Sandy hasn’t been good to the East Coast, as everyone knows. This short entry is to let folks know that things can happen even when the weather isn’t all that bad.

Diane’s Mom, Jean, awoke to part of her maple tree laying across the creek running through her back yard, a victim of strong winds. The tree is enormous, originally growing from 13 separate trees, the trunks grew together and became quite pretty. Pretty, I must add, with the exception of all the whirly gig seeds that fly out of the tree every year to regenerate itself. Jean doesn’t like those, but she truly enjoys all the shade it provides on hot summer afternoons.

Here’s twelve of the trees …

Here’s the thirteenth tree …

The small shed in the picture is Jean’s woodshed which narrowly escaped destruction.

That’s all.

I’m not comparing Jean’s episode to Hurricane Sandy at all. There is no comparison. This is about a tree that fell across a Milton Creek. Sandy is about terrible destruction on the East Coast.

God Bless all the East Coasters … especially the ones who work so hard to keep safe.


As we sit here, safe and sound in our NW Oregon sanctuary, all of our thoughts and prayers are with friends, family, and strangers on the east coast as they ready themselves for the fury of Sandy.

God’s blessing on you all.

The Pyramid that popped out of Uranus …

Three days! I’ve only been gone for three days but it seems so much longer.

I was ‘Taken’ on the 26th. Spirited away, I was, to a secluded cabin on the dark side of the moon.

“A cabin?”, you ask. “Really!?” Yes, a cabin, and a very nice one at that. At the time I didn’t know we were on the moon because I thought I was just dreaming. Perhaps I was. Perhaps I still am. Perhaps the entire sum of my life is something that can be downloaded onto a 2GB thumb drive because “those” people who postulate that nothing is real, that we’re all just part of an elaborate hologram, are right. Perhaps one day someone will just turn off the power and we’ll discover that we’re really living in a desolate little debris strewn valley on Uranus.

Perhaps, too, we’ll learn that the purpose of the hologram is to prevent humanity from fleeing Uranus because the government doesn’t want to be the only remaining residents. If that happened, they would be reduced to governing each other. That wouldn’t work out very well.

I’ve ‘heard’ that one ancient Uranian civilization, Eugyptians, built pyramids. Their scientists determined that the planet was cooling off, sliding into oblivion, and the only solution to longevity was to  depart Uranus for warmer climes. After much discussion the scientists gave up trying to figure out how to escape and turned the problem over to the educational system, ultimately accepted a solution proposed by a non-descript  3rd grade student, Jose Ranana (like banana).

He suggested they simply build an upside down pyramid on top of the only active volcano on the planet. Since starting the construction inside the volcano was a patently absurd idea, Jose proposed an elaborate erection of supports to hold the pyramid in place above the volcano until it was finished. The eruption cycle was well known, so the addition of supports was totally feasible since the volcano was, oddly, in a deep valley. They could start building a cubit or three above the volcano and, once it was complete, cut the supports and drop the pyramid into the volcano a week or so after an eruption.

Each stone used in the construction would be a self-contained apartment housing one family with enough food and water to last for 100 years. There weren’t more than 80-90,000 inhabitants on the planet and most of them would perish during the construction, so they only had to worry about propelling 150 families from the planet.

After listening to Jose explain his ideas everyone looked around the room waiting for someone to form a more viable solution. There being none, one of them nodded his head in acceptance. In a manner of seconds, everyone in the room was nodding so it became a huge project to propel the entire population to a new location.

Construction began at once. Each stone, beginning at level 85, was hollow with room for either food, or residents. The pointy end stones were solid rock. All of the stones were sculpted ahead of time because completing the pyramid quickly was extremely important for those who drew the short straws and had to occupy the inner stones.

I could go on and on about the details of construction but I won’t. Just believe me, if you must, that it was built, occupied, and dropped on the volcano immediately after the last eruption.

The pyramid was a mile high and was enormously heavy so when it dropped, it plunged deeply into the volcano’s orifice. As designed, this began a process that caused incredible pressure to build up under the pyramid until the for was so great the pyramid was ejected from Uranus at very high velocity. So dramatic was the ejection that you would think everyone in the hollow stones would be crushed by the forces involved. But, you forget this is pretend. No one got hurt.

Shortly after the ejection began, one of the Uranian astronauts posed the question that no one had considered during this entire process … “where are we going?” he asked.

As luck would have it, the ejection trajectory was such that it plunked down on Earth in the middle of a desert. Since it was ejected upside down, it landed right side up, just as planned. However, upon entering the Earth’s atmosphere it split into three smaller pyramids that landed in the same vicinity.

How long the trip took is a matter for later discussion because I have no idea. I would suspect it wasn’t long, however, because everyone survived.

In honor of thinking up the plan for this momentous event, Jose Ranana was promoted to the 5th grade and granted god status. They named their new home Egypt and called him Ra.

OK. I must admit that this is  little far fetched, but there’s absolutely no one around who can refute what I just shared. Sure, laws of physics, as we know it, would not have allowed people to survive such an ejection, or a trip of that nature. But, perhaps the laws of physics back then were entirely different. How would we know? Things change all the time. Look at politicians.

Time to quit. If you have anything further to add, please do. Perhaps you have your own beliefs about where the pyramids came from.

Ordinary Mary

I have a friend named Mary who is in the process of saving a stranger’s life.

Normally, when someone saves the life of another person, it is a spontaneous response to an emergent situation that doesn’t call for any thought. It’s a response directed by those instincts imbedded in most everyone’s existence. We react to situations, mostly to take ourselves out of harm’s way, but the same reaction results in actions that save others from a myriad of possibly fatal situations.

Since no thought is wasted on computing all the possibilities associated with whatever inappropriate action they are about to take, scores of folks pay the ultimate price in a brief quest to save someone else. It’s a selfless act, in all cases.

Mary, on the other hand, has had a lot of time to consider the consequences of her actions and is increasingly excited about the outcome. She is donating one of her kidney’s to this stranger as part of a team involved with getting her niece a kidney transplant. Today I commended her for her actions and her comment was, “I’m just an ordinary person.”

She almost had it right. The correct word is ‘extraordinary’.

Sore Back, Bad Golf, and Blue Lips

Today a variety of things went on that ultimately resulted in me having a sore back, a high golf score, and blue lips. Let me try to explain …

First, the dogs allowed us to sleep in until after 7 am. I think that’s because they’re used to getting me up when it’s daylight, and it’s getting dark early, and staying dark later in the morning, so their clocks are skewed. I’m not going to tell them about it. As soon as we Fall Back for  daylight saving time, which is really a dumb thing to do, in my opinion, it will mess them up even more. For now, however, I’m going to enjoy the extra sleep time.

Once Diane got up, and I was allowed to make noise, I volunteered to vacuum the main floor of the house. Diane thought that would be a really good idea, and a lot of help, because that would allow her to concentrate her efforts on putting everything together for Jennifer’s Birthday Dinner (JBD), planned for 6pm today. Before firing up the vacuum, however, I made Jennifer a double batch of fantasy fudge without walnuts. Her favorite.

I did the vacuuming and was glad I did it because it gave me the sore back. I would rather have it than for Diane to have it because she has enough back problems as it is. My back wasn’t really terrible … it just had a sore spot that hurt a lot when I moved the wrong way.

After vacuuming, lunch was almost ready. Diane fried the bacon so all I had to do was dredge up my expert culinary talents to create a cheese omelet to accompany the strips of succulent pig fat. I used six eggs to do this so it was a bigun.

While creating this masterpiece, Doug called, inviting me to join him and JP at 1pm for a round of golf. I initially declined thinking I wouldn’t be done with lunch in time, but turns out I can eat pretty fast. Besides, Diane thought it would be a good idea if I went. Might not get to golf again until spring. So I went.

It was chilly to start, but halfway through the sun popped out and it was incredibly beautiful with the sun shining on all those colorful trees. Playing bad golf on a day like this was a good thing. I beat JP by one stroke. I never beat JP even though he’s had both knees replaced and can still hardly get around, and he’s in such terrible pain all the time that I don’t see how he can walk at all. Still, he smacks the ball around nicely. So, it was a treat for me to beat him this one time. I never beat Doug. he makes sure by lying to me when I ask how many strokes he takes. I generally add one to whatever he tells me, but he still beats me. Guess since I’m the scorekeeper I could fudge my score a little, but I have a bit of integrity left. He actually doesn’t lie to me at all. I made that up.

Here’s a panorama picture of the ninth hole, from Hazen Road on the left, to the parking lot on the right.

I got home from golf just in time to shower then go get Diane’s Mom, Jean. The house smelled incredible from all the cooking she did during my absence.

All the kids showed up not long after I got Jean in the house and the noise level picked up a great deal, just like someone turned on a couple of stereos tuned to different stations. It was a joyful noise, however, and it was good.

There were nine of us gathered around the table this evening and we had a terrific dinner of baked ham, scalloped potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn asparagus, dressing, and dinner rolls. This was Jennie’s dinner request. It’s always been one of her favorites.

The dessert was a huge cake that Diane found on the Costco Ding n Dent Cake Cart. It was a bargain and still looked pretty good. And, it tasted really good. Unfortunately for me, Lydia made an addition to the cake with some really blue coloring. I, of course, got the piece with the largest amount of this coloring and wound up with blue lips which Jennifer found very amusing. So, she took a picture. I didn’t know I had blue lips at the time. Once I saw the picture, I thought it was really festive. This might be my new look from now on.

Nice, huh?

After all that food, and the dessert, we all sat down to watch The Middle, which we all enjoy. It’s fun to watch other dysfunctional families interact so we’ll know when we’re all straying off course.

By then it was time to get the kids home because they have school tomorrow. Earlier Lydia retired to the Man Room because she didn’t feel well, so I offered to give her a piggyback ride to the car. Surprisingly, she agreed, and stood on the couch so I could more easily accept her weight. When she climbed aboard, she inadvertently got her hair over the top of my head so I had a real closeup look at how she sees the world.

We worked as a team to open doors, and get to the car where I deposited her in her assigned seat and away they went. I don’t think I’ll be able to these kids many more piggy back rides so this was special.

That’s pretty much the today in a nutshell.

Beauticians vs. Barbers

I fear I’ve treaded heavily upon some soft spots of decorum by delving into the world of religion and politics. View this as a hasty retreat from that line of thought and consider me neutral. I’m now Switzerland, in position only, of course. I don’t have spare banks into which you can dump your hard earned cash, but I do have a small safe that will hold a modest amount should any of you care to contribute.

That, by the way, isn’t one of those Nigerian scams where someone with bad English wishes to help you claim the millions of dollars his client, your relative, left in his care. He just needs you to confirm your identity, send him a few grand, and he’ll ensure the money is transferred. For a modest fee, of course.

No, that’s not me. This isn’t even a request. It’s simply a suggestion that if you have a bunch of cash laying around and don’t know what to do with it I’ll help you store it until you make up your mind. For a modest fee, of course. I don’t need any kind of personal information from you, either. You can just leave it anonymously in the Wal*Mart newspaper drop box on any Tuesday morning.

Today I must make an appointment with the Apple Doctor for the computer, upon which I’m creating this questionable bit of verbage, as it’s main storage unit has been deemed to have a known flaw and they wish to replace it, free of charge. All I have to do it get it to the doctor. First, however, I must make an appointment with them that does not overlap any currently scheduled appointments. Today, the critical one is Diane’s haircut this morning.

Diane and her Mom, Jean, go together for haircuts about every 5 weeks or so, the same as Ozzie. Actually, Ozzie is the driver here because when his fuzzy hair gets to looking pretty bad, the girls just gather him in and they all march off for their Poodle-Do’s.

Me? I really don’t care if I ever get another haircut but there always comes a point in time when Diane feels I’ve gone long enough without one and parks in front of my barber until I get out of the car. Then she goes shopping while waiting for me.

Most times, about 2 days after their haircuts, they find problems that cause them to question their choice of facilities, and/or, their beautician, and discuss their choices about where to go for the next one. This generally winds up with them making the rounds of all the salons in St. Helens over an 8 month period, winding up with their overall favorite, Tracie. My barber is a beautician, too, but he only charges me $10 for a haircut. Also, he’ll cut anyone’s hair so I’ve suggested, numerous times, that we could all go see him. The drawback for them, however, is that it’s a long process with my barber. He’s not in a hurry, he’s the only barber in the joint, and he has a ton of information to share. And, he doesn’t make appointments. Since his haircuts take about 40 minutes each, consider waiting a while if you are #3. I find it very interesting, however, listening to him share information on pretty much every subject known to mankind. It’s educational, unlike the rumors and gossip shared in normal beauty salons. I know that’s true because I’ve seen lots of TV shows where they do that. You don’t see many people getting their hair cut in barber shops on TV shows nowdays, unless one of them is getting shot.

I’ve decided that I’m not going to shave until next April. Diane will be upset, but my face will stay a bit warmer as the temperatures drop. I may, with increasing marital pressure, cave on this but my current intention is to stand fast and let it grow.

Gotta go and get my work clothes on now. Things to do. While I’m gone, perhaps you can help me solve a mystery that’s been bugging me lately. Well, not just lately, but for a long time now.

Why doesn’t pubic hair turn grey?