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 13th, 2021

Adventure

I had a cardiologist appointment last week and everything was pretty good. I will be continuing my blood thinners until early next year. That means no new tattoos until after I stop taking those. Bummer. But, if it helps my health that is a better option and it hopefully won’t be permanent. I guess the timing will work out fine for a return to Europe to get more ink over there. With full flights and the crazy arrogant assholes on those flights it is just as well to wait until the stupid calms down. At least in the meantime I can pack up and go someplace…it is even possible this week! I guess we will both be surprised.

Now that my urgent medical stuff is taken care of (he said, knocking on wood…) and I get my truck back tomorrow, I am now freed-up to get out on some local trips. I am getting the trailer closer to ready to go. I am re-mounting the spare tire on the trailer tomorrow; I took it off to save a little weight but the tire just takes up too much room inside my truck and it really limits what I can carry inside or in the truck bed. The dog’s crate is plastic and doesn’t fold down so it takes up most of the back seat; it won’t fit in the trailer door either, which is all well and good since the trailer is small. I am going to have think about getting a collapsible one for the road to save some room.

I know, buddy…I’ll be there to get you soon…

Once I get some trips out of my system and we get into drier weather I will take the shower apart after I work on sealing the windows. I have not forgotten…just too many things, like rain, a heart attack and heart surgery, that kept me from doing it yet this year when we had the nicer weather.

I still have not unboxed and put oil in my new generator for a test so that is on my agenda too. Right now I cannot lift it with my surgery restrictions but I think in another month I will be doing that. With the popularity of “camping” now I think campgrounds are gonna be jammed with people and I hope it won’t be difficult to find a spot in the forests to park for a few days. That is my preference but in this area even those spots are sometimes hard to find and I find that safety issues can be a real problem these days.

It’s been odd getting back into some normalcy. I can travel again, I have no appointments until next year, but since I believe in real science and facts I am still taking precautions from the ‘rona and will for a long time to come. It’s hard to change some of those habits, like not being able to do much, lifting restrictions, no dog, and no real travel. Between the pandemic and health issues I have been really locked down and now that I am able to go places and do things within reason I have had trouble thinking of destinations. Yeah I went to Montana in March but it was a fast trip. I was a little concerned with not just the weather but also I had just had a heart attack and was waiting for surgery. There are some vast areas of nothing along the route so that was in the back of my mind.

But now I see the future getting brighter and it’s really very uplifting and positive for me. Working on and in the trailer is getting me excited to go hit the road. Even though I will not get on a plane yet I have been bingeing quite a few international travel shows and that is getting me excited to go overseas (or even just up to Canada) again. I just know not to get my hopes up quite yet as things are changing constantly. I am starting to think about places I want to visit and will begin a list of where I want to go, knowing it may be a while yet. At least I would have that part done.

As I watch these travel and food shows I keep finding new things to add to my bucket list. Adding a few new entries to that list the other day I noticed I am really getting quite a collection of domestic things to see and do and places to eat. I will be figuring out how to make it to all these places too. I am still intent on getting the last three of the 50 states and most of the bucket list things I want to see and do are along the way. I should be freed up to be able to do that trip now. If Canada is not open yet when I get up there well it looks like I am staying “local”.

That’s all the dreaming for now…

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 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!

May 3rd, 2021

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

I am in hospital now and it’s certainly gotten more real as I get ready to wind the day down and try to sleep. Even though it’s been a mentally exhausting day I am not really very tired yet. Wish I had a couple of bottles of wine or something to take this edge off. By the day of surgery I will most likely be quite anxious to say the least.

Earlier tonight one of my nurses went through what to expect post-op. No one had gone over any of this in too much detail yet so I am glad she did. I thought that I had a good idea of what to expect but hearing some of the details was a bit surprising and unexpected. It will be very tough, which I fully anticipated, but it is still going to be okay. It could be possibly a week in the hospital after surgery then off to someplace to go through some more of the recovery process.

I don’t know when I will be going back home at this point – it will quite possibly be a few weeks. My main goal is to get as well as I can; right now I am not worried so much about getting home as I am focused on recovering as much as I can before I get there. I feel that getting well is where my energies are best spent.

It’s just a waiting game for me right now. And for the next two days. I am so excited to get through this and get back to traveling, going where it’s possible to go safely, and having some big fun. It is what being retired is supposed to be about (to me, at least) and I have not done as much as I want even though I have done quite a bit of travel the last few years. Finishing my last three states is high on the agenda this year and there have been plans started to do just that. I have to go get my dog at some point, wherever he will be, and getting the trailer out for trips. I have family and friends to visit. Europe is not looking to be very promising this year, and Canada is not looking to be much better at the moment but I can find plenty of places to go.

So yeah…I have been busy thinking about “the road”. Then again, I always dream about that.

I just wanted to post a short update for those who are interested. Guess I really need to think about getting some sleep…