July 25th, 2020

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

Comet NEOWISE, just below the Big Dipper
This one is not zoomed in as much so it is clearer and was taken later in the evening

As you can see, I was able to get a few pictures of NEOWISE a few nights ago as it was scooting across the Big Sky of Montana. I took these with my iPhone and it did a decent job of it.

We had some pretty good rain here a few days ago, and much to my relief there were no longer any water leaks on the back window. It was getting rather frustrating but it looks to finally be patched until I can get the weatherstripping to do it correctly. I will be able to scrape all the sealant off the outside of the trailer I globbed on between storms to try to fix it. I also got the fenderwell patched up and sealed again so hopefully that is fixed. I will still be applying the sealant I have left (good ol’ FlexSeal!) to use it up and really make sure it is covered good.

I ordered a new sewer hose storage tube to mount under the trailer but it hangs too low to put it there. I am really afraid it will be dragged off in a low spot in the road so I just attached it to the top of the bumper. Usually the hoses are stored in the bumper but it is a tight fit. One of them will not fit at all and the other two only go in a certain way. I got tired of fighting them so problem solved.

I am really wanting to go someplace but just cannot get away yet. I am still getting medical appointments taken care of and that is the first priority. With the pandemic getting worse I have to really think about what is necessary and what can wait. My hand really hurts and is causing me issues so I would really like to get it taken care of but we will see what happens with that. My other appointments are more important so I have a full plate with medical stuff – nothing serious…just things needing taken care of and checked.

Speaking of travel it is really looking like getting back to Europe will be quite a ways off by the looks of the pandemic and travel restrictions. I am so glad I got to go twice in the last two years and that Jim, Chelsea, Angie and I got to see and do so much in so many different cities and countries. It will probably never be the same again – the restaurants, the Irish pubs, the interesting experiences on public transit, and the sights….everything. The whole experience both times was mind-opening and amazing. The best experience for me of all the travel we did was all of the wonderful, friendly and helpful people we met everywhere we went and that is one thing I hope will stay the same. I cannot wait to go back at some point when it is safe to do so but it will be some time before I will even get on a domestic flight let alone a transatlantic/transpacific one.

I am happy for now just being retired and being able to travel around here domestically when I can and see places I haven’t seen. I cannot wait to get into Canada more when the border opens back up but I think that may not even happen this year. Between the road trips I am looking at doing and my medical stuff I really have plenty to keep me busy for a while. It is a bit of a bummer that now I am able to go I can’t.

I have been considering a few things and I came to the conclusion that with the pandemic escalating even worse I am rethinking my plan to relocate completely to Colorado. All of my doctors are in Washington and if something happens they know my history; I have had a few things of concern and that relationship is very important given the recent family history. I really do not want to start over with new doctors and surgeons and I may even wait to get my hand fixed during a trip back there. I also have all of the great friends I made there the last eight years and it is really a smarter financial move in several ways. Plus I really grew to love the ocean up there and still want to spend time traveling more along the West Coast. And, honestly, I do miss all of that. I still plan on spending a lot of time in the mountains in CO and visiting family in KS.

After I got my ink done on my wrist in Dublin I really got excited and wanted to start getting a tattoo sleeve around it (wish I woulda got more over in Europe). I was getting several ideas together and was planning on doing that when we got back (and on a return to Europe). Then the ‘rona hit so everything shut down, and even if they were still open it was not worth the risk anyhoo. I have not even had a haircut in many months and it has been quite a long time since my hair was this long so I am looking a bit rough. A haircut is just not worth the risk to me (never liked them anyway), and if I am going to be sitting that close to someone I am getting a tattoo and not a haircut.

That’s about it for today’s short update.

February 13th, 2020 – Day 5: Dublin, Ireland

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

Today we got up and left our rental to go to another hotel close to the airport. We got to the hotel and went for food across the street at a chain called Supermac’s. For a fast food burger it was unexpectedly juicy and delicious and I would compare it to manny “gourmet” burger here. It was a home style patty and it tasted like one my grandma used to make when I was young. An amazing burger for the money.

We got back on a bus to head back to Dublin city center so we could get one more pint and check out some more of the city in more detail. That, and I was also on a mission…more on that in a minute.

Here are a few pictures of our stroll:

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Chelsea and Angie in front of Christchurch – Dublin, Ireland

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Dublin, Ireland

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Irish Rock & Roll Museum – Dublin, Ireland

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River Liffey – Dublin, Ireland

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Dublin, Ireland

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Inside The Temple Bar – Dublin, Ireland

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Dublin, Ireland

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Dublin, Ireland

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Angie in Dublin, Ireland

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You think about that! Dublin, Ireland

One thing I wanted to do when I was here was get a new tattoo but we were so busy I didn’t ‘t think any further about it. Now that we are back in town it is my mission to get one.

And I did.

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“Sláinte” – It is a toast that means “Good Heath” and I got it in memory of my parents.

Chelsea even got a tiny shamrock tattoo on her ankle.

Back to our hotel to prepare for tomorrow’s adventure! See you then!

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.

December 4th, 2019

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

With year’s end drawing to a close it’s looking like I will finish the year with only three surgeries!

Recovery from my last surgery a few weeks ago is still in process but is going pretty good and that is such a relief in many ways; a relief in the form of the good news the doctor had and also the physical part of the recovery being fairly quick as well. I will still need checkups every three months or so for the time being but she was pretty confident with the outcome of the surgery. I am really hoping that tomorrow’s PT appointment is my last one; I am not back to full range of motion yet, and it probably will not come back 100%, but what the Physical Therapist said at my last visit made it sound like I will probably be done very soon. The cataract surgery was successful and was the least problematic of them all.

Getting these things finally behind me has been huge. It’s been a tough summer – hell, a tough year – and I am glad I am finally able to move forward with my life. I haven’t been able to go anywhere or do very much until very recently and that has been difficult for me.

That is all about to change.

Lately I have been feeling pretty damn good and it’s been a long time. It’s exciting easing into retirement-travel mode, thinking about the road trips I can now take to visit with family and see places I want to see – all without any real timelines. The jobs I have worked the last seven years have involved working in the summers and being off in the winter some of that time. Travel in the summer when places are open will be a huge change along with better weather, and opportunities to do things with family will be one of the biggest and bestest things of all.

Yes, he said “bestest”.

But it will also mean drawbacks – being on the road with more people, all clamoring to see some of the same things. I am not real big on crowds but sometimes you just gotta do what you want to do despite being surrounded by giant masses of people; you cannot let things like that stop you or you will never go anywhere or do anything. Luckily we traveled quite a bit as a family when I was a youngster so I have already seen many of the big touristy things and many of those places I don’t need (or want) to see or go to again.

Granted, there will always be favorites (pretty much anywhere in Colorado for example) that I will visit again and again regardless, but I still have many places I haven’t been to that I still want to see and things I want to do and experience. A coast-to-coast drive on US2, a longer drive down the Pacific Coast, Route 66, eastern Canada…it’s a big list. And this list doesn’t even include Europe or Asia!

Being in the PNW (at least for now) I can easily start visiting many parts of northern and western Canada weather permitting. There are actually quite a few places I want to visit in Canada. In several of my earlier blog pages I had posts and pictures from Banff/Alberta/B.C. and it is a huge, beautiful country with a lot more to see. It would be fun to drive to AK and it’s something I have always wanted to do, but my truck has 190,000 miles on it and I don’t know if that would be a good idea to do that without a newer vehicle.

Again, it’s all very exciting to think about (and it’s even better to do) but sometimes life gets in the way. I know I have talked about doing these things before but with the way life (and death, for that matter) has been the last 3½ years things have gotten sidetracked and delayed but that doesn’t mean I am not going to be doing any of the things I talk about. This year has not been an exemplary one either as far as my personal health but I am feeling and doing pretty good now so it’s now time to do these things. Spending more time and having the ability to do things with family at any time will the the best part of all and what I am looking forward to the most. I already have one huge trip booked (so be sure to keep checking back for that) and with the other things I mentioned I think I can be busy traveling and relaxing (and blowing!) for quite a while.

Speaking of travel, I was supposed to go to CO for a wedding last week. Unfortunately the weather sucked and didn’t cooperate. I was on the fence about it anyway with my recovery but thought I could manage to get there okay and was cleared for travel. Perhaps it all worked for the best but I was really looking forward to seeing some friends I had not seen since I left CO in 2012.

The dog is doing good but we had a little scare a few nights ago. He was acting weirder than normal and was unable to stand without being wobbly. He jumped up onto my lap about 11:30 and laid down to sleep (sleep seems to be his favorite thing to do). He will do the typical “chasing a rabbit” thing in his sleep but this time it was different. He woke up a few times with his legs stiffened and kinda freaking out. He got down out of the recliner and was even more wobbly – like he was gonna fall over. I decided he might need to go to the vet and was planning on taking him in  the next morning to get looked at. I was concerned he wouldn’t be okay overnight.

At 4:00 AM he woke me up and threw up on my bed. He had to go outside really bad but he then got progressively better all morning. I took him in (of course he was pretty much back to his normal goofy self by then). He apparently ate an apple or two off the ground and it affected him adversely. Needless to say I got the apples picked up (and dumped on the other side of the fence for the rabbits!) so hopefully he won’t be doing that again.

I have been de-cluttering again so I have a huge box of stuff to donate with more yet to go through. I was able to trim down several more things in the trailer and a few things in the house but I think I still have a lot more I can get rid of. I was working on going through and organizing stuff earlier this year but had to take a break from it for a bit. Then the surgeries all happened. It felt good to go through and get rid of more stuff but things like going through and scanning pictures is exhausting emotionally and it’s one thing I really cannot dive back into fully yet.

My microwave blew up so I have been living in the 60s the last few weeks, heating everything up on the stovetop. I forgot what this was like, but it hasn’t been horrible and it sure keeps you from buying microwave convenience foods! It’s also one less thing to move in the future. I remembered I bought an extended warranty for it (which I usually do not do) so they will send me a check for reimbursement once I send it in. Besides, I have one in the trailer if I REALLY need to use one.

Otherwise I have been lying low, saving money and not doing much other than recuperating and planning some getaways.

That is all there is for now.

May 26th, 2019

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Uncategorized

A few days ago I saw a headline that there was a stealth fighter that was missing and they couldn’t find it. Maybe it is just doing its job – being stealthy.

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Someone sent me this picture the other day and I thought it was something good to pass along. It made me think about my travels and experiences, both big and small. The thing is, it is so easy to find someplace new; it doesn’t have to be a foreign country, or even another state or city. Sometimes it is as easy and as close as your own neighborhood. You don’t have to go very far at all and you can usually find something new to you – a different bus route, a back road, a new trail, a neat house in your area. One thing I have found in my n neighborhood is one hose has a little “lending library” in their front yard. It is a wooden shelf in a 1′ X 2′ wooden box with a window in the front and the library selections on display. It is such a neat experience to see the things you see. You never know until you go!

With all the traffic on the roadways this weekend I chose to stay home out of the madness. It was already getting crazy on Friday. I went out for a brief run to the store yesterday morning and its was pretty busy then. I got out for a walk earlier this morning and will go on another later.

I grilled up some corn on the cob Friday and today I grilled up some bratwursts. I have not had any of those in quite some time so I decided to treat myself. I usually avoid the brats because of the fat content but I’ve been watching that close enough that an occasional splurge won’t hurt.

While out I stopped at my favorite local bakery and grabbed some plain croissants. No, not that garbage at the grocery stores. Real ones. I had one with some prosciutto and a slice of smoked Gouda cheese for breakfast. It was delicious.

Yesterday I cooked and froze some meals for the next few weeks. It was a crappy, rainy day so it was a good day to do that and some other inside stuff. Today is warm, sunny and beautiful so I am getting outside as much as possible (watching my sun exposure, of course), trying to get some grass mowed as its dries out. It’s getting ahead of me a little so I have to get after it later today or tomorrow when it is much drier. I need to cook up some more meals to freeze so that will be part of my supper plans. I think tomorrow will be pork chops on the grill with mashed potatoes.

As I type this I am sitting at my dining table, looking out the window over one of my flower boxes. I happened to see a bee hovering around earlier, making the rounds. I saw it land on one of the flowers and it was a bee I had not seen before. It was a gold bumblebee with just very few, and very faint, black stripes. I have worked on bee surveys for wildlife biologists before and I never saw one like this during the survey.

The first crop of radishes in my garden are done so I will either plant another round of them, or I will try something new in the space. I don’t know what that would be – maybe a cauliflower. Other things in there are still looking good and growing nicely.

My cherry trees has fruit that is starting to turn red but they need to grow more. I have no idea if they are sweet or sour cherries but I will find out in a month or so. The plums are popping out on the branches already. I had put in tree spikes for fruit trees around all of them and I think that may have helped them take off.

I am pondering getting more ink at the local tattoo parlor. I have been thinking about it for a while but it’s hard to come up with ideas for something unique, yet personal, to put on your body forever (plus I have had other, more pressing, priorities). I have two ideas for now but I think I am going to have to talk to the artist about some other ideas.

Well it looks like I am going to be adding someone to the family:

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An as yet unnamed puppy…

Yep. An Aussie puppy.

After about eight years of having no pets I gave in finally. I say “I gave in” because I have been holding out on getting any pet. Meghan thought I needed a dog for a long time and this is one from her dog’s litter. She said that she thought it would be a perfect fit with me – not a maniac like his dad certainly is so he is mellow. I have not had a pet for this long because of my constant travels for work and most, if not all, of the places I have lived would not allow them anyhoo. I was really back and forth on it for several reasons but I finally thought how nice it would be to have a dog to poop in my yard.

Guess I need to think of a name…

That’s it for now.