April 29th, 2020

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

While doing the various things one does when getting ready to move a lot goes on in your mind – that constantly-changing mental checklist of things like shutting off your utilities, thinking about the logistics of getting from A to B, and changing insurance agents just to name a few. And then there are the other things like the insomnia. Most of you have moved at one point or another in your lives so you probably understand. I don’t stress about it much these days; this will be my 15th address change since 2012. It’s just another move to me.

However, one thing currently stands out well above the rest while getting ready to leave – the inability to see family and the friends I have made here the last 7 ½ years in person before I leave. And that’s the part that really sucks. With the ‘rona quarantine there will be no hugs, handshakes or tears; the tears will still be there, but it’s more out of frustration than from leaving. We all know that once we are able to do so we will be seeing each other again. I still plan on traveling as much as I can when I can and when it is safe to do so. With the internet it is easy to keep in touch several different ways so we will still keep in contact with each other.

Sometimes it is not easy to move away no matter how badly you want (or need) to leave, and other times it’s no big deal. I was numb and emotionless leaving Colorado that cool, dark, rainy morning. Heading off into a new life had me preoccupied and I was not thinking about leaving a place that made me fall in love with the outdoors and the awe-inspiring beauty of the mountains.

There is the excitement and “that new car smell” of going to a new place with new people and experiences, be it for work or just because you want a change in your life. Some people deal with the uncertainties, and even embrace them. There are the others who dread it and decide to stay in their safe place and that is fine. Me, personally, I thrive on that unknown. I want and crave those new experiences and it is only one reason why I love travel so much.

I have certainly had more new, different and amazing experiences than I ever dreamed I would have in my life living in the Midwest, and I have had even more after moving to Colorado and then Washington. I won’t list them here as they are already written about, starting with the first blog entry I posted in 2012 (so by all means go back to Day 1 and have a look!). And the stories in these posts are just since 2012…there are countless other stories from a lot of other experiences before that and some of those are probably best left on a dusty shelf.

Some may look at these experiences and say “Boy, you’re so lucky”, while others say “WTF are you doing? I couldn’t do that.”. It’s not about luck. It’s about what YOU choose to do with your life. And if you say “I couldn’t do that” then no…you couldn’t handle it but it is because you don’t WANT it bad enough and prefer to play the game of life safe. That is all well and good since we all get to live the life we choose. I choose differently.

The lifestyle I have had since moving to WA is certainly not for everyone, and I could safely say it not for most people. It is not an easy lifestyle and there have been tough times without a doubt – a few extremely tough times. In the 80s I did some freelance stagelighting gigs getting work wherever and whenever I could find it. Just as it was then, it is sure not about getting rich…working in the outdoors is more about the freedom and experiences and a true passion for your job. You give up a “home” and security but the amount of freedom is amazing and worth the trade-off.

At one of the outdoor jobs I have had the last few years I heard someone say “we get paid in sunsets” and to me that is how it should be. It’s not about the money but unfortunately  it is what matters in the world. When you make a decision to get into this type of career you should fully understand the sacrifices you have to make to do what you love and be flexible enough to make it happen. For me it was not that difficult to “roll with it” since I had already lost my job and my house. I chose a new path, got rid of pretty much everything I owned, and hit the road for a new adventure. I didn’t let it get me down and I still don’t. Life marches onward whether you want to play or not so make it what YOU want.

It is exciting to think about this move and potentially ending up back in the place I love most (well, second to Ireland) – Colorado. With some variables to ponder in the future that may be later rather than sooner…but I will get back there. It is not that I dislike Washington, but I have never really felt that “magic” like I do in Colorado. I like the forests in the Rockies better because of the openness and not feeling “closed-in” when I go for a hike in the woods.

So now is the time to not look back at the latest fork in the trail but to instead look forward and head for the Rockies.

December 21st, 2019

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

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Looking for a gig? The Bitch be hiring!

 

In celebration of the Winter Solstice I say good riddance to these short hours of daylight. I have been more than ready for not only longer “days”, but also some weather that is better than the lousy weather we have been having. The dog isn’t very happy about the rain keeping him inside either!

I won’t be doing a “year-end update” this year; I have been updating the blog with scattered posts. This year not much is really worth repeating so if you want to know what has been going on the last 11 months feel free to go back and look at my earlier posts.

Needless to say, I am looking forward to a much better year in 2020 and am anxious to get this retirement officially started with some travel. I was hoping to do something around the holidays but I am on standby for jury duty for a bit so I cannot go anywhere. It’s just as well, I guess; it saves me some money by staying home. Weather permitting I hope to get away for at least a weekend sometime very soon.

Monday, however, I was able to get away for a few days in Seattle. A friend was in town and offered to share a room so we could hang out a few days and walk around.

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We went walking out and about Tuesday morning to sightsee, shop and eat. Later on in the day after a break at the hotel my friend wasn’t feeling well so I went back out after dark (which is around 4:20 in the afternoon). We had heard there was a political rally and, since I was in the area and am curious and had never been to a political rally like that I felt like I just HAD to go and experience it so I hopped on the light rail and went to the rally location. I will just stay apolitical and leave further comments on this out of the post. It was an interesting experience however and I would do it again!

After the rally I hopped back on the light rail and went to my old fave on Capitol Hill – Dick’s Drive-in – to snack on a couple of burgers and some of those tasty, delicious fries. There were actually quite a few people out not only around that area but around Seattle in general. Lots of shoppers and tourists. Wednesday was an early rise to get home and get the dog from boarding on time.

I’m still working on the intricacies of the song I started back in July. It is coming along well and clocks in around 4:30. I really wish I could have gotten it done much sooner. I find that it’s best to finish a song soon after it is started in order to keep the original “spirit” of the song but I got rather ambitious with some textural aspects of the song and keep adding layers so that has pushed the completion of it back. So far it is at about 14 individual tracks and I will be adding a few more tracks and expanding some I already have to make the sound very full. It’s getting close to being done but not quite to my satisfaction yet. I have really been trying to wrap it up though!

I continue to go through things around the house and lately I have been making some good progress with organizing and going through even more things to get rid of. I have some extra storage containers that I emptied previously when downsizing so I can start consolidating my things into fewer containers. It also gives me the chance to get the last few things I have in cardboard boxes into some sturdier waterproof containers with handles.

With all of the moving around I have done from 2012 until last year I tended to not acquire much in the way of new possessions. However, being fairly stationary for the last 18 months I have bought a few household items I needed so I should not need to get too much more. Now that I have retired and considering more travel I will not be making many more major purchases for household goods (I pretty much have everything I need anyhoo). There’s not really much room in a 15′ Scotty Hilander and most of my stuff would have to go into storage for any long-term travel if that is what I end up doing.

It’s pretty nice to have most everything that had to be done out of the way. Finally, there are no more surgeries and post-op recovery time or PT this year and it’s looking like I actually have a clear calendar for quite a while other than a couple of surgery follow-ups.

That’s all there is for now.

December 4th, 2019

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

With year’s end drawing to a close it’s looking like I will finish the year with only three surgeries!

Recovery from my last surgery a few weeks ago is still in process but is going pretty good and that is such a relief in many ways; a relief in the form of the good news the doctor had and also the physical part of the recovery being fairly quick as well. I will still need checkups every three months or so for the time being but she was pretty confident with the outcome of the surgery. I am really hoping that tomorrow’s PT appointment is my last one; I am not back to full range of motion yet, and it probably will not come back 100%, but what the Physical Therapist said at my last visit made it sound like I will probably be done very soon. The cataract surgery was successful and was the least problematic of them all.

Getting these things finally behind me has been huge. It’s been a tough summer – hell, a tough year – and I am glad I am finally able to move forward with my life. I haven’t been able to go anywhere or do very much until very recently and that has been difficult for me.

That is all about to change.

Lately I have been feeling pretty damn good and it’s been a long time. It’s exciting easing into retirement-travel mode, thinking about the road trips I can now take to visit with family and see places I want to see – all without any real timelines. The jobs I have worked the last seven years have involved working in the summers and being off in the winter some of that time. Travel in the summer when places are open will be a huge change along with better weather, and opportunities to do things with family will be one of the biggest and bestest things of all.

Yes, he said “bestest”.

But it will also mean drawbacks – being on the road with more people, all clamoring to see some of the same things. I am not real big on crowds but sometimes you just gotta do what you want to do despite being surrounded by giant masses of people; you cannot let things like that stop you or you will never go anywhere or do anything. Luckily we traveled quite a bit as a family when I was a youngster so I have already seen many of the big touristy things and many of those places I don’t need (or want) to see or go to again.

Granted, there will always be favorites (pretty much anywhere in Colorado for example) that I will visit again and again regardless, but I still have many places I haven’t been to that I still want to see and things I want to do and experience. A coast-to-coast drive on US2, a longer drive down the Pacific Coast, Route 66, eastern Canada…it’s a big list. And this list doesn’t even include Europe or Asia!

Being in the PNW (at least for now) I can easily start visiting many parts of northern and western Canada weather permitting. There are actually quite a few places I want to visit in Canada. In several of my earlier blog pages I had posts and pictures from Banff/Alberta/B.C. and it is a huge, beautiful country with a lot more to see. It would be fun to drive to AK and it’s something I have always wanted to do, but my truck has 190,000 miles on it and I don’t know if that would be a good idea to do that without a newer vehicle.

Again, it’s all very exciting to think about (and it’s even better to do) but sometimes life gets in the way. I know I have talked about doing these things before but with the way life (and death, for that matter) has been the last 3½ years things have gotten sidetracked and delayed but that doesn’t mean I am not going to be doing any of the things I talk about. This year has not been an exemplary one either as far as my personal health but I am feeling and doing pretty good now so it’s now time to do these things. Spending more time and having the ability to do things with family at any time will the the best part of all and what I am looking forward to the most. I already have one huge trip booked (so be sure to keep checking back for that) and with the other things I mentioned I think I can be busy traveling and relaxing (and blowing!) for quite a while.

Speaking of travel, I was supposed to go to CO for a wedding last week. Unfortunately the weather sucked and didn’t cooperate. I was on the fence about it anyway with my recovery but thought I could manage to get there okay and was cleared for travel. Perhaps it all worked for the best but I was really looking forward to seeing some friends I had not seen since I left CO in 2012.

The dog is doing good but we had a little scare a few nights ago. He was acting weirder than normal and was unable to stand without being wobbly. He jumped up onto my lap about 11:30 and laid down to sleep (sleep seems to be his favorite thing to do). He will do the typical “chasing a rabbit” thing in his sleep but this time it was different. He woke up a few times with his legs stiffened and kinda freaking out. He got down out of the recliner and was even more wobbly – like he was gonna fall over. I decided he might need to go to the vet and was planning on taking him in  the next morning to get looked at. I was concerned he wouldn’t be okay overnight.

At 4:00 AM he woke me up and threw up on my bed. He had to go outside really bad but he then got progressively better all morning. I took him in (of course he was pretty much back to his normal goofy self by then). He apparently ate an apple or two off the ground and it affected him adversely. Needless to say I got the apples picked up (and dumped on the other side of the fence for the rabbits!) so hopefully he won’t be doing that again.

I have been de-cluttering again so I have a huge box of stuff to donate with more yet to go through. I was able to trim down several more things in the trailer and a few things in the house but I think I still have a lot more I can get rid of. I was working on going through and organizing stuff earlier this year but had to take a break from it for a bit. Then the surgeries all happened. It felt good to go through and get rid of more stuff but things like going through and scanning pictures is exhausting emotionally and it’s one thing I really cannot dive back into fully yet.

My microwave blew up so I have been living in the 60s the last few weeks, heating everything up on the stovetop. I forgot what this was like, but it hasn’t been horrible and it sure keeps you from buying microwave convenience foods! It’s also one less thing to move in the future. I remembered I bought an extended warranty for it (which I usually do not do) so they will send me a check for reimbursement once I send it in. Besides, I have one in the trailer if I REALLY need to use one.

Otherwise I have been lying low, saving money and not doing much other than recuperating and planning some getaways.

That is all there is for now.

May 23rd, 2019

Adventure, food, Just things, Travel, Uncategorized

I’m sitting outside writing this…it’s a beautiful evening and starting to cool off. A hummingbird keeps coming up and staring at me. He likes the violas in the flower box behind me so I guess I need to move my chair. The birds are just singing their little feathered asses off. There’s a slight breeze bringing the salty sea air into the neighborhood. What a smell.

I just got back from going for a walk through said neighborhood down to the beach. A nice evening for a walk and there was only one other person on the beach. It’s amazing -the calming effects of the beaches in the PNW can do so much to soother some mental aches.

I really need to get more active. There’s been quite a bit going on lately actually…despite that I just haven’t been as active as I need to be or much in the mood to write anything lately. I’ve got quite a lot on my mind on top of the many things that are happening in my life right now. I may expand on some of that in a future post…or I may not. In a bit of a different headspace at the moment.

The garden is still booming and my tomato plants (still in the house – too cool at night) really have taken off. Really looking forward to seeing the tomatoes on them. I still want to make that garden-fresh salsa at home. The carrots are sure slow-growing but the peas and romaine are just going nuts.

Speaking of Colorado, I was out of town and ended up in a place that really reminds me of the Rockies. Brought a smile to my face. I met up with some friends and we ate what ended up being a fabulous meal at an Italian restaurant. It was the most expensive meal I have ever bought for myself, but it was worth every delicious penny. We had a great time and shared plates so everyone got a taste. Gotta treat yourself every so often!

This past weekend friends were in the area so we hung out in Seattle for a few days. Had a great time, and got to a few areas I had not been to before. I finally got to eat at Beth’s Cafe. A cool place that lives up to the hype. Rocco’s Pizza was really good. The Five Point was the same as it always is, and that’s what makes it a neat place to go to. Same thing with Dick’s Drive-In.

I hung around Pioneer Square waiting for them to get in to the light rail station. Interesting way to kill time. Some homeless dude wanted me to give him money so he could get some chicken. He was cool and pretty funny but kept talking to me while I was trying to walk away. He finally told me “No man, I’m gonna be straight up with you…I was just f______ with you. I really wanna get another $1.87 so I can go buy some weed!”. Cracked me up. Another one of those great experiences when you get out of your comfort zone.

Got a good score there though. As I was walking past MOD pizza and they were getting ready to open in a few days so they were handing out free pizzas to people. I ended up with two of them which worked out since my friends were starving.

I went to the Amazon Go store and I have got to say that is really pretty cool. You open the app and scan it at the turnstile. You put your phone in your pocket. You put stuff in a bag. You scan the turnstile again and simply walk out of the building. A few minutes later you get a detailed receipt. That’s just incredible. An interesting selection of artisanal sandwiches and wraps; not the typical turkey and cheddar. A pretty decent selection of items – reminded me of a local neighborhood market in a way. Just full of technology.

Busy weekend on the roads this weekend – it’s gonna suck. That’s how it is when you live in a tourist state though. After all the years I spent in Colorado I learned to ignore it as much as I can, but it’s still pretty damn annoying.

Be careful out there!

March 20th, 2019

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

Another perfect day of weather today. I got home and put on a t-shirt and shorts, tossed a salmon burger on the grill for a sandwich and made up some southwestern spicy hash browns to go with it. Dinner on the patio, some sunshine, it’s nearly 70 degrees again…and life is pretty damn good!

I’ve been outside a lot more and I have been quite active, especially with the beautiful days we have been having. Still keeping quite conscious of the sun exposure, avoiding the mid-day sun, wearing sleeves and hats plus being in the shady areas.

Another couple of tomato seeds sprouted in one of my pots in the window today so that was a nice surprise to come home to. Funny, I was just looking at that very same pot this morning thinking “Where are you?!”. I got home and there they were…newborns! I have another one that is about 3″ tall now that got its main leaves last week so it is doing very well. I just pull seeds out of tomatoes I like that I get at the store and start from that – those came from somewhere too. Yeah, it is easier to just buy a started plant but this is free. Plus there is the challenge.

I hopefully will have better luck than last year, but last year there was a lot going on and I wasn’t really able to be home and take care of them like I needed to since I was going back to KS for my Dad. I have gotten to know a few of my neighbors pretty well so I am sure they would help me out watering if something came up and I needed help with it. Rain is coming in this weekend so that will help with the watering. I watered a little bit ago and I didn’t realize I had so much planted until I watered everything all at once!

I bought a couple of avocados the other day so I am gonna be planting those seeds and see what happens. I planted one a few years ago and the thing ended up being a monster…about NINE FEET TALL! Seriously, it grew and got that tall but only had about five branches. It was hard to take care of in Colorado with the weather but may do good here in Washington’s humidity. I need to look up how to take care of them. I may leave these in small pots and prune them so they won’t get so big and unwieldy…like my palm tree in a pot in the yard. It’s in a pot about two or three feet across and is about six feet tall and a real hassle to move. I am actually surprised it lived thorough the winter but it’s doing great.

Even with this weekend’s rain I may take a drive someplace. There should be fewer people out and the weather will be a big part of people staying home. A good time for me to get out and about. I need to get new lenses in my glasses so that may be what I get done. With the rain I guess being in the mall won’t be AS bad…

My MacBook Pro has been having a lot of issues, and each time I get it back from repair it has cosmetic issues that it didn’t have when it left my house. I raised hell with Apple about all the issues I have had and they are now replacing mine with a new one. It has been very frustrating but it is getting handled so I am happy with that. It’s not the refund I really wanted, but this is the next best thing.

I started going to a chiropractor to try to get some relief from my back pain and headaches. It is pretty bad most days but this seems to be helping some along with the acupuncture. Being up and around instead of sitting is definitely better but the relief is just not happening fast enough.

That’s all I have for now.