Happy #51 To Us

Hard to believe that we’ve been together that long until we stop and consider all the things we’ve experienced over those years.

We leaned heavily on each other during periods of profound sadness, and danced together joyfully during moments of extreme happiness.

We spent many years living in distant places, away from family and friends but we were never alone.

We always had each other and we always will.

There is no place I’d rather be than by your side.

I love you Diane Jean.

Indian Canyons

Today we visited Indian Canyons, an area not far from Palm Springs. I’d tell you which direction it is but have no idea and don’t feel inclined to look at a map right now. If I had to guess, I’d say they are south and east of the village. OK. They are south of us. I had to look.

Getting there was simple partly due to GPS but also because of the handy signs that are posted all around the place.

Our initial desire was to hike up Tahquitz Canyon which takes about an hour. After talking with a nice young lady at the ticket counter I made a command decision that it wasn’t in Diane’s best interest to go that direction. It’s uphill going in and is littered with huge steps anywhere from 10 to 20 inches tall. So, we took her recommendation and headed for Indian Canyons. Honestly, not going to Tahquitz was also in my best interest. I talk a good story, but doubt if I’d have made it without a lot of pain from either falling down or from gasping for breath.

At Indian Canyons we chose to tackle Andreas Canyon, the shortest of the many available choices. According to the map we had it was only one mile long and was lined with green indicating it was an easy one. Some of the others were up to 7 miles long and were marked in red.

This is where the fun begins

The canyon trail runs along Andreas Creek that has water all year long. It’s crystal clear and pretty cold when compared to the 100 degree temp of the air. Thankfully, the path is shaded most of the time with the myriad California Fan palm trees that are fed by the stream. There are lots of other kinds of things growing but they are pretty short, not good for shade unless you collapse and someone passing by is kind enough to roll you off the trail. The low foliage is good for collecting tons of debris that gets washed down the canyon when the creek gets rough in wet weather. The evidence is everywhere. There are piles everywhere that indicate the water level in the canyon is at times more like a deep roaring river than a sedate shallow creek.

After conquering Andreas we returned to the car to plan our next adventure for this day. I suggested we visit Palm Canyon which is within the boundaries of Indian Canyons. The clincher for Diane was that there is a trading post at the trail head, so that’s where we went.

Once there I discovered that Palm Canyon was more than a simple hike away and they advertised that this trail was also a rattlesnake habitat. So I prudently chose to visit a small waterfall falling down a little canyon on the other side of the trading post.

It was a simple and satisfying hike. Got some photos and Diane was just coming out of the trading post when I got back. Great timing.

The road out through Split Rock

Then we went to Ralphs. There are Ralphs grocery stores pretty much everywhere in this area. Makes it handy when you need something. The last time we needed to go there was to get a pool noodle for Diane. This time it was for ketchup and more mayo.

Back at our condo we cooked steaks Diane got yesterday which was pretty tricky because there are no BBQs around and all we have is a microwave. But, it’s also convection. So we fiddled around with its dials and buttons, finally figuring out that we could, indeed, cook steak in this micro. Quite nicely, I might add.

Then we ate, and took a nap prior to getting ready for a good night’s sleep.

Outta Town. Again.

What I see while floating on my back in the pool.

Yes, that’s what I see while floating on my back in the pool which is located in Palm Springs, California. It’s a very serene, calming view. We’ve been here for two days and have decided we really like it. To the point where I checked on Zillow and discovered that Cary Grant’s old abode here in town is on the market for $2.9M. When I saw that I just about ripped the pocket off my jeans trying to get my wallet out so we could run right down to the realtor and make a deal. It’s either that, or just rent Leonardo DeCaprio’s home for $4.5K a night. Decisions, decisions. Perhaps we’ll just think about it a while then go back to Oregon where God lives. It’s true. That’s where he lives. He told me.

Getting here was just half the fun.

We headed south from home last Saturday morning about 9 am. First thing to note is that’s a record for us because we’ve never in our lives (that I can recall) have we left to go someplace at 9 am. It’s true that we’ve planned, numerous times, to do that, but generally we get going closer to noon. So, 9 am was good. It gave us time to stop at Scappoose Bagel for a wonderful start to our day. We love their bagels and save them for special occasions. I’d eat one every day if Diane let me but she doesn’t want me to get any roly polier.

After navigating the customary route up Cornelius Pass, to US 26, then right on US 217 to I-5 south, we were officially on our way to Klamath Falls, our first stop. To get there we escaped the helter skelter mess of I-5 by excecuting a tricky left on Highway 58 in Eugene, home of the Oregon Ducks.

It was an uneventful trip on a relatively vacant highway so we loved it very much. We’ve spent too many hectic trips up and down I-5, from one end to the other, so getting off the beaten path was a perfect beginning to our vacation.

We arrived in Klamath Falls fairly early so we had time to relax a bit before calling it a day. So many times in the past we didn’t find a room until we were ready to crash. Now that we’re older, planning ahead pays off. Diane is an expert at that and makes all the reservations on our route. It’s good to know where we’ll spend the night.

The next morning we got up fairly early and amazingly got on the road again at 9 am. Two days in a row. Another modern day record. Go figure.

Day two destination turned out to be Virginia City, Nevada. What a fun place that is … clamped to the side of a cliff, wooden boardwalks on both sides of the main street, tons of touristy places full of nifty trinkets from China, and real-deal shops filled with incredible local art. Quite a mix.

We spent a couple hours wandering around the various shops then decided it was time for dinner. Based on a recommendation from our host for the evening at the Virginia City Motel which is located at the southern end of town, top of the hill on the left. It’s an old place but very nice.

Dinner was at Cafe Del Rio where we had absolutely the best enchilada’s ever. They were so good that I ate them all up before Diane had a chance to take a photo. Trust me. If you’re ever in Virginia City, go to the Cafe Del Rio. It’s really great.

This is me being amazed about the quality of the guacamole served with the chips. There was enough of it left to smear around on the enchiladas. What a treat.

From Virginia City we wandered south on US-395 down the back side of Yosemite National Park, the Sierra National Forest, Kings Canyon National Park, Sequoia National Park, and the Sequoia National Forest. We didn’t stop at any of them. We simply drove south taking in the beauty of the mountains we’ve always seen from the other side. It was a very nice, beautiful change.

Ridgecrest, California was our next stop. It wasn’t a remarkable place but it was nice. Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake is joined at the hip with Ridgecrest. We snacked in our room after a long days drive and called it a day.

The last stretch to Palm Springs was a short one and we arrived early afternoon at the Palm Springs Tennis Club. Yeah, I was a little confused, too, but that’s where Diane booked us. And we don’t even play tennis. The lady at the reception desk got us checked in and we quickly unloaded all our stuff then took a riding tour of the city until our stomachs decided it was time to eat. We chose ‘Trio and enjoyed a very good dinner.

We’ve been here a couple of days and have been enjoying the pool which is right outside the front door of our condo.

Pretty nice.

Lydia is 20!

Her birthday isn’t until tomorrow but we celebrated it with her yesterday at the Walters’ home. Lydia requested a tea party which her Mom, Jennifer, happily provided. She’s happy she did it but commented that if someone asks her to do another one to make sure she says “no”. It was all beautiful and very tasty, including the avocado deviled eggs I made, with much encouragement.

So, it was scones, tea cakes, cucumber sandwiches, and tea, of course.

Lydia, surrounded by the family girls. Ceiarra should have been there, too, but she was in the kitchen. So all I got was Gilligan, Jennifer, Jerrie, Lydia, Diane, and Baylee

Daniel doing a great job drinking tea in the proper manner.

It was a festive party and was well attended.

Happy Birthday, Lydia.

Happy New Year

This was the beginning of the end of the last day of 2018 for us as viewed from our window in the Hillcrest Inn at Seaside. Once the sun was gone, the fireworks began.

This is the view at the end of the first day of 2019. There were no fireworks.

We spent the time with our Winnebago friends: Terry & Carolann, and Cliff & Susie. They were parked at the Thousand Trails park on the west side of Seaside. The girls shopped, the men napped. It was a good New Year celebration.

While getting ourselves gathered for the above photo, an interesting event happened. I don’t have photographic proof, buy all will agree that a 20-something couple walked by us, heading for the nearby stairs to the beach. The man was dressed warmly but the girl was wearing only a skimpy. By skimpy, I mean the back consisted of one string. Once they got to the sand, the girl looked at us and waved (I waved back), then took off running for the water as fast as she could. Well, maybe she could have run faster, but she was moving right along. She ran all the way to the water, which you can see is about 1/4 mile behind us. I figured she was doing some sort of Polar Plunge a day early and was going to dive into the water but she stopped when the water was up to her knees. Kinda strange.

My Girls, and Other Stuff

(this was written on December 19th and I forgot to post it – old age in action)

Tomorrow one of my girls turned 72. I’m pretty sure it’s OK for me to share that information because she isn’t sitting next to me right now.

From my perspective, every day with her is a blessing to be treasured. So, the older she gets the happier I am. It doesn’t hurt, either, that she gets prettier every day, and she’s just plain fun to be around.

For those moments when my security is in doubt, I got her a new coffee cup to (hopefully) remind her what’s important.

Happy Birthday, my Love.

On December 8th I joined My Girls on a trip to Christmas Mountain to select trees suitable for installation in our homes. We needed two of them – one for the Walters’ home, and one for ours. Normally shoppers ride around in a tractor-pulled trailer exiting in the forest of the desired kind of tree. Then we’d tromp around in the mud, or snow, to pick out the perfect one then say a little prayer before sacrificing it with the help of a bow saw made specifically for the occasion.

Jennie, Jerrie, Baylee, Lydia, Gilligan, Diane on Christmas Mountain

Once cut we’d drag it out of the forest to the side of the road and attach our tag to it, leaving it for the crew that roams the pathways looking for cut trees which they return to the binding station. That’s where they stick the bottom in a shaker to dislodge all the loose needles that don’t need to go home with the shoppers, then they attach it to a claw that drags is through a clever machine that wraps the tree up all nice and tight for the trip home.

Got ’em.

Then we take them home and install them in the perfect spot in the living room, fill the stand with water, and cover it with lights and ornaments we’ve gathered from all over the world. Fortunately for me, Diane loves hanging all that stuff on the tree so I get to sit in my chair and watch the process. It always turns out perfect.

This year we added a security device to ensure the tree isn’t disturbed and to ensure it has an adequate supply of water.

In preparation for decorating outside, Jeff created a new hat so he could talk with the aliens surrounding us.

Little did he know that it actually worked, drawing in an eclectic array of beings from around the universe. So far I’ve only been able to capture one with my camera. I’ve noticed it lurking around the garage for some time now but never with it’s eyes open. When their eyes are closed, you can’t really see them. I haven’t talked with this one, yet, but I will …

We call him “Sawhorse Man”

A couple of days ago Diane drove me to the VA Clinic in Hilsboro so I could talk with the hearing aid doctor about the difficulty I’ve been having stuffing the right unit in my ear. It seems that my right ear hole is smaller than the left one.

On the way home Diane stopped by the Franz bread store to pick up some cheap bread and we found this …

Kind of interesting, we thought, so we got some. My guess is that some politically correct group objected to the Bimbo brand and caused the bread people to come up with this as a compromise. It’s pretty good bread, but I feel exposed when I eat it.

On the home front, building has begun in the development below us. An office unit was added a month or so ago, then landscaping was added to make it look appealing to whoever might be standing on the front side. They didn’t do anything to make it more appealing to we who must stare at the back of the office unit, but that’s OK.

Next to the office is going to be, I believe, one of the model homes. Perhaps the only model home. I’m not sure if there will be more. An excavator dug out a few dump trucks full of red dirt and a group of people scurried around in the raid erecting the foundation forms for whatever house will sit on it.

I’m thinking of cutting down that middle apple tree so I can more easily watch the progress.

That’s all I have for today. I probably won’t be back until after Christmas so hope yours is a good one.

Cheers

Don’t Mess With Stuff You Don’t Understand !

Last Friday I was watching The Littles (our granddaughters) play with slime on the kitchen counter, fascinated by how the stuff just oozes between their fingers and drips all over the place. Then they just roll it up into a new ball, dabbing the drips into the ‘Mother Piece’ where all slime eventually goes prior to being stuffed back into the small plastic container from which it came. 

As I watched I couldn’t help but feel an urge to join in the fun but withheld myself until I couldn’t stand it any longer. Grabbing a fairly large piece of this jello-like material, stretching it, wadding it up, just letting it kinda melt, and then impulsively reached over and slapped it on Gilligan’s head.

Everyone got real quiet as Gilligan shrieked, “Grandpa, what did you do?” I thought it was obvious … I was playing a prank on Gilligan. That’s what I thought, anyway, until I tried to remove the stuff from her hair. 

Turns out that slime, at least the version I used, sticks to, and is easily removed from every known substance EXCEPT hair. Who knew? Apparently all the kids did from past experience, but they didn’t share that with me when they decided to let me play. That was a terrible mistake.

I worked really hard at removing  what I could all the while listening to many versions of how they’ve all seen it done on YouTube. I even watched a few of videos of people practicing this new art. Feeling a nervous breakdown coming on I decided I had to make a decision and settle on the Mayonnaise Solution. I would have taken photos but my hands were all sticky and no one else thought to take any so that moment was lost. Just trust me that I made a mess, all the way down to her tender little scalp. The example provided is a milder mess than mine.

Getting the Mayonnaise out and got a handful and glopped it on Gilligan’s head. and started kneading it around the assaulted area. As I worked the mess, it started turning pink, taking on the color of the slime. This gratified me because it was apparent something was happening. I continued rubbing it on the affected hairs for about 30 minutes and magically it all kind of disappeared, just like in the video. I found it was amazing and was able to regain my composure with this new knowledge.

After it was all said and done, Gilligan forgave me for being stupid and was pleased with the final outcome. 

I went to bed happy and slept nicely right up to 0500 Saturday morning.

The dogs don’t observe weekends.