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.

December 8th, 2018

Adventure, food, Just things, Travel, Uncategorized

It’s been a bit busy lately. A plane ride to Montana, wrapping up holiday shopping in Seattle, getting some things done around the house – filing away and getting rid of old papers, going through stuff to put away and getting rid of some things.

Lately I have gotten to try a few new places to eat. Before I went to MT I ate at a burger chain called The Habit. It is supposed to be an up-and-coming place but I was not overly impressed. The burger was decent but the fries were rather generic and boring. I felt that it, much like Five Guys, was way overpriced (but not AS overpriced as FG). Five Guys has some of the best fries I have ever eaten. and all of the toppings included for no extra charge…but too pricey. To me the best burgers for the money are usually the greasy ones¬†at the dives.

Thai Basil in Bozeman was pretty good (found out it is a chain, casual atmosphere), and The Local in Belgrade, MT had a delicious Wagyu burger at a reasonable price for the quality (but still a little higher price than average). They had an interesting cocktail called the Bridger Sunset. It was a cocktail with a giant ice ball in the middle that could only be melted by the superpowers of an additional shot of Grey Goose once the drink was gone (the “shot” being defined as a finger+ of Grey Goose in a highball glass). The drink alone was pretty damn strong but after the first drink it’s easy to like. Wouldn’t take many of those to call it a night.

I forgot what it was like to be in the snow and cold, and I got a bit of a reminder while in MT. I can honestly say that I still don’t like the snow even if I go to it and it doesn’t come to me. One morning it was 12 and I am not used to that nonsense anymore. But, as they say, “it is a dry cold”. I don’t care if it is dry or not…it was still too damn cold. Better than summer’s heat though. But I STILL want to see Alaska/Iceland/Scandinavia in the middle of winter.

While there Meghan gave me a discount code for Hello Fresh, which she had been singing the praises of. I signed up and got my first box of three meals yesterday. I chose pork carnitas, cauliflower bacon mac and cheese, and beef bulgogi that I made last night. Very impressive menu and quality of ingredients plus I don’t have to go shopping for dinner.

The bulgogi was absolutely delicious and easy to make. Each meal comes with a recipe card and you can keep those filed away in case you want to buy the ingredients and make it again. Ordering the meals for two, since I am single, gives me two meals of each of the three entrees and the portions are decent size. That is almost a week’s worth of dinner! If you are interested in joining click on the link and save $40!

Looks like I’ll be going back to work late January so I better get busy doing things I might want to do and going places I might want to go. Not really ready to go back to work yet but it’s gonna happen eventually for each of the next few years. I may have another road trip or two I can take the next few weeks but we’ll see what happens. I thought about going south into CA again and taking the trailer out, but I have it winterized and don’t want to undo that work.

Yesterday I went to a mall. I rarely do that but I needed to get a few things in the area and I found a great sale on my Levi’s 501s. I had not been to Skipper’s (a local seafood fast food joint) in probably five years so while in the area I got to enjoy some of their clam chowder and the Skipper’s Platter – fish, shrimp, clams, fries, slaw (no thanks – don’t like mayo slaw). The clam chowder there is not really creamy like New England clam chowders I have had. It is more like a thicker gravy full of delicious oceanic goodness. They even have various “All-You-Can-Eat” menu options for just a few dollars more. I have not eaten the chowder at Ivar’s so I cannot compare the two. It is on my list to try theirs though.

I had a Roomba I had purchased a few days back but it didn’t work out real well so I took it back yesterday to B3 – Bed, Bath and Beyond. It was a lower-level model – the 600 Series. It just ran around the house like it had ADHD. First the dining area for a lap, maybe two. Then it was off to do the same thing in the living room but repeat a few times. Same thing in the bedroom and kitchen and then take off and repeat areas. It was crazy how it would do little bits here and there instead of doing a whole room at once.

Today I went to a market and saw something that I had never seen before. In the produce section was something called “oca“. I thought “why not?” and bought some – about a handful – to try. I looked them up on the interwebs and found out they are quite nutritious. I ate them raw and found the texture like a cross between a potato and a radish. The taste is varied from little flavor to sweet to sour to potato-like. They appear to be quite high in carbs and energy.

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Oca

I found them to be tasty and an interesting thing to eat. I will probably get more but they are pretty spendy (but you have to try them!). They would be a very healthy snack. The info on the link above talks about them dried. That might be interesting to try out.

I stopped by the local bakery to get croissants to go with my fruit, prosciutto and gouda for a healthier/lighter breakfast the next few days. I don’t want to buy them too far out – I want them to be as fresh as they can be. Yeah, a bit more inconvenient but that’s okay for the quality.

While I was out and about I also got the recycling taken to the dumpsters. I found a bed frame at a thrift store so I can FINALLY get the bins out from underneath my boxspring. That was never intended to be permanent – just a temporary thing to get me by. I can get that sorted out tomorrow¬†and rearrange the bedroom. I’ll try to put away more stuff in bins and eventually sell them since I am in a bigger house now. I think I will move my ginormous upright toolbox to the utility room and just deal with moving it around to maneuver into the basement. I wouldn’t have to do it that often and I want the closet space for other stuff.

It is nice to be home and have some time to not only relax, but to also get some things done like arranging the bedroom and getting more organizing done. I have been enjoying too much of the relaxing and not doing enough of the organizing.

I ordered some new coats from Outdoor Research and they came yesterday. I have had one of their water-repellent rain shells for five years or so and it has been great. I got a new shell for rain, one of the same the next size bigger, and a down hoody for insulation to wear under the larger one. My experience with the 3-in-1 jackets is the shells are always too big on them.

It’s been a while since I posted so I guess I had a lot to say.