“Monsters University”

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Because of this movie, I may never, ever, eat popcorn again.

It was another free entry day for us old people, but I pitched in for the snacks, which is only fair. Once again, we wound up down close to the front, where Debbie Reynolds sat, with Jennifer and me sitting in front of Jeran, Diane, Lydia, and Chris. I chose to move down a row because the seat I was assigned in the row with Diane was apparently broken. I know this is true because I sat in it and it automatically reclined because the rocking springs were not working correctly. Consequently, I wound up in the lap of the young man behind me, who took it well, although I know I crushed his knees quite nicely. He was very kind to refrain from pounding me into the ground, which he easily could have. I would have understood. So, there are still some well-mannered young folks out there. More who are than not, actually. Sad that the minority side of any issue seems to get all the recognition.

Jennifer got in the snack line, where all the money is made at movie theaters, as soon as she got in the door. I just gave her all my money and went to my seat, after making the changes noted above. Lydia went back to help with all of it. It’s quite a deal, actually, because you can get a HUGE tub of popcorn, and two HUGE drinks for $10-$11 and all of them are refillable. That’s the reason I may never eat popcorn again. Since I sat with Jennifer, we had a tub all to ourselves, being adults and all, so I just picked at it all through the movie, as did Jennifer. Turns out that I’m a quicker picker than Jennifer which caused me to eat almost all of our assigned tub, all by myself. Plus, I drank most of the Coke she brought for me. I should have specified 7-UP which may have avoided my current situation – that being on the verge of barfing up an entire tub of Coke flavored popcorn. I’m holding it off pretty well, but it’s not a done deal that I’m beyond it, yet. I can only hope that I chewed it up enough that, if it does come back for a visit, it doesn’t scratch my throat, or get stuck in the back of my nose. The latter is the worst part because ‘snuffing’ out of my nose always makes me sick to my stomach. In a different way.

The movie? It was great, as we knew it would be. Not only was the animation awesome, it had a great story line which, if kids follow it, would do away with all bias based on personal appearance. I may have actually learned something from Mike and Sully.

I give this movie 16 stars, based on a 17.5 star system, where 17.5 is the best. Go easy on the popcorn, or sit with someone who is allergic to it and just don’t buy any.

Fall Colors

Well, it finally happened. I was sitting peacefully at my computer, like normal, visualizing all the pretty colors I see in the trees when Diane lets me go outside. Normally they don’t turn such vivid colors until it freezes, which it hasn’t done, yet, to my knowledge. The deciduous trees that litter the hills, hiding in plain sight amongst the evergreens through spring and summer, apparently think otherwise. Their disguises serve them well until fall, when the promise of winter causes them to blush profusely, betraying their location, making them more prominent as they comtemplate the impending loss of their leaves, leaving them naked, surrounded by a majority who staunchly maintain their greenery. Living thusly only serves to make them more noticeable, a bright spot in a forest made mostly of a never-changing sea of green.

The fall colors seen in the north-east are unquestioningly dramatic and awe-inspiring, but those in the north-west are bright little surprises hidden most of the year amid an ever green forest. We know they’re there, but we forget until they remind us each fall.

Normally the leaves drift down gently in the breeze, signaling an end to summer, a prelude to winter. It’s a beautiful thing to watch this cycle of life.

Here’s the view from the front of our house looking up our street at the next door neighbor’s front yard. The house is for sale, or will be soon, if anyone is interested. It’s on a half-acre, daylight basement, with an unobstructed mountain view, just a little higher up the hill, and there’s an opening in the rock wall Sven built so you can visit us any time you wish. Really, you can.

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Following is our beloved dogwood tree as it looked yesterday morning before Jeff visited with Gilligan and Baylee. There’s just something about trees, with low hanging branches, that compel children, of all ages, to climb them. Cedric, Lydia, and Jeran graduated from the dog wood and climb all the way to the top of its fellow yard-dweller, the tall, green, birch tree to the left.

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Gilligan … she just turned six …

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Gilligan and Baylee …

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Baylee … she will soon be five …

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Here’s how the tree looked when they were done climbing it …

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That’s a lie, of course.

The tree looked that way before they climbed it. You knew that, right?

This is the third time it’s covered it’s ‘space’ with leaves. It’s very pretty, and easy to clean up with the mower, but it seems wrong to undo the effort this tree expended in order to provide us with such a pleasing sight. So, I will wait until all the leaves descend, then I’ll take another picture before decorating it for winter …

like this …

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Nature.

What a wonder it is …

Homecoming and Other Stuff

Just so you know, there are people in the north-east who still talk to me. Once in a while. That’s not relevant to this entry. It’s just something I was compelled to share.

Today I sanded about 1700 board feet of moulding of various kinds, then applied two coats of clear polyurethane finish. The reason it was 1700 feet is because I did it twice. Not because I did it wrong the first time, but once to make it pretty, and the second time between coats of finish. It wasn’t 1700 feet, either. More like 100 feet. It just felt like 1700. And, I didn’t put a finish coat on all of it. Just the trim around the three door ways in the entry hall. Things are looking good because I’m ahead of the imposed timeline for completing this project.

Diane worked on the hutch, in the garage, half the day, then painted the front porch a nice, pleasing light gray. It’s cement, so gray is the perfect color. It was red when we moved in six years ago, but it turned gray shortly thereafter. Useless information, I know.

The hutch is something we’ve had for a long time and it was getting a little bit beat up from some sort of furniture abuse. We’re not sure if it’s something that other pieces of furniture can catch, or not, but Diane has the solution. The hutch is maple and I just happened to have an un-used can of maple stain which Diane meticulously applied to the entire structure. She also removed all the brass hard wear and placed them in a solution of vinegar, baking soda, and something else, and a piece of aluminum foil. It’s a holistic metal cleaner that really works great.

The porch got painted while the stain was drying. By the end of the day, Diane was tuckered out to the point where she settled for a hot bath in lieu of a soak in our broken hot tub to which she only made a passing reference. After she headed for the tub, I went to the garage and applied a coat of paste wax to the hutch and made it really shiny. Mae my arm’s tired, but it was a surprise for Diane so that’s OK.

My arm, the right one, is a mess. It’s that way because I keep forgetting that it’s a mess and move it the wrong way which makes the mess worse. It works just fine for anything that needs to be done below my waist, but if it’s higher than that, it’s useless. To overcome that restriction I have a method that involves using my left arm to relocate my right arm to a position above the point where I can’t move it by itself, then it’s perfectly fine. It’s weird, I know, but it works. I bet there are some of you out there who know exactly what I mean.

At this very moment in time I’m watching unranked University of Central Florida play even with #8 unbeaten Louisville. Right now it’s 31-28, UCF. It’s the first time Louisville has been behind in a game this season. Gotta love the underdog, unless they are playing against the Ducks. Or another Pac-12 team.

We talked with Linda tonight and discovered that things are going well for both her and Tom. We made a date for lunch at BJ’s which is located on the corner of Cornelius Pass Road and Cornell Road. I think. It’s a new one. The time to meet is 11:30 am next Monday. Everyone is invited. If you get there first, get a big table.

Tonight is Homecoming for both Scappoose and St. Helens High Schools so both towns are whooping it up at their respective stadiums. Jack and Wynette are at the Scappoose game, and Cedric & Lydia are at the St. Helens game. Diane and I are home because we forgot it was homecoming day. It’s cold out there, anyway, and we’ll get the scores tomorrow. Still, it would have been fun to watch in person.  Maybe next year. It’s also good to be warm. Lydia got all dressed up for the dance, after the game, purple nose and all.

That’s it.

4-0 and 3-3

Just a quick note to let everyone know that I didn’t make any mistakes today. As a matter of fact, Diane even admitted, out loud, that I made a record 4 correct decisions while within range of her senses. Those are the only ones that count. If she doesn’t see it, hear it, smell it, or taste it, it doesn’t count, even if I’m right.

That’s a rule.

I’m really about 17-2 for the day, unofficially, but 4-0, officially, is good. Right?

The activity for today was to finish sanding the entry hall door moulding, which is in the basement on my work bench. Well, it’s not really on my work bench because that’s covered with all kinds of ‘stuff’ that used to be hanging on the pegboard behind the bench. What I actually have, is a pair of nice saw horses on which I placed some wide boards, that used to be shelves in the house next door. I put the moulding on those boards and applied a coat of liquid plastic. Tomorrow I will reinstall them on the door openings. Then I must work on the baseboards. I’m on the clock because we’re expecting visitors next week and I’ve been told that if the woodwork isn’t completed before they show up, I have to move out. If it comes to that, there’s an off-chance I will be allowed to stay in one of the Winnebagos. Hopefully its the one that works.

There is a brewing football dynasty at St. Helens High School. The varsity team isn’t doing so well, but the Freshman team is unbeaten. Not just this year, but for the past 6 years, when most of them started playing together in the third grade. I can’t find any information about them on the internet, but Jennifer, my beloved daughter who knows all, and has two children who attend her alma mater, told me that Cedric, a sophomore, goes to all the games but gets bored after the first half because the score is usually something like 50-0. I plan to go to their game next week, if it’s home, so I can give an accurate report. Sounds promising.

The varsity soccer team played a tough game this evening. Jennifer said they had 4 over times and ended in a 3-3 tie. I didn’t know soccer had over time. I thought the score was whatever it was at the end of regulation, whether it’s 0-0 or, whatever. Apparently not. So, there’s another aspect of soccer I apparently do not understand. In order to help with this terrible deficiency, that cannot be resolved with creative chemistry, I’ve decided that I’m going to make my own rule book based on what I’ve seen happen at the games we’ve attended. Maybe it will make sense, then. I’ll even share it and perhaps help some of you obtain a more in-depth knowledge of the confusing world of soccer.

Not today, however.

It’s late and I’m tired.

Oh! The cat was out only about half an hour before zooming in the patio door when I opened it. Apparently she didn’t want to spend another night outside. Don’t blame her. There are coyotes, and bigger cats out there.

Wow! I  have to report that I just ran my spell checker and it didn’t find any erors. How about that?

Lady Lions vs. Lady Indians

That’s what’s written on the shirts Diane and I wear to Lydia’s soccer games. The shirts also have her number on them. It’s # 1. That’s what Diane and wore this afternoon to the latest game. We have to keep watching because we’re right on the verge of figuring out what some of the rules are even though we don’t agree with them.

Before going there, however, I’m happy to report that Lydia’s nose had a miraculous recovery last night. Yesterday, her team mates told her she needed to put ice on it so it wouldn’t look so bad and scare the Scappoose girls today. She must have done something, or else she also has the ‘Amazing Healing Gene’ with which I’ve been blessed because it doesn’t look bad today.

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Instead of recapping the entire game, I’m just going to share a few photos I took with my magnificent camera with my magnificent telephoto lens. I can’t share all of them because the magnificent auto focus mechanism failed to function properly, no doubt, to the inability of the operator to set the various speed and aperture aspects which would elicit optimum photographic evidence of what was transpiring before him. Yes, all of that is true. The fuzzy photos were caused totally by operator error. So, you only get to see those that are at least in semi-focus.

First, what does the football team do while on the way to their locker room after their practice terminates?

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This one is for Sharmel. Her daughter is Laurel, #2 for Scappoose. We’ve known Sharmel for many, many, many years, and Laurel for most of her life. We do not mind that Laurel attend Scappoose High School at all because both Diane and I did, too.

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Next is one of Lydia duking it out with a frisky Scappoose Indian. It almost looks like they’re dancing, doesn’t it? Far from it. I believe right after this photo was taken, Lydia dropped the other girl like an autumn leaf then jumped in her stomach with abandon. That, of course, didn’t happen. Lydia has been known to knock other girls down, but she never jumps in their stomachs.

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While the soccer game was in progress, other members of the human race who have meaning for Lydia were frolicking in the top row of the bleachers. That’s Cedric, Lydia’s big brother, running off with the football that he just liberated from Chris who is sitting to Jacob’s right. They are both Cedric’s friends, all are sophomores, but Chris is more meaningful to Lydia than either of the other two.

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Here’re the Lady Lions taking their victory sprint across the field toward the bleachers after winning 2-0. It was a good game and fun to watch. We sat with Jennifer, Lydia’s Mommy, for the entire game.

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Now, about soccer rules … what’s the deal that the ball can roll right down the out-of-bounds line, but not be out-of-bounds. AND, the players can run out-of-bounds to kick the ball off the line with no fear of penalty. What’ that about? I mean, out-of-bounds is out-of-bounds. I guess when you only have one old guy in a yellow shirt, and jaunty black shorts, running down the middle of the field with a whistle that apparently doesn’t work, the girls can pretty much call the shots. All they have to do is just wait for the old guy to take one of his elongated blink, and they’re safe.

I must share a bit of crowd activity about which I heard after the game that involved a zealous Lady Lion Mom, not Jennifer, and the father of a Lady Scappoose Indian … the Mother was very loud in her vocal admonishment of Lions allowing Indians to push them around without pushing back a little themselves. The Mom confided in us, on the way out, that the Father displayed an inordinate level of assininity. A new word for me which I just love. I’ve never heard that one before and had to share it. I know that a new word because my spell checker didn’t recognize it.

That’s it …

The Injury Gene

Lydia has it.

When I mentioned Lydia’s game yesterday I failed to mention the ball that she took in the face. It was actually supposed to be a header, to a ball that was falling from about 200 feet, going 115 mph, but something in the wind caused her to misjudge, just a teeny bit and it hit her on the forehead …

… then her glasses …

… which slammed down onto her perky little nose …

… and finally the ground.

She didn’t skip a beat, and kept right on playing, after bending her specs a bit so they stayed on.

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She told her parents that it didn’t even hurt because it went numb right away, so she just shrugged it off and continued playing for the remainder of the game. This morning, however, it’s a little more colorful and she reported that her teeth hurt when she sneezes.

My nose hurts just looking at it. I fear she has a genetic disposition for injuring herself, and things. A couple of days ago she stumbled in their newly refinished bathroom and ripped the towel bar off the wall. So, next Saturday she’s going to learn how to repair sheet rock.

Back to the glasses … Lydia has a pair of sports goggles that would have resulted in a less dramatic injury, but she doesn’t like to wear them because they block her peripheral vision. They  also fog up on rainy days. We’re not sure if the injury is going to change her mind, or not.

This week at school is all about Home Coming, so each day the kids dress up as if they are going to one of their dances … prom, stuff like that. Cedric didn’t do it last year, but is this year because Lydia is. Jennifer said Lydia got all dressed up then went to school with no bandage on her face, the mark of true jock.

Gotta leave the skid marks out there for everyone to see.

She’s playing again today, against Scappoose. Should be fun because the more I learn about soccer rules, the less I understand it. So, I’m going to devote one of these entries to how I think soccer should be played.

Painting, Soccer, and Comcast

This is my 455th entry. It’s amazing because you’d think I’d’ve used up all the words I know by now, wouldn’t you? Another amazing thing is that I have over 100 friends on Facebook. I had no idea that I actually know over 100 people. I even recognize most of their names. How about that?

Today I removed all of the wood trim from the dining room and entry hall, then Diane and I painted the walls. It was such a beautiful day, seriously, that we opened windows, doors, and more windows, to air out the house.

Then we locked the dogs in the house and left to go watch a soccer game at Liberty High School. Lydia’s team lost 5-0 because of some terribly biased calls by the umpires, or referees, or whatever you call them. For instance, whenever a member of each team collided, if they both fell down, he blamed Lydia’s team-mate. If only one fell down, regardless of which team, they blamed it on Lydia’s team-mate who was closest to the mishap. Then, whenever the ball got past the St. Helens goalie, they gave the other team a point. I mean, what’s up with that? How is the St. Helens team supposed to feel good about themselves if they do that all the time. Seems like both sides should get a point, or they should just give the visiting team a couple of points to start with because they had to ride a bus to get there. Fair is fair.

The dogs were very happy when we got home. Just like always.

Some things just never change.

That’s a good thing.

Now I’m going to watch TV with my first wife because our current DVR is full of shows we have to watch before Thursday when a friendly Comcast employee will be here between 10-12 to install the X1 system. I have no idea what that is, but it involves a new kind of DVR that allows the user to record 4 shows at once while watching a 5th show. With this device we are assured of never getting anything done around the house, ever again.

I need to rest up for this.

Attacked! Again!

Hey!

Guess what!

Diane forced me to mow the yard again today, since it was incredibly beautiful, so I did.

I stayed out there mowing until the pain got really bad.

The good news is, I got my ‘pouty lip’.

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I guess I don’t have to tell you that I found the yellow jacket nest again. This time, however, I had my can of spray and was able to take out a bunch of them, but one little kamikaze got through and nailed me on the chin. To honor his bravery, I just brushed him off and he flew away.

My vision seems to be going away so I’m going to quit while I can still see the Send button.

Church, Lunch, and a Movie

Today we went to church, had a so-so lunch, and went to a movie. The dogs weren’t happy that we were gone for so long, but they forgave us anyway – maybe because it’s Sunday, but more probably because dogs forgive everyone almost immediately once you pet them and let them go outside. It’s just the way they are. Too bad people aren’t that way, too, don’t you think?

This morning Diane, Diane’s Mom, Jean, and I were forced to sit in the front row at church because Larry and Shirley sat in our seats. It was so … so … un-Lutheran of them. I mean, they usually either sit behind us, or a couple of rows back. This morning, however, they arrived before us and decided to move into our space. The nerve of them. Both Larry and Shirley were ahead of us in High School so I guess they were just exerting their superior position, although they’ve never done so in the past. Perhaps they were punishing us for being a little bit late. That could be it, too. So, we moved to the front, where Mabel, Nancy, Kim, Kevin, and Lisa usually sit, but they weren’t there today, so it was OK.

While listening to the sermon I got to thinking, something I don’t usually do in church. Usually, I just listen to the sermon, try to figure out how the ‘Message’ pertains to me, or how I can make myself a better person by making it pertain to me. Then, there’s the music. Old hymns that have historical meaning, written by people hundreds of years ago, that actually tell a story. Our pastor, Rory, is a wealth of knowledge regarding hymns, and regularly gives us background on the person who wrote a hymn he’s about to help us sing. Without failure, the story is compelling and filled with vivid evidence of spirituality, and the author’s un-questioning belief in God, even in the face of incredible adversity. True believers, all. They humble us.

After church I talked with Pastor and we both be-moaned the current lack of attendance by the most current generations at our tiny little church. He was saddened that he couldn’t generate more interest in spreading the Word of God to the countless scads of reportedly “un-churched” people, while I was more along the line that we could generate more interest and subsequently reap the benefit of increased offerings, allowing us to pay our bills without fear. Two different takes on a common problem.

Pastor’s ‘take’ was far more pastoral than mine, as one would expect. I did, however, have this thought about why we don’t see the younger crowd.

It’s about the music. We have the old classic hymns, we don’t have a band, and we don’t have microphones hanging from the rafters, or standing at rigid intervals across the stage. No, we have a pianist (Barb), an organist (Jeannie), and a raised area where we kneel around he altar for communion, every other Sunday, with wine and bread. The other Sunday’s we have communion by intinction, where we receive wafers which we dip into the wine as we file past Pastor. It’s fairly traditional.

We’ve been to the New Age services over the years and heard the powerful messages given by very charismatic speakers accompanied by their bands, and band of singers. The music is pleasant, but has never really struck a chord with either Diane or me. Now religious groups are growing exponentially, and it’s moved into the rap realm, something I’ve just never enjoyed. Rap, that is. I can appreciate the effort, and the      subject matter of their music, but I just don’t get “reference” from it.

That could be simply because I do not understand what they’re saying almost 100% of the time. The frequencies are all wrong for me, and the tempo, and the volume. I’m more attuned to the old stuff. Things I know.

So, I know, that makes me old fashion to the Nth degree, and that’s OK. I get it. Things change and, dare I say, evolve over time. So it goes with music and lots of other stuff including the style of churches, and their services.

I apologize if any of that upset any of you. It’s a free world, after all, mostly, so you are free to syntactically retaliate to your heart’s desire.

That’s not a dare, by the way.

It’s just a fact.

So, fire at will …

About lunch – we went to Zhen’s on Columbia Blvd here in town. For the three of us, we got a #3 and a #4, which was about six times as much food as we really needed. So, we packed up a bunch of it which will be enough for two more meals each.

Then we went to the Columbia Theater to watch “Turbo”. It’s the first movie Jean’s been to in a few years, so it was special for her. More special was that it was free, and, since we had just eaten lunch, we didn’t feel compelled to eat a mess of popcorn. That’s usually what I do in the theater and I always regret it. But I always do it, until today. It was good to just sit there and not be distracted by all that crunching noise, and greasy fingers that I always tell myself to NOT wipe on my pants but somehow always do because I forget. Without the popcorn I got to see the entire movie, without interruption.

We went with Jennie, Jeran, Cedric, Lydia, and Chris, Lydia’s friend. Actually, we went because of them. The Columbia Theater has a special deal where parents can buy kid’s tickets for 8 consecutive matinée movies for $8, which is an incredible deal. Additionally, each kid can bring an adult, so all us of us old folks got in for free. Pretty nifty, huh?

Another plus, since we were some of the last people to enter the theater, is that we got to sit almost right up front, very close to the seats Debbie Reynolds sat in when she was in town filming “Halloween Town”, many years ago. Maybe that should be many, many, years ago.

As I stated early on, the dogs were really happy to see us after our six-hour absence. I’m sure they thought we had gone to Mexico again, and were surprised when we returned so soon. Since our return, we’ve not done much but sit and vegetate, watching some of the shows that were recorded while we were gone. We’ll catch up, soon, then we’re going to turn in our old DVR, that can only record two shows at a time, and get the one that records 4 shows at a time, while you watch a 5th. That’s going to be something. We both think it’s very important that consumers should be able to records about six times as many TV shows than we can possibly watch unless we stay glued to our TV all the time. Kind of like we do now, but more so.

Ya know?

Gilligan

When you see that name, I bet the first thing that comes to mind is “Gilligan’s Island”. Six years ago, I would have thought the same thing. Now my first thought is about Gilligan, our Granddaughter who just turned six years old on the 5th. Since we were in Mexico at the time, we deferred our celebration of her special day until this afternoon.

This is her when she turned 5, but she still looks exactly the same.

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Gilligan has always been a little drama queen and her parents have taught her many things that most kids her age don’t know … like the bones in her body. She pretty much has them nailed. She has all of her emotions down pat, too. Just name one, and she’ll gladly display it quite convincingly. Needless to say, she’s adorable, and a ton of fun.

She’s a budding model who just needs an agent …

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We were at Fred Meyer shopping and while transiting through the fruit bins, I told her to drop and give me 10 … so she did. I actually didn’t expect it, so was quite surprised.

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I was surprised too, later, that some angry mom didn’t call the cops on me for child abuse. Gilligan didn’t mind, and she could just as easily told me no, but she didn’t because she loves me. And I love her.