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.

November 18th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Uncategorized

Yakima River

It has been a really busy couple of days and there’s more coming up.

I got up yesterday and went to have the tires rotated on the truck. After that I had an early afternoon hearing appointment. As expected, my hearing has gotten worse and my hearing aids are at the end of their lifespan so I got fitted for new hearing aids. I did a test fit and they made a big difference for my hearing. After that I went and picked up an insurance reimbursement check from my towing bill last week. Then I came home and binged on “Scrubs”.

Today I got up to go check out a place to rent. It’s a studio set-up built in one side of a garage. It’s in the country, it’s nice & quiet and it has room – much more than my trailer. Staying in the trailer full-time in campgrounds while stationary can get expensive, and if I am spending that kind of money to just stay put I might as well rent a place and just make some trips. It has wheels for a reason! I think with the pandemic (and the politics) really heating up it is probably the smartest thing to do. Along with that many of the forests and campgrounds are closed now so there’s not much free camping available at the moment unless I went to the Desert Southwest.

I then took Rider to the boarding place for a few days. It’s weird to not have him around but I get my other cataract out tomorrow and need to have some peace and quiet. Friday is a follow-up for that surgery, then I will pick him up on the way home after he gets a bath and his nails clipped (good luck to the groomers). Sunday I’m picking up my new hearing aids, then another cataract follow-up next week.

I came home and did the laundry. I have a few more things on the calendar in the weeks ahead I will need to do. It’s certainly a relief not having the hand surgery, but then it isn’t. It will have to be done at some point perhaps but it’s not worth it to me right now. It IS one less thing to have to worry about, though.

I have not eaten much today and decided that after the laundry it was time to crack open the cheddar smoked sausages that are in my fridge. Can anyone really think of a better way to heat them up than over a wood fire on the grill? The rains came, but I did not care. I was grilling, and it was awesome – even in the rain. I grilled ’em all and ate three. I might use the others for making an omelette or breakfast casserole. They are great in scrambled eggs with some cheese and veggies.

Speaking of grilling in the rain, it’s been raining a lot here. It is not that unusual, but it is definitely quite a bit different than the weather where I have been the past few months, and even last week. We had some winds here yesterday but it has mainly just been gray and rainy. Being farther north the days are also noticeably shorter. Sunset is around 4:30 and it will be getting dark around 4:00 P.M. when Winter Solstice rolls around.

I think I am headed to bed. An early and big day tomorrow.

April 23rd, 2018

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

What a beautiful day today! The weather was even better than yesterday and the week is supposed to get better and then the rain moves in on the weekend (of course).

Seemed like a good excuse to fire up the hibachi again since it was so nice out so I grilled up some burgers (yeah, like I need an excuse to fire up a grill!). I now have some delicious leftovers to freeze for later and another one for tomorrow night’s supper. I put one on a Udi’s Gluten-free bun with bacon mustard and a slice of onion and it was pretty good. Yesterday I grilled some turkey smoked sausages and I have to say they were not very good – just not the same as regular smoked sausages or bratwursts. I’ll freeze and dice them up into a cast iron skillet to make fried potatoes and onions later on.

Yesterday I finally bought one of those chimney charcoal starters. I have used starter fluid in charcoal grills before but I have never really been a fan of it. It’s bad for the environment, probably not good for cooking over and it is easier to use a chimney starter and so much faster. The hibachi is a skill I definitely need to work on – it cooks so fast and there is definitely a learning curve to it. Admittedly my grilling skills are a bit rusty, but I have never really used a hibachi before. I’ll keep working on it.

Speaking of yesterday, I cracked open that 19 Crimes Bold Red wine I wrote about in that post. That is a serious wine – it is VERY bold and full of flavor. It has a big feel on the palate and is probably the the “biggest” flavor wine I have ever had. I think I will go back and get a few more bottles of that and I am anxious to try the other types they have.

It’s looking like that as of now I’ll probably be done working October 1st. I have a few personal things I need to take care of, and traveling is definitely on the list after that. I don’t know where the adventures will be but I should have time to be able to do a long road trip and get someplace out of the country again.

I have been getting some really good deals in my email for airfares to points far and farther. I am debating one thing already – flying non-stop or doing a layover in Iceland the next time if I go to Europe. I’d like to do a non-stop and just get there but that is a really long time on a plane. We’ll see how it shakes out I guess. I have been watching Rick Steves again so it’s getting me excited to go back. I don’t know where it will be yet but I have time to figure it out. I won’t be going in the summer so the fares will be better.

That’s about all for now.

April 22nd, 2018

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

For the first time in a long time I am cooking on a grill. The weather is perfect to be outside – sunshine and 67 degrees – so I am taking full advantage of it.

I am using a hibachi which I was given a few years back. I had it in the trailer to use for trips, but I thought I’d bring it into my new back yard and use it at home. I have been thinking about getting a grill and was torn between charcoal or gas. I have used a propane grill before, and it is the ease of use that rocks with those. The purist side of me prefers charcoal for the taste, however, and the hibachi is pretty easy and inexpensive to use since it takes very little charcoal (and I already had it!).

Before I started grilling I trimmed the grass with a trimmer (yay small yard!) and added a new plant to the space…a 5′ palm tree that was left at work and given to me to start my own little tropical paradise. It looks pretty good next to the Japanese maple.


My back yard

The maple actually opened up more in the last hour so it is going to be a spectacular  display. My strawberry basket is bringing on fruit, my tomato plant is doing good and the flowers I put in my brightly-colored pots are looking good. I am thinking I may still need to get a few more plants for my yard. I had some in my cart last week but put them back. I decided against it until I could arrange things and see what space is open to put plants in with the needed sun exposure.

My canoe is sitting across a corner on top of my fence so it makes the canoe a great sunshade to sit under and will help to shield my bicycle from the weather. It is also out of the way that way. I might get a canopy for the back yard to put up to keep some sun off of the house and make it cooler. There is pretty good western exposure to the sun and I think it’s gonna get warm inside the house and that won’t work for me. I cannot sleep when it is hot.

I have some bee and butterfly flower seeds to plant that will help give them some food. I need to figure out where to put them so they do not get too close to my yard. I want to spend time out there this summer but don’t want to take the chance on anyone getting stung. I might sprinkle them in front of my house and that should lure them away from my outdoor activities. I saw bumblebees in my yard this morning and maybe this will entice them to stay away from there. It’s good for the planet to help the bees. It’s good for ALL of us to help the bees.

My daughters were recently raving about a wine called “19 Crimes”. Their comments had me curious about it so I wanted to get some. The store I go to has been out of it for a month, but while I was there today I checked and they got in a shipment of the “Bold Red” so I snagged a bottle. I would really like to open it but it is only 2:45 in the afternoon and if I started now and REALLY like it I’d probably be shit-faced by 5 PM. Maybe I’ll wait and have a glass or two with my supper. Probably a better idea, and I’ll have the rest to drink with supper tomorrow. I do like good wine so I am anxious to give it a taste.

Work is going fine and I am anxious to get into the season to see how it is going to be. I am sure it will be busy but maybe not quite like the previous place I was at. I will be doing a few different things than where I last worked so it will be interesting when things ramp up.

Speaking o my trailer, this nice weather is giving my “travelin’ Jones” a workout. I am ready to get the Scotty out on the road now that things I needed to get done are getting finished up and my time will be mine once again. I’ve been a few places the last couple of weekends but that was to do errands. I should be able to get away within the next month for a road trip and I am also looking at another flight to KS to visit. Flight prices have been a bit steep between Seattle and KC but I really need to get a visit in soon. Maybe I can get a flight booked in the next few days.