“The Last Ship” on TNT

Being a seasoned Navy veteran you might understand why I would like a show like this. My wife, also a seasoned Navy veteran by association, also likes it. For both of us it evokes many fond memories of being aboard a ship.

The plot of the show is appealing, also. Many times while watching it I think about how I feel, at age 71, I could go to sea and do my job. It won’t ever happen, of course, but I really think I could do it. Kinda like those old guys did in the movie “Battleship” when they took the USS Missouri to sea.

After watching a number episodes of “The Last Ship”, however, I became very disappointed to see that virtually all of the main players are Ensigns or Lieutenants. They men and women officers “man” all the stations in CIC, Sonar, and Radio which is, to me, so far beyond reality that I find it humorous.

The exceptions to the all officer cast are the Command Master Chief, the 2nd Class baker, and the Chief Corspman. You see them a lot. There’s a Senior Chief in there, also, but he turned out to be one of the bad guys which distressed me a great deal because I used to be one of those. I have no memory of being a bad guy so I can’t relate.

Although the number of officers performing jobs normally done by seasoned enlisted folks is, to me, unrealistic, I find it an entertaining show and will be sad to see it end. I  try to rationalize the number of officers performing critical tasks with the thought that, since this is the last ship, all the really good enlisted folks were promoted to those positions. Either that, or it’s been so long since I’ve been aboard a ship that they are indeed manned in this manner.

Not knowing the reason for the manning problem doesn’t stop me from watching and I give this one 4 stars.

Specs, Food, County Fair, & a Luau



Although the prescription on my VA glasses didn’t run out, technically rendering me blind, one of the bows broke off which accomplished the same end result. The glasses they gave me don’t stay on one’s face very well with only one bow hooked over an ear. Therefore, I resorted to an older version from 2013 that seems to work OK with the exception it kinda sucks on my right eye a bit due to the corrective difference I lost with the newer specs. But, they stay on my face and eliminate any possibility of embarrassing Diane due to a glasses mishap. And, I can see well enough to safely drive my self around town.

Speaking of driving … I’ve been doing that with the old pickup lately and it works just great. As you may remember, I left it with Gannon Thomas so he could work on the transmission because it wasn’t behaving as well as I thought it should. Turns out I was correct because Gannon said when he pulled the pan off, all the clutch plates were laying handily in it eliminating the need to remove them manually. All he had to do was dismantle the transmission and rebuild it from the ground up. Total cost … $1400. Cheaper than a new one. Committing to this expense provided the motivation I need to get to work on the truck and make it pretty so Diane will ride in it. Since I’ve had the truck for the past 15 or 20 years, I view this as a long-range project so don’t hold your breath waiting for updates. Then again, perhaps that motivation will speed things up. We’ll see.

Diane worked at the St. Helens Senior Center last Tuesday with the Bethany Ladies, serving the noon meal. I help with that sometimes but didn’t that day because no one asked me. I may have been involved in something else. Who knows?

Last Wednesday the Columbia County Fair opened, celebrating its 100th year which is pretty significant. I don’t think there were any original revelers in attendance. At least none that I could see.

Diane and I attended the opening ceremony in which I participated with a group of VFW and American Legion members who conducted a flag raising ceremony amidst a group composed of at least one State Senator and various other County Officials, not the least of which was Henry, The Comish, who MC’d the event.

Prior to raising the flag, I had the honor of golfing with Doug and Junior and decided to actually count every stroke and not try the risky shots just to see what would happen. Turns out that’s the better way to do it because I actually did pretty good. I also wore an elastic sleeve on my left elbow which, I’m sure, helped a great deal to keep that errant part of my anatomy straight. Now I’m going to wear it every time I golf and see what happens. If you don’t hear any more about this in future posts, it means that I’m just destined to be a crappy golfer and that this last effort was totally out of character for me. An anomaly.

Yesterday Diane made a run around town, and to Scappoose, for some important “stuff” and I stayed home and did important “things”. Sadly, I can’t remember the “things” except for the part where I took a nap. When she returned we got ourselves ready to make a trip to Brush Prairie, WA to attend a luau at Don & Linda’s house with our PT Cruiser friends. It’ always great to see those folks. We always have a great time.

Now it’s Monday and getting on toward afternoon so I feel another nap coming on. This one is necessary in order to ready myself for a pot luck supper at McCormick Park with our Lions club. Cedric, Jennifer, and our neighbor, Scott, are also going because their two families deserted the area and went to Camp Tadmor down south.

Did I mention that our weather has been horrendously hot for the last couple of months? More so lately? No? Well, it has. Our days for the past couple of weeks have been running in the 90’s and sometimes into triple digit territory. For this old Oregonian, anything above 75 is generally lethal. Odd, though, how daily doses of 90+ can make 80 feel nice.

Hope everyone has a great week.

Birthdays, and Soccer

Another Sunday has already come and gone with barely a shimmer that didn’t disturb the dust in my brain hardly at all. Nope. Not even a little bit. That’s partly because we were out of town for 4 of those 7 days doing stuff that I’ll probably eventually get around to. I didn’t tell anyone about that trip because I didn’t want anyone coming over to rob me. It wouldn’t have done any good anyway because Jeran was standing guard for us and he had the dogs for back up.

Monday was a celebration day because it was Heather’s birthday. This is the West Coast Heather, not the East Coast one, in case you were wondering, mother of Gilligan, for further clarification. Jeff’s wife. Now you know. We had an impromptu party in their driveway where we played with the kids and Heather opened her gifts. We weren’t allowed to spank her, the normal way of celebrating birthdays, because she’s somewhere in the 30’s now and it would have left marks, then the police would get involved, we’d have to hire a lawyer, I’d go to jail for a couple of weeks and miss our trip out of town, then Jeran wouldn’t have stayed with the dogs, Diane would have filed for divorce which would involve another lawyer, and all of our friends would have stopped talking to us making life just miserable. So, we dropped the spanking part. It wasn’t worth all that hassle.

On Tuesday, July 7th, our first Great Grandson, Draiden Jeffrey was born at 0809. I just found out today and don’t have any particulars other than he has medical issues that will require treatment but they are fixable.  I ask that you pray for his recovery. Here he is being held by his oldest sister, Danyell, and his younger sister Juliette. IMG_2070IMG_2069Adorable, right? I must add that his Aunts Gilligan, Baylee, and Jerrie can’t wait to see him. Another not of interest, to some, is that age-wise, the six children listed fall in to line nicely in this manner, from oldest to youngest … Gilligan, Danyell, Baylee, Juliette, Jerrie, and Draiden. Almost like a perfect shuffle. I think.

Wednesday evening we went to Hillsboro to watch Lydia’s Crush team play against the St. Helens High School team. An interesting point it that Lydia is the head Keeper for both teams. This night, however, she was devoted to the Crush which won the night 5-1, or thereabouts. It was a good prelude for the weekend where the Crush participated in the Nike Crossfire tournament in Bellevue, WA. That’s what got us out of town for the weekend.

For us it started around 1330 Thursday afternoon when we loaded our car, picked up extra luggage at Daniel & Jennifer’s and headed north into Microsoft territory. We stayed at the Econo Lodge in Renton, about 30 minutes from the fields, because it was the only reasonable place remaining by the time we decided to go. It worked out OK. Daniel, Cedric and Jennifer stayed there, too, so it was kind of a family thing. Lydia stayed at the hoy faloy Silver Cloud Inn in downtown Bellevue with her team. Nice place. The matches began Friday afternoon.

The venue is a 60 acre park marked off with 24 soccer fields. Quite stunning. All of them were in use at the same time throughout the three days we were there, from 0800 in the morning to 2000 at night. It was a busy place. Apparently it’s a tournament where college scouts flock to view recruiting prospects. Making it more challenging for our girls’ 17U team, they were paired against 19U teams for all three scheduled games. We don’t know why.

Lydia’s first game was Friday afternoon at 1630. She played absolutely great, helping to hold their opponents scoreless during the first half. She made lots of stops, many of which would have made local native Hope Solo very proud. Here’s a sequence of one save that I actually caught with the camera … time elapsed was about 3 seconds …DSC_3577DSC_3578DSC_3579DSC_3580DSC_3581DSC_3582DSC_3583DSC_3584DSC_3585DSC_3586DSC_3587DSC_3588Watching this was kind of like watching a horse race … all the action is in the last few seconds. Amazing. She did stuff like this for the entire first half. In the second half the alternate keeper thought it was her turn in the box so went out and the coach didn’t notice until the other team scored two goals within the first couple of minutes. He then inserted Lydia who kept them at bay with the exception of one well place kick. Her team scored 1 so they lost 3-1. The talk of the day was what would have happened if Lydia had played the second half which was what was supposed to happen. We will never know, of course, but we can speculate. It was a learning experience. This will happen again next November. What fun. I have to add that the older players were pretty intimidating and played as though their coaching involved various ways to cheat, punch, poke, and shove in ways that got past the umpires most of the time. Sad it wasn’t as much as about the sport and ability as it was about getting away with “stuff”.

On a happier note, here’s a pretty fabulous Moon Rise over Mt. Hood you may enjoy … DSC_3464… and here’s a water tank in Renton that was disguised as part of the forest …IMG_2064It’s a crappy photo because I took it through the windshield with my phone as we drove past. Pretty tricky painting.

On another light note, we discovered that our XM radio truncates things at pretty interesting places …IMG_2067On Saturday Diane and I went to see “Minions” while everyone else went to Seattle with the girls. We enjoyed the movie and have been saying “BA-na-na” quite frequently. Cute movie and a good way to while away a hot afternoon.

On Sunday morning, after the final game, we packed up and headed home. The dogs were happy to see us as we were them, proving once again that no matter how much fun you may have away from home, it’s always the best feeling when you get home.

Golf, Musical Instruments, Wedded Bliss, & Fireworks

My prolific nature has run its course, it seems, because I can’t seem to conjure up topics, much less all the words needed, to do a daily post. Perhaps if I kept them short and simple I could, but I can’t do that, either. So, I’m just going to start flinging words out willy-nilly each Sunday afternoon to see if that resonates with me as a suitable routine.

On June 28th, a Friday, Cedric and I participated in a golf tournament for his church. The other two in our foursome were Shawn and Leonard, both of whom profess to play golf about once a year. I gotta tell you, however, for casual golfers they both can hit the ball a long ways. Way longer than me or Cedric. I think Cedric and I tied off the tee box for hitting past the women’s tee box consistently. That was our goal, of course. It’s one of the finer points of golf I instilled in Cedric’s bag of tricks. It’s just a bad day all around when a golf, no matter how bad they may be, can’t hit a drive beyond the Red tee markers. Once in the fairway we all plodded along fairly well, making it to the green with birdie chances many times, but only cashing in once. We did this because it was a simple Scramble format where all golfers hit from the location of the best hit ball in each instance. In the end, we wound up last at 4 over par, a score I’d take any day of the week. The winner won with 2 under par. So, we were only 6 strokes off the trophy and I think we’re both OK with that. Cedric drove most of the time and did a stellar job.

Here’s proof Cedric can drive. I’m making a copy of this so he can take it to DMV. It’s my understanding that no other proof of ability is necessary in Oregon.IMG_2015

This is Cedric just before hitting his drive on #8.IMG_2013On Monday, the 29th, we had a visit from an Anderson Windows salesman to get an estimate to replace all of our windows. Turns out windows aren’t cheap any more as the initial bid came out at $52,200. Of course there were discounts for multiple window installs (we have 16), and another discount for agreeing to have the work done right now. That brought the estimate down to $33K+, still a bit steep for we who live on a fixed income. We need windows in the living room, however, and the kitchen windows are kinda weird, so we went for a 3-fur deal. They will be constructed precisely to fit the openings and installed within 6-8 weeks.

On Tuesday, the 30th, Jeff and three of his friends show up to pick up the Lowry organ that’s been languishing in the garage for the past 6-7 years, and to move the player piano I plan to restore to the basement that’s been in the garage a little bit longer. To put things into perspective, Jeff, on the right, when he’s standing up straight, is between 6’2″ and 6’3″. So, we had hefty help which was beneficial because the piano had to be moved down the road, into the side yard, then all the way around the house to the basement. We used two pieces of plywood, moving from one to the other, then moving the back piece to the front. In all, the back piece of plywood was moved to the front approximately 72 times making the entire trip about 200 yards, give or take a 100. I’m just guessing, but it was a long ways.IMG_2016

While in the early stages of getting the piano out of the garage, Diane returned prematurely and just drove out onto our meticulously manicured yard. I know, it’s pretty much dead at the moment, but you should see it when it rains, something that hasn’t happened here in a couple of months.IMG_2017On July 1st, Daniel and Jennifer celebrated 20 years of marital bliss. That surprises lots of people because Jennifer doesn’t even look 20 years old yet. But, it’s true. Since they are both working similar shifts, Daniel at Intel, and Jennifer at Nike, they did a proper celebration when one of Daniel’s friends flew them to Pacific Beach in his private plane. They had a great time, and, I’m told, a terrible lunch. Still, it’s a memory for the ages. We’re very proud of our Baby Girl in her accomplishments during those 20 years.

At 2 p.m. on July 4th I participated in a nationwide bell ringing ceremony to commemorate our Independence. I did this with other members of American Legion Post 42 in St. Helens who were stationed at all the big bells we could find around town.  Once again, as I did last year, I had the honor of ringing the Warrior Rock Lighthouse Bell which has a colorful history. The bell resides in a half-size replica of the original lighthouse that sits in front of the old courthouse, where Wynette worked most of her life. I rang the bell 13 times while Diane stood beside me to ensure I got the count correct. Later that evening we returned to a spot on a residential street that overlooks the marina and has an unobstructed view of Sand Island where the fireworks are ignited. Check Google Maps for 90 Wyeth Street St. Helens, Oregon if you want to see where we were.

The fireworks started at 10 p.m. and lasted until 11 or so. It was pretty nice but got us to bed far later than normal. But, we made it up in time to go to church this morning so there’s still hope we won’t be struck by lightning any time soon. To end the day, after eating more than necessary at Zhen’s, we watched the USA Soccer Ladies win the day. It was pretty awesome.

Hope everyone had a safe 4th of July celebration.

Parades, Old Guys, & Yogurt

Yesterday was the opening ceremony for the Scappoose Summerfest aka Sauerkraut Festival aka Scappoose Pow Wow. I add all those “aka’s” to give you a bit of history for the event from its beginnings. The entire time I was growing up, for those village events I remember, it was the Scappoose Pow Wow Parade. The reference, of course, was to the Scappoose heritage that has a distinct Native American association. Our High School mascot was always an Indian caricature fondly called Ichabod. With all the bru ha ha going on about offending Native Americans, the focus changed from that heritage to another one of Scappoose’s finest exports, sauerkraut. The exports were from the Steinfeld’s Pickle plant which was located conveniently across Highway 30 from the Scappoose Elementary School making it an easy target for school field trips. Seinfeld’s did well in Scappoose and I remember seeing their products for sale at many Navy commissaries during my Navy career. Most notably was on the island of Guam.

Anyway, Steinfeld also made sauerkraut so that became the theme for a while but the company was sold, the pickle plant was torn down, and big homes were erected ending the era of Steinfeld forever. Now it’s just another neighborhood that older residents point out to new comers with the caveat “that’s where the old Steinfeld pickle plant used to be.” An interesting point is that even during Summerfest events you can still find Sauerkraut Ice Cream for sale. Not something I’d buy unless I happened to spend a considerable amount of time at the ever-present beer garden first.

Last year I marched with 9 other old guys at the front of the opening parade down 1st Street, all of us wearing our VFW and American Legion hats, and each of us bearing one of the following flags – American, Oregon State, POW/MIA, VFW, American Legion, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The prime requirement for flag bearers was that they had to be able to walk half a mile. Those who couldn’t, rode in a flag bedecked trailer pulled by a beautifully restored Bronco owned and driven by one of my golf partners, Junior. We did OK during that parade, even though we didn’t do well keeping in step, but we got it done.

We did the same thing again this year and were blessed by the presence of a Marine recruiter, SSgt Copeland, who knows everyone in the county. Having an active duty Marine with us was great because he wore his uniform and made us look especially good as we marched smartly down the street. While lining up, I made sure I got next to SSgt Copeland for the trip because I was pretty sure he was well-trained in CPR and could toss me in following trailer should the need arise. It didn’t, but it’s good to be safe.



SSgt Copeland is holding both the Navy flag (mine) and the Marine Corps flag so I could exit ranks to snap these shots. What a great guy.IMG_2007

I’m happy to report that everyone made it through the parade in fine fashion and we did a respectable job of remaining in step thanks to the efforts of a young Afghanistan survivor who called cadence for the entire trip. He was the left man in the back row so, unfortunately, some of those in the front ranks couldn’t hear well enough to appreciate his efforts. Our back row did an exceptional job, making up for those who were audibly challenged this day.

After the parade we disbanded and went to the Scappoose Veteran’s Park where numerous vendors were plying their wares. The American Legion group was there to sell raffle tickets in an attempt to make a little money for us to assist veterans, our primary purpose. One of the items is a Mossberg 500 Tactical Shotgun. We had a discussion about where to get the raffle tickets printed at one of our meetings and me, not having learned raising one’s hand during such discussions sometimes results in situations involving a lot of work. Consequently, I created the tickets, printed them, perforated the tear off portion, and cut them all up. There were 500 of them that are being sold for $5 each. The raffle drawing will happen on Veteran’s Day, 11/11, at 11:11 am. If you want one, let me know. The raffle will continue until all 500 tickets are sold, or the drawing date arrives. Second prize is $200 and third prize is $100.

My ticket format, which I plagiarized from the quilt raffle tickets I made for Diane, allowed me to get 10 to a sheet. Perforating the stubs, and cutting out each of the tickets required 15 trips to the paper-cutter for a total of 750 manual evolutions. It took a while. This is what the progression looked like during one of my mandatory rest periods …

One of the fun things that happened in the vendor line was when I encountered Terry & Jen in their Yo Place Frozen Yogurt Wagon. You can check out their ‘real’ Yogurt Shop here. They coached Lydia’s softball team for a number of years so we got to know them well. This wagon is unique to the West Coast and was designed by Jen. She is truly an entrepreneurial pioneer. It was good to visit with them and enjoy their product on this 100 degree day.IMG_1994

On another note, I believe our multi-talented hydrangea is on the verge of blooming. IMG_1992Have a great week !

Father’s Day 2015 & Other Stuff



I suspect that many people will wind up here because of the generic title of this post, not because they know me and are interested in seeing what will be revealed this day from my half-wit age-adled memory banks. So, let’s get to it …

Father’s Day began yesterday with a trip to the beach with Diane, my lovely bride of umpteen-eleven years. Jennifer, Diane’s oldest Daughter, and Jeran, her youngest Son, filled the remaining seats in the Impala as we ventured forth at the un-godly hour of 0800 on our trip to Cannon Beach to join the crowds near Haystack Rock for the 50th Annual Sand Castle competition. It’s something we’ve never done before and we deemed it was time. Besides, it’s been a while since we’ve been to the beach and it’s one of our favorite destinations. Another reason for the trip was to watch a soccer match between Lydia’s tournament team play against the Astoria Varsity team.

First, the trip … it is my custom to relinquish my front seat navigator’s position to company whenever we have any because that’s just the way I am. Another reason I do that is so the new passenger can sit closer to the conversation she is undoubtedly going to have with the driver. It’s a safety thing, ensuring the driver isn’t engaged in a heated discussion with someone in the back seat.

Jeran joined me in the back seat and we were very comfortable during the entire trip. Everyone was being so good that Diane stopped at the Berry Patch Restaurant in Westport, one of our favorites, where we ate a hearty breakfast. Once our tummies were loaded, we continued our trek to Cannon Beach.

As the first Cannon Beach exit from Highway 101 loomed in the distance, Diane and I had a brief discussion about whether or not we should continue south to the Tolovana exit. Before we ended the conversation Diane had made the decision to take the first exit that also leads to Ecola State Park. Instead of turning right at the first stop sign after exiting all those frantic drivers on Highway 101, which leads to ECP, Diane went straight ahead into town. It was a good choice. She made another one of those when she didn’t cruise down the main street of town looking for a place to park. Instead, she took a parallel street, went south a few blocks, and pulled right into a vacant space.

Across the street was a pretty incredible art gallery that we couldn’t pass up because it had a bronze statue of a little girl holding a cabbage patch kid and it reminded Jennifer of her youth when she got a new cabbage path doll every time I went to sea when she was small. The statue even looked like her. Sadly, I didn’t take a photo of that or of anything inside the gallery. Amazing stuff.

The beach was only a few blocks from where we parked and looked a lot like this when we got there … that’s Jennifer in the middle of the photo taking the long way around to all the people gathered closely around the roped off areas where sand castles were being created.

Diane, Jeran, and I took the short cut to begin, but Jeran bailed on us and headed over to his Mom who was walking on firmer sand. They beat us to the displays for some reason. It didn’t make sense.IMG_1931

This is the first area of about 10 that were roped off so artists could work without interference from the masses of people watching their progress. We arrived shortly before 1130 when the judging was supposed to commence, but none of them were anywhere near finished. Sadly, we couldn’t wait to see the finished products because we needed to get to the soccer fields on Ridge Road which defines most of the eastern boundary of Fort Stevens State ParkIMG_1932 IMG_1935

On the way back to the car we stopped for a short rest and photo-op where Diane took this photo to commemorate the day. Had I been more aware I would have sat straiter which would have allowed my stomach to retract a bit into the cavity from which it was seeking escape as she snapped the shutter. But, it is what it is.IMG_1955

Lydia’s soccer team played extremely well beating Astoria 8-1. Lydia played the first half and a newly acquired 2nd goalie played the second half during which Astoria’s only goal was scored. This pleased Lydia.

I must interject to report that next year, Lydia’s Junior year, she has been designated as the varsity goalie for the school team. She’s really stoked about that and is looking forward to the experience. So are we.

On the way to our perch on the hill surrounding the field on which the girls played we encountered what most people would call a “mole hill” in most parts of the world. Here at the beach, however, I figure this one should be called a “mole dune”. It’s all sand so what else could it be?IMG_1956

Before leaving Warranton, we stopped at Duggar’s restaurant for a late lunch. We weren’t sure Lydia was going to make it there because she only had one sandwich to fill the void for that 2 mile drive. It was a really good lunch and the trip home was restful for all of us, even the driver, Diane. She got to go 100 mph more than once.

I don’t think I mentioned that I assisted Daniel with his task of replacing the disc pads on his commuter car on Friday. Apparently it was a dirtier effort than I had anticipated. I even wore gloves!

This morning Diane was up and rolling at 0700 making a cassarole thing for the Father’s Day brunch the ladies were putting on after church. I even got to help and was glad to do it. Helping my bride with any task is my destiny. I’ve learned, however, that it’s prudent to wait until asked instead of barging in a taking over as I’ve been known to do historically. Lots less stressful on everyone concerned.

Now the light is fading from the sky on this longest day of the year, and I hear Diane dialing up an on-demand movie from our stunning array of entertainment available due to a free weekend of on-demand HBO & CINEMAX.

It’s been a great weekend and I must now bid you farewell till another day.

OH! And Happy Father’s Day to all you Dad’s out there.

Cedric Dean Bradley & Cousin Don

Here it is Saturday already and I was just getting used to Friday. That’s not true, of course because, as you all know, I tend to fib once in a while. Friday was a serious day of work for me because it was a nice day and perfect for mowing the yard one more time before it all dies for the summer. Seems kinda dumb, I know, since it’s going to die anyway, but I have this lawn mower I like and it’s just relaxing for me to ride around the yard, and the field, motor going full speed, listening to the mower deck snip the tops off all the dandelions at the speed of sound, going a little bit more deaf each time I do it. I keep thinking I should wear my ear protectors but I almost always forget. Before mowing I did a couple other of my favorite events this time of year … weed whacking and black berry vine demolition.

Weed whacking always winds up ruining my shoulders, mainly the left one, so I probably shouldn’t claim it as a favorite event, but I do like making grass confetti. There’s just something about being in control like that, able to destroy pretty much anything I get next to, but having the willpower to be careful and not allow it to happen. Willpower is sometimes trumped by cockiness that results in a prized rose-bush to join the disembodied grass shreds. Thankfully, Diane cannot be outside when stuff like this is going on because she’s so allergic she can’t breathe. Now, I’m not thankful that Diane breath because of this, but thankful she can’t be outside to witness this senseless distraction. I’ve discovered that a simple solution to such events like this is to just mow down all the rose bushes I encounter. The deer eat the buds anyway, and who wants budless roses? I’ve been mowing them down for so long that I believe Diane has forgotten that we ever had roses.

Now, back to Saturday … this is “birthday” day for some prominent relatives in the area.

First, the oldest is Cousin Don W. who rings up 68 years today. To celebrate, he and a friend, Art, are participating in a race event over the next week, starting today, during which Don will race his car at a different track each night on tracks all the way down to into California and back. We got the lowdown on that yesterday when we stopped to wish him an early birthday. He was putting the final touches on his car in preparation for loading it in his trailer which would be hooked up to Art’s fancy RV. They will have a terrific time, I’m sure. Can’t wait to see how things went.

Second, is our Grandson Cedric who turned 18 today. He’s with his church’s Youth Group at Fort Stevens State Park in Warranton, Oregon for the weekend so I know he’s having a good time. He’s a very spiritual young man who has some pretty special gifts. We’re very proud of him and all he’s accomplished to this point in his life and have no doubt he will just continue that trend going forward. He wants to join the Navy and be a Religious Programs Specialist (RP) which is most definitely right up his alley. He has a plan.

This afternoon we went shopping at Fred Meyer in Scappoose. As a result I’ve been told I need to go throw away all my old underwear. That’s because Diane bought me new ones. I’m not sure if she just didn’t want to wash the old ones any more, or if she just didn’t like them for other reasons. Anyway, I got new ones, and it isn’t even Christmas.

Guess I better go get busy on that …


Golfing & Stuff

Last Friday I joined three friends in the annual Portland Rose Festival Blue Jacket Golf Tournament. None of us had ever participated in this event previously, so it was a bonding event. We had no expectations of winning anything with our stellar play, but what the heck. We gave it our best shot. Besides, it was a scramble, meaning a best ball event where we all hit then chose which one of the four was best, then we all hit from that place. The selection process continued until someone dropped their ball into the cup. Fun stuff. With a little creative math, and the use of purchased Mulligans, we finished at even par for the event.

Now, the negative side of this is that it was 90 degrees on Friday and just brutally hot. Our hottest of the year so far. The weather tradition for this time of year, Rose Festival, is for chilly days and typically rain, especially during the Saturday parade. Not this year. Consequently, I lost a lot of sweat that day, sweat that I don’t normally release into the atmosphere, but I really didn’t have a choice.

The tournament was held at Heron Lakes Golf Course which, as everyone knows, is located pretty close to the Portland International Raceway. It’s also close to the Portland Expo Center. And Marine Drive. Down by the Columbia River. Here’s why it’s called Heron Lakes …

If you look closely, there’s a Blue Heron even with Doug’s hat. This was common.

They could just easily called it “Goose Lakes Golf Course” …IMG_1877

but that doesn’t sound quite as classy.

Here’s the group who weathered the weather and survived the day.

Left to Right: Doug, Me, Lyle, & Jim.

We’ve already talked about doing it again next year but who knows what next year will bring. Then, there’s Clyde Lewis, “Ground Zero” talk radio, telling everyone the world as we know it will end on October 7th. I have no idea what that means, but it makes me wonder if I should be making plans for next year.

For today, I’ll just plan on getting to bed a little earlier than normal so I can wake up in time to accompany Diane to the parsonage for another marathon day of transforming they place. While I was golfing last Friday, she spent the entire day working on this by herself. She’s a trooper and I’m blessed to have her in my life.


NW Weather & Other Interesting Stuff


I just noticed that it’s been 10 days since my last post which is really uncharacteristic of the old me. I am, however, learning to deal with what is a new normal for me. One of the big ones is losing weight to help combat my diabetes type II affliction. That’s going well. In the past 3 weeks (I think) I’ve lost 12 pounds (I’m sure). This is an odd thing for me because growing up I was painfully skinny all through my school years (the mandatory ones) and my objective then was to gain weight. I may have shared previously my distress regarding my first trip to the Navy recruiter where I actually flunked the physical because I didn’t weigh enough. True story. They told me to return in two weeks to see if I’d gained anything. I could have just ignored them, I suppose, but the draft was in full swing in 1962 and I’m sure the Army would have found by services useful in Viet Nam back then. So, I went on a binge eating spree. Two weeks later I was in the Navy having passed that test. Actually, I don’t know if I passed or not because the corpsman who weighed me in had me get on the scales then he yanked me off as the needle hit 135 on its downward swing and called it good. I guess that meant I passed, huh?

Anyway, so here I am working my way back down to 175 after many years of running closer to 200 than not. My main strategy is to eat less bread and not snack on sweet stuff. To eat less bread I simply eat only one piece where I used to eat two, and snacks are mainly peanuts and water. So far it’s been pretty easy because I believe I’m blessed with the “Cold Turkey” gene that allows me to stop any bad habit easily. I did that with smoking – cold turkey. Now I’m doing it with food. Not so cold turkey, I guess, because I’m not really quitting food, just regulating it better.

Diane and I went to a stage play last Tuesday to see “Three Days of Rain“. It wasn’t the play that drew our attention, but the actors involved. Two of them, Sash Roiz and Silas Weir Mitchell, are from our favorite TV show “Grimm” which is filmed in Portland. They were joined by the talented Lisa Datz who rounded out the three person cast. We don’t normally attend plays but found this one very good.

Let’s see … what else happened … our oldest Son attained the lofty age of 43 on the 22nd, I sustained a severe bungee cord injury that has temporarily disabled the opposing function of my left thumb, The Lady Ducks lost to UCLA in the softball super regionals, St. Helens Lady Lions lost to Rex Putnam in their state softball title bid, neighbor Scott H. turned 29 on the 29th, and we’ve learned from Clyde Lewis (host of Ground Zero) that the world we know will officially end on October 7th this year. That latter bit is only hearsay for me because I heard it from Diane who heard it from her Mother, Jean.

The weather has made a serious turn to summer with temperatures in the 80’s. That means that the need for mowing the lawn will diminish until fall when the rains perk up all that grass that’s been dormant, and brown, since June. Looking forward to that, for sure.

Diane and I have spent many hours working at our church’s parsonage to prepare it for our new renter. Lots of painting going on. Diane thinks I’m pretty good at cutting in around the ceiling, windows, and doorways so that’s my assigned task. Doors and Windows are fairly easy, the working over my head around the ceiling is a challenge because it always seems to ruin both of my arms for a period of time. So, I suspect my cutting in days are numbered.

For those of you who might find themselves in the St. Helens area on any given Thursday, from June 4th through August 27, you might want to check out the city’s “13 Nights on the River“. It’s a free concert every Thursday at the gazebo in the park by the river. If you pick the right Thursday, you may get to meet my niece Sarah who will be visiting the greater Portland area from Connecticut during the summer.

Now I must remove my wet clothes and clean up. Diane went to visit her Mom, Jean, so I pressure washed the old truck in the back yard. Probably not the right place, in hindsight, because I had to drive it off a fairly large berm to get it back to the front yard. But, I did it. Should have taken a photo, I suppose. Now I’m going to start buying parts for it. Diane said I could.

Hope all is well with all of you.

Happy Birthday to Me !

Yes, today is my birthday. I turned a flatulent 71. Only the number is new, because I was a flatulent 70 just  yesterday. The day passed with no fanfare other than the many friends and family members who wished me well. It’s simple times like this that remind me that I have many more friends than I would have thought possible. I’m blessed. There was no cake, which is fine because I’m diabetic and wouldn’t have eaten any. I went about my day as I did pretty much every other day this past year even down to the detail of acquiring an injury. I’ll talk about that later, if I remember.

The dogs didn’t think it was a special day because they got me up promptly at 0530 as they do every other morning. What was different this morning, however, is that they didn’t find a reason to bark at random things in the back yard, something that always rouses me from my morning slumber in my recliner. That was a good thing.

Before reclining for that nap I made a really good pot of coffee. That was confirmed by Diane who awoke about 0830 and sang to me like she does every May 20th. She also asked me what she could fix me for breakfast. I opted for Honey Bunches of Oats with a splash of brown sugar and milk, and one piece of toast. Only one piece of toast because I’m on a quest to lose weight and have cut my bread consumption in half by omitting that second piece I used to have. Regarding the weight, I’ve lost 12 lbs in the three weeks we’ve been working on this. Not bad for a plan that is supposed to yield a 1 lb loss each week.

After breakfast I sat around waiting for Lucan, the guy who would install our new gutter system. While waiting, Jack and Wynette called to wish me Happy Birthday and they were joined in a communal effort of the song by two other folks I haven’t heard from in a long time. That would be Gene & Shirley who live in Mesa most of the time. It was a very nice surprise.

Lucan showed up around 1000 and promptly got to work, finishing the job in about 3 hours with the help of his sidekick, Jose. Lucan, whether or not you’re interested, belongs to Jody & Rick and we’ve known him for a long time. It’s always good to see him because he has a smile that totally lights up the area around him. During the installation I observed and visited a bit with the two of them, as they went about their business doing some pretty incredible things with tin snips. We are thoroughly pleased with the results.


After Lucan and Jose left, I fired up the old truck and went back to our parsonage which some of us are working on to make it ready for a new renter. I selected power washing the exterior as my project. Yesterday I did the front steps, the sidewalks, and a portion of the back where the dirt is more evident. This afternoon I went back to finish up the back of the house and the upper porch. The weather cooperated to the tune of about 75 degrees, so it was OK to get soaking wet, as I knew I would. Unlike yesterday, when I did the sidewalks and got mole hill mud all over me, today I pretty much covered myself with little bitty paint chips from the porch roof support.

Here’s a little of what I’m dealing with …


I did the power washing until almost 1800, logging about 9 hours total for both days, when I deemed it time to go home and eat something. I’d been running the power washer for so long today I missed a call from Diane and one from my much older brother, Jim. He always calls me on my birthday, but normally when I can hear the phone ring. He didn’t time this one very well. He also sent me greetings via Facebook messenger and it appeared right below the last Facebook messenger message he sent me on my birthday last year. He doesn’t use messenger very often.

When I got the truck home, I remembered that I still needed to tidy up the Lions Club newspaper collection box so Diane drove me back to the High School, where the container resides, to get it done. While doing a lot of bending and lifting I managed to clean up the huge pile of papers while Diane did some shopping at Safeway.

Then it was time to determine what to eat for my birthday supper. I had many choices, one of which included having Diane cook me something, but I opted for a Burgerville Tillamook Cheese Burger Basket with a large chocolate shake. We do this about once a week as a rule and find that it doesn’t interfere with our weight loss program. Because it was my birthday dinner, however, I opted for a large shake instead of my normal medium one. I figured all the work I did would offset the extra calories.

Regarding the old truck … it runs like a dream and starts first time every time. Getting it to that point was tricky because there were multiple problems that I rectified with a new battery, and new starter, and a new set of jumper cables. I didn’t need the cables but got them just in case. I did this all day before yesterday and, as soon as I got it running, I took it to the dump and emptied $21 worth of junk that has been accumulating for the past 1.5 years. I was so pleased with how well the truck works that I am seriously motivated to start renovating it. Diane said I could. I may have already mentioned that. The first thing I’ll fix is the turn signals because I’m getting tired sticking my arm out the window to signal my turns. Luckily, so far, everyone behind me actually still knows what those hand signals mean and haven’t run into me. Still, I’m all for automation and need that fixed. That’s especially true since the last project I did on the truck was to replace the turn signal switch. Apparently one of the many wires hanging from the bottom of the dash have something to do with that problem.

Another significant event was Lydia going to her prom. She went with her two bestie and, I can only presume, had a terrific time since none of them had to deal with any kind of drama involving boys. I’m sure, however, the boys noticed …


They all play soccer on the same team and wanted to incorporate that aspect of their lives in their photos. So, that’s what we did. The field was full of little boys at soccer practice and these three just marched through the middle of them to a goal in the middle of the field. Left to right it’s Georgie, Lydia, and Ceiarra, the Three Amigas.

DSC_3335 DSC_3267

Now the evening is winding down and I’m pretty close to going to bed. So, I will end by thanking all of you who sent me birthday greetings on this day. You all made it special and I appreciate that you took time out of your day to honor me.

Oh, ya! My new injury was sustain when I was strapping down my ladders on the truck when a bungee cord broke causing my left thumb to hit the ladder in such a manner that it’s normally opposing nature was temporarily disabled. It was a very painful process and the opposing aspect has only partially returned. Considering my advanced age, it may never return to normal.

Peace to you all.


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