A Loaded Tuesday …

Today was an extremely busy one, although I don’t recall doing much. That’s partly because I was mostly a Zombie after the six-hour painting evolution yesterday. This morning I had lots and lots of sore spots and had to take a nap right away after my morning banana.

Then Diane woke me up just before 0800 to remind me that I was supposed to deliver the Buick to the dealer so they could fix the A/C that didn’t work during our trip down south. I did, then I sat there for 3.5 hours until they were done with it. They also changed the oil. Now I’ll tell you how good our local dealer is … the A/C issue was addressed last year, but we never really had days where it was needed, so didn’t realize it was failing until we went to California. This time, they replaced the same part as last year, and covered it under warranty because the first ‘fix’ was done under warranty. I was afraid it would cost us arms and legs to get the Buick back, but all it cost was $40, for the oil change.

Then I went home for a nap, but that didn’t happen because we had to go Scappoose to get Baylee’s birthday cake. She’s 4 years old today. On the way back with the cake, we stopped at our church in Warren to pick up a truck load of boxes, full of quilts, which I must deliver to Portland on Friday. There were six boxes, 25 lbs each, which I carried up the basement stairs, one at a time. Then I went out and changed the church sign to inform everyone that this coming weekend is the Bethany Quilt Show. Wynette is the featured quilter for the show. To be worthy of this honor, she had to finish every quilt she had started since 2002. Jack said she was pretty busy. We got to see one of the quilts – it’s absolutely huge, and beautiful!

After getting all sweaty changing the sign at church, we sent home so I could shower, then we went to Jeff & Heather’s for Baylee’s birthday party. She and her sisters were outside having a great time when we arrived, and Jeff was BBQ-ing hotdogs and burgers. I had a burger and it was great.

The party had a definite Hello Kitty theme, all the way. Here’s Baylee stuffing coins into her new Hello Kitty bank

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Baylee showing Jeran one of the coloring books she got.

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 The cake …

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Blowing out the candle while Gilligan watches …

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Gilligan took a break to brush up on her drumming skills …

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After the party, we went to the middle school to watch Lydia, and a large part of her class, be inducted into the National Junior Honor Society. On the way, we stopped by the waterfront in downtown St. Helens to make sure the river wasn’t overflowing too much … quite pretty, isn’t it?

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About 30 kids were inducted into the Honor Society and each was given a rose which they were supposed to present to the person who most influenced them in their current understanding of citizenship, three other things I can’t remember. When it came to Lydia, she totally blew me away when she walked up to me and gave me the rose. I was speechless which, as most of you know, is not something I normally am.

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Here’s the entire crew … all 31 of them.

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… and here’s proof that it’s really Lydia, even though the sign is pointing at her Mother …

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I guess it’s pointi between them, but it’s still OK …

Then we had a cupcake, a cup of water, and went home. When I took the dogs out back I took a picture of some flowers, just for fun.

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Aren’t rhododendrons pretty?

With all the goings on, we were unable to attend Nancy W’s retirement from PGE after about 40 years on the job. I worked in the same group as Nancy for many years and I never knew why because she knew way more than I did about pretty much everything. If you see this, Nancy, forgive me for not making it in. You said I could use the same excuse for not coming that I used when I thought it was last month, but I don’t remember what that excuse was. Anyway, good luck to you. You’re going to love it.

Jerrie’s A Tired Puppy

Today Jerrie worked six hours straight, with Ron P, prepping and painting the front hallway in the church. While Ron cut in the corners, and around doors, banisters, stairs, and windows, Jerrie rolled the walls and ceiling which caused terminal pain in his right shoulder.

Actually, his shoulder already hurt, but rolling out a 10 foot ceiling, with the roller on a long floppy stick, didn’t help. He’s moaning and groaning more than usual as a result. Had he not been ordered to “finish it today,” he and Ron would have made it a shorter day, and finished it tomorrow.

Poor Jerrie.

Oh, and he shaved his beard off last night. What a surprise. After clipping it off, he gathered all the whiskers into a ball and carried to it to show the lovely Diane who literally jumped out of her skin because she knew not what it was. He said the main reason he did it was because Jennifer said she wanted his “Navy face back.”

Jeran’s 1st Piano Recital

We’re very proud of Jeran. I reported a few (or more) blogs ago that Jeran decided he wanted to take piano lessons. We all thought that would be an excellent idea because he’s always done extremely well at ‘things’ he’s interested in.

His desire developed into the purchase of a yard sale piano ($50) and lessons and today he participated in his first recital. Considering the very short time he’s been taking lessons, we thought he did great. I took a picture, but had to use my iPad because my camera battery was kaput, but it tells a story … kinda …

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There was a double-sided list of participants in this recital from levels 1 thru whatever lever they go to. I don’t know how high that is, maybe six. I do know, however, that levels 1-3 did their bit, then we had an intermission, and continued with level 4 and beyond after that. Jeran was about the 3rd or 4th to perform, and he marched right up and got busy. Jeran’s contribution was a short duet with his teacher.

Though he was early in the program, we all stayed to watch everyone do their thing. The teacher is very diverse, instructing on voice, guitar, violin, and piano. We heard it all and some were extremely good.

There was one violin participant in the group 4 and up who almost got a standing ovation because she finished. It wasn’t pleasant. But, she got through it and that’s important.

Two brothers, piano and violin, actually did get a standing ovation from the very start which was pretty tricky … they played The Star Spangled Banner. Most everyone I could see removed their hats and/or placed their hands over their hearts while the music played. One guy, however, nearly caused a scene, but Diane wouldn’t let me run over and yank his hat off. He was wrong for two reasons … he shouldn’t have had a hat on in the first place, IMHO, because the recital was in a church sanctuary. No respect, no manners. Again, IMHO.

The last performer was the teacher who played us some Bach on her violin. She has very nimble fingers.

The recital brought back memories of the few years I got to spend in the “limelight” while taking piano lessons. For one recital we got to use a piano on which Liberace once played a concert in Portland. How cool is that? I can’t remember what I played – The Blue Danube, Vienna Woods, or possibly The Tennessee Waltz. 

Mom and I had a great time playing duets together during my school years. The one I remember most is “Country Gardens”. I can still hear the melody. Perhaps one day Jeran will let me play a duet with him. That would be awesome.

Home

We’re there … and I got to mow the yard before it got dark. Yea!

We left Medford at 0930 after a decent breakfast. Really. I ate their oatmeal and an English muffin. We arrived home at 1430. After a quick top at the post office to restart our mail, and to pick up a bin full of mostly junk mail, we dropped by Diane’s Mom’s house to say HI! All is well.

The only stops we made on the freeway were in Roseburg for Starbucks, after which I was allowed to drive for about 100 miles, then a rest area to set our Starbucks free. Diane finished her book while I was driving and reclaimed the driver’s seat at the rest area and took us the other 100 miles home.

The Buick got 22.6 mpg and we averaged 65+ mph. Even when I drove. Go figure.

We had a great time, but it’s oh so nice to be home.

Remember Reno

Remember Reno … I had to do that because of an encounter we had with a nice lady in one of the thrift stores we visited our last day in Reno. It was a long conversation that started when the lady sitting behind a desk, doing financial ‘stuff’, telling us that she was just minding the store for the owner who had stepped out for a moment, but she would attempt to answer any questions we had.

At that particular moment we didn’t have any questions, so thanked her and started looking around. Shortly, however, my natural affinity for communicating with strangers broke out and I found myself in need of striking up a conversation with this stranger. The store was small enough that both Diane and I could participate in the conversation as no one else was in the store.

Though we have no idea what her name is, we learned that she’s lived in Reno for about 40 years and has never, ever been to the Oregon coast. She said that when we told her we were from Oregon. Much of the conversation revolved around various travel events and eventually progressed to bucket lists. Hers, specifically. On her list is the Oregon Coast to which we added, Mt. St. Helens, the Columbia River Gorge, Crater Lake, Silver Falls State Park, and Sparks. Another item on her list was Burney Falls. Since we had never heard of it we quizzed her about where it was and she took her best guess, but didn’t really know. So, that conversation dwindled to a stop, and we decided it was time to leave and returned to our room.

Once back at the hotel, we got to talking about out route home. The original plan was to head up to Klamath Falls and spend the night, then head home. Upon looking at the map, however, the wiser choice became a trip up through Susanville, then kinda NW to I-5 just below Weed, California. That’s a little ways north of Redding. So, plans were changed and we decided we’d head for Medford for the night.

After a terrific breakfast at Hart’s Cafe in Susanville, we took Highway 36 then split northwest on Highway 44, part of which was on Hillcrest Road, go figure, then we took a hard right turn onto Highway 89 just about directly north of Lassen Volcanic National Park. We didn’t stop there.

On on Highway 89 Diane asked it there was something interesting to see along the way. So I looked on my trusty iPad to see. Up ahead there was a place called McArthur-Burney State Park. We considered this an omen because of yesterday’s conversation with the thrift store lady. Apparently fate placed this location directly in our path because we were supposed to stop there. So we did.

It normally costs $8 to enter the park but, since we’re old, we got a dollar off. Considering that we needed to get to our hotel, that we hadn’t yet picked, before headlights were mandatory, I asked the Ranger at the gate (RATG) how far it was to the falls. He looked to his left, pointed, and said, “about 75 feet that way.” Funny guy.

When we pulled into a parking spot we were delighted to meet Stan & Irene whom we’ve never ever in our lives met before. They were just climbing out of their 5th wheel trailer in which they spent the winter in Laughlin, Nevada, like they do every year. Since their license plates revealed they were from North Dakota, we understood why. Together, we all walked to the bathrooms, relieved ourselves, then walked back to the parking lot adjacent to the falls and here’s what we saw …

 

 

 

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OK, it’s really pretty, but the falls are only about 40-50 feet high. Pretty, but not Bucket List Pretty. But, this lady lives in Reno so who am I to cast aspersions upon those dreams. I can only compare what I see with what I’ve seen. Normal, right? I try to not display bias when visiting new visual delights, like Burney Falls, but living in the Great Northwest and having so many beautiful places to visit by accident, spoils us. Sounds snobby, I know, but it’s true.

Oh yes … we made it to Medford for the night and will be home tomorrow afternoon. We had a Pizza Hut dinner.

Vacation – Day 13 Reno Update

It’s 1717 and we’re back in our room, safe and sound. A few dollars lighter, but safe and sound.

We started by checking out our vehicle from it’s assigned parking space from which a hotel employee must remove it. We’ve never used valet parking before so it was a little difficult for Diane to surrender it for someone else to drive. They are taking good care of it. I could tell because all the trash we left in it is still there.

When we hit the street, I used SIRI to locate all the thrift stores in the area. She came up with 15 of them within a few miles. In all, we visited 4 of them and spent way less than we would’ve had we entered a casino.

In the middle of all that shopping and carousing through the old stuff, we stopped for lunch at the Silver Peak for something to eat. I think it was between 1 and 2. It was a random choice, but an excellent one. We both had cheese burgers on the bar side because they always seem to be better over there, even though we don’t drink and more. Or less. The food was totally awesome and the french fries were the shoe string kind so there were a lot of crunchy ones, my favorite. Diane did well on hers but stalled on the last two bites. Still, it was a valiant effort to rid the plate of a 1/2 pound of beef with all the trimmings. I, of course, ate the entire thing. As a courtesy, I refused to eat the rest of Diane’s, like I normally do, which is the reason I weigh about twice as much as I did when I entered high school. In my defense, that was a long, long time ago and I was more active then. Really, I was. I wrestled, did track and field ‘things’, and other stuff.

Our last event of the day was to visit Goodwill in Sparks which is waaaay on the other side of the junction of I-80 and US-395. I’m guessing, but believe I’m right. I almost always believe I’m right when I guess. Ask Diane.

We’re done for the day and plan to pack up this evening, and head out first thing in the morning, destination Klamath Falls, Oregon. It’s just over 5 hours away. From there, it will be a long day’s drive home on Thursday. Not long for me since my driving duties are restricted to the navigation chair. I have to say, I’m a good navigator, most of the time. The times where I’m deemed to be wrong are usually the result of the driver ignoring the navigator and making a decision based on street signs, people in cross walks, and traffic. Odd things like that. But, we always get to our destinations, and usually within the time limits allowed. The time limits are set to avoid any driving after sun down.

So, tomorrow I’ll be chatting at you from our beloved Oregon.

Vacation – Day 13 Still in Reno

It’s 0900 and we’ve been up for an hour. I know that’s true because I asked the boss. But, what she doesn’t know is that I was awake long before that. It was still very dark outside the first time I stumbled to the bathroom and I’m guessing it was about 0600. I didn’t look because I didn’t want to add a bright light to an already dangerous situation caused by me bumping into things in the dark. It was a long trip to the bathroom and I’m sure I’ll be able to identify all the pieces of furniture by the location of the bruises. You’ll all be proud to know that I didn’t utter a sound during that round trip.

Turns out is all for nothing because she was already awake, too. I suffered for no reason.

Today we plan to visit as many second hand stores as humanly possible in the 4-5 hours we allow ourselves to be outdoors in areas with a rarefied atmospheres.

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Now I am compelled to make a shameless plug for our friend, Cindy A, who owns Pearl Fiber Arts in the heart of Portland’s blooming Pearl district. I’m going to go there and buy something to make a pretty doily. Yes, I really do that stuff …

 

 

 

 

 

And, here’s something from our friend, Kat B, who still lives in Minnesota. Voluntarily …

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Us? It’s going to be 75 here in Reno today. I think.

Now it’s time for breakfast – Cheerios, toast, and my 4th cup of coffee. Just used the last of my creamer so we’re either going to have to leave for home today, or find a second-hand store that sells it.