Happy Halloween from Halloween Town

We live on a dead-end street in “Old People” territory so we don’t get your normal, run of the mill trick or treaters. Whoever stops by our house has to want to be here for other reasons besides candy. For that reason, we just had an influx of 4 children all of whom are related to us in some manner. Three were grand children, and one was a cousin of the largest grand child. All of them are girls. Daniel was the only one of the manly persuasion who showed up.

Cedric told his Mom she look like a tennis shoe. What do you think? I think she’s just cute.

DSC_8121 DSC_8109


Today was another busy day of painting for both of us. We’re still not completely done, but we’re getting there. It didn’t rain today like we thought it would so we had a reprieve. Tomorrow it’s supposed to start raining sometime late afternoon. I’ll believe it when I see it and will continue working on these outdoor projects until the paint starts running off the side of the house. Then I’ll take a picture for you.

Another interesting moment was when Diane decided to vacuum the weeds around the rhodies I hacked down. As you can see, they are sprouting and will be all bushed out in no time at all. You can also see the progress Diane made with the shop vac ..


She wasn’t vacuuming weeds. I was kidding. She was vacuuming up paint chips and dirt. We were at this until it got dark at 7 pm. Tomorrow Diane isn’t going to be able to walk because her knees are toast, and I have terminal pain in my right shoulder. But, we’re on a roll and will keep it going.

Had a Taco Bell supper tonight. Diane buzzed down to the drive-thru in her nightie to get it.

That’s it.


Scraping, Painting, and Mowing

Today was another beauty. Cold, but pretty. I spent all of it painting the pointy end of the house, and the trim around the garage doors. Oh, and one window frame.

Doesn’t seem like much, does it?

Before painting, I did some more scraping on places that needed it. Oh, and I went to the Lions Club paper boxes to straighten them up. Today is Fred’s day, but I didn’t get it done yesterday, my day, so I had to do it  early this morning before Fred got there and found out. Consequently, when Fred did get there, he didn’t have anything to do, which is really the point. He’s much older than me.

Maybe that’s why I didn’t get much painting done. I did other stuff, first. Tomorrow that’s going to be different. I’m starting out with painting, and it’s going to get done. All of it. And, I have to get it done by 4 pm because someone told me that it’s probably going to rain tomorrow. That, and after 4 pm it starts getting colder and paint doesn’t work so well. It’s pretty stiff when it gets down around freezing.

There was something really important I wanted to share with everyone, but I can’t remember what it was.

One interesting thing today was when Diane sucked up all the leaves in our front yard. She used the lawn mower, something she doesn’t use very often. So, it was no surprise when I heard the distinctive sound of twirling lawn mower blades hit a rock. Shortly thereafter Diane called to tell me she ran over a rock and needed help. I went over and found a very large rock under the edge of the mower deck. The most interesting thing about that was the mower had drug this rock about 10 feet away from where it normally resides.

I stopped the mower deck and killed the engine so we could extract the rock. I had to lift the mower so Diane could pull it out. Then she went back to finishing up with a new awareness about how wide the mower deck is. She only had a couple of swipes to make to finish up. I watched her take off, beating on the button that engages the mower deck, trying to get it to start. When she turned around and could see me I pantomimed that she should pull the button, not push it. It was very entertaining.

But, you know what? She did a great job and cleaning up the front lawn was a huge help for me and I appreciate it.  I know her so well that I’m absolutely positive that she’s going to be upset that I shared that with you. It’s a nice change because normally I’m sharing semi-entertaining things I do, or do to myself. So, perhaps she will give me a little latitude with this indiscretion.

Here’re some of the leaves she cleaned up, minus the kidlets. They are Baylee, Jerrie, and Gilligan.


Here’s what it looked like when she was done. DSC_8087 DSC_8094

Now I’m going to quit.

Ladders, and Soccer

Today I lived dangerously and climbed a ladder over and over. I didn’t fall off even one time. It was amazing. I actually climbed three different ladders. One was a six-foot step-ladder and the other two are 24 foot extension ladders. They are really only 12 feet tall until they are extended. You probably already knew that.

The reason for the ladders was to repair parts of the eaves, on the house, and to scrape of a bunch of blistered paint that needed to be scraped off the windows and wood parts. Then I’m going to climb those ladders, again, carrying paint which I will be applied very carefully to all the wooden parts I can reach. All we have to do is pick the colors.

Right now the colors are red, white, and some sort of cruddy brown. It’s going to be a marathon and it’s going to be done no later than Friday.

Sounds good, but we’ll see how that goes.

The afternoon was spent driving to Rex Putnam High School in Milwaukie for Lydia’s last soccer game. Her team lost 3-1, but it was still a good game. The girls played very hard against a rough team who apparently had the referees in their pockets. Lydia got knocked down by a girl about twice her size and she fell on the ball. The other girl kicked Lydia in the leg while, supposedly, kicking at the ball.

Spilt milk, I know. It’s done, and bruises heal … but wait until next year.

It’s 9:05 pm now, and we vowed to call it a night at 9, so I better get going before I get in more trouble. Got more scraping to do in the morning, then painting in the afternoon.

More ladder time.

News at 11.

Oh! And Jerry & Nelda made it home this afternoon. They left our house Saturday morning and drove 400 miles before finding their way back. I think Jerry made a few more left turns than right ones. But, they’re safe, for now.

Doctors, Showers, Bunco, and Sunsets

Monday, my most favorite day of the week … it was a bright sunny one, too, making it even better. And, it was cold. But I wore shorts anyway.

This morning I had a doctor appointment, here in town, just because I haven’t seen a local doctor for almost a year and there is a Oregon law that requires all citizens to do that, or else! So, even though I’ve been adequately cared for by the VA for all that time, I must adhere to Oregon Law or else move to Canada. It’s a rule. Another reason I had to see my local doctor is because she prescribes me meds the VA can’t. That’s actually a better reason than obeying the fictitious Oregon law.

The appointment was at 11:20 am so I had a couple of hours to kill after waking up from my nap. Knowing I’d have to wash my entire body before going to the doctor, I just left my jammies on and got to work on an inside project. This morning that was adding the moulding around the opening between the kitchen and dining areas which has been mould-less for 8 years. I’ve had the wood in the basement all this time, but it just never got to be all that important until this morning. That’s because the Bunco Babes were descending on our home and Diane was ready for them to see that I actually did things around here. At least once in a while. So, I did it. I actually cut the trim yesterday, but had to make an adjustment to the width of the opening , making it an inch narrower, so I wouldn’t have to rip the pieces that go on either side of the external wall part. I know. That doesn’t make a lot of sense, but that’s the way it is. The trim is 2.5 inches wide, and the area, on the outside wall, was only 1.75 inches wide. In order for me to avoid ripping off an inch of the trim, allowing for a 1/4 inch reveal, I decided to add an inch to the surface area around which the trim would be placed. That made it 2.75 inches, just enough for my 1/4 inch reveal. Clear as radar, right? Me too. I took a lot of thinking for me to get it all straight in my head, and to get the pieces all cut with a decent mitre so they wouldn’t look too bad from a distance. The mitres are near the ceiling so accuracy isn’t as crucial as it normally would be. Like, if it was closer to eye level, like a cabinet or something.

After getting that partially done I ran to my bathroom and got myself all wet and shiny, added some soap, bubbled up, and scrubbed my underwear really good. We have a new rule in the house, for me, that all showers will be conducted while wearing underwear in order to cut down on the amount of laundry Diane has to do. It works OK, but I can never get all the soap out of them and they dry a little bit stiff, making them more than a little uncomfortable after wearing them for a few hours. So, I’ve adopted a commando attitude and decided to not wear underwear unless directed to do so. When doing so, I also wear outerwear that do not have zippers. I’ve never discussed it before, but there have been zipper injuries in my past. They are absolutely brutal for the victim, and just hysterical for whoever draws the short straw and has to undo the zipper because the victim can’t. Simply stated, it’s a very agonizing way to perform a circumcision, even for those who have already had one. Enough said …

When the shower was done, I rushed out of the house and down the hill to the doctor’s office. I arrived at 11:15 am, as directed, got checked in, then sat in the waiting room, reading my book, for the next hour and 15 minutes. The lady sitting across from me, with the cast, had an 11:25 appointment. Finally, an attendant appeared and called my name. I jumped up and followed her to the scale, got weighed, then went to the designated room. The first question they asked was if I was still using albuterol. Since I’ve never used albuterol, in any form, I said, “no.”

This caused a bit if concern for the medical assistant, one of which was in either in training, or was doing an internship, so they asked for my birthday. I gave it, then they figured out that I was the wrong Jerold. It was the other Jerold they wanted. So, back to the waiting room I went, for another 10 minutes.

Then a different sort of medical gal called my name and, knowing I was the only Jerold in the waiting room, I acknowledged and followed her to the scale where I was weighed and measured. I’ve compressed 2 complete inches since 1975. I’m only 5’9″ now. Might have to start hanging by my knees from the tree out front, I guess.

When the weights and measure were satisfied, I was taken to a different room where my blood pressure was taken and I was told it was a bit high. I was asked a lot of personal questions, which I answered truthfully, then I was left alone for another 15-20 minutes before the doctor appeared.

She entered the room with Molly, a scribe, and didn’t look at me until I stood and offered her my hand. Even at a lowly 5’9″ I was taller by far.

The doctor sat down at the wall-mounted computer, and Molly came equipped with a big Dell laptop, and a chair. Together, they began entering all my personal data, as well as most of the data contained in my paper chart, which they just happened to have, even though just last week I was told I was not listed as one of their patients. That’s the reason I had the appointment, so I could clear that up, and get a scrip refilled. In all, I was in the room with the doctor, and Molly, for about 30-45 minutes. That’s about the longest I’ve ever been in the same room with a doctor for an appointment. Usually, they ask a couple of questions, then let one of their minions finish up. The exception is the nazi doctor at the VA who gave me my last nerve conduction test using large hypodermic needle with wires attached to his oscilloscope. He enjoyed his work a bit too much, I believe. I’m sure I heard him take a deep breath, and shudder, as he stabbed me with one of those needles.

I have a rash on my back, which the doctor checked. I obtained it in Mexico, I think, from little tiny ants that frequented the chaise lounges by the pool in which we spent most of our time. Now I learn that it’s possibly shingles, for which I had my shot after we got back from Mexico. So, I’m in flux, wondering what my lab test for varicella zoster IGG, IGM will reveal.

Upon returning from the doctor I was met by an angry grandma who wanted to know what took me so long at the doctor. Then she ran off to get Jeran from school because he was sick. When she returned she was still mad at me, even though I finished putting up the trim. Now all it needs is paint. Lots of paint.

After finishing my project, we shared a can of chicken noodle soup, then I took off for my board meeting with our Lions Club. For some reason I’m 1st or 2nd Vice President. I’m still a little mystified as to how that happened because I don’t remember campaigning. I was probably voted into that spot during one of the many meetings I’ve missed. That’s usually when stuff like that happens, when you miss a meeting, or three.

The meeting was over in 40 minutes. When I returned home the only place I could park was in the front yard. There were cars everywhere. Apparently the Bunco Babes don’t car pool often. When I entered the house, early, I made sure to get everyone’s attention and proclaimed loudly that, “the party’s over! Everyone out!” It got quiet for about 3 seconds, then everyone went back to what they were doing. They always do that. There are 12 ladies and they do this once a month so Diane only has to do it once a year, since they rotate that responsibility. They all know the routine, but still they give me their attention when I proclaim … the only difference is that the time between getting their attention and them ignoring me gets shorter each time. Next year they will probably ignore me totally. I’m used to that, however, and will proclaim anyway. While they are rolling their noisy dice and ringing their bell.

I must admit, that they have a lot of fun. It’s good for Diane to have this social diversion, and it’s a good way to get rid of all the wine we don’t like, or that has been sitting around open for too long. We start them off with the good stuff, then infiltrate it with the bad about half way through the game. Works like a charm. I think they do that in bars, too.

Lydia was sitting at Diane’s computer working on her homework when I got home, so I sat in the Man Room to keep her on track. That, and I wasn’t allowed anywhere else in the house BUT the Man Room. So, it worked out. Lydia needed a little computer help, too, which I’m always more than happy to provide. Sometimes I provide it even when people don’t want it. Tonight, it was needed. Lydia had to write an essay and create a PowerPoint presentation to go with it. Since she had never used PowerPoint, it was a bit of a challenge. Luckily, I’m a semi-expert with software people don’t understand and was able to boost her in the right direction. Though she stumbled, and griped about how boring it was then entire time, she was extremely proud of the results. So, mission accomplished.

Now the din has ceased because everyone left except Diane. She’s almost done cleaning up, and I’m done with this.

So, it’s bed time.

First, however, I must share last night’s sunset view.


This is mainly to show Jewel that we get to see some of the pretty ones before she does from her perch on slopes of Mauna Loa which is, according to Wikipedia, the largest volcano on Earth. Nifty. Makes me want to move there. Really, it does. Though it’s the biggest, it’s lava is silica-poor making it very fluid which is a more appropriate way to say this volcano has the runs. It’s making the island bigger all the time and it’s amazing to see. While we lived in Hawaii, in the 80’s, we were always getting news of houses being consumed by flowing lava running down the mountain side. The slope is gentle so everyone has plenty of time to get out of the way, When we visited the island we were able to walk on the newly cooled lava and see the remains of cars and homes that it had captured on its journey to the sea. It’s worth a look.

Here’s what that very same sunset looks like by the time it gets to Jewel …


Panzee Speaks – addendum

I was using the laptop to share the last entry because it’s easier to use on the floor with my elbows resting comfortably on the floor. It’s just too hard to sit in a chair and type, or do pretty much anything, when you’re of the canine persuasion.

Because of that, I did not have access to the photos he put on the his desktop computer so will do that, now … It is my understanding that the group who was at the house Friday night were going to the shindigs as aliens.

Here’s the master … then the entire group with the large pumpkin used in “Halloween Town”.

DSC_7754 DSC_7765

Les & Sophie and Carolann & Terry …

DSC_7783 DSC_7787

Master & him … then Jim & Kim …

DSC_7791 DSC_7772

Cliff & Susie then random shots of the kids parade. Well, most of them were kids …

DSC_7777 DSC_7837

Reports are that some of the children had an unhealthy curiosity about the guy with the big nose holding the camera …

DSC_7850 DSC_7940

DSC_7963 DSC_7978

DSC_7884 DSC_7842 DSC_7827

Aliens watching the parade then dinner at Dock Side …

DSC_8008 DSC_8017

Panzee Speaks, kinda …

Just when everyone thought things were going along just fine, Jerrie woke up.

Three days had passed and he had no memory of what had transpired so I’ve decided to help explain. He doesn’t know I’m doing this. If he did he’d have a conniption fit because he doesn’t like anyone using his precious electronical equipment. He puts passwords on everything thinking we, who spend hours and hours all alone in the house, with nothing else to do, can’t possibly figure that kind of stuff. C’mon! What are we going to do when we’re locked up in the house with nothing else to do? Sleep? Pee on the rugs? Chew on furniture? Sure, we’ve done all of that, but after a while it’s just no turn any more so we started fiddling with his computers and we discovered a whole new world.

So what’s been happening with Jerrie and Diane? We have absolutely no idea beyond what we witnessed. As the spokesanimal for the group, I’ll do my best to get things accurate and in chronological order.

There were some familiar people at the house on Friday evening that would account for the flurry of activity on Thursday. That’s when Jerrie went out to his car, the old Subaru, and extracted his fancy cutoff saw from the back-end of it.  It was kind of freaky and reminded me of the time I watched one of my friends have puppies, only puppies don’t have sharp edges and pointy things. He pulled that thing into the garage, and I went and hid when he plugged it in. It doesn’t scare me … I want that understood up front. I just don’t like loud noises. Honest. Thankfully, he closed the door into the house so I didn’t have to listen to the incessant whine of the saw motor. I know that’s what it is because he’s used that thing before, and it drives me nuts.

Before he fired that thing, up, he left the house fora period of time around noonish. I later learned that he went to some storage facility to help liberate a truck load of newspapers which he, and his friends, delivered to the Lions Club newspaper collection container which is located at the St, Helens High School. I know, that’s a lot of detail coming from a dog that has a limited understanding of the language spoken by most of the people with which I’m familiar. A lot of what I figure out is strictly conjecture because lots of the speech I hear is a little like white noise so I think what I really do is read minds. Really! I do.

Shortly after he returned home, disturbing me from a perfectly wonderful nap, the master of the house arrived and made him eat lunch. I’ve almost given up on begging for food any more because he rarely gives me anything … little teeny bits of things I can barely taste they are so small. What a waste of time.

Anyway, they ate, something, didn’t give me any, then he went to the garage and ignited the noisy saw. He quit about 4 pm or so and they left to go watch Lydia play soccer. I’ve tried to tell them that I think it would be really fun to go watch Lydia play a soccer game, but the words just won’t come to me, and they can’t read minds like I do. I stayed home and took a nice long nap.

It appeared that what he was doing was take small pieces of wood that he called baseboards, cut them, then try to put them back together so they looked like they belonged where he put them along the floor. He didn’t nail any of them down so I suspect he’s not done fiddling with them. After doing a little investigative investigation, listening to him talk with his female associate, I learned that they were expecting company at some point on Friday. That turned out to be true, incidentally, but that’s coming up in a minute.

I slept the rest of the day so don’t know what happened the rest of the day until I was allowed to exit the house into the back yard and search for a new spot to relieve myself. It’s kind of humiliating, you know, o have to crap and pee in public. But, one can get used to pretty much anything. Especially if you’re a dog. Like me. After doing my ‘thing’, I comeback in the house, trying to avoid the annoying little black dog who spins in circles like a little maniac in anticipation of the bed time treats we always get. I just sit calmly on the floor, waiting to perform my stupid dog tricks for a little pittance of a treat. But, he seems to enjoy it, so I humor him.

On Friday, they both left the house, a couple of times. The first time they came back the master was a little sad, so he told her he just wasn’t going to spend $100 on a couple of used, stained chairs. He then told her that if she wanted chairs, get new ones. It was really funny because she grabbed her purse and keys and almost ran to the car telling him to hurry up. Apparently they went to Richardson’s, right here in town, who sells furniture made in Indiana (so I’m told), and bought two new chairs to fill the void created when the perfectly good couch they had was carted away, along with the dining room table, a couple of weeks ago. I know is was Richardson’s because later that day they delivered the chairs and I heard one of the delivery guys say that name. When they got here, I barked, like I’m supposed to, then I licked their hands because they seemed to be pretty nice.

The chairs look OK, if you like chairs. The master really likes them, a lot, and said the red color actually does look OK with the carpet in the living room. I won’t be sitting in them so I really didn’t care. I took a nap.

About 3 pm, as close as I can tell, two folks I’ve met before showed up at the door. I looked out the Man Room window and saw that they arrived in a funny looking van that they use to travel all over the United States. The master, and he, were very happy to see them. I believe they were Jerry and Nelda Somethingorother. I’m not big on last names. Sorry.

All of them either sat around the table while the master worked in the kitchen, making something for the pot luck that was happened later that afternoon. It’s my understanding that the pot luck was attended by members of a Classic Winnebago Club that included Les, Sophie, Cliff, Susie, Terry, Carolann, Jim, and Kim. I heard someone say they were all staying at the Elks Club off 6th Street, just a hop and a skip away. With Jerry and Nelda, master, and him, there were 12 people. I don’t know what happened because I was forced to go down to the creepy basement with the annoying little black dog. They think I’m OK with that, but I’m not. I spent the entire time crouched on the top step, just the other side of the door, listening to all the fun they were having. The food smelled really, really good. I didn’t even have water, and my food bowl was just about 5 tantalizing feet from where I was crouched.

Finally everyone left and I was released and allowed to go out front to tell everyone ‘bye’. Then we all went to bed.

Saturday morning I woke him up at 0700, I think, because I was hankering for a touch of canned food which I get as soon as I come back in the house from my morning trip to the yard. Then I took a nap. I barely got to sleep before I heard Jerry and Nelda again. Interesting. I guess they slept in the driveway, which I thought was a little odd until I learned that they actually slept in their van, in the driveway. Big difference.

They sat around drinking coffee, talking, laughing, like I wasn’t even there. Nothing fell on the floor right away, but I feigned interest for longer than necessary before going in to the Man Room to take a nap. Sleeping wasn’t in the cards for me, however, because of all the racket they all made. Then, wouldn’t you know it, all the people from the night before showed up again. All the food had been removed from the refrigerators and reheated as necessary, in anticipation of their arrival, but no one told me. Then I was sent to the basement again. It’s getting to be quite a routine, me going to the basement. The cat, however, gets to go outside and run all over the neighborhood, without supervision! Is that fair?! I think not!

There were gaps in activity the remainder of the day. J&N left, then the master and he left, and they didn’t come back for hours. Really! Hours! Thankfully, they left the patio door open so we could go out and bark at something once in a while, but that’s a long time to be left alone. When they returned they told us all about the fun they had down town on the St. Helens Haunted Tour. Sounded fun. They even went out for dinner after that, extending the night even more than necessary. Then they went to the Elk’s Club to sit and visit in Les and Sophie’s new 1989 Winnebago Superchief. Apparently it’s quite a rig. Really big and nice, we were told. Plenty of room for a dog, or two.

When they got home they went to bed after allowing me into the yard one last time.

Today had a normal beginning, then something changed because only the master left. Since it’s Sunday, I suspected they would both leave for church, but that didn’t happen. She left early and took Jennifer, one of my favorite people, shopping for her birthday. I guess Grandma Jean, another one of my favorite people, went too. That left him home alone with pretty strict instructions to leave the power tools alone. So, he went outside, grabbed a ladder, and used it all the way around the house to reach areas that needs to have paint scraped. I was proud of him because he didn’t go on the roof, and he didn’t get the tall ladder to reach the really high spots. He knows I can dial 911, and bark, but doing that just doesn’t interest me much. I could have gone outside with him, if I wanted to, but I didn’t. Instead, I stayed in the house and took a nap.

In the afternoon, about 1:30, he left to go pick up another couple of my favorite people, Cedric and Jeran, and took them to the movie down town. I smelled popcorn on him when he got home. I love popcorn. Cedric was with him. Not long after they got home, the master arrived. Jennifer showed up a couple of hours later to get Cedric. Lydia, another one of my favorite people, was with Jennifer. She scratched my ear. I love that. Then they left and I took a nap.

Now it’s time for bed and I need to go outside and prepare myself for the series of tricks I make him do before he gives me my treat.

Soccer, Subway, and Shivering

Yes, it’s sunny and bright where we live which is a bit uncommon, but it’s OK. As soon as the sun hides behind something the temperature drops about 40 degrees. It get pretty chilly.

To emphasize that, we went to Lydia’s last home soccer match with Sherwood and I had to put my fuzzy sweatshirt on about half way through the second half. I was still shading my little eyeballs from the sun, but being bright isn’t enough to keep me warm right now. We need to be a little closer to the sun. Then, after the JV game, we decided to stick around for the Varsity game and see how they did. Since there was almost an hour before the game started, at 7 pm, we went to Subway and got sandwiches because Lydia was hungry and thirsty. Instead of eating, however, she talked the entire time. I don’t know how she can think of so many things to say for such a long time. It’s amazing.

Diane and I finished our sandwiches while Lydia was talking then we had to go back to the stadium for the game. Lydia wrapped up what remained of her sandwich, refilled her giant sweet tea-cup, and away we went. Thankfully, we got a parking place right up front even though the high school parking lot was covered wall in cars. The Sherwood freshman football team was lined up along the fence where we parked so Lydia got out of the car and slipped gracefully into her sweat pants. Sherwood’s football team, incidentally, lost to St. Helens 32-0. The JV soccer team lost 6-0.

Once back in the stadium we found a spot on the aluminum bleachers. Let me tell you, those aluminum bleachers do not retain heat, at all. They do, however, retain cold quite nicely. My posterior froze to the seat and I had to fart six times in order to warm things up enough to extracate myself. Normally, a couple will do.

Actually, I don’t need to fart in order to stand up, no matter what I’m sitting on. It’s just that when bending forward in order to rise, my innards compress and there really isn’t any choice about where the gas is going to go. Certainly not up. I’ve learned that it’s never a good idea to suppress a fart because doing so makes it change directions, eventually transforming it into a burp that tastes like crap. I’m guessing about the taste, by the way, because I really don’t know what crap tastes like.

The Varsity girls played really hard but ended the first half down 1-0. Being severely cold, we called it quits and headed over to Jeff & Heather’s to pay up for Gilligan’s Fun Run. On the plus side of that visit, we got to see Tiana, Gilligan, and Jerrie Anne. It was past 8:30 pm, or so, and shouldn’t have been up. Lydia was delighted because she loves those girls. I think she was seriously considering waking up Baylee, too. But, she didn’t.

From there, we took Lydia home then took ourselves home, too. The dogs were delighted to see us, like normal. They bark a lot in greeting, then Panzee stops, but Ozzie walks out the garage, past Diane, barking the entire way as he trots out to the front yard to pee on his favorite plant. He’s been trying to kill it for years, but it isn’t working.

Now it’s late, and I have ‘stuff’ to do early in the morning, so I’m quitting. Turns out we’re going to have to scrap and paint the exterior of the house in order to secure a VA loan refinance on the house. The VA doesn’t like chipped paint as much as we do. So, that’s a new project, about which we talked all throughout the warm, sunny summer, but didn’t do. We’re motivated, however, because the refi is going to save us about $800 a month.


Jennifer Lynn

Yesterday was Jennifer’s birthday, one of many she’s had over the years, and we had the obligatory birthday dinner yesterday afternoon. By some extremely beneficial coincidence, to us, her birth was scheduled at just the same time as Diane was due to deliver a child to the world. We were living on Guam at the time, which is 19 hours ahead of Pacific Time, and their motto is “Where America’s Day Begins.” Because of that, we always said had she been born in the US, her birthday would have been on the 22nd of October, not the 23rd.

A little explanation is needed here … we have an unplanned tradition of common numbers like that in our lives that has always struck us as kinda prophetic. Diane and I were both born on the 20th or our respective months, and we were married on the 20th of the designated month. The latter was planned, by Diane, so I would be less likely to forget. When children came along, our first, Brad, was born on the 22nd then and he was followed by Jeff the next year, again on the 22nd.

Then came Jennifer, on the 23rd. I suppose that’s totally appropriate because she is unique, and she actually continued the numerical progression from 20 to 22, then 23. Interesting, but not pertinent to who she is as a person.

She’s always been cute and mischievous. I have proof, but they are not yet all digital so I can’t share an abundance of photos, unless you come over for a slide show.  She has been a hula dancer, gymnast, violinist, teacher, nurse, wife, mother, janitor, and mentor.

She’s always been well-loved by all who know her, except maybe her brother who tolerated her for a few days when she was brand new, then suggested we take her back. We didn’t, of course. Thought about it, a couple of years later when she developed an obstinate stance on rules, but we never considered it a serious choice. She was ours forever.

Now she’s grown, been married to her lovely husband, Daniel, for 18 years, with three children of her own. How the time flys by. An old cliché, but too true.

We’re blessed to have Jennifer and her family living near us so we get to see them often as we draw nearer to our exit from this mortal plane. That won’t happen any time soon, we trust, but it’s not something we can avoid.

I’ve included photos I’ve taken over a number of years to demonstrate how very little she’s changed

 IMG_0548 DSC_5189 DSC_3919 DSC_0831 DSCN4877 DSC_0023 DSC_0060CedricReady4School IMG_0565 DSC_6503Scan 5 Scan 11 Scan 7 Scan 3

Well, maybe she’s changed a little, but haven’t we all?

Love you Jennifer. Happy Birthday.

Cows, Cats, and Chorus

Yesterday Brett & Conrad installed a new patio door on our upper deck. You may or may not know them, but that isn’t relevant. They took out the old, single pane, aluminum clad door, that was installed incorrectly in 1957, and summarily tossed into the back of their truck so they could haul it away. I know it was installed incorrectly because the slider portion of the door was on the outside leaving the screen grooves on the inside of the frame. Odd. Now it’s correct. We didn’t have a screen before, now we do. And, the door hardly makes a sound when you open it. The old one rattled along the rail sounding like a wobbly wheel on the worst shopping cart you’ve ever used. Any where.

One of the benefits of having a noisy door was that Breezie always knew when we were looking for her, and that it was time to come in. Perhaps she understands that the new door isn’t going to be her signal that it’s time for lights out because she’s been staying in the house, sleeping for endless hours, going out only for brief moments throughout the day. Diane thinks she’s growing, but she looks just the same to me.

Someone asked me the other day what kind of cat she is so I told them she’s a Holstein cat. What do you think?

5753824-relaxing-holstein-cow-in-austrian-meadow   DSC_4405

You can hardly tell them apart … but, the difference becomes extremely evident when you try to milk them. It’s not a good idea to try milking a cat. They object with vigor and leave marks.

Last night we went a chorus concert at the high school to hear Jeran sing. This is a yearly event that includes choral groups from the High School and Middle School. It was standing room only because all the singers took up the first six rows in the auditorium. That would be about 200 kids, in all. Many groups, and they all sang 3 songs each. It was all very enjoyable. When Jeran’s group took the stage, he was located dead center, middle row. Easy to find. He did very well and I think I could actually hear his voice once in a while. It’s hard to pick one voice out of a crowd, as you all may know, but some how you can always pick out a member of your family. Weird how that works, isn’t it? Kind of like how Emperor Penguin mom’s can pick out their babies after even though they’ve never seen them before. You know how they work … talk an extremely long walk, lay an egg, then go on vacation while dad protects the egg from the extreme weather. She returns just in time to save dad’s life, then forces everyone to hike back to the spot she just vacated. Very odd.

Afer the recital, we all trekked to Burgerville for Ice cream. That was Jeran’s request. Jennie’s treat. Jeran and I had a hot fudge sundaes, Diane had a smoothie, Jennie had a caramel sundae, and Cedric had an ice cream cone with extra ice cream. It was all good. Cedric’s cone was small, but the ice cream was stacked about a foot tall. Quite amazing.

Lydia wasn’t there because she went to Sandy, out towards Hood River, to play soccer. It was a barebones team because many of them were participating in the choral event, and Lydia was the goalie. We received periodic reports of the action and learned she did very well. It was 3-0 St. Helens at half time, but they lost 4-3 when it was all said and done. Lydia said she stopped about 20 shots and really got a work out. One event caused problems because she had both hands around the ball and a girl kicked her hand, almost kicking her in the face and no penalty was assessed. So, she played injured the second half, and got very tired. But, she loved it, as we thought she would.

Now, it’s almost 10 am and I must get to work. I only have 2 days left to get all the wood trim back in place before company arrives.

Wish me luck …

GI Tract News, Lunch, Kids, Lions, and Mom

Today was really a long one that was filled with interesting and noteworthy ‘things’.

It started early, for me, when we had to leave the house at 0900 so Diane could get to her 1000 gastroenterlogist appointment on time. It’s terrible having to start a Monday morning so early. As I say that, the memory of getting up early enough to catch the 0545 bus to Portland comes to mind making today’s early start much easier to take. What a life that was. Everyone on the bus became like an alternate, diverse family with whom I interacted two hours a day, Monday thru Friday … an hour in the morning, and an hour in the afternoon. There are some really interesting people who ride the bus, but that’s for another day.

We arrived at Good Samaritan Hospital right at 1000 and Diane was a little concerned about it so stuffed the Buick in a parking space  near the elevator. As she bailed out of the car and headed for the elevator, she flung instructions over her shoulder for me move the car to a spot that might not result in someone calling a tow truck. I did, going around the next corner, parking in a spot about head on to the one I just left. It took about 30 seconds and I think I almost made it to the elevator before the door closed and whisked Diane away to the 4th floor. Consequently, when I arrived on the next trip up, she wasn’t very deep into the paperwork necessary for a first visit to pretty much any doctor. Not all of them, mind you, just most of them. Ya know, maybe all doctors need paperwork on a first visit, medically oriented or otherwise. I really don’t know that for sure …

Perhaps Pat can clarify …

Anyway, she really wasn’t late because they always make you show up a bit early to fill out all their disease-specific paperwork, and sign it to verify that you have told the truth, all the truth, and nothing but the truth. I really don’t know what they say because Diane goes with me to all my doctor appointments and fills all that stuff out for me. I’m spoiled that way. She just hands it to me to sign and I have no idea which little boxes she checks on those things. Apparently she hits the right ones because I’ve never been visited by the Medical Paper Police.

They took her back to her assigned exam room almost right away, leaving me alone in the waiting room with a bunch of strangers. I had my iPad, though, so had a book to read. I also have Sudoku on it which takes up a lot of my time. More than is healthy, actually, but rumor has it doing puzzles like that keeps the mind alert.

She didn’t tell me what kind of exam they were going to make her take, but I knew she was seeing a GI guy (GIG). Though I lost track of how long she was gone, I learned that it was a long time because the doctor who was going to see her said he picked up the wrong chart and walked into his 1030 appointment room instead of the 1000 appointment room. As a result, she was in there almost an hour twiddling her thumbs. I’m guessing there. I doubt if Diane twiddles her thumbs, ever. I bet she was even a little bit ticked to be kept waiting so long. Then, again, having lots of experience with doctor’s visits, and the emergent nature of their business, it’s understandable that they cannot always stick to a rigid appointment schedule. Emergencies happen.

Once the doctor showed up, she discovered that she really liked him. She like him so much that she briefly considered dumping me, then decided that he was a bit too old for her. But, he’s a doctor. With a job. A specialist. I would have understood. Really, I would have. I wouldn’t have liked it, but I would have understood.

Bottom line for the visit, beyond really liking him, she discovered that she’s a “very healthy woman.” Straight from the doc’s mouth. He actually read all of her history, checked all her labs, going back years, then had her describe her tumultuous youth and told her he was going to fix her plumbing. You see, for many years now, the semi-doctors she’s been seeing have been treating symptoms, never resorting to methods that attack the ’cause’ of her tummy grumblings. What a concept! Fight the cause! I like that approach, as does Diane. She has a much better outlook on what’s going on, now, and will probably be nicer to me as this problem goes away. She said she would, anyway. We’ll see.

After leaving the doctor we had to travel all the way from downtown Portland, to Orenco Station in Hillsboro. That’s a HUGE condo complex that turned in to an entire town around one of the trolley stops for the MAX train. If we lived there we could see all our cars and never have to go anywhere, for anything. It’s quite amazing, actually. Well, it’s more than a short walk to Costco, but a neat place, even so. We were going to BJ’s Restaurant to meet up with Jerry 1, Coleen, Nelda, Linda, Jodi, Rick,  Jerry 2, and Tom for lunch which was scheduled for 1130. We were late, of course, since Diane had to twiddle for an hour, but no one minded. Because everyone already had assigned seats, Diane and I were placed at opposite ends of the tables that were jammed together to accommodate the group.

We ate, we talked, and we carried on for hours until the waiters and waitresses made it clear we should leave. We had worn out our welcome, but we tipped them anyway. They were a good group to put up with all the grief this group can provide.

Then we departed to the parking lot where we participated in a very public display of going our own separate ways. We’re a huggy group. We’re family. We were missing Vie. Jerry 1 departed for Vancouver in his tricked out 2013 Camaro, Tom & Linda left in their little Toaster Car, Coleen in her PT, Jerry & Nelda in their PT, Rick & Jodi in Rick’s PT, and us in our Buick. It’s Rick’s PT, by the way, because Jodi has her very own PT.

Rick, thinking I actually had real knowledge about tablet computing, asked my opinion about one for sale in a nearby Office Max. He wanted to get Jodi one. Jodi, who doesn’t fiddle with computers very much, is particularly suited to a tablet. Not having an opinion to share on tables, except that I really, really like my iPad, he then asked if I would look at it and see what I thought. It’s hard to say “No” when someone trusts you that much, so we followed them over to Office Max and had a look.

We poked and prodded all the ones they had on display, comparing prices, figuring out why some models were more expensive than others. Finally, a young man with no facial hair appears and asked if we had any questions. We did, of course. Rick asked him what he thought of the one he had in mind, and the kid oooed, and awwwwed over it, wishing he could get one. It was very believable, and we bought it, but we still had questions. Some of them he couldn’t answer so he guessed. That was OK because they were trick questions and we already knew the answers. Just having a bit of fun.

Now Jodi is the proud owner of a nifty little tablet with a Windows 8 operating system, which Diane really likes. Now. She didn’t like it on her computer right away, but she’s learned to love it.

An interesting part of this visit was Diane’s encounter with Edith, 81, in the tablet and phone cover display, about 10 feet from we who were haggling over the tablet purchase. This simple encounter highlighted how approachable Diane is because she got pretty much this lady’s life story, all the way back to Japan where her shoulder was crushed when she was very young and her left arm did not grow as it should have. The story went on to relate how Edith liked to change her phone fairly often because she like “flying under the radar.” Reportedly, she lives near her daughter in Orenco Station, making frequent trips over the past seven years to Vancouver, BC to gather information about her father’s military days and his association with Winston Churchill.


Winston Churchill?

The research was done at her husband’s request, before he died in Florida, that her father’s story had to be told. So, she set about doing that over the next seven years, writing a historical novel about all her father’s covert activities. We’re not clear on the name of this novel because we cannot find any reference of it on the internet, but Diane said it’s “FF1”. Edith also reported that a movie company is making a movie of this story in Hong Kong and offered her $14 million for the rights. Being wealthy already, having earned a ton of money as a graphic artist who designed many of the currently used major league logos, she said she told the movie folks to hang on to that $14 million and they would negotiate after the movie was done and see if she liked it. “I’m 81 … what do I need $14 million for?” she told Diane.

What a story! Diane said she was perfectly believable the entire time. But, we can’t find anything about this book. Elaborate and detailed as the story is, it’s suspect. But, who knows? Could be legit. Either way, we all had a good time in Office Max.

Then we went to Costco to get ‘stuff’, and headed home to see if the dogs were still talking to us after being left alone for over 6 hours. They were just happy that we showed up.

Just before we got home Jeff texted that he was on the way up with most of his girls – that would be Ziva, Daisy, Olie, Gilligan, and Baylee. The first three are dogs. They arrived shortly after we did so we got a dose of hyper energy from the dogs and little girls running up and down the stairs, and in and out of the house. It wore us out watching all that activity from the upper porch. Jeff takes Daisy in the back yard and uses a tennis ball flinger to throw the ball for her. She chases it until she can hardly walk so he has to pace her. Olie, the puppy, runs with her but her heart belongs to Gilligan. Energy plus.

After the kids left Diane and I had a snack. She had what she calls a quickie which is simply two pieces of toasted bread between which is placed a piece of cheese food before the toast gets cold. It’s just a modified toasted cheese sandwich. We had to do this because we had to go to the Lions Club meeting at the Village Inn. Well, it used to be the Village Inn. It’s called something else, now. That meeting lasted until 8 pm, then we went to visit with Diane’s Mom, Jean , for a while. We didn’t get home until 9 pm.

Again, the dogs were very happy to see us return. They greet us the same way whether we’re gone for 5 minutes or 5 hours. Very consistent.

Now it’s almost midnight and I really need to go to bed because I’m tired and I think I’ve used up my alloted quota of words for the day.