Golf, Baseball, & Thieves

Yesterday I was forced to participate in a golf tournament at the Wildwood Golf Course which everyone in the country knows is located on the West side of Highway 30 not too far past the truck scales on the way to Portland from Scappoose. Most everyone of importance also knows that Jack & Wynette had their wedding reception in the Wildwood Club House which was located right next to Highway 30. At some point in the future, it mysteriously burned down, the golf course receded back into the forest, lost & forgotten, and was ultimately resurrected and expanded into an 18-hole course that careens through a small valley, and up and down hills. The current owner is, in my opinion, an abject jerk, so I don’t go there often. I may never go there again, for that reason. One person mentioned that he’s a “money whore,” which was confirmed by his willingness to insert walk-on golfers into the midst of the tournament we were involved in. Nice.

The tournament was a version of best ball, and it was gratifying to me that a couple of my balls were deemed best. That just means that I hit my ball better than those in our foursome so everyone was allowed to hit their next shot from that spot. I even made a few pretty good chip shots onto the green. My foursome was composed of Doug & Jim, high school classmates, and George, a person none of us had ever met until tee time. All in all, it was a good day.

On the way home I followed Doug home so I could check Carolyn’s computer to see why her Gmail wouldn’t appear. She wasn’t there when we arrived, but her computer was energized so I hit a few keys, clicked the Gmail icon and it popped up quite smartly. When Doug saw this he went, “Hmmm. She must have figured it out.” Then we sat in the living room and visited for a while. Then I went home to play in the dirt for a while before cleaning up to attend Lydia’s soccer game.

Before getting dirty, I took my mid day pills. Shortly thereafter, we went to Diane’s Mom’s, Jean’s, house for a visit where I promptly fell asleep. Then we went to the soccer game which wound up in a 2-2 tie. They played against the 14U rec league team and Lydia played goalie the whole game. Since it was a practice game, and most of those on the 14U team are in-coming St. Helens freshmen this year, the goalies switched sides at half time. The second half Lydia had to block against the varsity team and that’s when she gave up the two goals. But, she blocked about 20 shots. She did good.

Back at home, I had a hard time staying awake so decided to go to bed. It was then I discovered that I had taken my sleeping pill, the dreaded Ambien, somewhere around 3 pm. So, the erratic behavior Diane witnessed was totally not my fault. I slept through the night anyway, which surprised me.

This morning I got back into my morning nap routine and didn’t go out to get dirty and sweaty until 10 am or so. Consequently, I only got about 4 hours in before it was deemed time to eat lunch. We had Taco Bell tacos, always a favorite.

While writing this, I got a text from brother Jack, who is in Arizona with his first wife at this time, watching Sage pitch against a California team at the Cincinnati Reds training field in Phoenix. Sage, as you may all recall, is Maryssa’s boyfriend who is going to play for the North Carolina Tarheels after he graduates from high school next year. He’s a talent to watch. Click his name to check him out – Sage Diehm. A little more research revealed that Sage is the first Idaho baseball player ever recruited by North Carolina. Last text I got from Jack indicated that one of Sage’s teammates had hit a triple, driving in one run so it was 1-0. Nothing since so I have no idea what’s going on now. The suspense is killing me, but I’m not going to beg for an update. Nope. Just not going to do it.

I’m going to have to go rent a large piece of equipment from Don’s Rental so I can move some dirt around a little, leveling the area next to garage in preparation of installing a load of gravel that doesn’t squish up when a car drives over it. That’s wheat we have right now is squishy rocks. They are all round, which was intentional, to allow for good drainage into the pipe I installed some time back. Now I want to park something on it, like one of the old motor homes, or my truck, and need non-squishy gravel so it will remain level. To get the equipment home means I must spend a bit of time trouble shooting my truck to find out which ignition wire I dislodged the last time I drove it so I can get it started. I’ve already cleared this event as one that isn’t technically “working outside” since I’ll be inside the truck, so I’m good to go. Just need to work up a little more motivation. Might even see about getting the old ’73 RV fired up. Or not.

You may have heard about the crime spree going on around town these last few months. Thieves are going around during the day, knocking on doors so see who’s home. Those who aren’t get robbed. Those who are home are asked questions about someone they are looking for, wondering if they are inside. Last I heard, about 60 homes had been robbed. Sadly, the spree has extended to our quiet little dead-end street. Since we have Panzee, a large barking dog who greets family, friends, and strangers with the same intimidating welcome, I doubt seriously if anyone would be motivated to break into the house in our absence. But, you just never know. To be on the safe side, we decided it would probably be a good idea to lock all the doors, to everything, when we leave. In the past we’ve failed to do that many times.

So, any of you who may be compelled to visit our house when we’re aware be forewarned that Panzee, Breezie, and Ozzie have been training as a team to take down anyone they don’t know. It will work like this … you enter the house, via any access, and Panzee will make a concerted effort to rip your testicles off while Breezie takes care of your eyelids. Oz will gnarl his way around your ankles, severing your Achilles tendon, allowing it to snap up into the calf of your leg accompanied by an incredible amount of mind-numbing pain, ensuring you cannot flee the scene. In the unlikely event you are of the female persuasion, Panzee will go for your neck and face. If you have large breasts, you may want to wear a really tight sports bra because they’ll probably get in her way. Breezie’s and Oz’s missions do not change. I do not feel there’s a need to post this information outside the house because the dogs will make their presence known at the first hint of a foreign presence.

In the event you are still compelled to pay us a visit, please ensure you have the name of your next of kin somewhere on your body. Since the back of your shoulders probably will remain undisturbed, it would be a great place to tattoo that information. Alternatively, if you are opposed to tattoos, please have your partner in crime use a permanent black marker to help you write this information on the inside band of your underwear. If you don’t wear underwear, the waistband of your pants will suffice.

Better yet, just ensure you have proper ID on entry.

Good luck.

Now I must quit for today and go outside, by request, and climb to the top of a 24′ extension ladder to replace one of our outside security lights.

Eyeballs, Weeds, & Jerrie

Monday morning I did something I haven’t done in about 4 years — I got up at 0530, fed the dogs, then went to work. It was a test, to see if I could actually do it and I think I passed.

Getting to work was a short trip, not like before when I inserted my vehicle into the mass of others heading toward Portland, making the road look like a red snake weaving itself down the road. No, yesterdays trip was only about 30 feet into the back yard where I selected appropriate tools and continued our work on the weed hill that used to contain a bunch of irises. What I’m doing out there is peeling off the top 6 inches, the part that contains the incredibly mass of interwoven grass that’s been growing there since time began. Lots of it comes off in large mats, some in small, but they all come off with lots of resistance. Lots of it. The kind that’s makes one sweaty in the extreme.

However, beginning this work at 0545, or so, was OK because it’s nice and cool then and it takes longer to work up a good sweat. Still, I didn’t like it. That’s too early to be headed to work, even if it is only outside the back door. So, I”m not going to do it any more. I’d rather have my morning nap.

After the morning workout, I cleaned myself up and Diane drove me to the VA in Hillsboro for my annual eyeball exam. I passed, but learned that retinas, like skin, wrinkle with age. At least mine do. So far it hasn’t impaired my vision but I’m on the lookout for anything funning happening to the things I look at.

Yesterday, Jerrie was 3-years-old. My how time flies. To celebrate the event we contracted with Diane’s Mom, Jean, to use her back yard so the kids could run willy nilly up and down Milton Creek which runs through her back yard. It was a good plan and it worked to perfection. The kids had a great time wading and jumping in the water while those of us more advanced in age enjoyed sitting and visiting in the back yard. It was great.

Jerrie & the cake …


Baylee, Gilligan & Jerrie blowing out the candles …DSC_1884

A new jeans jacket from Aunt Jennie and Uncle Daniel. DSC_1891

Girls in the water …DSC_1819

Gilligan doesn’t stand still for very long. Jumping is her ‘thing’ …DSC_1814

Baylee is a bit more subdued, but still a poser …DSC_1795That was yesterday. Today I put on my American Legion hat and participated in a flag raising ceremony to officially open the Columbia County Fair. In all, there were approximately twenty of us lining the path to the flag. Our shipmate, Frank Weber, WWII veteran who served aboard the Colorado during the Big One, raised the flag. He’s 89 now, and retired as a Navy Chief Petty Officer. He’s a very spry guy and I’m honored that I share a connection with him as a chief. In his spare time he manages a Navy Museum in his Scappoose home. He’d love it if you stopped by to look it over.

Also at the fair opening were county Commissioners, state Senators, and Representatives for Columbia County. It was fun to be involved.

After the ceremony I joined Diane and her Mom, Jean, to go look at flowers. Just like every other time we’ve visited the fair, we wished we’d bottled up a few of our flowers to display. We always forget until we see those on display. We have pretty ones, too. Next year, by golly, I’m going to remember to enter a few of my photos for judging. Just for fun. Maybe I’ll make a doily, too.

Lydia was working in the Dairy Booth so I visited with her a bit, using it as an excuse to obtain an extra malty chocolate malt for my sipping enjoyment. An ‘old’ friend, Julia, was there, too. She’s a college girl now. Not long ago, as is true for all the young men and women I know, they were little. All of them. It’s sad that they have to grow up, but good to know they are growing up quite nicely.

I got to visit with Bree, too. She and Lydia are friends and, Bree says, I’m her replacement Grandpa. I’m honored. It’s always fun to see her.

Then we came home, it got dark, and now it’s almost time for bed.




This is just an aside to share a little trivia about all the blogs I’ve made since November 2011. I’ve been wanting to capture them in a way I could compile them for  a while now and learned I can just copy them enmasse from WordPress into a Word document, photos and all. I was amazed. This is a good thing for me because it provided me a way to find out just how many pages of drivel, and how many words of wisdom, I’ve actually shared in that time.

Turns out it’s in the neighborhood of  …

  • Pages                 1,058 (font size 12)
  • Words             231,758
  • Characters    1,223,234 (with spaces)
  • Paragraphs          5,180
  • Lines                 21,199

… or thereabouts.

But who’s counting?

I had absolutely no idea that I knew that many words. Go figure. No wonder my fingers are numb.

Soccer, Softball, & LeBron

I may have mentioned that I’m not a huge fan of soccer and determined that the reason is because I didn’t understand the rules. Then Lydia gets heavily involved, claiming as her favorite sport, so Diane and I have been going to lots of games. I learned that those in attendance, who understand what’s going on, are more than happy to share what they know which is handy because I’m not shy about sharing my ignorance of the game. I’ve learned a lot and, on my very own, determined that soccer is more about strategy than anything else. I could be a wrong determination, but I like it because it makes sense. Having a little talent in how to pass the ball back and forth helps in the overall process of advancing the ball down the incredibly huge field with the intention of getting it past the opposing goalie.

Then, along came the World Cup. Everyone got in a frenzy when the US made it past some big soccer countries, advancing passed the first rounds. It was amazing to watch it unfold. It’s hard to not get caught up in all the hoopla because it’s a little infectious.I resisted, however, as did Diane, and we stumbled across an ESPN channel where Team USA was involved in another kind of World Cup.

It was softball. Much more fun to watch because things actually happen. We found it very peaceful to sit in our recliners and watch the USA ladies advance through the ranks and make it to the title game.

We watched them squeak by Canada in one of the early rounds 5-3 last Thursday, then got all comfy to watch the USA-Japan game Friday evening. Although ESPN programming indicated the game was scheduled to view, they apparently found it far more important to blister the airwaves with a table full of analysts giving their unwanted and unnecessary opinions about where Lebron James would choose to play basketball next season.

Seriously, who gives a rip? Folks in Cleveland do, I’m sure, but to pre-empt the USA vs. Japan game in favor of conjecture seemed to be a bit of over-kill, in my humble opinion. We checked the channel every once in a while, but the softball game was never shown. It was disappointing. I kept track of the score via the internet, but finding a source for that information was not easy. Apparently it wasn’t a big deal to anyone but us. In case you’re interested, our USA Ladies won that game 8-1. It would have been fun to watch.

Then, yesterday, they played against Mexico at 10 am. We didn’t get to watch that game, either, but it wasn’t ESPN’s fault. We simply had to honor a commitment to help clean up in and around our church. It would have been a good one to watch, though, because USA only won 3-2. But, they won and advanced their record to 5-0. Yesterday evening they played again at 5 pm against Chinese Taipei. We watched that one and it was a sad day for Taipei. The USA was home team so lead off and our first two batters were hit by the pitcher. So, two pitches and we had two on base. It just got worse from there. The score was 10-0 after 2 innings and was stopped after 4 innings when it went to 14-0. That win put USA at 6-0 with a chance to win it all against Canada this morning in the title game.

We didn’t get to watch that one, either, because we went to church. But, I kept track and learned that Our Girls beat Canada 5-2.

So, USA wins!

Just for the record, we suffered through the last 15 minutes of the Germany vs. Argentina World Cup finals, watching the clock creep past the 90 minute mark, then 100, until around the 113th minute, or so, and FINALLY!, Germany scored. I didn’t actually care who scored, but it was gratifying to see that one of the teams did. It was quite a celebration with Germany fans jumping up and down all over the place and Argintina fans sobbing about the loss.

I’ll say it again, that I’m not a real fan of soccer, but I have to admit that single goal was a thing of beauty. The way the ball was kicked in from the left, fielded with a chest bump, then kicked deftly passed the goalie before it could hit the ground was pretty awesome.

Kinda makes you forget about the previous 2 hours of 0-0 and confirms my thinking that soccer games shouldn’t have their clocks count up to 90, but count down to 0, just like other games that use clocks. I think there’d be more of a sense of urgency by the players if they could hear the crowd chanting, “5 … 4 … 3 … 2 …1 …0’, as the clock times out. Instead, it’s “87 … 88 … 89 … 90”, plus whatever the referees determine to be added to the clock for stoppage of play (I think). Most of those are caused, I’ve learned, from some very, and not so very, convincing drama by the players.

I especially liked the guy that bites other players. That’s a nice way to promote the sport, don’t you think? Wonder how many kids he has.

Jennifer, Lydia, and Jeran visited us this afternoon to recap their fun stay at Camp Tadmor this past week. They arrived with a DVD of all the events so we watched it and had to agree it is a pretty awesome place. In order to watch it, however, I had to hurk a DVD player up from the basement, after finding the remote, and connect it to the TV. Our old sound system had a DVD player, but it had a stroke and died quite dramatically a few months ago. We’ve been trying to save money for a new one, so we can hear the TV, but dentist and medical events seem to be more important. One of these days all our teeth will be gone and we can get one.

Digging in the dirt … again

It was really nice and cool at 0500 this morning, perfect for dismantling weeds with minimal chance of heat stroke. Too bad I didn’t take advantage of that like I said I would. No, instead, I lounged on the couch, waiting for the coffee to finish. Since that didn’t happen until Diane attained a vertical orientation and went to work waiting on me as is her custom. She takes really good care of me and I appreciate it immensely. End result, the coffee wasn’t done until around 0830.

After chugging that first cup of coffee, followed quickly by a large glass of water, I donned my dry work clothes and headed outside to resume the battle for our back yard. We’re gaining because we’re using a flanking maneuver I read about in a comic book. You can’t beat the weed back by going at them in a lineal manner, like from left to right, because they will just fill in the gaps behind you as you progress. No, you must work from both sides as well as the top and bottom of your designated target area, moving back into previously weeded areas to pick up the stragglers. Conducting this war in dry weather is grueling because the weeds are so imbedded it’s like trying to rip apart a sidewalk to release them. They are much easier to pry from the soil right after it rains. It’s messier, for sure, but far mor easy.

Knowing this, logic says to water it all down before the assault but doing so adds considerably to the household deficit which is already in the trillions of dollars, as every knows. Still, it may be less expensive, in the long run, if I simply hook up one of my laser-guided sprinklers and douse the area for a short period of time, exchange my common work attire for a stealth swimming suit, and swoop in when they are least expecting me.

Sounds like a plan. For the moment, I’m recovering from this morning’s mission which left everything I’m wearing, soaking wet, a sure sign that I’ve exuded more than my allotted amount of perspiration for the morning. Rehydration is in progress. When my heart attains a more normal rhythm I will put on my cowboy hat and make one more dash into the war zone to retrieve the tools I left behind. I’m not worried about losing them because weeds do not have opposing thumbs. All they can do is surround things, making it difficult to extract. It’s sad, in a way, because you can almost hear little screams as their roots are pulled from the ground.

I know this battle will continue until I die because all those weeds need is just a teeny tiny little bit of root to remain in the ground in order for them to cover the landscape as soon as you turn your back. They love it, too, when it’s raining really hard, keeping us in side. It’s really annoying to look out and see them pointing and waving at us, sharing something humorous with their siblings, as we stand trapped inside, watching them grow just willy nilly all over the place.

The possible solution is a holistic weed killer Diane discovered that we’re going to try. Chemical warfare isn’t my normal choice for war but using holistic methods seems, to me, to be OK. It’s kind of a religious endeavor if it’s holistic. It’s made using 1 gallon of vinegar, 2 cups of Epsom salts, and 1/4 cup Dawn dish soap. Mix it all up, put it in a sprayer and share it with all your weeds. Their demise, I understand, is fairly quick and painless.

I’ll let you know if it works on black berry vines.

Now I must go perspire a little while longer.

Weeds & Teeth

We had a beautiful sunrise this morning. The dogs woke me up just in time to see it at it’s most orangey so I know it’s true. It doesn’t last very long so the dogs have to really be on alert to ensure I don’t miss it.

After my morning nap, Diane and I went out back and got busy ripping weeds out of the ground. Her efforts were restricted to the edge of the patio, where the mower never goes, and I chose to dismember the four rhododendrons, one large bush with no name, a couple ferns, and a few smaller plants I’m not familiar with. I didn’t cut them all down, I just trimmed them from the bottom up until I could comfortably sit under them as I pruned without branches knocking off my cowboy hat. I wear that hat because it covers my ears nicely, keeping them from being fried by the ever increasingly hot sun. As a consequence of using this method for trimming, there is a nice distance between the bottom branches and the ground leaving no place for rats to hide. I use a similar method for pruning trees … I cut off all branches that touch my head when I drive under it with my lawn mower.

There’s more to do, but I had to quit so I could keep my appointment at the dentist. Today was teeth cleaning day.

So, I got my teeth cleaned. Along with it, I got an attaboy from both the dentist and my hygienist. Even though I do a good job taking care of my teeth, they still charged me a small fortune. The reason, I’m told, is because I’m on periodontal maintenance due to the fact that I used to be a little cavalier about brushing, flossing, and stuff like that. So, a normal $100 cleaning job costs me $260. I had a long discussion with the girls at the front desk about this, and the fact that instead of getting it done every six months at $100, they insist I get it done every four months for $260. Add in the dentist fee, and some x-rays, it balloons to $360. Prepaying, and being old gets me a 10% discount, which helps, and I’m only going every 5 months instead of 4. So, it’s a compromise.

Now you all know I have diseased teeth and gums and are probably wondering why Diane has kept me around for so long. It’s really not as bad as it sounds and I’ll pay the price because I plan to keep at least 8 or 9 of my teeth until I die at 111. That will require lots of flossing and brushing.

I’ve bared my soul to you and find it necessary to stop before I began to weep a little.

July 4th Update

In addition to omitting some crucial information from the evening of July 4th, there has been a new development in the form of reduced physical abilities of one member of the household caused by over exuberant efforts playing catch with a much younger person who can throw pretty hard.

1st, the 4th …

As darkness began to fall, we noticed that people were making themselves comfortable in the back yard of our next door neighbor. Ordinarily this wouldn’t be unusual, but, considering that the house has been vacant for over a year, we found it interesting so I went to investigate. First, I looked to see what kind of vehicle was parked out front and determined that it belonged to Jack & Barbara, a young couple we met while they were checking out the view from house in the dark. This time they brought all three of their young children, and two older people who were obviously related in some manner. My guess is they were the grandparents, but I don’t know from which side.

I approached them by walking south down the west side of our garage, between our respective abodes. Since I ripped down the rotten fence between our properties, gaining access to the intruders was a simple matter and it quickly became apparent that they were, indeed, Jack and Barbara. Barbara was carrying their youngest son, Asher, and one thing led to another until we invited them over to help eat some of the enormous amount of food lying around in our kitchen. This gave them an opportunity to compare the view from our deck to the deck of the house they are considering as a their next home.

When Barbara walked into our home carrying Asher, who is 11 months old, she was accosted by Lydia & Maryssa who snatched the child out of her hands. Barbara didn’t appear to mind as Asher was passed back and forth between the girls and Cedric, who has a way with little kids. Asher wasn’t complaining about all the attention at all.

After visiting for a while, we sent Jack & Barbara on their way back to their prospective new home with a Ziploc bag full of watermelon parts. That was my idea, because no one else was eating it and it was a good watermelon. They left Asher with the kids and I’m pretty sure it was intentional because she returned briefly with his blanket, alerting the girls that he was probably going to fall asleep pretty soon, and he did.

It was an interesting encounter. If they truly do end up being our neighbors it will be a good thing. They are good kids. I know because I googled them.

Now, about the physical aspect of my current situation … I’m sure all the aches and pains I’m experiencing were caused when I play catch with Maryssa and Bob. That was three days ago, but the injuries are just now manifesting, serving as an abject lesson that I’m no longer 50 and can’t treat my body as if I were.

Therefore, when it comes time to play catch with Lydia, or Cedric, I will be more careful and throw underhand all the time instead of waiting until my torn rotator cuff rises up to get my attention.

My back hurts, too.

I also have a stomach ache … and Diane is fussy with me about all of it. I should have kept it a secret. She’s probably going to make me go to school tomorrow anyway.

It’s not as easy to be 70 as I thought it would be. Guess it’s time to act my age.

Independence Day and Beyond

Here is it, Sunday, July 6th, and I didn’t wish all of you a safe and happy 4th. Now that it’s over, I trust all who are reading this still have full use of their digits and senses. Unless someone is reading this to you, I trust you at least have the use of some of the important parts that you were issued at birth.

Now, the reason I’ve not been around lately is because we’ve had house guests … Bob, Steffani, and Maryssa … from Idaho. I know, I mentioned Idaho not too long ago, but that’s because we were there. Apparently the three mentioned above decided to follow us home after waiting for an appropriate amount of time, hoping we’d forget we just saw them a short time ago, I’m sure. As soon as they arrived I was forced to give up my garage door opener so they could have unlimited access to our home.

That’s not true, of course. They were officially invited. Really. They were. All of them.

Consequently, we spent most of our time waiting on them hand and foot from last Sunday evening through yesterday morning. Sounds bad, I know, but it was totally self-imposed. They didn’t expect that kind of treatment and, in truth, they didn’t really get it. Since they’re related, they don’t get that kind of treatment. They had to scavenge for any scrapes of food they could get, just like I do. Being the oldest, and slowest human in the building made it difficult to obtain the minimum daily fiber intake which resulted in an overall 10 pound weight increase. Without the need to compete for bathroom time, I’m confident I’ll quickly rid myself of the extra weight fairly quickly.

The real reason our three house guests visited was so the youngest of them, Maryssa, recent Skyview High School graduate, has a boyfriend, Sage, who is playing baseball on a summer league in Portland. All of the young men playing in the league comprise a pool of new talent for all those professional baseball teams out there. If he doesn’t get drafted, he will go to the University of North Carolina after he graduates next year. Sage is a stellar example of what many of today’s youth lack – manners and respect. Thankfully, he was exposed to our small town relatives who also exemplify that example when he visited our home several times during the past week. I did my best to be the best host ever s there’s a chance I’ll get a ticket to see a pro baseball game one of these days.

July 4th started early for me. Not only because the dogs got me up early, but also because I had to stay up and honor a volunteer commitment to help place flags around town with other Lions International members at 0700. Since I had an American Legion obligation to participate in a flag raising ceremony in front of the old courthouse at 0800, I just stuck around down town. After the flag, I helped set up the combined American Legion/Veterans of Foreign Wars booth at which some items were being raffled off to the public passing by on their way to the waterfront area. One was a 20’ flag pole and another was a weekend stay at a beach cabin in either Warrenton, Oregon, or Ocean Park, Washington. The Columbia County Humane Society had a booth next to us and they raffled gift baskets. I donated money to the flag pole and gift basket raffles.

I don’t know what time I left during the morning, but I had to be back at 1:30 pm to participate in a bell ringing ceremony. When I returned, my friend Doug gave me the choice of which bell to ring so I chose the one at the marina in front of the old court-house. The bell is in a ½ replica of the warning bell tower located on Warrior Rock a little ways up the Columbia River from St. Helens. The replica is located near the waterfront gazebo where a very loud band was playing right up until the moment of the bell ceremony so I had a rapt audience for this interruption of their afternoon entertainment. The bell ceremony consists of ringing the bell 13 times, for our original 13 colonies, at 2 pm every 4th of July. All the bells in town had someone pulling their ropes at the same time. It was quite solemn.

I stayed in the area of the information booth until 5 pm at which time I had to leave and attend the family dinner Diane had been working on for the last 3-4 days. In attendance were Diane, Bob, Steffani, Maryssa, Sage, Daniel, Jennifer, Cedric, Lydia, Jeran, Jean, and me. I had to put another leaf in the table to accommodate those in attendance. It was a terrific repast with lots of great food, just like normal for this time of year. After the meal, we all sat around waiting for it to get dark while Sage, Cedric, and Maryssa played catch in the back yard. The ball was missed and lost 3 times in dense bushes. I found it every time because I had long pants on and I’m not afraid of spiders. The last ball went into the hay-field behind the house just about the time Lydia appeared riding Gracie, our neighbor Stacy’s horse. This is the first time Lydia has ridden the horse and it happened about 10 minutes after Stacy met Lydia. Amazing. A demonstration about first impressions and trust, I believe.

While I was diving in the hay for the last lost baseball, my friend Doug arrived at the house toting the 10×10 pop-up I took for use at the information booth. That, and the flag pole I won. How amazing is that? I won the flag pole! And a flag! Now I’ll have to go dig a hole and set it up.

Yesterday we, and our guests, rose fairly early because it was time for them to head back to Idaho. On the way, however, we all attended one of Sage’s baseball games at the University of Concordia in Portland. He was the starting pitcher and I was really looking forward to seeing him hurl the ball. His fast ball is in the 92-93 mph range and he has a wicked curve. Sadly, infield defense wasn’t up to speed in the first two innings, allowing 4 runs on two errors. The pitching was good, but the coach pulled him after two. From there it was a scoreless battle until the 6th when Sage’s team started getting hits and tied the score. In the 7th “our” team had last at bat and held their opponents scoreless. Then the bats got busy and “we” loaded the bases with one out. Next batter, a lefty, swung at the first pitch and hit a line drive down the first base line in a spot where the first baseman had no chance to catch it. Game over, we wind 5-4. Had that hit happened in an earlier inning, it would have cleared the bases, easily.

Then we said goodbye to our Idaho guests, Sage, and, Jack and Wynette, and went home. Did I mention Jack and Wynette were there? Don’t believe I did. Well, they were and they sat directly in front of us. Jennifer and Lydia rode with us to the game.

This morning we got up earlier than usual and went to church, came home and ate 4th of July food.

That’s about it to this point.

Oh, ya. I won one of the gift baskets, too. How about that? Also, our guests took my garage door opener home with them. A police report has been filed.

Here’s some photographic evidence of what happened …

DSC_1515 IMG_0928

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Parades, Relatives, & Injuries

We watched an episode of “Black Box” the other day to see if it’s something we’d find interesting while all the shows we REALLY like are on hiatus for the summer. We decided it wasn’t a show we would watch with regularity, but one of us came away with new-found knowledge that made them believe I was, and always have been, a Confabulator.  That is me, of course, a person who practices Confabulation. I can hardly deny the label since I readily share that not much I say, or write, can honestly be viewed in a serious manner. Also, I kinda like the way the word rolls of my tongue … it’s just one of those words that’s fun to say.

Here’s a question for you … when relatives come to visit are they considered “company”? I ask because whenever we have company it’s necessary for us to clean parts of the house they will probably never see, but you just never know. With relatives, however, they can show up any time so there might not be time to clean. Then, there are relatives who make it known that they will be arriving on a specific date which casts them in to the role of company. It’s very confusing and I think there should be some sort of rule about how much effort people should put into making company comfortable. Complicating this issue is when seniority seeps into the equation. Should lower ranking relatives receive the same kind of attention as high-ranking ones? Something to ponder …

A couple of days ago it was raining so I wasn’t allowed to work outdoors. Instead, I went downstairs to reacquaint myself with various aspects of my shop area. It’s been neglected for a while … well, since I dismantled half my work bench … and needed some attention. I also needed to look things over to see if I remembered where some of my favorite, though rarely used, tools currently reside. It’s a known fact that tools move around all by themselves when ignored for a certain amount of time.

It took me a while to get started because, as is my nature, I couldn’t help but just stand in the middle of everything, looking around, trying to devise a plan that made sense. I do this all the time and it only bothers me a little bit. After a few minutes of staring at “stuff”, I give up and just start moving things around in a Zen kind of way, seeking satisfaction in locating things from one place to another until it just feels right. My ultimate goal was to get the floor clear so I could clean it up a little. Most of it was just sawdust and tiny bits of wood, one of which had retained a nail that used to attach it to another piece of wood. By the time I discovered that last piece, most of the floor was clean so I was able to call a temporary halt to the proceedings after pulling it out of the bottom of my left shoe. Even though I was wearing my comfy foam-soled shoes for safety, the nail penetrated all the way through into that crease where the ball of my foot turns into my big toe. It hurt a lot and caused me to immediately halt the downward pressure of my left foot, an act that would normally cause me to tumble. Oddly, this time I retained my vertical stance and was able to extract the offending nail with relative ease while standing on one leg. I know. You find that hard to believe. Me on one leg. But, I did it.

Then I limped upstairs to find a source of brighter light so I could assess the injury. Diane caught me before I got to a chair and said, in a manner that might make one feel as though they do stuff like that all the time, “what did you do now?”

I said, “I stepped on a nail.”

She said, “do you need a tetanus shot?”

I said, “no” because I think they last for about 10 years and I know, for sure, I’ve had about 5 of them in the last 10. I should be free of the fear of tetanus for the rest of my life.

“OK, she said,” lets see it. I removed my shoe and searched my new white sock fo signs of blood, but it was clean. Taking the sock off, I searched the area of penetration but couldn’t see anything that could possibly cause the amount of pain I felt on first contact.

“Squeeze it,” she said, so I did. After a bit of time, a tiny drop of blood was produced. It was hardly worth the effort. Still, it was necessary to install a small band aid to ensure I didn’t get blood on any of the numerous rugs scattered about the house. At this very moment, even though it’s been a few days, it’s very uncomfortable. It feels like part of my sock is wrinkled up under my toes, even when I’m barefoot.

After getting my bandage, I went back to work, relocating things from the floor to the top of my unfinished work bench in an effort to create some space on the floor so I could move around without shuffling my feet. Once that was done, I went to work relocating some large boards that were leaning against the front of my table saw. To do this required that I bend at the waist a bit, just enough to move my forehead into a nicely cut 45 bevel on a piece of the old mahogany baseboard laying on top of my table saw. Since I’ve had lots of experience with injuries of this type, I knew it hurt enough that I should apply immediate pressure to ensure I didn’t get blood in my eyes. Thankfully, Diane was in the room next to me, so I didn’t have to go seek a mirror to asses the extent of the damage. I just went to her and, as soon as she completed her customary eye roll, removed my hand and asked it if was bleeding. It was, but not as badly as I feared. There was blood, but from more of a scrape instead of a cut. It didn’t even need a band aid, but it got a bit of antibiotic salve which stings, by the way, when it melts and runs into your eye. Blood doesn’t sting at all.

Today I participated in the Scappoose Summerfest parade in, of all places, Scappoose. I was one of 10 flag bearers who led the parade directly behind the first police vehicle on the mile long parade route. I wore my American Legion hat, but could have just as easily worn my VFW hat because the flag bearers were a combination of both groups. I waited my turn and took the last flag available, which turned out to be the Navy flag. I found that interesting. Leading the parade were the American Flag, the POW Flag, and the Oregon State Flag. Behind them we remaining seven toted, from left to right, the VFW Flag, Coast Guard, Air Force, Army, Marine, Navy, and American Legion Flags. One of the younger guys with really long legs kept a verbal cadence going, but some of the shorter vets had a hard time stepping out as far as he did. Consequently, some of us got out of step once in a while. We made it to the end, however, and deemed it to be a good day’s work. It was fun being up front like that, and seeing the respect displayed to us and to the flags. Directly behind us flag bearers was a trailer full of local vets being pulled by Junior’s nice red Bronco, top down, even though it rained a bit.

On the way home I got a call from our friend Tom and learned that all is well in Hillsboro. That’s always good news. He said Linda is spending an inordinate amount of time on her feet because she’s so busy cutting hair so I might have to think twice about adding to her burden by choosing her as my new barber. Mine left town. The last haircut I had was at Camp Pendleton a few months ago. Diane thinks it’s time for another one.

Now I must stop and help search for the lost “suck it” bag. That’s the one you can put a duvet in and suck all the air out with a vacuum cleaner to make it take up less space. Neither of us have any idea where that bag went, however.

Plus, not having a clear definition of what status lower ranking visiting relatives have, in the way of special treatment, we have to stick to the current norm and put clean sheets on all the beds, paint a room or two, and power wash all the sidewalks. That must all be done today, if it’s going to get done, because they are arriving tomorrow.

Later …

FIFA, Rising Star, Dirt Tracks, A Parade, & Dead Chicken

Soccer has never interested me a great deal, but I’ve watched more than a few games over the years. Mostly, it was little kids learning the game and, more importantly, the value of being a team member and trusting your team mates. I made the last part up, but it makes sense, now.

More recently, I’ve been watching high school soccer because that’s one of Lydia’s chosen sports. Because of that, it’s imperative that I watch every game possible. Lydia is playing goalie, not an easy task. She said she finds it exciting and boring, all at once. But, she gets to wear those really cool Mickey Mouse gloves.


Observing the game with a more critical eye to positioning, and passing, and asking a lot of questions of those around me, I’ve developed a new appreciation of the sport and felt compelled to watch the entire 95+ minutes of today’s game against Portugal. I even got excited! when goals were scored and the USA surged ahead 2-1. Then, just as easily, I was dashed back to earth when Portugal’s #7 made a pretty awesome kick to one of his team mates who head butted it into the net, during the last-minute, I think, to end the game in a 2-2 tie. It was a bit disappointing, but no one lost. I have no idea what happens next other than USA plays Germany, I think.

Considering the outcome of the game, and that most soccer matches are very low scoring, I’ve made the following conclusions about the game.

  • Games are scheduled for 90 minutes to make sure only the fittest make it to the end.
  • The first 85 minutes are used to test defense and offense.
  • If goals are scored at any time before the last 5 minutes, it’s a bonus for that team.
  • Super Star players can retain their status with a 1% success rate on kicks & passes.

Now I’ll have to find out when the next game is scheduled and watch that one, too. But, I’m going to record it and only watch the last 5 minutes.

Rising Star, the new “Look At Me I’m A Singer” show, made it’s debut this evening. In preparation for the big event, Diane loaded the app on her iPad so she could help make decisions about who would win. Sadly, all the hoopla about this program is totally lost on those of us who live on Pacific Standard Time, because all those decisions are keyed to the program being aired at 8 pm East Coast time. Since it aired here at 8 pm PST, what Diane got on her iPad app, when the program started, was who all the winners were. It was a done deal. What a total waste. We didn’t watch it, and won’t even bother looking the next time it’s on. The hype is totally not for our time zone.

Dirt track racing has been going on here in River City (St. Helens) for as long as I can remember. Diane’s cousin, Don, has been associated with it for as long as I can remember, too. He’s a huge promoter and, at age 67, is still giving the young drivers fits on the track. He’s raced all manner of vehicles over the years and is currently piloting a modified rig that moves along just as fast as all the other vehicles out there. His nephew, Johnathan, also drives. He, and his sister, Victoria, got started at a young age thanks to Uncle Don. Johnathan started at 13 and is currently running his own 4-cylinder hot rod, having a lot of fun. Victoria has moved on and is currently married to an active duty sailor. We had the pleasure of sitting in the stands with them yesterday afternoon to watch Don and Jonathan see how many laps they could make in their respective races without destroying their rides. Don did real good. Jonathan did, too, most of the time, but wound up totally destroying his right rear tire as he passed a car on the last lap. The two cars were smack up against each other coming out of turn 4 on the 1/4 mile oval, and Johnathan was moving a little faster. End result was the car on his right got his left front bumper into Johnathan’s right rear wheel, causing the tire to disintegrate. He kept going forward, however, and managed to rip most of his opponent’s front end off as he went by.

What fun. Here’s part of the fun …

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Jonathan’s #2 …DSC_0953

Uncle Don’s #0 …DSC_0993

Fun in turns 1 and 2 …DSC_1032

Kayliah, Alec’s Sister, and Victoria’s only Sister-In-Law, giving me her sultry look. I think she had a different name for it but I can’t remember it. She did say that it works best with a little flick of her hair.


Jennifer was in attendance …DSC_1197

… as was my first wife, Diane …DSC_1194

… and in the sunglasses are Pam, Alec, and VictoriaDSC_1199

Lydia with one of the many little girls she entertained during the race. This one was trying out new hair styles …DSC_1210

A fun moment for Jonathan just before he attempted to relocate a very large, very heavy, yellow tractor tire. I actually think he missed it head on and didn’t move it much, but I bet it was pretty exciting for him.DSC_1233

KC will be sad because we had planned to make a trip to Cannon Beach to see her yesterday, but there were a lot of things going on in town that we normally attend with Diane’s Mom, Jean, plus falling in the driveway kinda tweaked my back making the prospect of 4-5 hours in the car unattractive. Yes, it was an exceptional day at the beach and there was an annual sand castle contest, and we’re sad we missed it, but my body is better off for passing it up. Sorry KC.

Instead, we went to the Kiwanis Parade, an annual event, after which we went to the Methodist Church for a dead Chicken BBQ, another annual event. Funny how they both seem to occur on the same day. Probably planned.

Here’s Diane, Mom Jean, Jennifer, and Lydia poised to watch the parade come down the hill …


We were all sitting across the street from the mortuary, and people were arriving for a funeral as the parade went by. You can see them in the back of this picture I took of Mikela driving her Dad’s tractor …


This is her Dad, Henry, driving a pretty nice Mustang …DSC_0729

… and this is her Grandma Doris driving one of the CC Rider buses …DSC_0731

I have no idea where her Mom, Pam, was. To remove the funeral home from the shots, I moved to the other side of the street during a lull. That way I had a chance to talk with folks who were going into the home. I don’t know who’s funeral was … only that he was a WWII guy who learned to fly at the same time as one of the Navy vets who was going to see him off on his next journey.

This is what my truck is going go look like some day. Really, it is.


This Star Wars guy made some threatening gestures, but it was all in fun …DSC_0867

Two of the Columbia County Fair Rodeo princesses …DSC_0819

After the parade, we went a little ways to the right on this street and ate chicken at the Methodist Church. Sorry I didn’t take a picture. I ate an entire half of a chicken and it was pretty awesome. Greasy, but awesome.

The pictured events are not shown in the order in which we attended them, but that’s OK. Just know we had a pretty good day and we all went home happy.


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