Happy Easter

This afternoon, at 1400, Diane, her Mom, and I went to the Warren Community Fellowship church to witness their 2013 Easter cantata in which brother Jack starred, once again, as a Sanhedrin Man (priest 6) who campaigned for Jesus’ crucifixion. Why would he do that? Two years in a row? You would think he would opt for a part on the good side for a change. Regardless, the production was wonderful. It was a non-stop 1.5 hours of song and dialogue about the arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection. Unlike last year, however, this year it was about “The Choice” that Marcus, a Roman Centurion, had to make. You should have been there. Really, you should have. Everyone was invited. You have two more chances to see it – tomorrow, Easter Sunday, at 0800 and 1030.

The picture is of the priests in the temple with the money changers, just before Jesus showed up and tossed everything on the floor. Jack is the 2nd priest from the left. It bothers me that only five of the six priests are in the picture, and that they aren’t standing in numerical order.


Actually, the sixth priest is there, but he’s standing behind the guy in #4 position. Dang.

As amazing as the production was, Wynette, Jack’s first wife, had to work much harder than he did because she made all of the costumes all by herself, with the help of 3 other seamstresses. Considering there were 80 volunteers, 60 or so in the cast, costumes were central to the success of the play. Seeing Jack in makeup was pretty cool, too. Sadly, I didn’t get a closeup.

Wow! 80 volunteers! We don’t even have 80 members in our church. A good Sunday will reveal 20-30 who call Bethany ‘home’. Of those, maybe 12 are the ones who get all the work done. Sound familiar?

Tomorrow will mark the 4th day in a row that I’ve been forced to attend a church service. First it was Maundy Thursday, yesterday it was Good Friday, today it was The Cantata, tomorrow it’s Easter. Will it never end? That might sound a little odd coming from a church council president. Actually, many of you may find it odd that I’m actually the president. Still others may find it either amusing, or amazing, that I’m even allowed in a church. My pastor has been wondering about that since the time I told him I was rewriting the Bible. I covered pretty much everything in about six chapters.

I guess that’s about it for today.

Oh, wait. It was 75 degrees today. Nice.

Joyful Noises

Quiet has returned to the house. It actually returned yesterday, but I didn’t tell anyone. It was a happy noise, though, so wasn’t unwelcome. But it’s also nice when the quiet descends in it’s place. At least for a little while.

All the happy noise was related to Lydia’s birthday. It was her choice to spend her 1st night as a full fledged 14-year-old in our basement with two friends, Bree & Marissa, and her 5-year-old cousin, Gilligan. Bailee could have stayed, too, but she wouldn’t eat her turkey sandwich and that turned into a very big deal. That, and she’s not potty trained, yet. She knows she can’t stay the night until that happens so I think she’s intentionally putting it off for fear that she’ll have to spend the night.

Gilligan, of course, was delighted to spend time with “her cousin”. The entire time she was here she never once called Lydia by name … it was “Birthday Girl,” every time. Funny child, wise beyond her years.

Yesterday morning she checked all the cereal boxes to see how much sugar they had and picked the one with the least. Interesting.

After the birthday party on Tuesday, Jennie took all the girls shopping at Target. This was a prearranged trip so Lydia could spend her money on clothes, and Bree could get some parts for her skate board. Upon their return Lydia gave us a fashion show and Bree wanted to borrow some wrenches so she could replace the bearings on her board.

By the time all the clothes were displayed it was well past Diane’s and my bedtime so we excused ourselves and headed over to the East Wing, away from the noise. Since the East Wing, where the bedrooms are, is just around the corner from the living room, we didn’t miss out on any of the continuing conversation and the skitter of little feet as they padded down the hall to the bathroom for the tenth time, in an effort to stay awake and make every second count. Yes, it was Gilligan all the way … she was the only one we could hear talking and there was no doubt whose little feet those were. They were all in the living room, by the way, because Diane was afraid the girls would get cold in the basement. They were all happy with that decision.

Yesterday was a beautiful day, almost 70. While the sun shine was going on Diane and I had a very nice lunch of biscuits and gravy, then took a 2 hour nap. When we woke up we decided to drive to Longview to get the shoe moulding we need to finish the bedroom baseboards. I spent the rest of the sunny time in the basement putting a coat of polyurethane on all the baseboard pieces then went outside to see how much of the back yard I could get mowed before the rain came.

Upon approaching the lawn mower it became evident that my first stop would be the burn pile to empty the bags. I didn’t empty them on Monday because I was in a hurry to get to my Lion meeting. So, they sat there decomposing for two days. When I dumped them the grass was smoking, literally, and was close to combustion from the heat. And it smelled really bad.

About the time I got the bags emptied the rain started. It was light at first, so I kept going. I was able to fill all three bags two more times before I decided it was time to call it a day. Had I skipped that nap earlier in the day I could have finished the entire yard. Maybe today will be nice again. If not, there’s always tomorrow. Or the next day.

It’s almost 9:30 and Diane’s about the head out to get her Mom and go to quilting at church. That means I have to make a decision about taking another nap, or going to the basement to put another coat of polyurethane on the baseboards. Decisions, decisions.

I better go to the basement.

Softball Rifle Raffle

My granddaughter, Lydia, plays softball in St. Helens. She’s done this for a number of years and has participated in all the raffles that garner a bit of money for the leagues. Never enough to really get anything done because the rate of return for these raffles is less than adequate. It’s a business that benefits whoever produces the product being sold. Take Girl Scout cookies, for instance. You pay $3.50 a box and the girls get about $.56. I think that’s typical for most of the promotions that little leaguers are pretty much forced to do.

So, when the St. Helens Girls Softball League board decided to raffle off an AR-15 rifle there was criticism and praise in abundance throughout the community. It’s not illegal, the girls weren’t allowed to participate in ticket sales, and the raffle was a done deal in about 3 days. On an investment of about $900, the league received a net profit of $2000. So, it’s my understanding that they’re going to do it again.

In my humble opinion, I think it was an excellent idea by the board. It’s a far bigger bang for the buck, so to speak, than forcing the girls to fleece their families and friends for products their usually don’t need, not want. They don’t really want to do it but, until now, there really wasn’t a lot of choices if the league needs to raise money for field maintenance. Cookie dough? Calendars? Beef Jerky? Typical fare for promotions but normally the only way it gets sold is when parents and grandparents take their sales sheets to work and play the old “I bought for your kid, now it’s your turn to buy for mine” game. That’s a little crude, but I think you get my meaning.

Maybe an AR-15 isn’t the proper weapon for such a raffle. Perhaps a nice little Baretta that the lucky winner can hide in their pocket, if they have nefarious notions, would be a better choice.

Bottom line for me is that, while watching Lydia play softball on properly maintained fields, I’m not going to be looking over my shoulder for the person who won that rifle. No sir. Odds are the person who won the rifle might be the one who saves the day from those who sell stolen weapons from their cars and those who buy them.

Having said all that I’m compelled to add that I’m 69 and have never owned a personal weapon. I didn’t think I needed to because all my friends have them.

Maybe that will change after I buy my raffle ticket.

March Madness & Hair

At this time every year, I acquire a strong interest in NCAA basketball. This is when it gets exciting. Yesterday I watched #12 Oregon beat #5 Oklahoma and #1 Gonzaga beat #15 Southern University. Oregon cruised to a win while Gonzaga had a tougher game making the halftime announcers wonder if they have the moxie to live up to their #1 ranking. I heard one announcer say that, “at this point in time, the world is flat” in the world of NCAA basketball meaning the ranking doesn’t mean a thing. That’s an apt description because no matter what the odds makers predict, each game is up for grabs. Take the #15 Florida Gulf Coast University’s win over #2 Georgetown … sweet win for them. FGCU is a new school in only their 2nd year of eligibility and they played like a seasoned team. Fun to watch.

Now I’m gearing up for tomorrow’s games for Oregon and Gonzaga.

OK – enough about basketball. I’m sure that the 3 or 4 of you who read this are already engaged in this yearly event. Maybe it’s only two of you. I don’t remember.

Due to an inordinate amount of criticism from Linda, I’ve decided to abandon my estrogen therapy. Hopefully the one breast I’ve developed will deflate allowing me to once again wear my manly shirts. You just can’t imagine how silly I look wearing just half a bra. I’d add a picture but Diane won’t take one.

My beard is coming along nicely despite the estrogen. I may have already mentioned that it’s soft enough that Diane quit complaining about it. She just doesn’t like the way I comb it. All that’s left on my bucket list now, with regard to hair, to grow a pony tail. The estrogen therapy slowed things down a bit but, thankfully, didn’t stop the hair from growing completely. I would like to kickstart a growth spurt with some testosterone but I don’t know anyone who has extra. Most of the guys I know barely have enough for themselves, let alone an excess which they could loan a friend in need.

No doubt you’ve guessed that I really didn’t ingest any estrogen. Diane didn’t think it would be a good idea for us both to be wearing panties. And the half a bra thing? Pure fiction. I’d never, ever cut a bra in half. Unless it was for an art project.

I finally used my new saw today and have all the baseboards cut for the bedroom. It took a while to get all the paint off the two boards I bought from the Restore place, but not nearly as long as it’s taken Doug to get his laundry room project done. Just saying … Now I need to go buy some extra shoe molding to finish it all off. Then all I need to do is put a finish coat on the many pieces, and nail them into place.

Bored? Me too. Time for bed.

Spring 2013



It’s finally here.


It was actually ere two days ago, but I missed it. Apparently I was napping when the Vernal Equinox arrived. I do recall a few days of ‘fake’ spring a couple of weeks back, and even got my yard mowed, as some of you may recall, but I knew it wasn’t the real deal.

Now we’re a couple of days into it and things are looking up. As my fingers tippy tap across my keyboard, the sun is shining brightly and I my feminine side has urges to remove everything from the house and clean it from top to bottom.

Fortunately, for me, my masculine side, small though it may be, has the ability to override impulsive events my feminine side views as normal. That will continue to be the case as long as my testosterone levels remain steady. Keeping those levels normal is becoming more of a chore than I care to deal with, however, so I’m on the verge of doing something to correct resolve it.

I’m going to start taking estrogen. Yes, it’s time that I quit fighting the losing battle that’s costing me my menimine perspective on life, and join the winning side. I think we all come to that point, eventually, but normally that happens once there’s absolutely no hope of making a difference. Perhaps by making the change now, I will be able to leave my mark on society by joining my wife, and sharing her underwear drawer, in a quest alert the remainder of humanity to the fact that men don’t have a chance.

I want to have fabulous eyelashes, too, and cleavage that will cause men to stare so I can point out that they aren’t supposed to be looking at what’s so obviously on display. Yes, my cleavage will on display for all to see, and you can look without feeling any guilt. Yes sir!

That’s what I’m going to do, and I’m going to start right away by putting on a new pair of panties.



Where do the days go? I don’t know why I said that because I actually know the answer … they all turn into ‘yesterdays’. Every last one of them.

I didn’t get to mow the yard again today. Didn’t get to mow it yesterday, either. Or the day before. It’s to that point in the year we hit just before spring every year where the sun jumps up, makes all the dafodils raise their heads to see what’s going on, makes the trees take on a green haze with the promise of leaves, encourages grass to grow like crazy, then runs and hides behind a seemingly never ending shroud of clouds. And the rain comes in buckets, drenching everything in sight. Then the wind comes up and a cold front drops in from the north, the freezing level drops to 500 feet at night for about a week, and it’s just miserable going outside. That sounds suspiciously like a complaint, I know, but it’s really only reporting the truth. The weather is a mess, the grass grows, but never really gets dry enough to mow until it’s a foot tall.

OK – it’s a complaint but I offer it mainly in the form of an observation and the knowledge that we, unlike other climes, can make it through most winters with no fear of the need to run out and purchase a snow shovel because we don’t know where the old one is.

Unlike previous years, our driveway isn’t flooded with the torrential rains, and it isn’t creeping into the garage, because I dug that ditch and installed a drain system. Not the best, but it works.

Today we surrendered our bedroom windows to the glass folks at Willamese to get new panes made. As you may recall, I managed to fracture all four of them during the arduous task of refinishing the frames. We get them back tomorrow. Now all I need to do it get all the baseboards finished … finished, as in varnished. Then we can do the floors. At this point, all we plan to do is apply paste wax and buff it to the point slipping and falling is guaranteed. Unless we cover it with area rugs. Which we will do.

I actually wrote all that yesterday but didn’t send it because i figured I should edit it a little. Today, however, I don’t feel that need so I’m just going to send it along.

Haven’t heard anything from Minnesota or Connecticut for a while, so hope everything is OK in those foreign countries. I suspect both areas are still reeling from the mess of snow they’ve had over the past couple of months.

I spent most of today sanding baseboard pieces. Wore me out. Now I’m going to quit.

It’s Good To Be Irish

Maith ar maidin to you all on this glorious day. That’s Gaelic, in case you were wondering. I suspect you can figure out what it means, but click the link to make sure I got it right. I can say stuff like that because it’s my understanding that part of me is Irish. Sadly, I don’t know what part. Most parts are German.

It’s right at 32 degrees here but I think it’s going to get up to about 60 before the day is done. But, rain is in the forecast so it probably won’t be a good day for outside activities. That means I won’t be able to mow the yard, which desparately needs it. It’s had a taste of the sun and is growing profusely, wanting more. If I don’t get to it in the next couple of days it’s going to be a job instead of fun like it normally is.

Diane’s up and looking chipper. Every day she’s a little bit better and we’re thankful for that. Shingles aren’t fun, for anyone.

Yesterday, after redoing the window frames with their new coats of polyurethane, I removed her failing computer and replaced it with her new Windows 8 touch screen. While watching her fiddle around with it I recalled the first time I tried to get her interested in working with a computer. At that time she was so not interested, and she got a little testy because she thought I was spending too much time on mine. Once she stepped over that line, however, and discovered the power at her fingertips, she was hooked for life. If I ever lose track of her, I just go to the Man Room and there she is. Looking at ‘stuff’, or hammering away on her keyboard in response to one of the 50-60 emails she gets every day.

Now the world has changed again for her with Windows 8. She’s taking it well.

The cat is on the deck, scratching the patio door glass to get in. What an annoying noise that is. But, it gets the results she seeks.

Now I have an hour to sit for a bit before we head off to church. Coffee Hour today is going to be a Baked Potato Bar so we won’t have to figure out anything for lunch. That’s good because I was afraid Diane was going to ask me what I wanted for lunch and I’d have to think of something to eat which is always difficult for me because I could get by on cheese and crackers for every meal, if necessary. She frowns on that choice as a meal.

So, now I’ll leave you with a slán Fond. Find something green to wear and have a great  day.

Beannacht do anois

Blackberry Bushes

Remember a few blogs ago, where I mentioned that Diane thought I was losing my mind because I couldn’t remember anything? Remember that? Well, I just remembered that, during this time, I remembed a critical lesson about how to deal with  blackberry bushes. But, first, I don’t understand why they are called ‘bushes’ because that doesn’t sound very descriptive to me. They are actually very sharp, clingy vines that can only be killed by radiation. They should be called blackberry clingy scratchers, or something like that.

Anyway, what I remembered, as I was ripping them out of the ground, and throwing vines everywhere, is that it’s not a good idea to wear shorts and short sleeve shirts. Boots are a good idea, too. Get anywhere near a blackberry vine and it’s gonna leave a mark. Honestly.

I checked on line to see if ‘blackberry bushes’ was indeed what they are called, although that’s what I’ve called them my entire life, and came up with a number of web sites that actually sell them, 6 for $30. Nice. And here I was ripping them out of the ground, willy nilly. You’d think I would feel bad about that, but I don’t because no matter how much of it you rip out, it will grow back. Guaranteed. Damn blackberry bushes. When sold on line they call them ‘blackberry plants’. I suspect our wild, free blackberries taste just as good as the $30 variety, but ours can’t compete with the Kiowa Blackberry for size. Those things are enormous.

I may have mentioned that our refurbishing project is now on room two – the master bedroom. All that’s left to be done is the baseboards, floors, and windows. I’ve got the windows in the basement where I removed the glass from all four panes. They came out in about 40 pieces so now I’ll have to take them to Scappoose to get glass. I don’t know what happened – only two of them were broken when I started removing the glazing then, all the sudden, all four of them were broken before I knew what happened. Now that the glass is out, it will be simple to refinish them. I’ve scraped most of the paint and varnish off (paint on the outside, varhish on the inside), so it won’t be long before I’ll need the glass. Baseboards are going to be interesting because I’ll get to use my new saw. I haven’t even plugged it in, yet.

Before I plug it in, I’ll have to set all the angles to ensure it cuts square at all angles. And it can cut a log of different angles. I know that’s true because I read the manual. Didn’t understand all of it, but I read it, just the same. OK. I read most of it and skimmed the rest, but there were a bunch of angles displayed in one of the diagrams. It has to be true.

I forgot to shave again this morning. That’s the 52 day in a row. That’s one thing Diane wishes I’d remember to do. I know that’s true, too, because she told me. But, she’s quit complaining how poky my whiskers are so she’s either getting used to them, or they are actually getting soft. I spend a lot of time combing my face, now. Feels good.

Guess I better quit. I decided at the start if it got down to combing my face I was out of interesting things to share.

Sheryl (Tarbell) Mathews (1944 – 2013)

Sheryl passed away yesterday. We were high school classmates and she is one of only three girls who ever asked me out on a date for something other than a Sadie Hawkins Day dance. It was a hay ride with a bunch of other kids, so maybe it wasn’t technically a date, but I’m going to count it as one. There were other dates after that but the hayride is stuck in long term memory.

We were both freshman and I was scared to death of girls. It’s surprising that I agreed to go. But I did, and had a great time. Years later, at one of our high school reunions, we talked about that hayride and I learned that she, too, was scared. We laughed and talked about the different paths our lives took through high school and beyond.

Sheryl had severe medical problems the last few years and it was hard to watch her decline, but always good to see her. We remained friends over the years and I’m happy for that.

Whenever I think of Sheryl, or hear her name, my mind takes me back to that hay wagon when we were both 14, and it was so good to be alive.

And I smile.

That’s the way I’ll remember Sheryl.