it is affordable and easier to find locations in pretty much any neighborhood you want to stay in – like we were at in North Amsterdam and the city center of Dublin. I am really wanting to do something different than the same ol’ hotel chains these days and this will give me many more interesting options. I even saw one that is in an old crane for unloading ships!

I would rather take the trailer for the security of having my own place to be but it is nice to mix it up a bit. Given the rising gas prices it may be cheaper to do an Airbnb but I have not done the math. I hope the truck gets a little better gas mileage after this repair, especially pulling the trailer, so I will have to do some comparison.

That is today’s update. Stay safe!

June 5th, 2021

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

Last week, three weeks after my heart surgery, I was released by my heart surgeon. They are very pleased with my recovery. I still have to be careful and ease back into doing some things (cannot ride my bike or get my dog for quite a while yet), but I am finally able to drive once again. I will have to build up to longer trips but at least I can get things done I need to do. I still have to take it easy with my healing breastbone as well but I am feeling great. I am really shocked as to the speed of this recovery.

My truck is not fixed yet due to some mix-up at the Service Department, but I got some badass loaner wheels out of the deal – a minivan. Before you start to laugh hysterically, having owned one in the past I actually like the versatility of a minivan. Gets better mileage than my truck, plenty of room for stuff and people if necessary (not like I have many passengers), and it is quiet & comfortable. I plan on driving the hell out of this van while I have it but I have to build up to longer trips. The weather is looking like rain the next several days so I don’t know how much I can get out or how far I can venture. If I could I would leave for a few weeks and really get some miles on it – all I pay for is fuel.

Now that I have this all behind me I am hoping that this year I can FINALLY get out to travel some. The anticipated rise in gas prices is going to keep me from doing some long trips, and I will have to make adjustments in other ways so I can still get out as much as I can. When I think it is safe for me to fly I will consider that option. I have looked into Amtrak but private rooms are spendy and I don’t want to share a bathroom with anyone even if it is just the people in my car. Honestly, I just really like road trips with my trailer the best. It’s a chance to see lots of things, eat local foods, have my own kitchen, bed, shower & bathroom, and I can be on my own schedule.

Yesterday I got to do my laundry and was able to get some supplies and groceries. It is so nice to finally be able to get out and do things again without having to bum a ride. I can take my time, go where I want, or even just take a drive to walk someplace else and see some different scenery. Except for a virtual appointment this week I am all done with doctors until the Fall so I have plenty of time to go places. I cannot operate the jack to hook the trailer up yet so even if I had my truck instead of the Family Truckster I still cannot travel with the Scotty for a few more weeks. At least it is pretty much ready to go when I am!

It was good to get groceries stocked up again. I bought a few new things to try that are still within my diet parameters. I find that since I am still using my app and logging everything I eat it is really helping me control things like calories, sodium and fats. I look at the app whenever I want to eat something and make sure I am not going over the maximum on those two things. If so, then it’s a bowl of Cheerios for supper. It has been an adjustment to do this, but really it’s not much of one and it is for my health. You have to WANT to make the changes and be determined to watch what you eat, and it’s why I spent the money on the app for a yearly premium version – to help me help myself. When you have a heart attack and triple bypass surgery it tends to motivate one into taking action.

I have been grilling a lot lately. I have been grilling chicken for my caprese ciabatta panini and for chicken burritos. I have been grilling up Trident salmon burgers (don’t buy any others!), and diced potatoes wrapped in foil with peppers, olive oil, onions and whatever spices I feel like putting in there (delicious!). I have some scallops in the freezer I need to thaw out and skewer plus I have some cod fillets I can put butter and garlic on and wrap in foil. Getting hungry just typing this…

That’s about all for now. I cannot wait to be able to get back out on the road again and get the blog back onto travel and adventures!

May 28th, 2021

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

The healing continues, and I am feeling pretty good. Still fighting neck and back issues but my chest incisions are doing pretty good and I had a check on the healing this morning with my regular doctor. She said it was the best incision for this surgery she had ever seen and said there will probably be very little scarring. I have a post-op appointment with my surgeon next few week to remove stitches, get another check-up and, fingers crossed, get released to drive again.

The biggest part of the healing is obviously where they split my chest open. They saw your breastbone down the center and spread your chest apart, do what needs done, then they wire your breastbone back together. Then they glue/stitch/staple (one of those things) your skin back together. There is some pain at the beginning, but not as much as I thought there would be. The biggest thing is that there are a lot of weight and movement restrictions that make life difficult for a while. I can only lift five pounds per arm/ten pounds total between them. Arms must stay in front of the body and hands do not cross the chest so getting dressed and personal hygiene can be quite challenging so they teach you how to adapt until you are recovered. I still have a little chest pain, but it is tolerable without any meds. The absolute worst thing, though, is sneezing. That will put literally put tears in your eyes. It hurts so bad.

I am now down 37 lbs. so that is a real mental boost and definitely helps with my overall health. I still have a few more pounds to go to get where I want to be and that should be attainable with my diet and continuing exercise. I will have a lot of questions next week for the post-op visit with the surgeon. I am trying to keep myself from doing too much but it’s hard to do when I feel like I am doing so well and healing fast. I am back up to walking nearly 3 miles a day and I am increasing it a bit each day. One day it was 3.5 miles!

My truck was towed over today to get fixed and I was hoping it wouldn’t be too expensive. They were able to get it in for a look today and it was pretty much what I suspected – bad fuel pump. Not very cheap to fix but nearly half the price was the parts. This repair should last the life of the truck and I think I should be in pretty good shape now. The fuel/emissions systems have been a pain in my ass and by now there’s not much left to replace.

But, I will be driving soon and that is really important. I cannot wait to do something as simple as walking someplace other than in front of the house. The highway can get really busy and crowded on weekends. I really want to be in the trees walking, maybe a few little hills to build up my stamina once again. I want to go walk with some friends in different places. I have plenty of people offering to help but I am so ready to do things on my own again – get groceries, go to appointments…typical things we take for granted until we cannot do those things.

It’s a holiday weekend here in the States so I don’t think I would be going anyplace other than the store even if I was able to drive. Too many people out and about and I don’t enjoy being in crowds at all. But, the weather is going to be nice and at least I can grill some up salmon burgers and some diced potatoes with peppers, onion, and olive oil. A fairly healthy meal and delicious. I’ll probably make up another ciabatta panini with grilled chicken. I do love to grill and it never matters the time of day; one time a party broke out at my house in Colorado (as was often the case weekly at least once) and we got hungry so we ended up grilling burgers at 3:00 A.M. Bodies were strewn everywhere and we had a great time.

Anyway, hope everyone has a great weekend – holiday or not.

May 18th, 2021

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

I have been home now nearly a week and nearly two weeks after my surgery. Seems pretty incredible that just 10 days ago I had a triple bypass, and now I am able to live life somewhat normally in such a short amount of time. I had a Zoom office visit with the surgeon’s office yesterday and it went very well; they are very happy with my progress.

Some of my meds have now stopped and I no longer have the need to carry nitroglycerin pills with me. I still cannot drive and won’t be able to for a few weeks more at minimum. It is still a lot of hard work on my own, yet I am so glad to be home to recover in familiar surroundings. My neck and back hurt like hell and is not really letting up, but I am trying to avoid taking any pain meds.

I am soooo glad to eat my own food again. Since my heart attack I have kept a pretty strict diet and the last few weeks have been hard for me when it comes to food. I got used to eating certain things on my diet but that went out the window in the hospital. Limited to no choice on things to eat, and none of those things were what I like to eat. The few things I would eat were so horrible. I don’t know how the U.S. has devolved into eating so much shitty food. Every meal should be an experience and not just something you have to do to stay alive.

Once the recovery is done, I am really curious about how it is going to affect life. Will I have more energy? Will I sleep better? Will I feel different? Will the back and neck pain ease up? I am still doing the Mediterranean diet, but how will it affect how I eat while traveling? Will I feel different at altitude?

I think at my present rate of recovery I may be getting the trailer out before the end of summer; perhaps by mid-summer. It will be a well-deserved getaway and I am really looking forward to doing that. Before that dream comes true I still need to find a mechanic and get my truck fixed. I think the trailer is pretty good as far as any mechanical repairs, especially since I had that wheel bearing go south on me back in the Fall. Just a little shot of insurance with the grease gun and that will be ready to roll. Yeah, I still gotta fix the shower and re-do the sealant around all the windows, but I think that’s it. It is still usable as-is.

I will have to work my way up to longer trips I am sure, but just getting out for a long weekend, or even a week, will be welcomed. It’s the driving part of it that takes the stamina – the rest is just another day’s to-dos. It will take a few days of driving one way to go get my dog so that trip will be a long one. Might as well figure out a way to really make it an adventure.

Just a quick update for now. Enjoy your day!

April 12th, 2021

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

Costco. Where else can you find not only $1.50 hot dogs and caskets for sale in a store, but now they are selling belly buttons for just $13 each. Yikes! A 13 lb. belly button – sounds like a horror movie filmed in a buffet.

Man, what a beautiful day today. I got in 5.5 miles of walking today and helped the landlord do some mowing. It gave him the opportunity to take care of some other things while I mowed. A glass of red wine took care of my thirst afterwards..but I almost cracked open a second bottle!

Yesterday I got in five miles of walking. It was a beautiful sunny day but a little breezy. I got out early enough to avoid some of the crowds but as I left the parking lot it started to get busier. A typical weekend day in a tourist area. I did get a couple of nice pictures while I was out:

I have been waking up really early lately (a bit stressed out with the health things going on and not sleeping very well again) so I get up and get my day rolling. I try to go to bed later but I still wake up early so then I am tired and fall asleep early. I do like to get up and start the day; a leisurely cup of coffee and some breakfast, and I am out the door to do laundry, get groceries, or just get away from the house. I used to go to the bakery to get some fine baked treats but I cannot do that anymore like I used to.

I think I am going to try to bake some things the next few days. I will probably get the ingredients I need tomorrow morning then go to the storage unit to get stuff to put back into the trailer. That should not take very long to do and it will be off my list.

I can take advantage of waking up with the chickens to bake things early in the morning while it is cooler. Muy house faces south so it warms up fast. I can also take advantage of the nice weather for hiking/walking. I will go find a beach the next few days and enjoy a walk in the sand near the saltwater. I do like walking in the forest for the shade though. Having this great weather really does lift the spirits and it motivates me to get some things done. Plus, it gives me something to do and there are things I need to take care of.

This morning I bought a good 5-day cooler – mainly it is for hauling refrigerated/frozen groceries home from afar during warmer weather, but also will be handy for traveling with or without the trailer. With the refrigerator in the trailer being propane you cannot have it lit going down the highway. For one thing, it won’t stay lit. The other thing is fire hazard, such as when stopping for fuel. “They” frown on open flames at a gas station for some reason. Anything I really need to keep cold can go in the cooler instead of the trailer for long drives on hot days. The fridge tends to heat up quick and frozen stuff thaws fast so the cooler will help. I needed a cooler anyway since the fridge is also kind of small.

I should get my new generator out of the box while I am still able to lift it and check it out but I may just wait until after I recover. I don’t know if I really want, or need, to go through the trouble to mess with it just to have it sit for several months while I get better. I can get by using the trailer without it so maybe that is the best plan for now. I can get by with battery and propane like I have been for a little bit longer.

That’s it for tonight. Thank you for stopping by to read my blog.