January 22nd, 2021

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, Uncategorized

What day is it? Other than Wednesday being trash day and the garbage was taken out, they are all the same anymore.

A few days ago I got the parts to fix my truck so that was on today’s to-do list since it looked to be a sunny day when I got up this morning. I got the new fuel filter, spark plugs and wires. Even with the cost of the parts I am still saving over $600 by doing it myself. I don’t really enjoy working on vehicles but I can do some things. These things are easy and fairly quick to fix but my hands didn’t cooperate with me to get it done without much problem. I struggled a bit to get the plugs changed and had trouble trying to get one of them replaced so I will have to come back and revisit that last one. The fuel lines on the filter were stuck so I sprayed them with some PB Blaster to soak a day or two then I will try again.

My arthritis hand is really mad after working on the truck earlier. The only real option, other than a surgery that will only be a temporary fix for ten years or so, is getting a big needle jabbed into my hand at the base of my thumb and pumping it full of cortisone. I have had a similar thing done before and it is really not pleasant in the slightest bit. I think getting a shot in my neck without sedation (which I have done it several times) didn’t hurt as bad as that one needle in my index finger. I think I am going to have to get this injection done though. I cannot deal with this much longer but am trying to put it off as long as I can tolerate the pain and swelling and lack of dexterity.

It is good to see the sun more every week and it really helps with our moods; really…who doesn’t need that right about now? We are gaining about 15 minutes a week so in a month it is another hour of daylight each day. It is still dark until 7:00 A.M. but instead of the sun going down at 4:00 P.M. it is now setting at 5:00 or so and actually gets dark around 6:30. I am so ready for some spring and summer and the long Spring/Summer/Fall days are really nice for being outside. Of course the time will change sometime in March (as usual, for no good reason) since we can’t quit trying to control the things that we cannot control.

No meal kit in this week’s mail, but I finally got the last one from last week cooked last night and it was something different – beef banh mi bowls. It was pretty good and it made quite a bit of food. I won’t have to do much cooking until the next one gets here, but I will still be cooking and try to use up some stuff like pasta.

I went to get something out of the trailer yesterday to use at the house (glad I have that stuff to fall back on) and it was odd in a sense. I kinda missed it, yet didn’t miss living in it. I spent a lot of time in it over the summer and into the Fall so I got used to it but at the end the dog and I were ready to have room to spread out. It is fine for trips but staying in it full-time is difficult with the limited space. I am excited to get it back out for some trips and it’s really looking like that is going to be the only real travel option for some time yet.

I definitely won’t be going far if I do go someplace with the trailer, and it will just be within the state until some things calm down. It also won’t be very soon – there is some colder weather with snow (BOOOOO) forecast so I don’t want to unwinterize the trailer yet – once I get it ready I don’t want to redo it. With all of the things I have worked on, the trailer is in pretty good shape and is ready to go. I still need to fix the shower and reseal the windows. I will start working on that when I can, hopefully next month. I should have done it last year but didn’t since I was staying in it; I did not want to live in a 15′ construction area.

For now it will just be some day trips. Pack a lunch and find a quiet place to sit on a beach and enjoy nature. It is the safest way to get out of the house and maintain some sanity while limiting exposure.

January 15th, 2021

Adventure, food, Just things, Music, Outdoors, Road Trip, Scotty Hilander, Travel, Uncategorized

It was a busy afternoon today.

I got up this morning and it was time for coffee, then I got the dog out for a walk. He never seems to be in a rush to get out in the mornings so I am gonna caffeinate myself first. It seems odd that he doesn’t wake up doing the pee-pee dance, but then again he is odd. He didn’t even eat his breakfast until a few hours before dinner.

I locked the dog in his crate and got the bike out for a longer shakedown ride around the block (2-3 miles or so). I need to make a few adjustments – the front fender is rattling a bit against the front fork and the brakes need tightened up some. I really don’t know much about working on bicycles but these are minor things that I feel comfortable with tackling. I can look at some videos online and figure it out if necessary.

It is definitely a different feel riding this bike and it will take some getting used to it. Small tires and sitting up so high are not what I am used to but I will adjust. I also need to get mirrors, a bell, and more lights along with maybe some other things for more visibility. My motorcycle wreck affected my neck and I now cannot turn my head very well to see if anyone is coming so some mirrors are high on the list before I ride it again very far. It does move along pretty good without the Class III setting, but I DO like speed…

I got back and we went for another walk, then came home and started cooking. I made some beef & bean burritos and some beef stroganoff. I got everything labeled and in the freezer; I have a total of 12 meals frozen as of now. I still have to cook dinner yet, and I got another EveryPlate box yesterday so that will be for the next few days’ meals.

I went to Costco yesterday to get a few things and got the 1000-pack of tortillas (you know what I mean), so I used some for the burritos and I will be making up and freezing some breakfast burritos the next few days. I am still trying to do the cold oats with berries and cashew milk for breakfast every morning but breakfast burritos are great any time of the day. I always like doing something different for breakfast on Sunday mornings so since I cannot go out for breakfast I cook something for myself and forgo the overnight oats. It breaks up the week and when it is possible I’ll be meeting up with friends for a restaurant breakfast on Sundays.

While cooking I decided to listen to some music. Last night I watched a couple of videos from the new AC/DC album. Damn, that album rocks and sounds like the old days. I got on Apple Music and added that album and Highway to Hell. I listened to Highway to Hell while cooking and that is a great album. I am waiting until later to listen to the new one; I have a giant playlist of new music I have added but have not listened to yet so I am trying to knock that list down a little before listening to anything else. I listened to some old Porcupine Tree while cleaning up the kitchen and doing the dishes.

After taking my truck in to get fixed, the “Check Engine” light came on again; it is why I took it to the dealer to start with and they replaced the part that THEY said was bad after I replaced parts I thought were bad. It is going in early next week to get looked at again. I am really hoping to get it fixed correctly this time and get out for some long day trips to help maintain sanity. I don’t need (or want) to be around groups of people…I just need some new scenery to look at. Once I get this fixed I will feel better about going in the forest to explore or on a longer drive, plus the fuel mileage will improve.

I guess I could even take the trailer out to get away once the truck is fixed, but I must say it has been nice being out of it for a while so I have not been too excited about getting back in it yet and I am fairly certain the dog agrees. I would have to de-winterize it so I will wait a few more weeks to do that to make sure the danger of freezing is past. With the last-minute storage after finding this place I had to put water line anti-freeze in it again so I would have to go to a campground to de-winterize for the first trip. I am glad I did dump some in it since it did freeze several nights, but I still hate putting that stuff in there. It makes that first trip a pain and it takes a while to flush it out of the system.

I am still working on the airline tickets but I am finding more places, even in the US, are talking pre- and post-arrival testing and quarantines. With these things looming, and the additional concerns of new strains being discovered, it is extremely difficult for me to get very excited about even looking at flights let alone actually booking one. I won’t let it get me down and I will keep looking. There are still a couple of big U.S. cities I would like to go visit but I have big reservations about doing that since I travel to cities to explore and try the local foods. On top of that, I don’t feel safe with all of the nonsense going on and that is also a problem for me wanting to go on long road trips. I will get something booked before my vouchers expire.

That’s about all for this update. Forgot to send it before I passed out last night!

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 19th, 2020

Adventure, Just things, Travel, Uncategorized

My sleep is getting out of kilter again. I woke up yesterday at 3:45 and today 4:50. No idea what is wrong but this needs to stop soon. I may need to go to bed later so I sleep later but what usually happens is I just get less sleep since I still wake up early. I will definitely need to get another eyemask before summer and the daylight that comes with it at 4:00 a.m. but I have plenty of time to do that.

It was an overcast day today and a chance of rain with a possibility of some flooding – a great day for a bowl of chili. I have been in the process of converting and organizing files on my Mac like I posted about previously. Part of my organizing involves consolidating my four email accounts into two – one personal, and the other for business – so I have to update my business accounts with a new e-mail address along with with making sure I did not miss updating my mailing and shipping addresses. I got most everything that is important updated. I’ll catch the ones I missed whenever I get an e-mail.

I have written in previous posts that I use Tripit to organize my travel reservations. It is a very useful tool for travel planning and organizing when it comes to reservations and is top-rated by many travelers. Flight and hotel info is displayed in chronological order, with the details you need and more that you can add. You get suggestions for things to eat, see and do around where your reservation is, weather reports, airport maps and other pertinent travel info. You can add other travelers so everyone has all the same info and anyone in the trip can add a reservation. It is such a useful app/website I use it for all my trips. It links to your email; it looks for any emails for what look to be travel reservations, automatically importing and adding them into your itinerary on the app and website, and adding to your calendar if you want.

The reason I talk about Tripit is this: I got on Tripit this morning to update things and saw something that really surprised me. With all of the trips I have made just since I started using Tripit in 2011 – Europe twice, countless trips back and forth for family, vacations, etc. – I have gone 71,710 miles and 49 different locations. I was astounded by those figures, especially the mileage. One thing to keep in mind is this doesn’t add in miles for places I have gone on day trips or road trips where I drove straight through, such as here to MT so I have many thousands more miles…and that is just since 2011 and I have tens of thousands before that. For some reason, Tripit is logging only 9 countries; I have actually been in 10. Can’t wait to add to all of these totals!

If you are looking for a great travel organizing app I still say that you cannot go wrong with Tripit for its organizing of your itinerary and the details you see all in one place. There are two versions. I find the features in the PRO one better-suited if you travel constantly but are handy for anyone. I can get all the info I need in the regular version since I am not traveling frequently. Traveling in the trailer even the campground reservations I make import in, and I have even had events like concerts show up. Pretty useful. DISCLAIMER: I get nothing out of this endorsement. Just passing along info.

It ended up a lazy day today. I went to mail a package using the automated system but a) there’s a line of four out the door to use the machine (lobby closed on weekends), and b) it’s not presents; it can wait until after the first of the year. We got to get out of the house for a little while today at least, though. I am holding out to get supplies until Monday, avoiding crowds until then hopefully. I think it is supposed to rain tomorrow so it may be another indoors day. With football on and the rainy weather it could actually be a good day to get out and do what I need to do and it would be done. Maybe I will take a ride over and see how many cars are in the lots. If I go early I can get in the door while people are doing their Sunday rituals.

Oh, and I scrubbed the toilet today, too. I know how to party.

Later!