December 16th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Uncategorized

As I sit here and start typing this post I am enjoying a cup of Cuban coffee. It is one of the coffees in last batch of coffees I ordered. It is not bad but there are others I got in that order that I like better. They have so many coffees I have to keep a list of what I like and don’t like so I don’t re-order one I don’t like. I should have had a decaf but it is early enough in the day I will be able to sleep after drinking this. At least it’s not a double espresso, but I do need to order a few tubes of those and single espresso. It’s a great jolt first thing in the morning and the flavors are intense but delicious.

It’s a cold, blustery day here today and the wind has picked up this afternoon. Glad it is the exception and not the rule or I would not be hanging around here. That means today is one of those stay-in-the-house days, but I have things on the computer I am trying to do. It also means getting out for walks is only out of necessity and they are quick trips out and back in.

I am trying to organize and clean up files on my devices and on my cloud service, which I should have been doing all along but didn’t. I am also trying to get Word and Excel documents converted to their Apple counterparts. I purchased a year of Microsoft Office in August and I am really disappointed with Outlook, the main reason I spent money on the program. Microsoft just cannot make Office work on a Mac like it does on a PC. I am tired of fighting it and going back & forth between different programs so I am gonna simplify it. I don’t really need Word or Excel bad enough to pay for it and I can use the web version if I need to, but my Apple programs will open those documents and spreadsheets with decent compatibility. And I don’t need to spend money since Apple’s programs are “free” (there is that premium price on Apple products though…).

My gripe with Apple’s native programs has been that they would build a basic program and then let third-party developers do the real work on apps that you then have to buy those to get the cool features. Apple has apparently heard the complaints and is putting out some pretty decent apps for their products. Since they are doing that I find myself embedded deeper into Apple’s “walled garden” and I am fine with that. Not an Apple Fanboy; I just like technology that works; I don’t like it well enough to camp out in a line for a week in front of the Apple Store.

Other than organizing that stuff most of the day I went to town and got the new airbox for my truck. I hope this fixes it but I will still have the dealer check it Friday in case it is something else. I hate chasing problems like this with my wallet as it gets expensive fast and you may end up spending money on changing parts that were not bad. The lid on my airbox was cracked so it needed replaced anyway. I cannot really check it to see if it runs better at idle until the engine cools down. At least it is in there.

I ate the rest of my Lou Malnati’s pizza for lunch. It is odd to have room for so much food that I cooked ahead plus things like the pizza. It is convenient but cooking is SOMETHING to do during a day and on a day like today it would be a break. I took some of that chicken/broth base in the freezer and cooked up some chicken and dumplings. It is a great day for something warm and rib-sticking and it hit the spot. Another thing to make with dumplings is a recipe my mom made only once for some reason when I was a kid. Blackberry dumplings. Make the dumplings the same and drop spoonfuls into some boiling blackberries. It is sooo good and filling as well.

I don’t remember if I posted anything about my microwave or not; it is a convection oven/microwave. I bought one of these for the trailer – I had too many other things on my mind to figure it out so I never used it. When I made the Malnati’s pizza I did it in the convection mode. I am very impressed by the utility of this appliance. Two handy appliances in one! I will have to experiment with mine since it is in a tight space in the trailer so I don’t know if it will get too hot or pull too many amps. If it won’t work I have used the microwave part; next time I move into someplace I can use it for baking too.

One more eye appointment tomorrow and I think I am done with follow-ups for that. It is amazing that after 35 years of wearing glasses (and a brief couple of stints trying contacts) I no longer need glasses except to read. It is so fantastic. Everything is so clear and better looking than through glasses. I need to get laundry done tomorrow some time since I have the truck service on Friday and I also really need to wash clothes. Apparently I am back in my old habit of waking up in the mornings around 6 so I can hit the ground running to get it done and have some downtime before I have to leave.

I decided to get my guitar out and try to get back into playing now that I have room to stretch out. Having a hard time with dexterity in my hands so I don’t know how this is going to work out and for how long. I had to struggle a little working on the truck because of arthritis in my left hand and some possible nerve stuff in my right hand after tearing up my shoulder in 2019 – I kept dropping the bolts. However, a few years ago I kinda saw where my hands were headed. I thought I would play around with the keyboards and the textures and things I can do with my limited knowledge of digital music creation. I think I have come up with some interesting things for my tastes but it doesn’t mean that I would do some things a bit different here and there (I still could at some point).

As usual I loosened up a little and it was a little frustrating doing so fumbling along. I did come up with two ideas in about 30 seconds so I recorded those. Then I started some music on the computer to play along with before I started to really work on a few ideas old and new. The next song up I have talked about before. It is an instrumental by Camel (*and that is NOT Frampton’s Camel or Sopwith Camel), and the song is called “Ice”. A beautiful, emotional, heavy/melodic guitar-oriented beautifully-constructed song with a keyboard solo. I used to be able to play along with the guitar parts fairly well but I could not do it tonight. I will not go quietly into the night. I am not giving up. Then some Metallica came on and the mellow mood got moshed. It was an old one called “Escape” off of “Ride the Lightning”. Certainly picked up the mood.

Wow. Talk about some great memories. A song that John and I wrote – actually, it is the very first one we did together probably somewhere around 2006-2008 – just popped up in the shuffle on my computer. He had written the music before we met. I threw the lyrics together in about 20 minutes as I remember and then we recorded it. Those were such great times. Some good stories from those years! Hahaha.

That’s it for tonight. Be safe!

*obscure musical group references from the 60s & 70s

December 4th, 2020

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

Not much downtime the last few days, but I art this very moment I am finding time to eat one of those cheap Party Pizzas. You know the ones. Used to be round but now they are square, red package…the one many a poor student has survived on. I have not had one in quite some time so I fixed that.

Meghan and Addy came in yesterday and left this morning – can’t mess around with the weather. She was picking up another dog for her breeding program. He was a pretty nice looking dog. She brought her guardpup – a giant Russian dog that will get to 140 lbs. Some even get to close to 200. It looked like a bear.

After dark we took Addy to see some holiday lights and found some really nice displays. Some of the businesses were really lit up. The pictures at the top of the post are from last night. Looking at these pictures it is just amazing how far a camera on a phone has come the last few years. I actually got this phone right before going to Europe for this very reason. I guess the latest iPhone is even better.

So after they left I started getting some personal business things done; renter’s insurance, P.O. Box, updating my address with the places I do business. This is somewhere around the 18th or 19th address I have had in the last 8+ years. That game is getting a bit tiresome truth be known, and with the changes in the world at the moment it is probably the best thing to do.

Speaking of mail, Meghan had brought my mail so I went through it this afternoon and one was actually a check for $140 from a credit/overpayment after my last cataract surgery. SCORE!!! Don’t know how that happened, but maybe it’s a quantity discount. If I were a cyclops I bet that I would not get a refund.

I was really thinking of staying home today since I have been on the go but everything else I had to do today was dependent on getting renter insurance and then the P.O. Box so I did the insurance over the phone and the mailbox I did mostly online but I did have to make a trip to sign the paper, get the key and box number. Took me maybe 20 minutes total with driving. The rest is more tedious, but I wanted to get it done. Not because it is Friday, but because I just wanted it done and off the To Do list. It was a nice day out but I had stuff to do indoors. I got outside as much as I could.

Tomorrow I am thinking of getting out for a walk before I get a few things done. I would rather do the walk afterward but I believe the weather is thinking differently. We will see what ends up happening when I get up. It was an early one this morning – five a.m. – and I have not been up that early in a while. I may be able to get to sleep earlier than I have been lately so I can get an early start tomorrow. Lately I have been sleeping really good but getting to bed after midnight and waking up around 8:00 a.m. It has been a long time since I have slept in like that.

I do like getting up early to see the day in with a leisurely cup of coffee, and tomorrow I can do just that while I try some of my new coffees I got today. I got several in this shipment that I have not had before and a few reorders of some I really liked. I am anxious to try some but it is a bit late and I do want to sleep. And it is still odd to me that I drink less; I find the flavors and richness are very satisfying so I usually drink half or less than what I was drinking (sometimes a decaf sneaks in there in the evening). That really helps to offset the cost of the pods but the tradeoff is so worth it and I drink less so much less caffeine.

I’m wrapping this post up. Gonna go play with the dog.

Stay safe everyone!

November 22nd, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Scotty Hilander, Uncategorized

Apparently, the sealant over the crack in my shower floorpan came loose today. I happened to see it was wet from under the wall after I took a shower this morning and stepped out. I got some clear Flex Tape for a temp fix to work on tomorrow, but it looks like I’ll be taking the shower apart to fix it very soon. I don’t really want to put that stuff on there but I cannot have it leaking. At least it is clear, and maybe it will come off with a heat gun and some Goo Gone.

Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know. I shoulda done it this summer. I can’t really do it while I am staying in it so that is the issue. Now that I’ll be getting into a place I can focus on getting that done since it won’t interfere with daily life. I imagine the door has to come off the toilet and another one near the floor will as well. Pull out the toilet fixture, take the wall panels and fixtures off, pull the pan out and fix it with fiberglass, then add supports in the floor and re-assemble it. No, I have not been real excited about doing this (I think I summed up why) but it will definitely need to get done before I take it out on another trip. I just remembered I am going to have to buy a new cover for the trailer.

I went to Costco today and got my hearing aids. It’s so good to be able to hear better again. I am going to have to go back tomorrow for them to have a look at the fit of my hearing aids, though. One side doesn’t seem to be positioned correctly inside my ear and it is affecting everything in that ear quite a bit. It really doesn’t feel or sound right. This happened to me before so I am not surprised. These are a different brand so I have some things to get used to, but this is definitely not correct. I think it’s one of two things so I will find out hopefully tomorrow.

I had the dog with me but locked him up in his crate in the back seat while I was inside the store. I let him out of prison so we could leave and he hopped into the front and just went stark-raving mad. He was so excited it was like we had not seen each other in a year. He was jumping around, bouncing off the seats and me and trying to play. I looked over out the window beyond the dog and the woman in the car two spaces over was staring at us. Then when she saw the dog going nuts she started laughing while telling the guy in the car to look. She was cracking up, I was cracking up, and Rider was just having a big time for several minutes’-worth of laughs. It was very entertaining for everyone.

I just cannot get over this vision thing! This is so much better than what I was expecting. I still need to get readers to read up close, but I think it is a good tradeoff. No, it is actually AWESOME!!! I’ll see what they say Wednesday but I think the healing is going good and the weird things are getting better.

As soon as things calm down a bit more I will be contacting an upholstery shop I found to ask them about the supplies for me to re-do my cushions or maybe the shop re-doing them. They are really getting bad in a couple of spots – mashed down and staying that way. Not much cushion whatsoever so they need new foam rubber. There are a few RV shops around so they may also be able to give me ideas on what to use, what’s popular, what wears best, etc. I can get by for now (shower is the priority), but sometimes winter months are slow, and with the ‘rona going on they might be needing some business and cut some deals.

It’s getting close to time I need to be ordering coffee pods for the Nespresso. Now that I understand it better and know what I want (I really like all but one of the coffees they have that I have tasted) I’ll be better prepared with some knowledge on how much to get of what. I know they have several new ones out but many of those are seasonal things like peppermint or that pumpkin-spice garbage. Last time I got 120 pods, but it doesn’t store as easily as a canister of coffee that makes twice that much so that took up some room. Once I get settled into the studio, though, I won’t have to worry so much about room.

Other than checking on getting my hearing aids adjusted, no other plans until my cataract appointment then the holidays. I got the stuff for my feast today. I am not much for turkey, but I do like to have some turkey, dressing, gravy and cranberry sauce (the jiggly one – not the chunky one) two or three times a year. I might go just absolutely berserk and have mashed potatoes too. Having a real kitchen again is one exciting thing about having a place to live. I’ll be able to really cook again. I have lots of new things I want to make but it takes room to spread out and cook, plus a regular fridge and freezer helps too. Unfortunately much of my kitchen stuff is all in Montana so I’ll be making-do with what I have in the trailer until I can get there. It’ll be fine.

That’s about it for this post. Until next time…

October 17th, 2020

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Road Trip, Uncategorized

Nothing like an amazing cup of coffee in the morning

Boy, what a change in the weather.

I woke up at 2:00 A.M. this morning to intense winds shaking the trailer. It felt as if one corner of the trailer was off the ground at one point. These were the worst winds I have encountered in the trailer so far – no need to do that again. It snowed last night and has been snowing today. The winds have been blowing strong all day but nothing like last night. We are under a winter weather advisory overnight with more snow on the way on into Monday. I have a feeling that the places where I took pictures and the video yesterday are no longer accessible after this. I am glad I got to go!

I ventured out and got the propane topped off this morning to make sure I am prepared for the cold. I have been staying plenty warm and still relying on mainly the electric heater with the furnace as a backup. At night the electric cannot quite keep up so the furnace kicks on to pick up the slack. I still cannot figure out where my electric blanket went so I grabbed the down mattress topper to put underneath me and I am using the down duvet cover from the bottom on top now for extra warmth. I just got two brand new Tempurpedic pillows yesterday to replace my old ones that were worn out (and giving me serious neck issues and bad headaches) so I am sleeping in comfort…if I could only sleep. I hope the pillows will help but that is not the issue completely.

Three days ago I decided to tape up the roof vents to keep the wind and dirt out until my new vent covers showed up (which they did two days ago). The noise of the wind blowing in the gap was very loud and annoying so I had to do something to stop that and reduce my having to clean everything daily. I imagine that the weather is still unsettled for the time being so I will probably have a few days I can sneak in getting them replaced. It should not take very long and looks to be fairly simple to do.

Today I opened up the drains to empty the water system. Tomorrow I hope the weather is better so I can use the air compressor to blow out the water lines. I have the cabinet doors open to keep the lines warm so they won’t freeze. From what I have read I won’t need to add RV antifreeze in the water lines after they are blown out which is good. It is easier than having to flush that stuff out and using air you can do it as needed.

I really like my new Nespresso machine. It is definitely a different way to make coffee. It makes coffee very reminiscent of what I had in Europe and that is what I was exactly what I was hoping for. The crema (foam) in the picture above is about an inch thick (it is just black coffee). The flavor selection of different coffees from around the world is incredible and excellent quality. The machine uses recyclable aluminum pods that spin to make the crema. A barcode on the pod tells the machine how much water to use for the different pods so you can make a shot of espresso all the way up to a 14 oz. cup. It’s a bit spendy for the coffee but the coffee is top-shelf and delicious. I don’t drink that much coffee in a day (no more than a couple of cups max) so it is still reasonable. I actually drink less with this but I am drinking better quality.

Well, I have been awake for a long time now so I am going to bed and hope for sleep. Maybe the tangerine Mike’s Hard Lemonades I drank will give me a good start.

Stay safe everyone.

October 9th, 2020

Adventure, Just things, Outdoors, pictures, Road Trip, Scotty Hilander, Travel

A Montana sunrise – looking southeast toward Livingston, MT

Fall is settling in and getting comfy but it is looking like we will get a little taste of winter over the weekend with some rain, cold nights (around 30° F) and maybe a few snowflakes. I cannot find my electric blanket yet but I am getting by okay between the electric heater and the propane furnace. I may need to do something different in the meantime like oh…get another blanket.

The moisture is certainly needed since the west half of the country is on fire and I am fairly certain that there won’t be many complaints from anyone around here no matter how we get precipitation. You can see the smoke in the picture above giving the sunrise that amber and orange glow – that is how the sky has looked most of the summer, but much of the time we cannot even see ANY of the three mountain ranges within view. The fields that are not irrigated are devoid of greenery and in many places it’s mostly just dirt. It’s pretty bad drought conditions.

I took a trip to the storage unit this morning and decided to drive a different route back. It was a backroad instead of the interstate. It went through farm country and it was a nice drive on a two-lane blacktop. All of the trees were really changing colors so it was a beautiful detour to take. I had been on just a few miles of this road at the far end so I had to see what was between where I was and what I had seen. I am beginning to understand more why my dad always did that.

After that last POS coffeemaker I bought and returned I treated myself to a present. My French press broke on the last trip so I spent real money and got a good coffeemaker this time. It is made by Breville and it is a Nespresso Vertuo. It will be here next week and I am so excited to try it. I think it will take up less room than the French press and coffee canister and I can store the kettle under the bench. Only thing is since it is electric I cannot boondock and use it so I may have to just switch to tea an d water on the stove when I am off-grid and that is totally fine. This one uses little recyclable aluminum pods instead of the plastic Keurig-style clogging the landfills with their convenience. They should store easier than my big ceramic canister which, somehow, has not broken yet given what it has been through on the road so far.

I am hoping it will make a cup of coffee like we had in Europe and, since I have never had an espresso, I will be trying that too. This machine spins the pod and it makes a “coffee foam” on top of the cup that looks kinda like a Guinness. It comes with a milk frother but I like my coffee straight up – nothing but the taste of coffee for me these days – so that will go into storage. Yeah, it takes some of the ritual out of the morning but I really wanted to try something a little different. They make many different roasts and flavors plus I really like the recycling part. Someone even makes a kit so you can refill the old pods so that is cool. Yep, I am excited about it!

Earlier this week I got a text from a friend I had not talked to in several months and that really brightened up the day. We both had many changes in our lives recently and texted back and forth for a long while, catching up with each other’s lives. It’s nice to hear from some of the people in your past and this person is definitely one of the ones it was really great to hear from. You know who you are! 🐶 🐕 (And, of course, if any of you want to send a message and don’t have my info just post a comment; they won’t post until I okay them and I do not post everything sent to me.)

I do have another adventure coming up soon so I will be posting about that at some point. I really hope the weather holds out a little while longer so I can get the things done that I need to take care of; I’m getting to the point where I will be having to worry more about the weather as the calendar pages flip. I’m sure that I’ll be posting about that in the future as well.

The other day I heard a banging noise outside and thought it was the horses banging the side of the barn like they do, but it had a different sound the more I listened. I looked out a window and the other dogs were staring at something from the backyard so I thought I would investigate. And just what did I see?

Hay! No horseplay allowed!

This is Maverick. He is a wild horse rescue who thinks he is a dog. All that banging was him climbing in the tank and playing. He stomps around a little, splashes around with his nose, then plays the fence wire with his teeth like it is a guitar string and he is Jimi Hendrix. He has such a fun personality. He always walks over to say hi and see what’s going on.

After this, the tank was moved outside the fence and just a little of it is under the fence so they can still drink but hopefully it will keep him out of it. I don’t know how, or IF, it will work or not to keep him out. Meghan’s German Shepherd Cheyenne actually does the same thing in the dog tank. 🤦‍♂️

That’s about it for today’s post. Stay safe.