Graduation, Soccer, & Jimmy Buffett

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After a grueling 12 years of cramming, Cedric Dean Bradley is on the verge of graduating from High School. All he has to do is get through the ceremony this evening at 7 pm and the party tomorrow. His graduating class is the first one from the Columbia County Christian School in Warren, Oregon. Sadly, it will also be the only high school graduating class because next year the school will only be K-8. So, he will be a part of history. For his next adventure, he hopes to join the Navy as a Chaplain’s assistant then use his that experience and his GI Bill to fulfill his desire to be a Youth Pastor. So, here’s a two photo rocket ship ride of Cedric from pre-school to August 8th at his Great Grandma Jean’s 88th Birthday Party …

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He’s all growed up now but his Mom is going to have a difficult time cutting him loose to join the big herd. Oh, that’s him on the left in the photo, in case you didn’t know.

For soccer, I only have this from yesterday where Lydia’s High School team participated in a jamboree against a host of other teams from the greater Portland area. They played The Dalles and Century, and beat them both. The Dalles was 4-0 and Century was 1-0. Jennifer and I suffered through a 1.5 hour delay, due to no umpires, in the horrendous heat to watch all this. It was brutal.

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The significance of the above photo is to show you how Lydia spent most of the game, watching her team keep the ball away from her goal. She’s the little yellow speck near trhe mid-field line.

Diane was on another mission in Portland watching a facility make eyeglass lenses so couldn’t participate in that delay. Because of it, however, she was able to make the 1-hour drive from home to arrive just in time to sit down and enjoy the last 35 seconds of the game. Since I was the one who determined that she could make it in time for most of the game I spent the remainder of the day on Diane’s NHWTP List. For those of you who are partially acronymically challenged, that mans Not Happy With This Person List.

On the way home she drove us down to the St. Helens docks which is always peaceful and provided a moment of solitude where I could (hopefully) eliminate the need for further punishment. Imagine our delight when we discovered that Jimmy Buffett’s little sister was in town.

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Now, I’m not suggesting that Jimmy’s Little sister is a cabin cruiser. No sir. I’m just thinking that maybe it was named after her even though I have absolutely no idea if Jimmy has a sister or, if he does, if her name is Jenny. This is all pure speculation on my part. Still, it’s kinda fun to live in my head and enjoy the possibilities.

Have a good day.

Smoke

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Maybe you’ve heard about all the forest fires currently burning in Oregon and Washington states. Such fires are always a concern for the Northwest because we have lots of trees, many of which are accessible only via helicopter, parachute, or narrow, little used logging roads. This makes fighting remote fires extremely difficult.

St. Helens isn’t traditionally in the forest fire danger zone so we are not accustom to worrying about such fires for our own safety. We do our worrying about those who deal with the dangerous job of engaging these fires up close. Many lose their lives every year due to the unpredictable nature of the fires they fight.

This year nature has made a point of engaging even us by blowing the smoke at us. As I write, the closet fire to us is about 60 miles away and we aren’t in any danger, but our visibility from the smoke is down to about a mile and it smells just like a huge campfire outside. Not a good day for organisms that need to breathe.

There cannot possibly be enough praise heaped upon the Hot Shots who deal with these fires close up. Discomfort from the smoke is very minor in comparison to what they endure.

God bless them all.

This is Highway 30 looking South toward Portland.

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Here’s the view from our upper deck with the smoke obscuring pretty much everything beyond a mile.

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For comparison, here’s a similar view from last spring.
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Fun At The Beach

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Just wanted everyone to know that, though were of advanced age, even we can have fun in the sun. The difference is we just wear more clothes when we do it.

This is from the beach at Seaside, Oregon.

IMG_2166The purpose of our trip, in addition to walking on the beach, was to watch Lydia play soccer with her high school team. We drove over on Friday and it rained all the way giving us cause for concern for the first game that evening. But it cleared up a little and the kids played a relative dry game.

Saturday was gorgeous and provided us with a fairly nice sunset.

DSC_3996Sunday was also great for our trip home. The dogs were happy to see us. The cat was indifferent.

 

 

88 on 8/8/15, Family, Kid Duties, & Devious Maids

Greetings dear Minions. I hope everything is going well with all of you. On this end, it just keeps getting better and better. That’s the upside. The downside is that folks on my TV set keep telling me what a horrible world we live in where police keep shooting unarmed teenagers for no apparent reason. It’s just terrible and makes me want to move some place. But, gee, where would I go when the whole world is going to crap in the same manner?

On a happier note, yesterday was a festive day because we celebrated Diane’s Mom’s 88th birthday. Even better, we did it at her house so we didn’t mess up our place even a little bit. Just hers and it only took a few hours to put it all back in order.

Diane’s been planning this event for a while, inviting people from all over the place and got RSVPs from most of them meaning it was going to be a fun time. The end result was that virtually everyone in the family who all live locally, in addition to a pair of sisters who don’t, showed up to eat cake. Having the entire family together to celebrate Jean’s 88th year was pretty awesome. In all there were approximately 30 people in attendance ranging in age from 1 month to, gee, 88 years old.

Here’s the long and short of it. Mom, Grandma, Great Grandma, and Great Great Grandma Eleanor Jean at a pretty frisky 88 years old.

MomD Then there’s Draiden Jeffrey Cate showing up at one month and one day old. He has some hard growing up to do because he has two older sisters in addition to three aunts who are not much older than him who will all be either giving him grief or daring anyone to lay a hand on their little brother or nephew

DraidenJeffreyOther attendees were … Ceirra, Lydia, Jerrie, Gilligan

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Diane’s cousin John, his wife Pam, and their son JonathanDSC_3759
Another cousin, Don, John’s brother, and wife Judy
DSC_3767 Father, Son, and UncleDSC_3769 Cousins … Julie, John, Diane, Don, & TerriDSC_3774 Jeff & Heather’s clan (minus Shene & Draiden who was eating) — Logan, Heather, Jeff, Gilligan, Baylee, Jerrie, Juliette, & Danyell. The three little ones on the left are aunts to the two on the right.DSC_3782 The Walker clan – Julie (daughter from Arizona – she came the farthest, but didn’t win anything for it), Carolyn (Mom), Jean (Sister & Aunt), & Terri (another daughter).DSC_3804 Great Granddaughter Lydia and the Birthday GirlDSC_3810 Logan & Shene’s clan – Juliette, Danyell, & Draiden. Aunt Jerrie photo bombed them.DSC_3834 More cousins — Cedric, Logan, & Lydia. Jeran was missing because he was having fun elsewhere.DSC_3853 The Walters clan – Jennifer, Lydia, Daniel, & Cedric. As noted, Jeran was missing.DSC_3873There were others, of course, but I’m sure everyone is tired of looking at family photos by now. So, I’ll just move along with a little narrative about happenings.

Now all I have to is ponder for a while to see if I can remember stuff. If I can’t, I’ll just make something up.

Beginning last Monday Diane and I both took a little trip back in time and participated in the taxi service normally enjoyed by parents who are much younger. In this case, however, we had a ball getting the kids to and from the places they needed to be. Since the kids needed to be in places far apart, at the same time, it’s good that there were two of us and that we are both still allowed to drive. Lydia to soccer training in Hillsboro at 0845, the same time Cedric was due at school and Jeran at Pacific Camps.

I drew Lydia so had to leave at 0730. That’s like 7 thirty in the morning! Really early for someone who is normally deep into his morning nap at that time. But, I did it, and did it well. I stayed and watched for the entire 3 hours of Lydia’s workout. Then we had lunch and I took her home. The rest of the day was a blur and I’m sure I didn’t do anything of importance.

Tuesday I took Cedric to his place of confinement. It was a simple task and I was proudly successful. While attending to this Diane transported Jeran to his dental appointment in Longview. Lydia had a ride to Hillsboro with Morgan’s Mom. Morgan is Lydia’s team member and is also attending soccer training. She was absent on Monday.

On Wednesday I repeated my Monday responsibility for Lydia and Morgan, staying for the entire three hours before taking them home. I’m not sure, but I think there was a nap or two during the afternoon. I think there were many naps involved with the remainder of the week with the exception of time on Thursday & Friday spent putting things together for Saturday’s birthday party. Diane put in a lot of overtime planning everything.

Saturday morning we made a trip to Oregon City for a St. Helens High School soccer game which St. Helens won 3-0. Lydia played awesome making some pretty great stops. As soon as we got home we started loading everything we own into the Impala for the trip to Grams’. I loaded ten (10) folding chairs, a folding table, a case of water and a very large sports umbrella into the trunk. It’s a HUGE trunk. With the back seats folded down I added a cooler, my camera & tripod, a large crock pot full of pulled pork, a box of assorted Avon items, a lantern, six cases of warm beer, and a small hot tub. The Impala also has a HUGE back seat. I must admit that I lied about some of the things I listed but it really does have a large back seat.

Today we went to church, ate breakfast there, came home with Mom and spent most of the day hanging out. After Diane took Mom home we walked next door to visit with Muriel and Bob who recently lost their son to pneumonia. It’s a long story but sad to say his passing was a good ending.

Now it’s getting late and I must watch the last few minutes of “Devious Maids” before retiring for the night.

ISS, Reunions, Soccer, & Relative

Have any of you folks in the Great Northwestern portion of this here United States looked at the evening sky lately to see the International Space Station flying by? Three days ago we were gazing up, watching the stars pop out, when the ISS went zooming overhead and watched for the entire five minutes it took to transit from one horizon to the other. Initial speculation that it was the space station was confirmed, by me, when I jumped on my smart phone, figuratively speaking, and searched for information about this event. What I found on the APP Store (for my iPhone) was “ISS Spotter”, a pretty handy application that plots the station’s progress around the world and provides a list of times when it will be visible, if clouds permit, over your location. Because of this we’ve been able to see if the last three evenings at the times indicated. Pretty cool. It was especially great last night because big brother Jim, and his bride Donna, as well as our other brother Jack, and his bride Wynette, were visiting and we all stood at our deck railing watching together as this wonder of science whizzed by overhead. It was a special moment.

The occasion of Jim and Donna’s visit was so they could attend the All School Reunion for Scappoose High School, an event that happens every five years. For a small town it’s quite an event and brings folks back from all over the place. For my bride, Diane, it was even more special because her class celebrated their 50th reunion in conjunction with the five-year event.

As a result of all these festivities I’ve managed to regain the 12 pounds I recently shed, by studiously eating reasonable portions at reasonable times. During the past week there was no schedule for meals and it’s hard to say No when there’s an opportunity to share a meal for family we don’t often see. Especially when they’re buying. Now I must climb back on the wagon and pay attention before the doctor tells me I must start injecting myself with insulin every 3-4 hours. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Jim and Donna arrived last Wednesday afternoon and it’s been pretty much non-stop until this morning when they departed on their way back home to somewhere in Idaho. We visit them once in a while when they grant us permission to cross the border. That doesn’t always happen and it’s getting more difficult to get a visa for such visits because of all the shootings around the country. Coming in to Oregon isn’t a problem because we don’t have any border restrictions, yet.

At this point of my narrative there will be a rather long pause as I depart our premises to transport Lydia & Morgan to goalie training in Hillsboro at this undogly hour of 0745. I don’t normally doe things like that this early in the morning, but Diane is going the other way, to Longview, shortly thereafter to get Jeran to his dentist appointment. She can drive fast, for sure, but not fast enough to be in two places 60 miles apart at the same time. So, I get to take the east-bound leg, something I don’t really mind doing at all.

Now for the pause —————————-0719 to 1350 – elapsed time 6hrs 31min

What a morning. Picked Lydia up and had to skip Morgan because she wasn’t feeling well and stayed home. So, we arrived about 20 minutes early and Lydia was the only one there for a long time. I pointed out to Lydia that some of them didn’t show up until 0930 and she said “that was the twins (girls). Their dad is an actor and they’re filming “The Librarians” in the area so they are spending the summer here. Interesting.

 Lydia got a 3-hour workout on very little food and she did great. The group was composed of both goalies and what I call “shooters” so Lydia and the other goalies got a good workout from some kids that can really handle a soccer ball. Made me tired so I put the top down on the PT, parked in the shade, and took a nap.

One of my classmates shared a joke with me that I feel compelled to pass along. I must warn you that, though it doesn’t contain vulgar language, the subject matter is a bit racy. If that concerns you, please stop now …

The joke … two ladies had lunch together at one of their village’s nicer establishments and the topic of their conversation swayed a bit to the exciting side of their lives. This happened when one of them noticed a gentleman across the room having lunch.

“See that fellow over by the door? I had a date with him a few days ago and he was a perfect gentleman the entire evening. He opened doors for me, took my jacket, helped with my chair, stood when I left the table … it was very refreshing to be treated like a lady. I was so comfortable with him that it didn’t occur to me to say “No” when he asked me to his home for a nightcap. Once we got in his house everything changed and he became an animal, pushing me around the house and ripping my clothes off like a wild man!”

Her friend, hand to mouth, exclaimed, “so, you’re telling me I should date him?”

“No,” said the lady, “just wear old clothes.”

To end I’ll share some photos from the part of the weekend I remember. First is Diane’s class of 1965.

IMG_2103 Here are what I understand are the main trouble makers of the class. A fun group.IMG_2128And, here’s a selfie of the Cate boys …IMG_2134

“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

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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.

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