New Year’s Eve in Seaside

Today Diane tricked me into the car then drove me to Seaside where she had book a room at the Hillcrest Inn. I can only guess that she figured that i would confuse the name of the hotel with our home address. I must admit that I was temporarily confused when she took off my blindfold, which I was encouraged to wear for the entire trip. It wasn’t bad, actually. I had a little nap then we were there. Like magic. I should have known something was up when she made me pack a suitcase.

I really didn’t have to wear a blindfold. And, I knew where we were going, but I know you probably already figured that out. I’m so transparent.

On the way here we stopped at Astoria Safeway Gas Station for gas, then went to COSTCO and got the surprise of our short lives. It was closed. Actually, it’s not only closed, it’s turned into a strip mall and none of them are COSTCO. So, I did a little investigation and discovered that it was moved a few miles down the road toward Seaside. It’s in a brand new shopping mall that wasn’t there last week. Well, it wasn’t there the last time we were out this way and neither of us can remember when that was. Maybe one or two years. I guess they can build an entire mall in that amount of time. If anyone’s interested, there’s still lots of open space if you want to come over and build a store. COSTCO and Home Depot are already there, so think up something different.

The reason we stopped at COSTCO was to get lunch. We love their ginormous Polish dogs. For $3 we can both eat and walk away satisfied. The downside of the $3 meal is that it cost an additional $150 for all the other things we didn’t need.

We drove the rest of the way to the Hillcrest Inn without further expense. Ruth, the owneress, met us at the front desk. We knew it was Ruth because that’s who Diane made the reservations with and Ruth called Diane by name. She’s a very nice lady.

We got all checked in and visited our room before getting the luggage, and other “stuff”. It’s a suite. Cute. And we can see the ocean. For the price, it’s exceptional.

After getting settled, we bundled up and headed for the boardwalk. The Seaside Aquarium is just a block away. They have a really cool whale skeleton hanging in their front window. Nice. At the boardwalk, we turned left and headed for the Seaside Turnaround which is an international landmark known throughout the world as the place where Lewis & Clark ended their epic journey. That’s probably not epically correct, but it has a nice statue commemorating that event so it’s good PR for the city. There were people walking all over the beach, and many standing on the boardwalk pretending to watch the sunset. I say pretending because the sky was overcast and it was just getting dark and no one could see the sun. It just got darker, and darker. The was a guy taking a video of the waterfront building’s lights. I walked in front of him and waved at him. He waved back.

By this time we decided we were getting hungry and headed down Broadway (I think) toward Duggars for some good seafood. On the way we stopped and at many of the eclectic shops lining the street. Nifty stuff. When we got to 1st street we met Virginia, from our church, heading toward us. We chatted a little bit then parted mentioning that we were headed for Duggars. Virginia shrugged and said, “they’re good, but I always go to Norma’s Ocean Diner when I’m in Seaside”. We, of course, had never heard of it so decided to give it a visit instead of Duggars. Turns out it was an excellent choice. Norma’s is rated as one of the best restaurants on the Oregon coast. It’s been there for 35 years. Go figure. So, we figure that’s the reason we met Virginia on the street. She led us there.

Diane had halibut fish and chips, and I had a classic dungeness crab louie. Diane’s came with a cup of chowder, which she doesn’t like, so I ate it. It was absolutely wonderful. So was my louie, and Diane’s fish. Easily the best either of us has ever had. So, it was a terrific coincidence that we encountered Virginia on this, the last day of 2011, in a town 120 miles from home. Pretty cool coincidence


From Norma’s we headed back to our room which was only 1.5 blocks north. We stopped at the office to pick up an extra blankie for Diane because she like to have heavy covers and the ones on the bed appeared to be pretty light. Plus, it was chilly in the room when we left. But, when we returned it was toasty warm, probably because we cranked the thermostats up in both rooms before we left. They worked nicely.

Now we’re all cozy in our room watching an NCIS marathon. It’s 8:41pm (2041 if you have a military nature), and it’s almost time for bed. Perhaps we’ll watch the ball drop in NYC at 9pm then go to bed. Staying up until midnight just isn’t in our best interests. We’re old.


Our Dogs

We have three dogs. Two bigs ones and one little one. The little one is the loudest and most annoying, and he’s a racist. He’s a little black one and he always sides with the big black one. The other big dog is light brown. It doesn’t matter to either of the black dogs that the light brown one is the alfa. I’m the one with the laptop in the picture.

All day long they all get long just great. In the evening the dog wars begin, and it always starts with food. Maybe it has something to do with their names. The big light brown one is Panzee. The big black one is Ziva. The little black one is Ozzie. Perhaps Ziva and Ozzie consider Panzee to be a sissy name and find it OK to pick on her.

Back to the food thing. Ozzie’s food bowl is inside his little bitty kennel where neither Panzee nor Ziva can get to it. They really like Ozzie’s food. It’s really tiny compared to what they get that I suspect they found it amusing to pick it up a tiny piece at a time, with their big dog feet with their big dog pinky-finger-like nail sticky out to the side like they’re high society or something. They can’t do that any more because I put a heavy chair on top of Ozzie’s kennel so they can’t move it.

Panzee and Ziva have food bowls on either side of their water bowl. I fill them every morning, but they don’t eat until night. Things start out OK but deteriorate quickly when Panzee bends over to take a bite and finds Ziva standing over her as if she’s daring her to do something about it. It’s all about intimidation, and yelling at each other. Panzee just ignores Ziva, picks up her food bowl and carries it into another room, or down the hall, dumping food all along the way. Once in a while she picks it up and doesn’t spill a drop. This distresses Ziva because she normally follows along, eating all the spilled food. When Panzee succeeds in not spilling anything it’s as if Ziva doesn’t get anything to eat even though her bowl is still full.

So, normally, Ziva eats all the spilled food, and Panzee only gets what she manage to keep in the bowl. When she empties her bowl, she goes back to the water bowl and gets into another argument with Ziva over Ziva’s full bowl of food. As Panzee pushes her way to Ziva’s food they yell and posture at each other and it increases in volume to the point where you’d swear they are going to tear each other apart. They don’t, however. What happens is Panzee picks up Ziva’s bowl and carts it off to another room to finish her meal. Ziva follows along eating the spilled food.

This happens every day. Like clock work. You’d think they’d get tired of arguing like this all the time. I’ve tried to talk sense to them, but it’s useless. They just won’t listen. Logic isn’t part of their belief system. Ultimately, they both wind up eating about the same amount of food, so it isn’t all bad. I guess I should just ignore them because they always seem to work things out.

They’re a lot like BFF’s in that regard. Friends one moment, arguing the next, but they always wind up friends when it’s all said and done.

I’ve thought about yelling and posturing over Diane’s food that way but I really believe that things would work out a whole lot differently for me than it does for the dogs. They always come out of their little tiffs unharmed.

Who’s Ready For 2012 ??

Better think fast because you only have fifty-two hours and fifty minutes to go … no, make that fifty-two hours and forty-nine minutes to go … no, wait! It’s only fifty-two hours and forty-eight minutes to go. Man !! I need to learn how to type a little faster so I can keep up with the clock.

Clocks are such innocent, mechanical “things”, but I swear, when you’re not watching them they just whirl around like crazy … unless you’re at work. They always go slow at work whether you’re watching them or not. They also go faster and faster the older we get.  Why do you suppose that is.

I heard about some research that revealed adrenaline actually slows down time for the adrenalee. That’s probably not a word, adrenalee, but I suspect you know what I mean. Anyway, this research involved adrenaline junkies who jump off cliffs and supposedly discovered that when adrenaline was running high people perceived things as if they were in slower motion. You know, like in “The Matrix”. But, scientists decided that the real reason people think time is speeding up is really related to how rich the memories are. So, when you’re young time goes slower because everything is more memorable. When you’re old time goes faster because they aren’t so memorable. They didn’t use those exact words, but that’s pretty much what it means. I like the “Matrix” concept better.

Here’s a head’s up for anyone who’s ever had a hankering to rip up an old Winnebago. Sometime next Wednesday and/or Thursday Jack is going to bring his torch to our house and we’re going to cut the engine and transmission out of the old 1968 Winnebago that someone left in front of our house a few years ago. Once that’s done we’re going to call one of the local junk haulers wants it for the metal. If you wish to participate in, or just watch this once in a lifetime event, just show up. A-B bring a main dish,  D-Z bring dessert. The only thing that will keep this from happening is if it’s freezing, or snowing. Rain alone won’t stop it.

We just watched the Portland Trailblazers win their 3rd game to go 3-0. They had 25 turnovers in the game and still beat Utah. You just gotta wonder what the scores will look like when they quit giving the ball away.

Diane went to bed already so I need to head that direction so I can get settled before she goes to sleep. That won’t happen, of course, because she always goes out like a light just before her head hits the pillow. One of these days I’m going to film that. One of these days.

Stay safe.

Time For Resolutions

Greetings All … Christmas is over and the time is near for everyone to make their resolutions for the New Year. Personally, I’m going to adopt Jack’s methodology for making these commitments that are ready-made to be broken. He makes it simple. Just commit to things you do every day, like

  • I will not gain 125 pounds this year
  • I will do everything Diane tells me to do in the order I remember
  • I will never answer the door naked (again)
  • I will not use plug-in power tools without supervision

Stuff like that. Easy, isn’t it? I could never think of anything before Jack told me this secret. I hope he doesn’t mind that I’ve shared it with you.

Our Christmas was very calm and peaceful and we enjoyed it a great deal. Diane got me lots of really neat things, like T-Shirts. One says “I really do know everything. I just remember it all at once”, and another that says “I have a million excuses. Which one would you like to hear”. Now, I suppose I could take exception to the last one because it hints that I’ve done something for which I need an excuse to justify what I’ve done. Or that I need an excuse to keep from getting into trouble. Regarding that, it’s been a painful life-lesson that no excuse can keep you from getting into trouble when thoughts shoot directly out of your mouth into the closest available ear, without transiting the common sense filter found in most brains. It’s really a good idea to form your thoughts first. Unfortunately, for Jerrie, his thoughts usually don’t make much sense until he actually articulates them. As he hears the words fall into place, his thoughts take on meaning but he doesn’t get the full picture until the last word is uttered … “uttered” – sounds like part of a cow, doesn’t it? … then, it’s just too late for him.

I made fudge on Sunday. I finally found it today in the garage where Diane hid it from me. Apparently I’m not allowed to eat very much of it at one time. But, it’s really good. It’s called Fantasy Fudge. The formula is on the jar of marshmallow puffy stuff that you stir into the mixture. I say that like it’s easy, but it’s not because it’s difficult to get it out of the jar in a timely matter. It’s very sticky stuff, and I double the formula. It’s made with six (6) cups of sugar, one (1) can of condensed milk, all of the chocolate chips you can find in the cupboard, two (2) jars of marshmallow puffy stuff, three (3) sticks of butter, and two (2) pounds of walnuts. You must boil the sugar, milk and butter for 10 minutes, or until it attains a temperature of about 400 degrees. It’s actually only 234 degrees, but feels like 400 when it drips on you. A candy thermometer helps determine when it’s done, but dropping it into the mixture complicates reading exactly what the temperature is. I know this is true and learned that candy thermometers do not float. You’d think they would but, no, they just sink right to the bottom which skews the reading because it’s too close to the burner. So, I just guessed.

All of the kids and kidlets showed up and we had a great time. Jerrie Anne got a cute little deer suit. She cried when Jennie put it on her. Gilligan and Baylee got dance outfits which they really loved. They cried when they had to take them off so they could put warm clothes on to go home. Daniel, Jennifer, Cedric, Lydia, and Jeran got clothes, too. I don’t remember any of them crying, though. Clothes seemed to be the theme this year. So, of course, I didn’t get any for Diane this year. Figures.

I’m a crappy shopper. I admit it. I’m just bad at it. Most of the things I buy are necessary, especially if it’s a tool of some kind. Planning ahead for shopping just doesn’t work for me. I could make a list, which I’ve done, but once I get into a store the list is quickly forgotten once I get a good look at all the new shiny stuff. At that point, the impulse-buying gene engages, by-passing the common sense filter mentioned earlier. That isn’t a complaint, by the way, I’ve become the owner of some pretty nifty things that would have withered away on some store’s shelves had I put even a little thought into need vs. want. Diane’s received some interesting things as a result of this, too. Many of them she found distasteful resulting in a return trip to the store for a refund. That brings up an important point … never shop in a store that doesn’t have a now questions asked refund policy.

I must quit for tonight. The cemetery board is meeting in 20 minutes, and I’m on the board.

Merry Christmas Eve !!

It’s almost 11:30 and I have this one last time to wish everyone a safe and Merry Christmas Eve.

We just got back from our annual Christmas Eve church service. Diane and I sing in the choir. We’ve been practicing since August so we knew the material pretty well. The difficult one is Hosianna which is a traditional Swedish Christmas song. It’s the only Swedish I know, but I know it by heart. So does Diane.

Every year Diane takes all the choir robes home to wash before the service. They’ve been around for about 50 years, but still look pretty good. They’re blue. As in years past, Nancy brought hot spiced wine to our last practice before the big event. It’s really good. Pam pour me a large cup full. Unfortunately, it wasn’t blue wine. It’s always red. If it had been blue it probably would have made such a splotch on my robe, that Diane just washed, when I promptly spilled the entire cup down the front. And all over the basement carpet. It was a mess. No one yelled at me. Not even Diane. It’s good that I sit in the back row. By the time service was over it was pretty dry, and hardly noticeable in the dim church light. But, Diane took it home to wash again anyway.

Now it’s time to go to sleep so Santa can visit us.

Babysitting & Other Stuff

Since I last wrote, Diane attained the age where her Medicare card is legal and we went to a memorial service. To offset those events, we hired out to babysit the kids. Today is the second time this week that we’ve had six of them at one time.

Pictured, left to right, back to front, are Lydia, Cedric, Jeran, Gilligan, Jerrie Anne, and Baylee. What you see is the extent of Diane’s and my involvement with the babysitting effort. The three big kids took over the chore making it a pretty easy event for us. They especially had fun playing catch with Jerrie Anne. Baylee spent a great deal of time dancing to an annoying saxophone playing Santa. There were also many sessions of hide-n-seek. I’m not very good at that any more because I can’t hide in very small places. I can’t hide in very big places, either.

The memorial service was for Jeff Kuiper. Jack was the main speaker and it wasn’t easy. The church was packed. Jeff will be missed by a lot of people.

We put the Winnebago away today, too. It’s in a rented garage that’s just big enough to get it in, but not quite big enough to open the door to get out of it very easy. I had to go on a very quick starvation diet in order to extricate myself from the garage. Once I got out Diane, thought it would be a good idea to put some chemical water absorbent stuff inside, so I had to go back in. Thankfully, I wasn’t too thick to get back into the unit, and barely thin enough to get in the RV door. I only spilled a little absorbent on the counter and floor, and it took longer than I had anticipated, so I almost puffed up too much to get out again. I was almost to the point of kicking out the back window when I decided to ingest some of the absorbent material. Don’t ask what turned me that direction because I just don’t know. Turns out that works pretty well to slim you down because it makes you puke a great deal. Not good for you, normally, but it’s great for getting you out of tight places. I’m surprised there isn’t something written on the package about this benefit. Instead, it mentions various reasons why it’s not a good thing to eat it.

Our driveway looks naked without the RV out there. So … empty … and bare. Tomorrow I’ll resurrect the pickup and move it up from the lower 40. It really should be closer to the house. Even though the battery is usually dead.

Baylee discovered the joy of spinning in a chair until you almost barf. She got really mad when I quit spinning her before that happened. I knew it would make Diane mad. She’s out getting pizza and I figured it would upset her in a major way to come home and have to clean up the mess. That’s what would have happened because I don’t do messes very well. When I try to clean them up I just wind up moving stuff all around and really don’t make any progress. At least that’s the way it is with my work bench.

Today was absolutely beautiful. It was sunny all day. I laid out on the deck for a few hours and caught some rays. I probably should have left my shirt and pants on because I nearly froze my buns off. It was only 12 degrees, or so. It’s warmed up to 42, now, but it’s dark.

“What”, you may ask, “did Jerrie learn today?”

I learned that MOM upside down is WOW. How appropriate it that?

It’s a TVCC Christmas @ Finley’s

For those who don’t recognize this, it’s the copyrighted logo for the Tualatin Valley Cruiser Club of which Diane and I are charter members. We had a lapse in club meeting attendance for a few years, but have recently gotten back into participating in scheduled events. Rick Rainwater (he denies being an American Indian), and his bride, Jody, have been running the club for the past eleventy years. Since 2000. As a group, they have travelled all over the NW, California, and parts of Canada. Some members plan their vacations so they can attend the yearly week long trips. Rick & Jody have led TVCC members so many places over the years that they are having a hard time coming up with something new, different, and exciting. I decided to give that some thought so I could, perhaps, make some recommendations.

First, however, I must report on this evening’s Christmas party at Finley’s.

There’s just nothing in this entire world that says Christmas like a party at Finley’s Sunset Hills Mortuary on Highway 26, just above the Oregon Zoo. Meetings are held in the lower chapel. We used to have meetings in the upper chapel, where the funerals are conducted, but I think someone may have decided that TVCC member conduct was unbecoming for our dearly departed brethren, and sitereths. That’s quite possible. The lower chapel, however, is just great. Much cozier, with a lower ceiling, and the TVs installed on the walls. It’s closer to the kitchen, too. That’s important because meetings center around food – normally dessert.

This party, like those in the past, consisted of a white elephant gift exchange, and ornament swap. The ornament swap goes like this – everyone who attends brings a wrapped ornament. When it’s time to swap them, everyone gets in a circle, holding their ornaments. Then Rick starts reading a Christmas story about Mr. & Mrs. Right. As the story progresses, everyone in the circle passes their ornament Right or Left whenever those words are mentioned in the story. Sounds simple, right? It really is, but there is always someone, when Rick pauses, that has no ornament in his hands while across the room is someone with two of them. It’s quite amazing. I never make a mistake while doing this. Never have, never will. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Oddly, when this evening’s story ended almost everyone wound up with their original ornaments which defeats the whole concept of the ornament swap. That’s never happened before, but the distance an ornament travels is directly related to the number of people involved. I didn’t count them, but think there was probably about 218 people there this evening. Just a guess. Maybe only 40-50. Who knows?

The white elephant gift exchange is an event where you can steal gifts from each other. Everyone who attends brings a gift and is issued a number when they enter. Rick draws numbers at random and that person can either open a new gift, or steal one from someone who has a really good one, like a jelly-belly pooping polar bear. Or a gigantic fly swatter. People who have gifts stolen can steal someone else’s or open a new gift. This goes on until all the gifts are opened. Diane was #11 and her number wasn’t drawn until 3rd from last, so she had the choice of stealing anything from anyone, except for anything that has already been stolen three times. That’s a rule. A gift can only be stolen three times. It used to be two times, but it was changed this year to promote stealing by those in attendance. The police were OK with that rule change as it’s all done in doors and everyone is wearing clothes.

That’s about it for the party. Diane and I had a great time. We sat with Tom & Linda and talked about Coleen because she wasn’t there. They’re fun folks. Tom works in a psych ward somewhere in the NW.

Now, about proposed TVCC event trips. Anyone have ideas? If so, add a comment and let us know where you’d like to see the club go. Suggesting they “Go to Hell” isn’t an option because that’s been suggested a number of times already. We look forward to your inputs which will be passed along to Rick.

My suggestion is that we arrange a tour of the Royal Vacuum cleaner factory and learn why their vacuums suck the most. If that doesn’t work out we can visit the Peerless Blower factory, in North Carolina, to see why their products blow. If that doesn’t work out, perhaps we can visit one of the factories where they make blowers that also suck. I think those are made somewhere in Arkansas. Personally, I’d rather visit the last one.

On that, I bid you adieu, so long, farewell. Sleep in peace and stay safe.

Us & Public Health

Today Diane and I were asked to participate in a Public Health event, possibly related to a new breed of lettuce called “crappingzola”. It’s being touted, locally, as a new weight loss product that appears to work well. I’ve lost 8 pounds in the last week alone. Diane apparently got the placebo because she didn’t acquire any urgent needs to get intimate with a toilet, as did I. I was selective, however, and hugged only my own porcelain throne.

Things are getting better because I ran out of bile Wednesday last week. I think Diane still has all of hers. Consequently, we learned how to keep time by how long it takes a banana to transit my large intestine. Not just a banana … pretty much anything edible.

Just to top things off, today I made fudge.

Lunar Eclipse Hits US

This morning, around 6:30am (0630 for you military types), the moon was partially shut off for about 1.5 hours to save power. The government decided 8 months ago that they were going to do this if certain measures weren’t taken by USA inhabitants to curtail their unending overuse of power production facilities.

“Why,” said one prominent senator, “the average citizen has no idea how much power is consumed to illuminate the moon on clear nights. No, they just fire up all their danged electronical gadgets without a care, not knowing that they are helping deprive some poor, starved South African citizen of just a little bit of the moon’s glow. Now it’s come to this!”

The senator refused to be named and was wearing a moon globe over his head to hide his identity. He got into a vehicle with Kansas license plates. I, personally, find that last bit unremarkable because the news report was from Wichita.

Since the dimming moon was, essentially, a power outage no one was surprised that 850,000 women were immediately inseminated as they are with any kind of power outage. Some of the inseminees reported that it happened so quickly they were unaware that an inseminer was involved. “I was just sitting in my rocking chair, playing sudoku, John was  on his way to the bathroom, the moon went out and, BAM!, I was inseminated! John didn’t know what happened, either, as he was flung to the floor with great force,” reported one newly inseminated mother of 12.

I always thought insemination was a physical act but, apparently, it’s really associated with electricity in some manner, and how bright the moon is at any given moment. I’ve since learned that locations where the sun & moon rarely shine have a much higher insemination rate than do places when the sun & moon are readily available for viewing, many times both at the same time.

Because of all these new revelations whirling around in my head, I’ve decided to make it my life’s goal to find out who that moon-headed senator from Kansas is and petition him to work on legislation that requires all weathermen, in the world, report nothing but good news regarding the weather. If they tell everyone it’s going to be nice and cozy everywhere, we all know that will happen because the weather does just exactly what they report it will. If they say it’s going to be cold, it’s cold. So, all they have to do is say it’s going to be warm and that everyone needs to plant their palm trees. Not only will this enhance global warming, it will reduce the expanding population because the sun & moon will always be visible. Certain locations would have to remain in the dark, however, to ensure potential inseminees have a place to go should inseminational urges overtake rational behavior. But they would need a visa. The only inseminators in these locations are those who took too many viagaras and find themselves in a permanently turgid state. Therefore, insemination will take as much, or little, time as the inseminee wishes to expend  on the effort. In a clinical trial using this method, it was reported that some inseminees remained in the controlled territory for an average of 6 hours, and 3% never return.

I read that report 4 times and still don’t understand what its supposed to mean.

Back to the eclipse … Diane set her alarm for 0600 so we could get up and watch it. She also set it to 0430, but I was the only one to hear it. I didn’t get up then. I waited. We got up and bundled up in warm clothes as it was only about eleventy degrees outside, then went in the yard to watch. Complicating this was all the motion floodlights that come on when something walks though our yard. We had to shade our eyes to see the moon clearly. And we stood there, watching. It’s a real slow process. We watched some more, then the dogs finally decided it was OK to go back in the house. That made us happy so we fed them. Watching an eclipse isn’t high on my list of exciting things to do. Looking once is good. Watching isn’t recommended.

Now the sun is up, we think, but it’s hiding behind an overcast. The weather people say it’s going to rain tomorrow so we need to start waterproofing everything.

It Is Done

The vigil for Jeff Kuiper has ended. He entered a comatose state approximately 6 weeks ago, due to complications from an infection and diabetes, and never recovered.

Jeff was 49.

I can’t say that I really “knew” Jeff because I saw him infrequently. He was, however, essentially a member of brother Jack & Wynette’s family so, by association, we are related. It’s odd, I suppose, but I’ve always felt that way. He was a friendly guy and I am proud to have known him. I regret his passing and pray that his family finds peace.