February 8th, 2021

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

It was a year ago today that I made my second trip to Europe with my two oldest girls, leaving Kansas City on a Saturday morning to go to Dublin, Ireland. I know my first trip over really was a complete assault on the senses – foreign country, different foods, languages, using public transit, plus experiencing how life is for others with which we share the planet. I remember pulling into Amsterdam Centraal that first trip in 2018, seeing all the trains and tracks everywhere, thinking “Oh shit…what have we gotten ourselves into…”.

Even though I had been there before, this trip was still a life-changing experience for me in several different ways. Seeing the castle where our family started out was incredible and getting to see it with Chelsea and Angie on their first trip was such a cool thing (you’re next, Meghan!). Of course there was all of the great food we ate, the things we saw and did, people we talked to…much like the first time all over again.

I was in a weird headspace for many reasons. I hated the prospect of having to leave. There was also an accumulation of the previous five years of loss and the other BS life put on my doorstep in a flaming paper bag. In Amsterdam we took time on our last day there to go different ways and explore. I was lost in thought just getting lost in the city. I got myself into a much better headspace before my adventure and everything in life was calm & peaceful as I wandered around, looking at some familiar places and finding other places I had never seen before. It really helped me in ways I cannot describe, and it was badly needed.

Right now it would be nice to have the opportunity to do that again, venturing out into unknown areas of a city that is nearly half of a world away. No map of any sort…just walking; no matter where you go that’s where you are. Everything is new in every way and you just kinda say “WOW” inside. I would even settle for someplace domestic; how nice it would be just to be able to wander around Seattle on foot like I used to do on occasion.

A steamed BBQ pork hombow from the Chinese bakery at Pike Place Market would be delicious right about now, as would breakfast at Biscuit Bitch and a burger, cheese curds and a pint at the Five Point or a pizza from Serious Pie. There are so many places to wander around checking out and so many things I have not made note of yet. I do still update my bucket list for things and places of interest, and there are more places in Seattle on that list I have not been to but want to check out when it is safer for my health to do so.

I always keep an eye out for interesting places everywhere and I put them into both my bucket list and Apple Maps so I can have directions ready to go if I end up someplace on a whim (which does happen often). I still have plenty of things to see and do in Amsterdam yet, and both Ireland and Iceland are islands of so many things to see and do. Beyond that there is still a lot more of the world I want to experience.

I will be looking into some domestic road trip options as well, adding more to that section of the bucket list. When things calm down I will be traveling locally more so I should do something unique, like visiting all of the state parks in Washington. I have been to almost all of the National Parks in the state so there are a couple of those left I want to visit; not because they are on a list, but because I want to visit them.

I will hopefully be going to MT soon to get my stuff, but want/need to get my vaccines first. I don’t want to miss out on getting it in fear of not being able to get it if I do miss out the first time because I am gone. The weather, being another factor, has not been bad there, but I don’t need to take a chance with that either since I would be towing a cargo trailer back.

The past year has been tough for everyone but in hindsight getting to go to Europe was a big help to get me through the year. We have talked about it often and relived our experiences both separately and with each other numerous times ever since we returned. I hope at some point in the next year we can all go together.

That’s all for today.

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.

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 10th, 2019

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

Yesterday I finally got my windows cleaned inside the house and got some organizing done on some paperwork I had not filed away. Last week I had an attack of sciatica that knocked me completely out of commission for a day and a half so this week I was taking care of some Spring cleaning from last weekend.

I am better now and hope that attack was the last one and it doesn’t happen again. Both my back and neck have really been bothering me quite a bit more than usual lately so I guess that I am lucky it hasn’t happened before now. Acupuncture has helped keep the headaches at bay but I think it’s time for a serious deep-tissue massage or possibly even see a chiropractor. I need some relief from this pain pretty soon.

That damn ultrasonic humidifier I have is going to find a new home. The white mineral dust it spews out is everywhere. There are a lot of homes I have been in here that do not have forced-air heat…they use electric wall-mounted heaters. It just usually doesn’t get that cold for extended periods of time. Usually. My house has that electric heat so it gets very dry inside. The air outside has been relatively dry as well so I have to do something to help my skin and my nose get some moisture. Right now I am boiling water in a pan on the stove to get some moisture in the house and that raised it almost 30% in a very short amount of time.

I am pondering a trailer trip next weekend but not quite sure yet. Weather is still a bit iffy this time of year as far as freezing temps (and snow, obviously) and I don’t want to de-winterize it until I can leave it that way for the summer. I guess I could find a campground someplace that is open and dry camp. I can just fill a water jug for cooking and drinking. I have a few ideas for a couple of places to go. The weather looks like it might be okay but it is still too far out to have much faith in the forecast yet.

Speaking of weather, today it was sunny and 50s – a perfect day to be outside and plant some flowers. I got one of my window boxes filled up with violas. I was hesitant to plant them with the cold temps. The person at the store said they would be fine but I may still cover them just to be safe. I have two more window boxes and some little gardens around the yard but will wait just a bit longer to plant them.

This year’s weather has been pretty haywire here in the area where I live. We had really nice weather for a while. After that it got all poopy and then Snowmageddon parts I and II hit, wreaking havoc on everyone. It is sure taking it’s time getting back to normal and it’s making me antsy to plant some stuff and travel. I am doing what I can in the meantime on both of those things. I usually don’t get Spring Fever but this year is a bit different; it is usually better weather this time of year and that’s been the cause of my restlessness.

For those interested in music, I watched a really good documentary called “The Wrecking Crew”. It was about the people who actually MADE the music on albums (those big black circular things) for people such as The Monkees (R.I.P Peter Tork), Beach Boys, and most of the one-hit wonders during the 50s 60s and 70s. It was very good and it had a few surprises in it about some artists that I was not aware of.

Jim and his wife Peggy will be coming out to visit from KS in May so that will be fun. We will be hanging around the area where I live for a few days then it will be a long weekend in Seattle, hitting some sights and eating good food. Maybe a few drinks and then stumble over to ride the light rail late at night to people watch! Much fun shall be had I am certain.

The next big trip I was hoping to take just will not work out. I tried looking at options again, but between the lack of available ground transportation and the time spent flying (two or three stopovers!) I just cannot make the scheduling work out. I wanted to go see a concert but it looks like I’ll just have to catch them in Europe at some point. Like THAT really sucks.

That’s the update for today.

January 24th, 2018 – Off to Europe!

Adventure, Just things, Travel, Uncategorized

Well, we are outta here and off to Europe! Just shy of eight hours flight time on the first leg of the trip. We have a layover for a plane change in Reykjavik, Iceland. It is a quick layover for only about an hour and a half or so then we board the second plane for the last push to Europe!

I checked us in for our flights for the trip over last night. We actually ended up with better seats than we originally had so it was nice to be able to move forward a little. I don’t like sitting in the back personally and the farther forward the better.

We have an afternoon flight with a few hours to kill beforehand so we’ll be sitting around a little while until time to go but at least we have spare time in case there’s a problem. Luckily we have a late checkout of our room plus we have to be at the airport a few hours early to get through security.

I have never flown to a foreign country so this is new to me. I have driven into Canada several times so I’ve been through the questions but this is just a little bit different.

Getting through security was a breeze – we signed up for a free temporary CLEAR subscrption to get through faster and it sure did the job! We jumped right up to the front of the line and avoided the wait. We got here early and are now just waiting around to board.

Once we got on the plane there were a lot of empty seats so the other person in our row moved. Now we had our side of the row to ourselves. I slept maybe two hours – I have trouble sleeping on planes so I was lucky to get those two. They had the “northern lights” playing on the cabin lighting. We are gonna be tired later but that’s okay.

Hopefully I’ll sleep on the next leg to Europe! Stay tuned!