Doilies at Sea

Over the years I’ve acquired a few skills that aren’t commonly associated with men. The only one I will mention today, perhaps ever, is that I crochet stuff. I learned from my Aunt Bert when I was 8 years old and have never forgotten how. I can follow patterns and everything.

There was a long lull in this kind of activity during my Navy career, but toward the end, when I went on several WESTPAC cruises, back to back, I picked it up again. A WESTPAC cruise, in case you’re wondering, is when the ship one is assigned to sails West to various points of interest in the Western Pacific rim. On the way they always stop at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On the last two we stopped at Iwo Jima, not normally part of these kind of trips. Other locations are the Philippines Islands, Hong Kong, Australia, Korea, Japan, to name a few.

Anyway, spending time at sea for extended periods gives one a lot of free time once all the training evolutions are done for the day. So, I picked up my needle and yarn and started making doilies. They’re simple and quick, allowing me to get the feel for the needle once again. It’s like riding a bicycle.

When this activity began I was a Chief Petty Officer so had relative privacy in the CPO Mess. The challenge, mentally, was to get past the odd looks I received from the embarked Marines. I’m talking Gunnery Sergeants and up to Sergeant Majors. Tough guys, putting it mildly. These were the warriors we carried and they were ready to make an assault any where, any time. They trained incessantly so what they saw me doing was not a manly thing to do. Making doilies, for criminy sakes. Go figure.

After a few days, however, they accepted my behavior and started giving me sideways glances to see what I was making. When they started seeing finished products they approached me to see about making a trade for something so they could get one for their significant others. I obliged, of course, trading for various pieces of Marine gear.

Some of these doilies, and a table cloth I made, were sent to my Mom who, without my knowledge, entered them all in the Columbia County Fair. When I learned about this I also learned that I never got less than 2nd place competing with all the professional crocheters in the county. Not bad. Mom had all my ribbons mounted in a picture frame. Pretty special.

After retiring from the Navy I discovered a pattern for snow people so I made dozens of them and most of my family have them and haul them out at Christmas time when they know I’m going to visit. Diane thinks I should work on them all year round and sell them at craft fairs. I don’t do that, however, because then it would be a job. I’ve had jobs and don’t want another one. So, its a casual thing.

Here’s what they look like …


I have to admit they’re not like the pattern any more. I tend to exaggerate things a little.

Now, if you’re related, and don’t have a set of these, and fear that I might pay you a visit, put in your request. If you aren’t related, and want a set, they are $85. You, too, can put in your request.

Just kidding … I’ve never made a dime on these things and don’t intend to start now. If I did, it would be like … well, like work. I do it for fun. If you don’t have a set, and just have to have one, contact my agent. She’ll put you on the list. After that, it’s all about patience on your part.

Diane left me alone tonight. She went with Jennifer and Lydia to an ornament exchange. It’s that time of year.

Now I need to find something to watch on TV to keep my mind off power tools until she gets home.

Christmas Decorations (and other stuff)

Deer Pipples,

I yam hear to warm you a bout thu coming a cop a lips. Scuse me … the coming a pock a lips. Once ur lips become a pocked, it’s hard to unpock thim. An, with pocked lips not evun ugli pipples wood con sidur play in hossle tonkey with you. No, tossie honkle … honsle tockey … tonsul hockey. Thas it!

OK … that’s really dumb. Something came over me, compelling me to lower myself to provide a true life narrative and it didn’t come out so well.

The day began nicely at 0715 with the sun coming up behind Mt. Hood …

Then Diane and I installed some festive items in our front yard to celebrate the coming Christmas season. Our Mr. Tree, the birch with a face, got garland …

… the dogwood tree got lots of balls, some garland, and a cat …

… and the middle of the yard got two electric deer and an electric tree with blink lights …

It took all morning to get that done so we spent the remainder of the day eating stuff.

During the process of getting this done, adding photos and whatnot, I came to the conclusion that I’d made a terrible mistake by moving from Comcast Blast to CenturyLink SnailPace internet. It took forever to upload the photos causing me internal pressure. Add to that Diane’s dislike for the depleted speed, I deemed it was time to fix it.

So, yesterday I dropped Diane at Wal*Mart and went to Comcast and ordered their Triple Play with the works and it’s going to be installed next Thursday, the 6th. No more lolligagging around waiting for uploads/downloads after that. No sir! It’s going to be lightening fast from then on.

Today I actually got out of my PJs in time to go to coffee with the guys at the Kozy Korner Kafe. Only two others showed up, but we three had a great visit. After that, I went to Diane’s Mom’s house and put Christmas lights in her Japanese maple tree. That was a surprise for Mom because she Diane took her to the doctor this morning in Portland and didn’t return until about 30 minutes ago.

When she got home, Diane rushed around gathering up all the cans of tomatoes she could find to take to 1st Lutheran Church for Community Meals this evening. Today is Bethany Church’s turn to cook and she is making minestroni soup. I offered to help, but all she wants me to do is show up later and help clean up. I’ll get a meal out of it so that’s OK.

Now I’m going to go spray some grout seal on my shower so I can get busy putting it back together. So far this project has only taken me about 1.5 months. Not bad as projects go for me. During this process, I learned that WD-40 removes soap scum from glass. Go figure.

Myanmar Checks In

I have evidence that there are at least 75 people, in the world from 22 different countries, who made the mistake of looking at my blog. Most of them show restraint and only looked once but there were 17 who looked from Myanmar. I suspect the 17 looks happened because one person found this by mistake and talked to her friend.  Their conversaion probably went something like this …

“Hey Mya, look at this please and tell me what it is this person is trying to say.”

“I’m sure I do not know, Nu,”  Mya responded. “Maybe Than can figure it out. He is such a whiz at this kind of thing.” For clarification, Than is Nu’s boyfriend. Of course I’m guessing … he may be Mya’s boyfriend. Surely he’s someone’s boyfriend.

As a result of that brief conversation, Than contacted 14 of his friends seeking wizdom about what the “crazy American” is bantering about, but none of them knew. Consequently, they never returned. That makes me sad. Again, I’m guessing that they don’t know because I don’t get a lot of feedback from folks who read this either by mistake, or on purpose. Probably no news is good news in that regard.

I’m honored that they visited once, much less 17 times. And I regret that they couldn’t figure out what I was talking about. Now I’ll probably go to bed tonight wondering how I could word things differently so everyone in the world can make sense of what I’m trying to share. I’ll add a request to anyone that comes up with a reasonable answer to please reply because I’ve been wondering myself. For a long time. Diane has been wondering a lot longer than a long time. As soon as she finds the answer I fear she will leave. Therefore, I must keep her guessing, so please play along …

Additionally, 13 from Great Britain, and 9 from Canada checked in, and I appreciate that. There was also one person from Chile who, I think, replied to one of my entries to explain how confused she was about my entry. I think it was about my comparison of Twighlight & Hunger Games. I can’t remember if that was one of my lucid moments, or not. I’ll never know because I rarely read anything I write. Once it leaves my fingers, I’m generally done with it.

Closer to home, Diane’s computer is still giving her fits. I believe I mentioned that yesterday. Tomorrow we’ll find out if it’s the internet, or not, because I’m getting rid of the DSL and going back to cable. I suspect all of you are just thrilled to know this.

The problem, you see, is that cable totally spoiled us because it got to the point where it was so blazing fast it actually burned my fingers. Shifting to DSL was a $$ consideration, but we’ve decided that it was a bad, bad move. Well, Diane decided it was a bad move beause her really old computer just doesn’t function well on DSL. That, and her Hotmail account was hacked, which she thinks is related to the DSL connection. Maybe she’s right. Anyway, it’s a valid reason to switch back to something a little more speedy that will allow us to view a video without having it pause at critical moments during the streaming process.

Today we enjoyed another quiet day visiting with Diane’s Mom, Jean. We did this after church, and a stop at KFC for some dead chicken. The ulterior motive was to view the last two episodes of NCIS which we missed because our DirecTV service was, for an unexplained reason, off the air for a long period of time. Just for selected channels, like the ones we enjoy watching. So, we sat around Mom’s table eating dead chicken, potatoes, gravy and coleslaw, then retired to the living room to see how good she was with her Comcast remote control. Turns out she’s pretty darn good at it.

Now we’re home, and I’m going to watch the last half of “John Carter of Mars” while Diane’s watching one of the 15 HGTV shows she records. Maybe it’s only 10. Either way, I’ll surely be in trouble when she reads this.


The 2nd Day After

Wow! It’s Saturday and I just woke up! The last thing I remember was eating Thanksgiving dinner last Thursday then sitting down on the couch for a nap afterward. I’m not sure if I even went to bed. I’ll have to wait until Diane gets up to find out.

Thanksgiving was wonderful. With the exception of Alan, Alicia, Arianna, Bob, Brian, Carol, Cheryl, Chris, Daniel, DanYell, Donna, Gene, Greg, Heather, Heather, Jack, Jay, Jeff, Jeffrey, Jerrie, Jim, Julia, Juliette, Kathie, Larry, Laura, Logan, Martin, Maryssa, Mike, Ray, Ruth, Sarah, Shene, Shirley, Steffani, Steven, Susan, Tianna, Tyler, Wynette, and Valerie, a large pat of the Cate clan, was at our house. I know … I missed a few, but remember, I’ve been unconscious for about 36 hours. I think. Two that I know I missed live in Arizona, they’re young, and I’ve never met them, so I have a reason.

Those who made it to dinner were  Bailee, Cedric, Daniel, Diane, Gilligan, Jean, Jeran, Jerrie, Jennifer, and Lydia. I know. It’s sad that those who attended only made it up to the “L’s”, but we all had a good time and there was plenty of food. Like normal. And, we were all able to sit at the same table. I heard that somewhere in Connecticut a crowd of 25 was expected. Nothing has been heard from that part of the world since the holiday. Perhaps they, too, are still sleeping.

 Back to reality …

Since Diane didn’t get up until 10am or so, I didn’t get any work done this morning. I would have, but we had a date at the Walters house to watch the Oregon vs. Oregon State civil war football game. The entire Walters household are dedicated Ducks fans, as are we most of the time. Today, however, to ensure I backed a winner, I dressed for the occasion,

Either way I was a winner. However, as Dan pointed out, either way I was also a loser. Not only is that just a mean thing to say, I thought it was inappropriate for a son-in-law to call his well respected father-in-law a loser. I didn’t pursue that for two reasons; I like Daniel, and he’s way bigger than me. Just a friendly pat on the back from Daniel can be fatal. Oh, there’s third reason, too … what he said was totally true. When dressing  I failed to consider both sides of that coin. Truly, my heart was with the Ducks who won handily.

After the game Diane took me home and forced me to change into some work clothes so I could see about fixing the leak around her Mom’s (Jean’s) chimney before it starts raining again. On the way to Mom’s house we stopped by ACE to get the supplies I thought I might need. I had to rush because the light was fading fast and I’m just not comfortable tramping around on anyone’s roof in the dark.

After a thourough inspection of the chimney flashing I discovered that much of it was loose allowing water to seep in and leak into the garage. This is kinda what I suspected and was prepared for it. That was unusual because generally I’m never prepared to fix anything until I see what I’m dealing with. Doing things this way allows me to make multiple trips to ACE Hardware in order to effect a solution. I don’t know what came over me that caused me to obtain a solution before I knew what the problem was. It was kind of mind boggling.

One of the reasons we went to Dan’s and Jen’s to watch the football game was because we have DirecTV service which doesn’t carry the Pac-12 Network. It’s the only provider that doesn’t. But, by not being able to watch it at home we were treated to a terrific afternoon. It was very relaxing for us both. But, because of DirecTV’s obstinance in making the Pac-12 Network available, I’m switching to Comcast. That means I will also switch our internet provider from CenturyLink back to Comcast. CenturyLink is cheap because it’s really, really slow. Diane isn’t pleased.

Speaking of Diane … her computer is currently going through it’s third malware scan because something(body) hacked her email and/or her computer. The first scan found 146 malicious items. The second found 40+. The third has only found 2 so far. But, the security software won’t run because something has apparently imbedded itself so deep into the system that online solutions suggest that we just reformat the hard drive and reinstall windows. If it comes to that, I’ll just get her another computer because this one is 5 years old and I’m surprised that it’s still working. Actually, that’s a terrible lie. It’s been working well for all these years but I have had to reset it to OOB condition. That means Out Of the Box, as in brand new. I hate to do that, however, because of all the security patches involved in getting it to where it is now. There’s hundreds of them. I don’t know if I have the energy. Perhaps I’ll just set up the laptop in front of her and see if she notices. It would be lots cheaper to do that. Yes, that’s what I’ll do. I’ll leave it to her to let you know how things go with that.

Now for some good news … Tom called this afternoon and we had a nice visit. He’s home, didn’t have hiccups any longer, and he’s getting around with just one cane. This is amazing and it makes Diane and I so happy. While discussing the blessing of being rid of the hiccups, he started hiccupping, again. I can only believe that I jinxed him by talking about it. Makes me feel real bad, but I gave him Diane’s hiccup solution which he said he’s going to try. She just eats a marshmellow. I hope it works, Tom.

While talking with Tom I discovered that he’s one of the five people that read this. I’m blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving !!

Today we give thanks for all we have. It’s sad that we’re only legally allowed to do this once a year. We should do it more often, don’t you think? Honestly, I give thanks every single day for a myriad of things …

  • … for my blessed bride who loves me, even though I’m faulty
  • … for our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren
  • … for living long enough to retire
  • … for being able to hear beautiful sounds
  • … for being able to smell the flowers
  • … for the ability to see the sun coming up behind a snow capped mountain, the flowers in spring, and the
  • … for being able to feel soft, fuzzy blankets, and soft, fuzzy pets
  • … for a body, though flawed, that still seals up punctures rather quickly
  • … for the ability to pay taxes and still keep the lights on

There are more, of course, but my mind gets to swirling about when I make any attempt to make any kind of comprehensive list. There are just so many of them…

Now, on a serious side, does this hat make my head look fat?


Maybe this one will thin things down, a little.


Whatever … I hope everyone has a joyous Thanksgiving and, if you are travelling, be safe.


Seven Day Absence

A week! It’s been a week since I sat here in front of my over sized monitor, keyboard in hand, to share events about which most of humanity could care less. Some, though, do care. I can tell, because they look herein seeking wisdom which has always been a mystery to me. Well, they probably don’t “seek” wisdon, per se, but they get it, nonetheless.

It may not appear to most of you that there really is wisdom in shared nonesense. I’ve yet to discover what that is, but it’s got to be there, somewhere. Otherwise, why would I spend so much time doing this if I didn’t have wisdom to impart.

OK, you’re right. Wisdom has nothing to do with this. Most folks who write anything have a motive … a story to tell, fact or fiction. Most are a blend of both. I share all this based on simple beliefs, derived in my sleep, which have nothing at all to do with fact. Many of my favorite memories are based on fictional events.

Actually, the line where fiction becomes fact has long since been fatally blurred to the point where I don’t know where that fine point of demarcation really is. So, I stagger along that imaginary line, going back and forth, knowing that most of the time I’m on the wrong side of the line. That’s OK. I’m good with that. I also feel semi-safe knowing that I’ve already share, up front, that most of the events I relate are the result of delusion.

Once in a while, however, there is a moment of lucidity, where I seem able to communicate, even with strangers. As an example, this evening I had a phone call from someone in Ohio who wanted me to take a product survey. I paused, wondering if I should do it which gave the caller an opportunity to deliver her “hook” stating she only had to ask two questions to see if I even qualify to take the survey.

Since I feel qualified to answer most questions, whether or not I know the subject matter, and I didn’t want to NOT qualify for something as simple as this, I said, “OK.”

She said, “are you 18?”

I said, “physically, or mentally?”

She said, after a suppressed snicker, “either.”

Without pause I said, “my wife would say No.”

She said, again suppressing a snicker, “thank you” and hung up. Just like that.

I felt cheated because I didn’t get the 2nd question! I’m pretty sure she thought Diane was monitoring the conversation, shaking her head vigorously, silently telling me not to participate. In fact, I was all alone in a room, by myself, and thought up the answer without prompting. All. By. Myself. Alone. Which goes to prove I can carry on a conversation with a total stranger.

I guess I should be happy because most calls of this nature, to which I respond, end promptly with a click when the caller hangs up in answer to my query about the color of their underwear. Sometimes I just ask if they’re wearing any. Once in a while I get an answer. None have ever shared, with me, how inappropriate my questions are. I’m still waiting for the day that happens. I’ve got an answer for them.

Let’s see … what’s been going on.

Last I heard, Tom’s hiccups stopped and he was blessed with uninterrupted sleep. Also, Linda’s diagnosis is still up in the air, but it sounds like the docs do not believe she has cancer. They’re just siphoning off gallons of fluid from her … one trip they left her 47 pounds lighter. She related that it’s not a fun way to lose weight, but it works.

Other stuff has happened, for sure, but they escape me at the moment. It’s probably because I’m trying to recover from the Ducks’ devastating loss to Stanford. Now Notre Dame is #1 in the nation, not the Ducks. I suspect they self destructed because those people who know everything predicted that Stanford would lose by 3 touchdowns.

So, now, being the fair weather fan that I am, I’ll be cheering on the Oregon State Beavers. They play the Ducks next weekend in the annual “Civil War” between the two Oregon schools. If the Beavers win, and Stanford loses to UCLA, the Beavers should win the Pac-12 North. Then they would play UCLA, Pac-12 South winner, to see who goes to the Rose Bowl. Also, USC of the Pac-12 South are out of contention, for anything, but they can de-throne unbeaten Notre Dame this coming weekend. Wouldn’t that be fun. I normally don’t cheer for USC, but they will hear me next weekend.

That’s it, sports fans.

This didni’t go quite the direction I intended … well, maybe it is, because I didn’t really have a direction. Like normal.

Veteran’s Day & Other Stuff

Back again, just like a bad penny.

Today I got to see Tom for the first time since his “event”. He’s scooting around in a wheelchair which at first unsettled me because he’s always been such a vibrant guy. After giving that a bit of thought, however, I was elated that he was able to do that. Most people who have strokes are paralyzed and have problems with speech. Not Tom. He had a ‘rare’ kind of stroke at the base of his brain stem that affected his vision and numbed his left leg. His speech is fine, with the exception of continuous hiccups. That’s been going on for the past 10 days during which time he’s only been able to sleep about 25 hours. He’s in the ‘Cadillac’ of facilities for physical therapy, according to Linda, and he has the willpower to fight his way back to his feet. With us all helping, that shoudln’t be a problem.

Now, for Linda … we’re waiting on the medical establishment to issue a determination as to whether or not they think she has some sort of cancer. She, like Tom, is upbeat, thinking positive about all of this. I find it amazing that they can do that and look to them as shiny examples of bravery. You know me, I like anything shiny.

Before going to Portland we took Diane’s Mom, Jean, to church. It was interesting to see who noticed the replaced speaker material. Many did and, I must admit, it look pretty darn good. Barbara was especially happy that I replaced the spotlight that shines down on the piano. I may not have mentioned that previously. I did it while the major tall step ladder was in the church because a simple 8 foot ladder won’t reach.

After visiting Tom, we headed down to the shores of the Willamette River where we had reservations for a Veteran’s Day lunch at McCormick & Schmick’s. Nice place, good food, and excellent service. I got a free meal because I could prove I’m a bonofide veteran. We even got free parking because the automated lot thingy didn’t work so some ‘remote’ person opened the gate and let us out after a short conversation on the little box by the gate.

The trip home took us by the Home Depot at Jantzen Beach. It was amazing to us because since the last time we were there they’ve ripped down and replaced most of the buildings. Even the one with the old Jantzen Beach carousel is gone. Amazing. Guess we should get out a little more often, huh? The reason for Home Depot was to get some replacement tile for my shower because I destroyed part of it. Now I have to put it back together.

We’re home now after dropping Jean off. We went inside to look at her toilet. Diane wanted me to do that, so I did. I looked at it until she told me it was time to go home.

Now I’m done.

Happy Veteran’s Day … hug a sailor