The News, our House, Ducks, and Ozzie

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 Seems like the most newsworthy “stuff” this past week has been about the Pistorius trial, ISIS “bravery”, and the NFL Commissioner’s bad call. I suspect all of those are a handy way for the media to deflect attention from actually newsworthy “things”. Not being an expert of such matters, I’m not in any kind of position to expand on what those “things” are, but surely there’s something else. Well, there is the pregnant Princess who’s having some pretty terrible morning sickness issues, but I bet there thousands of pregnant ladies in the world experiencing the same terrible malady. Just because they aren’t princess’s doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a little bit of the limelight. Right?

Pistorius is guilty of man slaughter, or the South African equivalent. He shot his girlfriend in the safety of his own home, and should go to jail but probably won’t because he’s missing some parts and was an Olympian. Got it. Let’s move on.

ISIS continues to terrorize the world with its unique display of bravery by beheading the third journalist who had the misfortune of getting captured. In retaliation, the news keeps showing drones blowing up the same two pick up trucks over and over and over. That’ll teach them, don’t you think? I know, there’s lot’s going on that even the news facilities don’t know about but you’d think they could be a little bit more creative with their stock war footage. Maybe they could show something from the Gulf War. Who’d know? Just give us a little variety, OK?

I mean, really, why is it so important that everyone know that NFL front office folks are less than honorable at times? So Rice slugged his wife and only got a 2-game suspension and didn’t spend even one minute in jail. That’s right up there with child-beaters who might wind up with a few months in jail and mandatory anger management counseling. I’ll go out on a limb with the NFL, here, and postulate that Rice is totally guilty, not so much for the deed, but for getting caught. He’s not the only one guilty of this offending activity.

The Princess? Enough said about her. I say leave her alone and let her suffer in peace.

Over the past couple of weeks, or so, Diane and I have been busy painting our home. I may have mentioned this previously, but I don’t care. I’m telling you about it again because it’s a task that’s wearing out my tiny little shoulders and arms as i dangle precariously from the top end of a 12 foot extension ladder extended to about 20 feet. It’s exciting and scary at the same time, kinda like sipping hot and sour soup at a rarely patronized Chinese restaurant in an unfamiliar city. Who knows that kind of outcome either of them will produce? Fortunately, I did not place Diane in the precarious position of having to call 911 to deal with the kind of injuries one incurs when testing the force of gravity from 20 feet up. I didn’t spill any paint, either. That’s the real success. Now all that remains to be painted are the garage doors. They are the only red items left.

Last Monday Ozzie had his teeth cleaned. His breath was pretty horrible from the barnacles growing on his teeth so we, and his Primary Care Doctor, felt it was probably a good idea to get rid of them. During the process on dogs, unlike with people, bad teeth are removed as necessary. Ozzie lost three of them because there was hardly anything left of them as most of the roots had been reabsorbed by his little body. We have them in a little tube and plan to add Ziggy’s tooth so it will make a nice necklace for Oz.

He was at the vet’s office pretty much all day and we picked him up shortly after 3 pm. They gave him some morphine for the pain so he was a little wild-eyed for a while and chose to hold up in his kennel for the remainder of the day. We had pain meds and antibiotics for him, but they were in pill form so the only way he was going to get them was to eat something … out of a bowl. There was absolutely no way I was going to hazard my fingers by sticking them in his mouth to administer a pill. Little as he is, with those tiny little teeth, he bites all the way to the bone.  Since the teeth were now clean and polished, it would have been easier for him to do that. Consequently, he didn’t get his meds for three days because he wouldn’t eat. Apparently he didn’t want to get his nice clean teeth dirty. We tried, of course, but he chose to just sit in his kennel, except for an occasional trip outside, dwindling away to a mere 5-6 lbs, or so.  Through it all he had a cold, wet nose, so figured he was probably OK. Still, I called his PCP and arranged to get liquid versions of his pain meds and antibiotics. He got his first dose last night which was a challenge. This morning he got another dose but I tricked him by not flinching when he showed me his Elvis lip, which he does to warn of imminent attack. Instead, I stuck the little syringe dose thing in his mouth and pressed the plunger. Boy was he surprised. Twice. Now I have to do it again tonight. Hopefully he hasn’t figured out my secret. He actually at food today, too, so we know he’s on the mend.

I only worked outside for a couple of hours this morning then terminated all activity because the temperature soared from an early 53 to 97 or so pretty quickly. I still need to paint some, but it’s hard to do when the paint dries on the roller before there’s time to apply it. Really makes a mess. So, we must wait for a cooler day. It will have to be before Wednesday because it’s supposed to rain that day.

Diane and I watched the Oregon Ducks dominate the Wyoming Cowboys 48-14 earlier. Then she left so I’ve been trapped here in my chair having to watch whatever comes on because she didn’t give me the remote before she departed.

Hope she comes back soon because I’m getting hungry watching all these commercials.

Camp Tadmor, Ducks, and Beavers

While writing this, I’m exercising my tiny little brain with a rare attempt at multi-tasking. I don’t try this often because I’ve been trained since birth to believe that only women can do it. With advanced age my thinking processes became muddled, giving me the ability to believe that the “Only Women Can Multi-task” myth was, well, a myth. Over the years this belief freed my brain to accept unexpected multi-tasking opportunities as a chance to dispel the myth thereby giving hope to men, all over the world, that they, too, can do more than one thing at a time.

Sadly, our (a man’s) ability to multi-task is compared to chewing gum and walking, more often than not – as in, we can’t do both at the same time. I beg to differ because I do that quite often. The trick is to chew in time to your cadence which, incidentally, isn’t really an option. It just happens. Still, we can do it. As it happens, I can also be finishing up an email response and begin a conversation at the same time. I have to admit, however, that this particular talent might be considered with a skeptical eye because my hands are like little computers in their down right. I download about thirty words to them at a time so it’s really easy to begin a conversation while my fingers simply empty their buffers.  Diane, my lovely bride, has made it clear that not all the downloads to my fingers make sense, but that’s not the point. To the casual observer, I’m still doing two things at the same time. As I type, at this moment, I’m watching the Oregon Ducks vs. Michigan State Spartans football game that was played last Saturday. Even though I know the outcome, it’s fun to watch and it gives me another opportunity to do two things a once. See? I don’t believe I need the ability to do more than those two things at the same time to substantiate the afore-mentioned myth. I suspect there will be more than one person who disagrees with this belief, but I’m willing to go out on a ledge here and add that they will all, most likely, be of the feminine persuasion.

Now that I’ve got this thought process well under way, I’m going to switch gears and get to the meat of this particular posting … why I’m watching a recording of the Ducks/Spartans game. That’s because I wasn’t home, and where I was didn’t afford me the opportunity to watch the game live.

I was a long way from home, with Daniel, Cedric, and Jeran at a Men’s Roundup at Camp Tadmor near Lebanon, Oregon. That’s south of us about 2.5 hours down I-5. Daniel drove which was a good thing because I’d never have made it that far. The reason, or course, is because I’m not conditioned to drive long distances like Diane is. Actually, it’s not really about conditioning. it’s all about permission. Just saying.

Jeran and I rode in the third seat and had a real pleasant time. We talked, then he napped and I read part of my book. It was a good trip. It was an easy 2.5 hour trip for all of us because Cedric and Ben had a lively discussion in the middle seat, while Daniel and Pastor James did the same in the front seat.

Upon arrival at Camp Tadmor, early afternoon, we were directed to our designated camping area where everything was unloaded, and tents were erected. Being old, my camping experience was elevated from the ground to the couch in a nearby motor home with a toilet and running water. No sheets, just my sleeping bag on the couch and it was good.

Friday afternoon, before supper, Daniel and I attended our first break out session, “Transforming Fatherhood”, presented by Bill Clem. It was a good start. Directly after that we attended “Sexuality in an Equal Marriage Environment” presented by Dr. Gerry Bershears. It was quite revealing and taught me a lot about what the bible shares about sex. Unfortunately, I can’t share any of it with you because I’m not allowed to talk about sex. Diane said so.

After Dr. Bershears, we got in line with 1500 other men for our first meal of the weekend. Meals, as well as presentations, are what this retreat is famous for. The line went surprisingly fast due to the lively conversations going on all around us and we were soon assailed by the smell of BBQ chicken halves which were being cooked on four gigantic BBQ units. I mean gigantic in that each unit was about 4 feet wide and tall, by 8 feet long. The smoldering coals were suspended a couple of feet under the chicken on a tray and they were extremely hot. Each unit was absolutely covered with chicken and we were each, in turn, given our chicken right off the grill. I know there were side dishes, too, but can’t remember what they were. Beans and macaroni salad, I think. It was absolutely great and I ate it all.

Here are the grills and a peek at the awesome food line …

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Next on the agenda was the main event for the day at the Camp Tadmor Forum.

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The main event was opened by a Christian standup comic, Bob Smiley, a very humorous man. My favorite story was about when he was in the first grade and the teacher explained that students had to raise their hands if they had to go to the bathroom. He paused, then said, “No, actually, I don’t,” at which point he made the face of someone happy to be relieving themselves. Too funny.

After Bob’s opener we were treated to the first of four presentations by Paul Tripp, the feature speaker. Paul is a prolific author and an excellent speaker with a great message. He spoke Friday evening, Saturday morning & evening, and again Sunday morning. We went to all of them. Friday evening ended around midnight for us after a lively discussion near our abodes for the night. During the 3 hours we sat talking, a guy named  Trace Bundy was playing at one of the new areas above our camp site. Very soothing stuff.

Saturday morning I actually got up early enough to eat breakfast by enduring, once again, that enormous line of hungry campers. The rest of the morning was spent at a breakout by Josh Bidwell, ex-Oregon Duck punter, then Trace Bundy, that young man with an enormous talent and a powerful message, put on an incredible performance. Trace was absolutely amazing and I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to hear him live and to shake his talented hand.

Saturday afternoon was spent doing manly kinds of things, like a race that included activities like swimming across the lake, crawling through a very large mud pit, running around the lake. I said manly but to put that into perspective, I must report that the young man who won the race was 17. Runners up were in the 30’s and the oldest to finish was 50. I did not compete because I wrenched my back climbing up some of the many steps installed throughout the woods, but it really wasn’t my fault.

Here’s what happened … I was heading back up to our camp site, minding my own business. About eight steps ahead of me an older guy, younger than me, tripped on the last step of the section I was about begin. He did a face-plant in the pine needles, spilling the coffee he was carrying. Being distracted by all that commotion, I didn’t step high enough and did my own face-plant on the stairs. The difference was that I wasn’t carrying anything to spill so was more able to avoid serious injury to my visible parts. On the way down I felt my back tweak a bit, then, just before impact, I wondered what all of those behind us thought about these two old guys ahead of them  doing tricks on the stairs. I wonder if they wondered if what happened to us was catching. To my credit, I quickly figured out how to regain a vertical stance and rushed up the stairs and was the first one to discover that the gentleman ahead of me was OK. His only concern was that he’d have to go back down the stairs to get another cup of coffee. I offered to get it for him but he declined. I think he did that because my hair’s white and his wasn’t.

Saturday’s dinner consisted of an enormous New York cut BBQ steak and a few other things that almost fit on the plate. I did good and ate every bit of it. Without ketchup. Just straight off the grill.

The evening service was opened by another Christian artist, Chris August. He had some great stories and was very enjoyable to hear. Afterward, we returned to our camp area and once again sat around and talked until after midnight. Stimulating stuff.

Sunday I got up a little later and made it to breakfast as one of the last ones to arrive. There was no line so it was extra special. Then it was more sessions, the final Paul Tripp sermon and lunch before packing up for the trip home. Though I had a good time, I felt out of my element because Diane wasn’t with me. We’re always together and it just didn’t feel right to be doing something without her. It was actually good for both of us because she got to spend girl time with Jennifer and Lydia while we boys did “manly stuff”.

I must report that at the end of one meal, I don’t remember which one, I turned to find dousing Roger staring at me. It was such a total surprise. He was there with son John, and son-in-law David. We had a nice talk, and agreed that we need to do the “family thing” again soon. I never saw them again though I looked everywhere. Considering the venue, I can only believe that chance meeting must have happened for a reason. I can’t wait to find out what it is.

Now we’re all home safe, I got to sleep in my bed last night, and Diane made me take the day off from working to let my back heal. The only thing I had to do was help get Ozzie to the vet by 0730 to get his teeth cleaned. His breath has been pretty disgusting for a while so we thought it would be a good idea. He stayed until after 1500 this afternoon. While waiting, I was allowed to watch the Ducks and Beavers play their football games because Diane recorded them on the DVR for me. The #3 Ducks played the #7 Michigan State Spartans and it looked like #3 was going to fall until they took over in the 4th quarter and scored the last 28 points ending it at 46-27.
As a result they moved up to #2 in the nation.

The Oregon State Beavers beat Hawaii in the second game. I have to admit that I wasn’t as engaged in that game as I was with the Ducks. I think it’s all because of the uniforms. The Ducks are awesome.

Now I must sleep but, first, I must show you my steak …

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Today’s Lesson & My Finger

At church this morning our First Reading, which was listed as the Second Reading, was from Romans 12:9-21. Nancy was the reader which was awesome because I’m supposed to be in charge of getting readers, but I never do it. There’s always someone stepping up to get it done, mainly Nancy and Diane. They save my bacon a lot.

Pastor commented that this reading could also serve as another list of commandments because they share a lot in common. It’s true, they do. I just have one comment, then I will move along.

The lesson starts out just fine with “Let love be genuine; …” then fades right in to an area that I’ve been taught my entire life to avoid when it continues, “hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; …”.

On the surface, the last part kind of evens out, but I’ve been taught to not “hate” anything. So, that’s a really harsh word for me to comprehend during church service. I can live with “don’t like,” and similar words of discontent, as can Diane. She just hates it when I say I hate something so I tend to not use it, when I remember.

The rest of the lesson is filled with flowery words that repeatedly state that we should just like each other, you know? It’s pretty simple stuff when you whittle it all down to the basics.

Yesterday it rained for the first time in the last year and a half. It was really refreshing. Cleared the air and settled the dust next to the garage where I’ve been moving rocks and dirt around for the last few weeks. It caused our new neighbors, Scott & Whitney, a little distress because they’re trying to paint their house. It was grey and they’re painting it a really nice green. Diane and I are really happy that I took down the trees between the houses because it’s easier to keep track of how they’re doing. Before it was all blocked by that huge overgrown hedge. What’s more significant about the rain was that none of it seeped into the old motor homes because I spent some time on the roof spreading around various kinds of sealant to ovoid that nasty mess.

In the process, because I chose to ignore the gloves laying next to my right knee, my right pointing finger suffered a life-threatening injury as I slowly smoothed out the sealant over an area of exposed aluminum roofing that did not want me to do it. It hurt a lot, but I had to do it because I felt the timing was just right for me to alter my finger print a little. Also, I couldn’t quit because I knew the rain was coming … the weather woman told me. Then, after filling all potential access points to the interior, I removed myself from the roof, picked up my tools, and put them all away. Then I went to work on my finger.

As you can see, it wound up a mess because I had to pick up some of the tools from the yard where I tossed them …

IMG_0090You can see the blood seeping through the grass stuck to my finger, but I ended that by scrubbing all the contaminated areas with turpentine. Although it hurt a great deal more than obtaining the cut, it served well to seal the leak in my body. After the first 15 minutes, or so, I was used to the pain of scrubbing the sealant that was clinging desperately to my hand. In all, it took about 30 minutes to make it all go away. In hindsight, I wonder if gasoline would have worked better.

Once I got the turpentine smell removed with soap and water, I was allowed to enter the house and relax a bit. I have no coherent memory of leaving the house again, so I guess I stayed inside and watched football the rest of the day. Being Saturday, I’m sure that’s what I did.

Today my finger is still sore, and it hurts to type but I was compelled to complete this missive so none of you would worry about me continue to leak, in case you heard about my mishap from someone with less knowledge about the incident.

Oh Ya … it really hasn’t been a year and a half since the last rain. It’s more like a couple of weeks. But, considering this is “rainy Oregon”, we’ve received surprisingly little rain. I believe Phoenix, AZ recently got more rain in a couple of hours than we’ve had all year. Interesting.

 

Matthew 15:20 & Family

It’s been six (6), count them, ess-i-ex days since my last entry and I fear that I won’t be able to fill you all in on what’s been going on. Actually, it’s not important that I do. What’s foremost in my mind is to relate a bit about what I learned in church last week. It’s something that I, and every other little kid in the world has griped about when it comes time to eat. Not just a meal, but pretty much anything. It’s about washing first.

According to Matthew 15:20, by my interpretation, it’s OK to eat with dirty hands.

19“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. 20“These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.”

I know, most of you will disagree and side with Cedric who told me, when I pointed this out, that “cleanliness is next to godliness.” That’s an old saying that my research could not attribute to a biblical passage so it doesn’t count.

Logic dictates that washing ones hands before touching food you about to consume is the right thing to do, and I will readily admit that my interpretation of Matthew 15:20 is suspect, but when Diane read the lesson to our congregation last Sunday I kinda stopped listening. The reason, of course, was because I had to find a pencil so I could underline it for future reference. Then I folded it up and put in my pocket. I viewed it as validation that I didn’t really have to wash in order to eat.

I do, however, have to wash before opening the refrigerator, or any packaged food that others may wish to access after me. That’s a “Diane Rule” that everyone in the family knows. Even me. Therefore, unless I want to eat only food that falls on the floor, I’ll be washing my hands.

Besides, I’m not up to arguing with the dogs about floor food. It’s always been there’s in the past and I see no reason to change that unless it’s something they shouldn’t eat. Like chocolate. Or a newly warmed hot dog.

Just for fun, here’s Webster’s definition of “defile” …

Definition of DEFILE

transitive verb

:  to make unclean or impure: as

 

a :  to corrupt the purity or perfection of :  debase <the countryside defiled by billboards>

b :  to violate the chastity of :  deflower

c :  to make physically unclean especially with something unpleasant or contaminating <boots defiled with blood>

d :  to violate the sanctity of :  desecrate <defile a sanctuary>

e :  sullydishonor

— de·file·ment  noun
— de·fil·er  noun
 
 
Like all my multiple choice answers, I choose “C” as the correct definition of defile.

Now, on to something more interesting …

Yesterday Jack, Wynette, Daniel, Jennifer, Cedric, Lydia, and Jeran returned home after a long absence. J & W from Arizona, where they attended the marriage of grandson Brian to the lovely Annie, and the Walters Clan from Las Vegas where they spent a week of well earned vacation time. Everyone had a good time and brought home lots of photos to prove it. We just haven’t seen all of them, yet.

Also, Jeff brought Gilligan and Baylee up for a visit which is always fun. The latter two spent their time running all over the house making all kinds of happy kid noises which is something we enjoy.

All of the kids are gearing up for school which starts next week. Gilligan will be a First Grader, and Baylee will be going to pre-school. Cedric will be a Junior, Lydia a Sophomore, and Jeran a Freshman. I think Gilligan’s & Baylee’s niece, Danyell, will also be a First Grader. So, we’ll have six Grand, and Great Grand Kids attending St. Helens public schools this year. Can’t wait to see how it all goes.

Manual Labor & Uranus

Hi! It’s been a while and I’m sure everyone has been wondering where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. About all I can tell you, without crossing that fine line separating from … well … make-believe, is that I woke up in my own bed this morning with no memory of what transpired since the 18th. Consequently, what you about to read, should you choose to do so, is probably a complete fabrication.

Last Tuesday I spent part of the day recovering from a little computer work I did for Roberta, one of Wynette’s classmates from High School. I did that work on Monday and it’s something I haven’t done for a while so it made my brain tired.

During Tuesday afternoon I spent my time moving rocks and dirt from the side yard, by the garage, to various other places on the property. I know that’s all true because I can see where rocks and dirt are missing, and I can see where other places have more than they used to. The following days it is apparent that I continued this behavior, all the way through yesterday, except for the side trips we took to look at cars because Diane wants a new one. Not a NEW new one, but an OLD new one. Specifically, what she wants is a 2005 PT Cruiser GT convertible just like Nancy’s, but different. Diane wants a white one with a tan top. Like this …

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If you see one for sale, wherever you are, please let whoever owns it that Diane  wants it. Or, you can send her the contact info at d.j.cate@hotmail.com.

Besides all that work, and shopping for cars, we also had an opportunity to meet and get to know our new neighbors. They are: Scott, Whitney, Kye, Brooklyn, and Taylor (the dog). I’m sure I misspelled Kye’s name, but she’s a cute 3-years-old. Her younger sister is 1.5, or so. A very nice young family happy to be out of Hillsboro. Good neighbors. So far.

I think there was a moment of lucidity in the last few days where I called Scappoose Sand & Gravel and ordered a few yards of driveway gravel which explains the reason I moved so much dirt and gravel from the space that’s destined to received the new, clean gravel. It’s my understanding that it will be delivered on September 2nd. We’ll see how that works out. Once it’s delivered I’ll have to expend some manual labor to spread it out. Either that, or rent a really big power tool.

Outside the lucid moments I’m sure I made a couple of trips to Uranus. Something like that. I’m guessing, but it’s based on the fact that I mysteriously have a brand new roll of toilet paper in my bathroom where the last I knew it was half gone. So, it’s for sure got something to do with an anus of some sort. Probably mine. I’m not sure. I also have an injury on my chin that was, I sense, caused by an unprovoked attack by a piece of fencing I moved. There’s also a rhododendron injury beneath my left breast area that is pretty sore. I know it’s from a rhododendron because I’ve had them before. There’s no logical reason for me to suspect the fence for my chin injury but whenever I look at it I’m forced to cringe. So, it’s got to be guilty.

Today was a normal Sunday in many ways. Specifically, we got up and went to church. Then, instead of dropping by the Kozy Korner for lunch, Diane drove us to the Sizzler in Longview, Washington. She apparently read my mind because I’ve been hankering for a piece of dead cow and Sizzler is the best place to get some of that for a decent price. Diane’s Mom, Jean, had the salad bar, Diane had the chicken Malibu, and I had the 6 oz steak, all you can eat shrimp, and the salad bar. I was also hankering for some dead shrimp, so it worked out great. When it was all said and done, I’d consumed the steady, 45 shrimp, 3 pieces of dead chicken, a baked potato, and a soup bowl of ice cream. When eating at any establishment that allows you to serve your own ice cream, always use the soup bowls instead of those tiny little cups they provide. They have handles and they hold more ice cream.

Now it’s almost evening and I’m stuck in my recliner where I intend to stay until it’s time for bed. That will be in about 4 hours. We’ll be watching re-runs of “Big Bang Theory” until then. We’re halfway through season 3.

Merc Returns Safely From Camp Tadmor!

Merc, his camp name, aka Cedric, was retrieved from Camp Tadmor yesterday afternoon after spending two months living in the wild eating bugs and wild berries, and feral rats as a member of a group of super heroes who monitor camping activities of hundreds of younger, severely advanced members of homo erectus from all over the world. He slept on the ground, without benefit of blanket or pillow, and has permanent dents in his sides and back that look a lot like pine cones, small rocks, large bugs, mice, birds, and other debris that typically litter the forest floor of this camp located a bit SE of Lebanon, Oregon. There’s talk about having these impressions tattooed to ensure he retains the memory on the off-chance they fade over time.

Diane, her Mom, Jean, and I traversed the harrowing I-5 corridor from Portland, artfully dodging drivers from neighboring states, who are apparently allowed to disregard some pretty basic driving laws,  to retrieve Merc from the tenacious clutches of his fellow campers and counselors so he could be returned to civilization to prepare for his Junior year of High School.

On the trip down, the Buick’s A/C decided to go on the fritz making the vehicle interior a bit uncomfortable in the near-90 degree heat, but we persevered and arrived safely. When we arrived we visited with some adults who are part of the camp’s permanent crew, one of which was Ruby who is about 1. Very cute. With dimples. She looked at me in a ho-hum manner but lit right up with a big smile when Diane sauntered over. We suspect it was because of her natural affinity to like anyone who looks like a Grandma.

We didn’t have to wait long for the tour bus to arrive, bringing the campers back from their 2-day trip to Sisters, Oregon where they were encouraged to frolic in a river. Each person was given a bar of soap prior to the raft trip which they used to scrub away two months of grime they had accumulated as there are no showers at the camp and they aren’t allowed to contaminate the local streams in an effort to remain shiny.

As they exited the bus, it was readily evident that each of them had experienced a profound event, made life-long friendships, and were a bit sad to be leaving. But, leave they must. First, however, it was apparently mandatory that all of the girls who attended had to hug Merc. They lined up in two rows and waited their turn for a short time, then they all flocked to him leaving us only a small glimpse of the baseball had he was wearing. We had to pry the last three girls off him so we could get him to the Buick and begin the trip home. One of the girls broke down and sobbed. It was very touching, but Merc’s family was waiting for his return back in St. Helens and we had to go. He understood the need, as did the sobbing girl.

The trip home, for Merc, was filled with a constant stream of text messages with those he had just left, as well as all his family at home. His phone was DOA at the beginning of the trip, but i just happened to have a charger which we hooked up so he could get busy with his texting.

I don’t think he quit smiling during the entire 2.5 hour trip home.

When we arrived, he was greeted in the driveway by his Mom, Jennifer, Dad, Daniel, Sister, Lydia, and brother, Jeran. We stood around visiting for a few minutes before he went into the house where he discovered that about 10 of his friends had gathered to welcome him home. It was a touching scene, replacing his recent sense of loss with one of incredible gain.

It was a great day.

Sadly, I do not have any photos of either the departure or arrival home, but I do have one of Merc in a truck that a group of his fellow campers liberated it from a local farmer who inadvertently left it in his corn field from which the group was gathering food for one of their meals.

SCAN0002Cedric is wearing the blue shirt, just behind the cab of the pickup.

No doubt you have all guessed that the foregoing narrative, with the exception of the touchy-feely aspects of the camp departure, and home arrival, are pure gibberish. Lot’s of it is true, but most of it isn’t.

Camp Tadmor is a Christian camp where most of the activities I related are discouraged. It’s a great place, actually. It’s all about caring for one another and getting in touch with ones inner self. Cedric has returned to us with a far more confident outlook and a more firm direction on where his life will go. We’re proud of his efforts and of the fine young man he is.

After he shaves his face, he will be perfect.

Cars & Soccer

This morning Diane let me sleep in which was awfully nice of her. Totally out of character, but she chose to leave the house early to help Jennifer with a pressing task, and just wasn’t there to tell me what time it was. Since she let the dogs out when she got up, they thought everything was cool, and kept quiet. So, I got an extra 4 hours sleep. It was awesome.

Shortly after arising, I received a call from our friend, Jerry 1, who had driven his custom vehicle to the car and airplane show at the Scappoose airport. Since I hadn’t seen him for a while, I was allowed to go but had strict instructions about being home in time to leave for Astoria for Lydia’s soccer tournament which started at 1300. So, I only had about 30 minutes to spend at the car show. Here’s what I saw there …

Mr. Miagi from “Karate Kid” … it’s really Jerry #1.

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A really nice pickup …

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With a really nice interior …

DSC_2011With a dash just like mine …

DSC_2010Except mine isn’t shiny like this one … (sigh) …

Then we drove to Astoria, arriving late, but before half time, of Lydia’s first game. I’ve mentioned previously that she’s a goalie and today she spent a lot of time during the first game doing this …

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… because her team kept the ball at the other end of the field most of the game making the other goalie do stuff like this …DSC_2046

Lydia’s team won 5-0.

The second game got Lydia off her feet more than once, doing stuff like this …DSC_2101The ball was almost always being kicked around in front of her goal, but none of them got past her. The one in the above photo went off her little fingers, right over the net. Here’s proof in the photo taken approximately 1/4 of a second after the first photo …

DSC_2102Actually, it was exactly 1/4 second after the first photo. I know this stuff because I read it in the manual for the camera.

That’s a lie. I only knew it because I heard somewhere that my camera can take 4 photos a second. I didn’t read the manual.

Yet.

Due to Lydia’s hard work, and the excellent team work, the game ended 0-0. It was fun to watch. Really, it was.

After the second game, one of the referees came over to us while we were talking with Lydia, and told her she did a great job. He’s originally from Germany, he said, and is a goalie coach somewhere in the Portland area. Apparently he was giving her tips during the game. He showed us the place where half the teeth on his right side were missing, explaining that he left them on a soccer field in Heidelberg when he was 16. He’s much older than that now, or course.

We were all very proud of her efforts. She’s getting more aggressive and daring in her position.

After saying our goodbyes to everyone, we got in our car and drove home. Half way there we discovered Jeran was in the car and had a little panic attack until we remembered he was supposed to be there. He’s spending the night with us tonight and will go with us to Lebanon tomorrow afternoon to pick up Cedric from camp. He’ll be done tomorrow and will not be returning until next year.

On the drive home we stopped at Burger King for a sandwich and something to drink. I had a coke, something I rarely drink, and Jeran had two (2) very large root beers. Once back in the car we had some lively conversations that consisted mostly of stuff like this …

Jeran would tell me something, and I’d say, “not it’s not.”

“Yes it is.”

“No it’s not.”

“Yes it is.”

“No it’s not.”

“Yes it is.”

“No it’s not.”

“Yes it is.”

“No it’s not.”

“Yes it is.”

“No it’s not.”

“Yes it is.”

“No it’s not.”

There were variations on that theme, like “Yes he did,” “No he didn’t,” and “Yes she was,” “No she wasn’t”. With the help of Jeran’s infusion of too much sugar, and my caffeine, we were able to keep this up for many, many miles. Finally, Diane threatened to pull the car over and beat us up if we didn’t stop, so we did. Mostly. One would sneak out once in a while, but not in a repetitive manner.

It was fun. We all laughed.

Then I fell asleep and all the sudden we were home.

Now it’s time for bed, so, g’nite.

Oh wait! I almost forgot! Here’s Beth’s foot … Beth’s daughter plays with Lydia.

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Nicks & Dings

This morning, after visiting my doctor, where I was directed to provide urine and blood, I came home and worked a bit on some picture frames Diane brought home. She got them for the glass to cover some photos we purchased somewhere. One of the glass panes fit, the other one didn’t so the search much continue which doesn’t bother her at all.

During this evolution I decided to stab myself with a flat blade screwdriver, which I was using to pry out staples, and press in retainers for the one frame in which the glass fit. I pushed too hard, the blade slipped, and the blade went right in to the palm side base of my left pointing finger. It hurt a great deal causing me to clench my fist, and my teeth, for a bit as I danced around in the kitchen with my hand-held high to impede the flow of blood to a potentially fatal wound.

After a while, Diane asked, “Is it bleeding.”

With my fist still clenched I looked at the back of my hand and couldn’t find an exit wound, or blood, so responded, “I don’t know.”

“Hold your hand over the sink and look,” she said, so I did.

I opened my hand slowly so I could avoid the spurting blood that must surely be waiting because of the incredible amount of pain it caused, but nothing happened. There was only a tiny little spot where the blade broke some skin. It was disappointing. I can only believe that my lightning fast reflexes saved the day by staunching the flow, and minimized the size of the wound, before it could fully manifest. I attribute this to years of experience with such things.

We retreated to the bathroom, where the band aids are, so Diane could try out a new one she’s been holding for a while. It’s made for knuckles, but it worked perfectly to cover the little wound on the inside of my pointer.

As I was lamenting the disparity of pain to results ratio, for damage that didn’t even bleed, Diane said, “you should be proud of me.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Because I didn’t laugh.”

Then she laughed.

So did I.

Good News, Bad News, & Hotness

Those of you who know me, or have read the frivolous things I’ve written about, understand I’m not the guy who routinely goes down a serious road. I work more on the positive side of life because I like it better there. It’s more fun and, I hope, provides an opportunity for you to join me there, for a moment, and find a reason to smile. I have no other motive. It’s really that simple. I’m here to counteract just a little bit of the negative aspects of living on planet Earth, deflecting them into outer space, replacing them with happy thoughts.

For just a moment …

It’s brief, I know, and won’t last, because I’m just one old guy pecking away on his computer, trying his best to get along. In order for efforts like mine to make even a tiny impact on anything, we’d need a really large herd of old guys with metaphorical peckers like mine, doing what I do. Better yet, a really large herd of girls and guys, young or old.

I share that bit of information because of recent events in Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, that hit home for some reason. I’m sure most everyone in the USA has seen something on the news about this. What happened isn’t unique, but it’s still very sad and far more satisfying for news folks to share than the 100’s of good things that no doubt happened in that same neighborhood, before and after the reported event.

What kind of response would you expect for a newspaper, or newsletter, that reported only good events and things? I thought I might take a stab at culling the internet for happy “stuff” and make a newsletter to share all of it. But, gee!, it’s already been done.

Check out these links.

Good News … Happy News … Positive News … Amazing News

Kinda makes the world a better place, doesn’t it?

On a more personal note, I must report that I’ve been trapped in the house for the last few days because of the weather. Diane won’t let me go outside to work because it’s too hot and she doesn’t think she could drag me back inside before I melt if I were to pass out. So, I’m stuck in the house until the temps drop back into the low 70’s. That means I’m going to get a fairly long vacation and won’t be able to go outside to take care of some waterproofing issues until it starts to rain. Makes sense, right?

Now I’m going to watch TV for a while. Not news.

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