Oceanside, CA

Today was very quiet and peaceful.

Although we both felt as though we slept in, we were up before 0800. We were moving, too.

After a leisurely breakfast of nourishing Cheerios, coffee, and pills, we put on our outside clothes and took a walk down the boardwalk, and to the end of the Oceanside Pier. Along the way we stopped to watch the surfers running down both sides of the pier. The waves were quite magnificent due to the coming storm, so we witnessed a lot of amazing wipeouts.

After the walk, we got our beach chairs and took them to the beach, about 30 feet away, and sat there until Diane got cold enough to see the need to retreat indoors. I was sitting there in my little shorts, and short-sleeved shirt and she was wearing long pants and a sweatshirt. I admit, I was a little chilly, too, but no way was I going to cry Uncle first. She doesn’t know that, so don’t tell.

DSC_9455 DSC_9492

For all the “Mike’s” out there … we found your bench …DSC_9512

Our “home” …DSC_9500 DSC_9459 DSC_9444

All of the inside boards of the pier railing, both sides, have names on them, like this …

That’s a lot of names.

Back in the condo, Diane pulled one of the arm chairs into the patch of sun, got her book going, then fell asleep. I wound up taking a nap on the couch. For supper Diane had a tuna melt, and some soup. I ate the rest of the soup. Real exciting stuff, huh?


Port Hueneme to Oceanside

Today’s another banner day for me with regard to blog entries … this is #580 and I still haven’t run out of words. Go figure ..

The day started with a mostly calm journey down Highway 101, and ended the same on I-5 at the southern extreme of our intended journey. The middle, through the heart of Los Angeles was just as we remembered … about 20-85 minutes of dodging daring drivers driving very expensive cars. We noted that about 1 in 10 of the cars passing us were new. The obvious explanation is that they each had recently wrecked the last one they had and were out breaking in the new one.

Initially, as we neared Los Angeles, the amount of north-bound traffic seemed pretty normal for seven lanes of new cars. The number quickly increased making it quite evident they were all rushing to escape the city before the next earthquake hits.


Then, about the middle of the LA proper,  the southbound lanes become the escape route and the real excitement begins.

The frenzy continues, and builds, as more and more new vehicles join the quest to seek safety, from severe seismic sensations, to the south. During the fray, most of the vehicles ricochet off one exit or another until only a few of us remain. We continue southward, to solace, in Oceanside … the number one liberty town for pretty much the entire Marine Corps. We don’t mind, however, because we’re well protected from invasion of any sort.

We arrived at our destination at 1430, or so, meaning we made the trip in 3.5 hours with only one stop. That was for donuts because Diane was hungry. I mean, really hungry.

So, before leaving the Port Hueneme area, we stopped at a small donut shop in Oxnard that I spied. They had awesome looking donuts, but they also had apple fritters which I happen to know Diane loves. They also had some good-looking cinnamon rolls. So, I bought one each, and away we went.

These pastries were not minor pieces. They were huge, so we had to wear our car bibs to keep from making pastry stains on our clothing. We washed them down with the semi-good coffee I purchased at the exchange before leaving the Navy base. This minor form of sustenance sustained us all the way to our destination which means we didn’t have to stop.

Once off the freeway, we made our way to 121 S. Pacific Ave in Oceanside. It’s an ocean front resort, right on the water, almost. Actually, separating the resort from the water is a very narrow road, a boardwalk, made out of cement, a fence and a wide area of sand. But, it’s still Oceanside, right?

Still, it’s nice. We got a parking place, opened all the doors, and loaded everything that fell on the ground onto a cart and took it to our room.


I’ll go back down tomorrow and get the rest of it. Shouldn’t take more than two trips.

We have a corner unit on the north end of the third floor of the Easternmost building of this two building complex. We have a really nice deck that has a terrific view of the wall of the Westernmost building, and it looks down on a very large patio area that forms the roof of the parking area between the two buildings. However, in our little corner, we have two windows that provide a pretty nice view of pretty much everything that’s going on.

Before …DSC_9372

… and at sunset
DSC_9381After the trip we simply enjoyed just sitting around doing nothing. Actually, we like sitting around doing nothing pretty much anywhere we go. That will change tomorrow. Diane already has a Costco trip planned, and I’m pretty sure she’s scoped out locations for all the thrift stores in the area. If not yet, I know she will. Diane was enjoying sitting around doing nothing that she recruited me to make dinner, which I did. We had tuna salad sandwiches. They were really good.

Tomorrow, we will try to connect with our friends, the other California Mike and Kathie, who are only about 40 miles away. After driving over 1000 miles, 40 miles is nothing, really. Besides, Diane will be driving.

Now I’ll share a couple of photos from Hearst Castle, then quit …

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Travis AFB, Hearst Castle, and Port Hueneme Naval Station

Another banner day for us because we were up, dressed, and out of our room before 0730. On the way our of the lobby we each got a cup of coffee from the Java Station … $4.35 for both. Better than hotel bathroom coffee, but a bit expensive for just coffee. Thankfully, Diane packed my favorite creamer so I could dose it up to a condition where it was compatible with my tender palet.

Getting on the road toward a more southerly location was pretty simple with Waze in charge. She talks, better than Google maps. I also like her use of slang. For instance, when a corner is coming up Google Maps says, “In one mile, turn left.” Waze just says, “In one mile take a left.” more user-friendly.

As I “speak”, we are cruising, in excess of 70 mph, south on Highway 101 about 175 miles north of our first destination of the day, Hearst Castle. We got up early to leave because it’s a 5 hour trip and we have reservations for an Old People Tour at 1400. I doubt if we’d get a refund if missed our appointment. So, by golly, we’re going to make it on time. Probably get there way early. Might even have time to get lunch, which would be nice, because Diane made us hit the road this morning after ingesting only a yogurt and a pint of coffee. I suppose if I was more assertive I could convince her to stop for a bite, but I want it to be her choice, not mine. In her defense, she’s been asking me on a pretty regular basis if I’m hungry. I’m really not, but I could probably eat half a horse. That’s just the way I am. I can eat a lot, whether or not I need it. I must learn to control that because my A1C is in the danger zone of pushing me over that fine line of that tells the world I have diabetes. I prefer not to go there, but if Diane continues to let me eat whatever I want, that’s what’s going to happen. She needs to be more careful with me.

We’ve been talking about my torn rotator cuff and whether or not I should have the surgery. So far, 100% of the people who responded to my question about success have reported that it’s a no-brainer … I should do it. So, with that thought in mind, she’s making a list of all the things I need to get done before I get laid up for recovery. It’s interesting that the new list has different things on it than the normal one before all this talk of surgery.

The sun has appeared and the visible clouds hold no threat of moisture.

Just as I typed that last, Diane decided that it’s time to eat. So, I asked SIRI to find us breakfast and she directed us to an IHOP in Salinas. Now we eat.

Breakfast was good. When we got there it was standing room only and we had to wait for about 15 minutes. We didn’t mind waiting because it’s a good sign that the food will be fresh and hot. It was.

After lunch we made our way own Highway 101 to Paso Robles where we made a right turn on Highway 46 and followed it to Highway 1 where we made another right turn, going north. Our goal was San Simeon where we made another right turn on Hearst Castle Drive. We had reservations for a tour of the castle at 1400 and we were an hour early so had plenty of time to look around the gift shop and view the castle from afar. I didn’t realize it was so high up in the hills.

At the appointed time we boarded a bus for transport up one of the most crooked roads we’ve ever been on. You need go Google Hearst Castle and check the road out. It’s pretty interesting. Then, visualize a ride up it in a city bus that, once in a while, meets another bus coming down. Pretty exciting stuff.

Visiting the castle is recommended even though it’s off the beaten path, unless you just happen to be driving up or down Highway 1 on purpose. It’s a beautiful drive and the castle is quite magnificent. We spent a couple of hours there but saw just a little bit of the interior. It’s an all day event to see everything, and we didn’t have the time.

Just before turning in to the park, we saw numerous zebra mingled amongst the cattle roaming the property. They run wild there. They are the remnants of Hearst wild animal park that spanned, at one point, nearly 1/4 million acres.

After leaving the castle, we returned to Highway 1 and turned left. The next destination was Port Hueneme Naval Base. It’s located near Ventura on the coast, so staying on Highway 101 was the quickest way.

The drive was absolutely beautiful. It’s like driving through a gold course with rolling hills on which cattle have etched their presence in evenly spaced ridges encircling each hill, no matter how tall, from bottom to top. It’s evident this has been going on for many, many years. quite decorative.

At one point Diane asked how far we had to go and I told her 130 miles, I believe. She checked the Buick’s computer and learned we could make it about 90 miles on the remaining gas. So, a stop was necessary. We were hungry, anyway, so I asked SIRI to find us a gas station and a place to eat. As luck would have it, about 10 miles down the road was an exit that had gas stations on all four corners in addition to a number of fast food places.

Since we were going to a Navy Base, I didn’t fill the tank. I’m guessing gas will be a little less on the base. The gas we got cost $4.12 a gallon for regular. That’s the most we’ve paid, so far. After dumping $30 in the tank, we went next door to get a Domino pizza. Not your normal food to eat while flying down Highway 101, dodging all those California drivers in a hurry to get home, but that’s what we got. It is, after all, Saturday night, and that’s usually what we do.

Since I was the navigator, I got to hold the pizza on my lap until it cooled down enough to divvy it up, a piece at a time. We have car bibs so keeping shirts clean isn’t a problem and we were pleasantly surprised that eating pizza on the road is actually easier than eating a hamburger. We figured it was better for us, too, because pizza has way more bread type food in it.

The trip got longer and longer as the sun began to dip below the horizon, but we finally arrived safely at the Port Hueneme Navy Lodge, just about dark. It was a relief to be “home”.

Now we’re all wound down and ready to call it a night. Tomorrow, our last leg of this southward journey is a much shorter one. The downside is that it’s through the middle to Los Angeles. Hopefully they won’t have any more earthquakes while we’re transiting the area.

If that happens, we’ll have to stop at Penney’s for new underwear.


Medford to Travis AFB

Unlike almost every other trip we’ve ever taken, in our life, we hit the road early. We’ve tried numerous times in the past, but something almost always interfered with “the plan”. As a result, we usually wound up arriving at our next stop after dark. Now, I’m not talking about the really old travel days when we simply drove for endless hours and didn’t start looking for a place for the night until night was falling. No, I’m talking about a trip that’s planned from start to stop with reasonable stopping points. Diane’s a great planner, but she can’t plan for unexpected events that cause delays … like diarrhea, for example. You can’t plan for that.

So, getting on the road at 0830 this morning, was great. First stop, before hitting the freeway, was Dutch Bros., for good coffee, then McDonald’s for breakfast sandwiches. Then we hit the freeway.

Even though the trip was spent mostly in the rain, we knew a sanctuary wasn’t far ahead. The plan was to arrive at 1400 and we did that, precisely, the earliest time we could check in to our new room. The closer we got to our destination, the better the weather got until, upon arrival, the sun was shining brightly and it was pleasantly warm … like 68 degrees.

Instead of using Google Maps to guide us in, I used Waze, a very handy application that routes users around traffic jams. Instead of taking us to the main gate at Travis, it took us along the back roads, through rolling hills covered with future steaks, to the North Gate of the base. From the gate we passed some incredible base housing. Everything looks brand new. Diane thinks I should have spent my career in the Air Force instead of the Navy.

Still, she’s very happy to be back on a base. She swoons at the sound of a fighter jet, or the smell of navy ship.

I digress …

Waze directed us right to the Air Force Inn on Travis Ave. I checked in, we parked, and went to ensure the room was adequate. Considering that everything on the base looks brand new, as previously mentioned, i wasn’t too concerned. I think the Inn is pretty new. It’s a lot like really nice Holiday Inn, but with smaller beds. Still, it’s nice.

After ensuring there was little chance of being attacked by California Bed Bugs we went out to tour the base. Not all of it, of course. Just the part with the food court. Before going there, however, we went by the base dining facility to see if we could eat there, but it was only 1500 and they don’t open until 1630. That’s when the food court became a more viable choice.

It was easy to find because on pretty much every military base, now days, there’s a food court attached to the base exchange. As if to make a point, it was also true in this case. I wasn’t surprised.

We stopped by the Manchurian WOK and got a plate of orange chicken, noodles, and vegetables. With it we got two forks and two glasses for water. In all, dinner cost us $7.99.

Then we took a tour of the exchange. While doing that, Jack texted me so I sent him some pictures. He used to be stationed here, a long time ago. I need to take a picture of the old DC-3 that’s on display in the middle of a traffic circle between the exchange and commissary. I think it’s one he worked on once. That’s a guess, of course, but who knows?

From the exchange we dropped by the commissary to get a few treats. For later.

Then we went back to the , carried about 60% of everything in the Buick to the room then Diane made us peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for supper.

Now I will close, leaving you with a few photos of the day …

First, is somewhere on I-5 in the Redding area. I would have taken a picture of Shasta Lake but it was raining too hard. The lake is really sad because it’s probably 100 feet or so lower than normal. Pretty amazing. Also, it was a bit windy.


Next is just a selfie of the two of us so I could show you that Diane doesn’t always watch the road. But, she’s a good driver. Really.


Finally, here’s the view from our room. We’re on the 4th floor, the top floor, directly above the lobby. Looks new, doesn’t it?


Gone Again ….

Here we are heading south once again. Medford is our destination. Before leaving we stopped at Good Sam to visit my new best friend, an orthopedic doctor. He wanted to have an up close and personal look at my shoulder …

… News Flash! our car turned 80,000 miles at mile post 248, a little south of Salem … now, back to our regularly scheduled program …

… because it hurts all the time. It’s been hurting since about 1995, or so. In all that time not one of the many doctors I’ve seen recommended that I see an ortho doc. Instead, they send me to physical therapy. I’ve done that many times. It was my last therapist who thought an ortho referral would be a good idea.

The final result is that I have a torn rotator cuff and the only way to fix it is surgery that has only an 80% success rate. So, I can choose to do nothing and live with the pain, or give the surgeon a shot at it. So, I’m seeking wisdom from those of you who have had this experience. I know one fellow who would like to choke the doctor who operated on his shoulder, but he’s only one example. So, what should I do?

When we left Portland it was raining big time. We don’t care. Really, we don’t, because it will be sunny on the southern extreme of the trip.

At 1338 we pulled off the freeway for gas and lunch in Albany. We gassed up at Freddie’s for $3.489 a gallon. Since we got 13.682 gallons, it cost us $47.74. It’s always fun when the value is a palindrome. I love those things. There’s something mystical about them. I know all those values are true because I’m looking right at the receipt. I could have done it in my head, though. Really. I could have, given enough time. And a pencil.

For lunch we chose Sizzler because we like Sizzler. We just got the all you can eat salad bar, like we do at the Longview Sizzler. It’s very filling.

I rested for a while after going over lunch in my head. I had 5 pieces of dead chicken, a salad, clam chowder (not so good), fake nachos, and ice cream. Oh, and a piece of cheesy toast.The trip to Medford was uneventful. Only occasional torrential torrents of rain that made it necessary to slow down to the speed limit until they went away. We made it to the Rodeway Inn right at 1800.  Since I was the passenger, like normal, I checked in, like normal. Ted, the check-in guy, was very nice and really surprised me when he gave me keys to room 111.

That interesting because about 5 years ago we stayed at this motel, in the same room. Amazing. I mean, the place was almost empty and he put us in the room we had that long ago. It must mean something. Maybe we should have purchased a Power Ball ticket, or something.

Instead, we went to Wal*Mart to wander around a bit. Diane also needed to get some kitchen tools to replace those she didn’t have time to pack because she dropped all of her pills on the floor next to her toilet. Yes, that’s true. Unlike me, she chose to not dust them off and put them away. Instead, she simply tossed the wet ones in the trash. I guess that works since little boys don’t use her toilet. I could be wrong on that … she may have just tossed them all.

Once we returned from our trek around Wal*Mart, Diane microed some tomato soup which we had with out Tillamook cheese and ordinary saltines. Since we’re on a budget, that’s as good as it gets. We’re on rations until April 1st.

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Budgets, How to Save $$, and Lent

I spent most of today fiddling with my budget spreadsheet, shifting things around so the numbers worked … you know, kinda like statistics. After a while, it all started to click into place which concerns me a bit because I’m a terrible accountant type person. So, the proof of whether or not it’s going to work will be determined when we run our of money on our vacation.

On the upside of the money issue, I got a call today from Hudson Garbage to ask me if I knew I had a large credit balance on my account. I didn’t know that. The lady told me it was in excess of $500 which took me a bit by surprised. Learning this, you may wonder why I’m the one paying the bills, right? Well, turns out the $45 bill I’ve been paying every month, for a long time, only has to be paid every other month, on the odd ones. Plus, the bill is $52 and change, not $45. The lady asked if I wanted to just apply it to the next year’s worth of service. I told her no, just send it back so I can factor it into my budget as newly found money. The question I should have asked is “why did it take so long for you to discover this?” That’s a moot point at this time.

So, for those of you who wish to stash away a few bucks, just double pay one of your bills and let it ride until they figure it out. The danger is, of course, they may never find out, or may to just choose to ignore the overage. It’s a crap shoot, perfect for the garbage company account.

Diane cut her lip today opening a zip lock bag. Now, I’ve injured myself in some pretty interesting ways over the years, but that’s a new one. I must take a step back and humbly bow to one who totally outdid me on creative ways to make yourself bleed. In her defense, she didn’t have to show me, but she did so it’s fair game.

At 1600 I had to get dressed for church to attend our Lenten service. I spent the day in my pajamas. While talking with the Comcast Lady, to arrange a cable install at the church, I mentioned that I was in my pajamas and she proclaimed that she, also, spends most of her work day in hers. We had quite a long, revealing conversation.

Now it’s late. We’re leaving for vacation right after my 1100 orthopedic appointment tomorrow, and I haven’t packed yet. Think that’s going to wait until tomorrow. I can’t tell you where we’re going, or how long we’ll be gone because Diane doesn’t want anyone to empty the place in our absence. Rest assured, however, they neighbors keep a close eye on strangers and they all have guns.

In parting, here’s a picture of the lunch Diane made me. It’s 5 pancakes, two eggs, and three pieces of bacon cut in half. I cut all the bacon in half so it would fit into one of those large ziploc bags.


My Rectum, and Dead Chicken Parts

Today a gastro doctor shoved a TV camera up butt and took a bunch of photos. I was going to share them, but Diane cautioned me against that saying it probably wasn’t a good idea. I tried to share it with the entire family at dinner this afternoon, too, but that was deemed inappropriate. In retrospect, I can see how that might upset some folks and probably shouldn’t have done that. But, I did, and must suffer the consequences.

The reason everyone was at our house for dinner was to celebrate Lydia’s 15th birthday. It’s really not until Wednesday the 26th, but we celebrated early to trick her. It didn’t work, but that’s OK because everyone had a good time. Like normal, everyone talked at once so the only conversation any of us could participate in was with the person next to us, or we could just sit and listen to the loudest one. It’s very entertaining, and it wears me out. Still, it’s good fun.

Diane cooked dead chicken, Lydia’s request, and it was great. It was oven-fried. We also had asparagus, corn, baked potatoes, salad, and rolls. This is the first real meal I’ve had since Friday … but I’m getting ahead of myself a little …

It was a brutal weekend.

I already told you about Saturday, which wasn’t really too bad, but Sunday was liquids only day. I drank chicken broth, water, and had jello for dessert. This was repeated over and over throughout the day until about 1900 when all eating had to cease. I ate an entire package of jello by myself. It was orange, not one of the colors frowned upon by gastroenterologists. Those are the purple, blue, and red ones. The day ended at 1600 when I washed down two Dulcolax tablets. The tablets are very small so it was like two little periods punctuating the end of my liquid intake until 1700. Then I got to drink a 10 oz bottle of Magnesium Citrate, a new taste treat for me. It was pretty much the most horrible tasting stuff I’ve ever had. Truly, it was. I was given 30 minutes to get it all down, and I used every second of it. There were no consequences listed for going over the allotted 30 minutes, but I wasn’t about to find out. Doctor’s orders, you know.

Next on the list was Gatorade, into which Diane had already added the Miralax. This started at 1800 and I was required to ingest 32 oz, through a straw, 8 oz every 15-20 minutes. After the citrate stuff, the Gatorade tasted pretty darn good, even though it was served at room temperature. I was given the option, earlier in the day, to have it refrigerated, but didn’t think it would matter. Not being a Gatorade fan, I’ve made a determination that the colder it is, the better.

Knowing I’d just ingested a potentially volatile combination of laxatives, I put on my quick release pajamas and positioned myself where I had a clear shot at one of our bathrooms. The whole event turned out to be quite anticlimactic because nothing exciting happened. I was in control the entire evening, then went to bed and slept soundly for 6 hours before it was necessary to arise and finish off the remaining 32 oz of Gatorade laced with Miralax.

I had to get up at 0630 this morning to finish off the mixture. Since that batch spent the night in the refrigerator, it was nice and cold which produced my determination mentioned above. Being cold, and the only thing I was allowed to ingest, through a straw, 8 oz at a time, I pretended it was better than it really was. After it was gone, I did my best to get some more rest on the couch. There were some restful moments, but Panzee and Breezie took turns going outside. Until Breezie figured out that beating on the glass got someone’s attention, it was easy to ignore her and I could rest longer. Then Panzee started doing it, too.

At 1015 Diane made sure I was up so I could be dressed in time for our 1030 launch to make it to the gastro place by 1130, my designated check-in time. The procedure was going to take at least 2 hours so I shooed Diane away to go do something a little more interesting than sitting around in the waiting room for me. The nurse took her phone number so she could call her back for my ride home.

Shortly after Diane left, I was called to the back room where all the magic happens.

I was escorted to my very own little bed, separated from a lot of other beds just like it by curtains. On the bed was a pad onto which I was told to sit, by Joann, who asked me a ton of very personal questions which I answered correctly. I was pretty sure they were all correct, anyway, because she didn’t scold me or give me “that look” that makes you want to rethink your answer. One thing that concerned her was that I was put on a laxative regimen different from the one ordered by the doctor. The one I should have done was considered to be a little easier on the kidneys than the one I was told to do. I was told it was an easy mistake to make because the little boxes that needed to be checked, for each process, were right next to each other. That eased my mind considerably because I was sure all the other boxes had proper separation to disallow the probability of getting the wrong one.

After the questions, she told me to strip and put on the backless gown. Not wanting to get on her bad side, I proceeded, but she said I could wait until she left. She did, and discreetly pulled the curtain across the end of the bed giving me a small feeling of privacy. I folded all my clothes up and stuffed them into the locker provided, and put on the gown. Then I took it off, put my clothes back on, and went to the bathroom for the last time. Then I repeated the stripping part.

Once properly donned in the gown, and my socks, I reclined on the bed and covered up with the sheet, as directed. Shortly thereafter, Joann came back with a tray on which I knew were things that would hurt me, but I remained brave. Of main concern was the IV she had to install.

Her first attempt in my wrist area failed so she had to try again. Being dehydrated like I was, didn’t help the situation and I understood that so felt no animosity toward her. I didn’t tell her, however, that I only scream on the third try. She laughed, thinking it was a joke, which was OK. It put her in a good frame of mind and helped her, I’m sure, get the second attempt properly installed a little further up my arm.

After a short wait, I was wheeled away, deeper into the building where the REAL fun happens. Once in my designated room I was greeted by Devon, my anesthesiologist. He asked a few questions, then explained that he would be administering propofol, one of the drugs used on Michael Jackson. This didn’t bother me, however, because I was in a medical environment full of ethical practitioners. I was going to be just fine and I wouldn’t remember anything that happened.

Once Dr. Sleven appeared, he who would control the procedure, Devon approached and said, “here we go,” and attached a syringe to my IV port. He squeezed a little in and said I’d feel the effect right away and be out in 15 seconds. The feeling was quite interesting because I had the sensation of dull needles pushing on all surfaces of my body, felt myself drift a little … then I woke up back in my little curtained off area in the prep room about an hour later. Interestingly, I dreamed during the procedure, but don’t remember what about.

The effects of the drug dissipated quickly and I was back to normal in about 10 minutes. I guess that’s a subjective term, “normal”, but I felt pretty good. A different nurse appeared to remove the IV and got me some juice, then I was allowed to dress and retire to the waiting room. Just as I sat down, Diane walked in. Perfect timing. Shortly afterward, Dr. Sleven called me back to discuss what he discovered on his trip up my rectum.

The news was good, but he put me on another 5 year recall, instead of 10, because he found one polyp which he removed. He didn’t think it was a problem, but it will still be biopsied. He gave me an entire page with photos of various parts of my colon which I might frame and hang on the wall to enjoy. It could be a topic of conversation. But, I won’t do that because I know it wouldn’t be a good idea. I’d share them, because I think they are pretty typical, but won’t because I don’t wish to anger my leader. Besides, it should be a private thing, right?


As soon as we got home from the hospital, Diane started cooking everything in sight in preparation for Lydia’s BD dinner. It was a festive time, as previously reported. All the kids are growing up so quickly. Lydia’s going to be 15, next month Jeran will be 14, and Cedric will be 17 in June. Where does the time go.

Now it’s almost 2300 and time for bed. So, there I must go. Diane said … first, here are some photos I can share …

Lydia and her cake …


Lydia and Gilligan hamming it up for the camera …


Gilligan inserting a little of her inner self, and a glimpse of the future “Rocker” …DSC_9250

Baylee’s and Gilligan’s ride. This was as they were leaving. We got a report later that the trailer was rolled when they were almost home, but damage was minimal.


Astoria, Breakfast, American Legion, and Laxatives

Greetings Everyone. If you’ve missed me, I’m sorry. If you didn’t know I’ve been missing, that’s OK. Lots of people don’t notice when I’m missing or just don’t care if they do. That’s OK, too. I’m easily missed.

Let’s see. What kind of compelling information can I share that might influence your moral compasses?

……. after many minutes of sitting here thinking about that, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t know enough about anything that would influence anyone’s moral compass. At least not in a positive way. Therefore, I’m moving on to what I remember and/or what I can find in my calendar.

On Thursday I suffered through a round of golf with Doug and Lyle. It was admittedly one of my more miserable attempts at golfing so I won’t even go there. The best thing about it was it was another beautiful day. Cold, but beautiful.

After leaving the golf course, I stopped to see Don and Judy on my way home. We hadn’t talked for a while so it was time. They’re doing OK. It was good to see them, as it always is.

Once home, I installed myself into my paint spattered jeans, held up by my stretchy tape measure suspenders, and one of my older PGE shirts, also paint spattered. They matched. These are the clothes I wear when there’s a possibility I’ll find something useful to do around the house. It happens sometimes. Regarding Thursday, I don’t have any memory of doing anything useful. Just the golf. I’m sure I did something memorable. I bet Diane knows, but I’m not going to ask her because he would be a sign of weakness.

Friday I was given an opportunity to redeem myself on the golf course but I declined.  Although the odds were that I’d improve on Thursday’s results, there was no guarantee, so why flirt with fate for an unpredictable outcome? Instead, I reacquired my work uniform and went to the apple tree residue surrounding our burn pile. There was an enormous pile of intertwined branches that I reported on previously. They’ve been there a while, like all winter, so you may have missed it. What was very interesting to me was that these branches, seemingly dead when I hacked them from the tree, then layed on the ground throughout the winter, had blossoms that were blooming. Amazing. I suppose I should have taken a photo, huh?

My goal was to turn them all into ashes which required that I once again manually place the zillion pieces on the pile. First, however, I placed a couple of cardboard into which I tossed a bunch of wadded up paper from the residue of Diane’s files. Much of it was from many years ago and no longer necessary. The final result was that I managed to dispense with about 80% of the branches with only one match. It was a magnificent fire. My eyes will never be the same again. That’s because I was victimized by the age-old wives tale that smoke follows beauty. No place was safe for me as the smoke sought me out no matter where I located myself around the fire. I held my little eyes squished shut for long periods of time, but had to stop because it quickly became apparent that doing so made me quite dizzy. I had visions of collapsing into the fire, igniting my favorite work shirt, causing serious damage to my tender skin. This caused me to move away from the fire, creeping in sporadically to add branches to the pile. Eventually there was nothing left to move. Just myself, back to the house, for supper.

Before eating dinner, I sat in my chair for a bit, relaxing before my shower. As I sat there, relaxing, I put my hands behind my head, exposing my tender underarms to any casual observer. Turns out Diane observed that my shirt had huge holes in the armpit area because the seams were giving up. She commanded me to immediately remove myself, disrobe, take my shower, and throw my holey shirt in the trash. So, I did. I took my shower and carefully placed my sacred shirt into the garbage container in her bathroom.

This morning Doug showed up just before 0930, as arranged, to ride with us to the American Legion District Meeting in Astoria. We picked up Diane’s mom on the way to give her a day in the sun. It was an absolutely beautiful one, too.

On the way, we stopped at the Berry Path Restaurant in Westport, home of the Wahkiakum County Ferry, the only ferry on the Columbia River that crosses the Columbia between Oregon and Washington. There are others that cross the Columbia, interspersed between the numerous bridges and dams, but this one is ours. On the Oregon side we call it the Westport Ferry. It’s a cutie.

The Berry Patch Restaurant has always been one of our favorite places to eat on Highway 30. Doug had one pancake which was about 10 inches across and perfectly done. Diane’s Mom, Jean, had two pieces of toast because she had eaten shortly before we picked her up for the trip. If you’re ever out this direction, it’s a place you must stop to visit for either a great meal, or to purchase some of their incredible jams, jellies, and pies.

With breakfast out of the way, we continued our westward journey to Astoria, arriving about an hour early for our 1300 meeting. The high point of the meeting was a slide show presented by Sgt. 1st Class Steven Buck and him relating his story as the Casualty Assistance Officer who coordinated the safe return of recently returned remains from a plane that crashed in Papua New Guinea in 1943. It’s quite a story about an NCO’s tireless efforts that brought closure to the entire crew of B-17 “Naughty but Nice”.

During the meeting, Diane and her Mom visited Fort Stevens and spent a relaxing time, in the car, at one of the beach access parking lots watching kids cavorting on the beach and playing in the water. Since the temperature was in the 50’s, I guess the water wouldn’t seem all that cold, but I’m sure it was. I remember many cold sunny days playing in that surf when I wore kid’s clothes.

The trip home was uneventful with the exception of the having Doug in back so I had someone to talk with. Normally when we take Diane’s mom for a ride, I’m all alone back there.

Today is the one prior to my colonoscopy where I must not eat nuts, seeds, or anything colored. I can eat all the way up to midnight, and I may do just that because tomorrow is liquids only. I can eat all the jello I desire, and I will, because in the evening I begin ingesting 64 ounces of Gatorade laced with laxatives, a cocktail with a kick. Instead of Gatorade, I could have used Propel, a much more appropriately named choice for the purpose, but Diane said it had too much sodium. So, it’s Gatorade.

Then, the real fun begins.

Colonoscopys, This & Next, Food, Softball, and Soup

Yesterday was another crappy day in paradise … it sprinkled a bit early on, then the sun came out and nearly blinded us when Diane drove me to my visit at the Gastroenterology Clinic in Portland. I was summoned, as a prelude to my need for a colonoscopy, in order to see how big my anus is. Apparently they have new HD cameras and needed to know if it was big enough to accommodate the new equipment. I found this interesting because things like that are generally getting smaller, not bigger. Fortunately, due to years of practice at ‘being’ an anus, it was determined that mine could, indeed, receive the probe. I heard someone say they thought they might even be able to insert two probes and take a 3D shot of my innards.

None of that’s true, of course. Truth is, since I will be unconscious during this procedure, they could shove a small chair in there and I’d never know it but I’m pretty confident they won’t because I’m not gonna sign the waiver.

Apparently the meeting went well because I was escorted to the lady who makes the appointments and they had one for next Monday, so I took it. The next available appointment was in May and I didn’t want to wait that long. I brought Diane in to ensure I’d made the correct choice and she assured me I had. So, the appointment Lady gave me a stack of instructions on what I had to do to prepare for this incredible experience. It starts next Friday and involves drinking gallons of Gatorade, water, and a couple of innocent looking pills. I’ve done this before so know what it’s all about. For those of you who haven’t had a colonoscopy, I’ll leave it at that in order to not spoil the ending for you. I will say, however, you will lose a bit of weight. Not much, and maybe only temporarily, perhaps, but you’ll lose it.

Sunday is my day for liquids only which makes enjoying Lydia’s 15th birthday celebration problematic, but I’ll make up for it on Monday. Maybe.

While writing about “next” Sunday, and “this” Friday, I’m compelled to share my belief about all of that, and why I think everyone else in the world is wrong about how those words are used in conjunction with identifying days of the week.

For example, if Diane were to tell me that I needed to do some “next Friday,” I would do it “this Friday” because, in this context, this=next to me. I mean, next Friday means the very next one I encounter. The word “this” shouldn’t even be allowed in the same sentence with days of the week.

Being slightly educated, however, I know that when Diane says “next Friday,” she really means the Friday “next week,” not the next one in sequence. In her parlance, that would be “this Friday.” Additionally, “a week from next Friday,” since today is Wednesday, actually means the third Friday from the day after tomorrow. Had the speaker meant that, however, they would have phrased it as “a week from Friday.” In this case, the “this” is silent.

All of this interpolation about which day is really being referenced makes my head hurt a little, so I’ve simplified the process by asking the speaker to clarify themselves. Normally I get an incredulous look that means, “surely you must be kidding?” I’m surely not. I need to know if “next” Friday is really the next one, or is it the Friday after next?

Conversations like this quickly deteriorate to the point where Diane explains that I’m a little bit mentally unstable and it’s not a good idea to continue the discussion. So, it ends. I admit that I’m totally aware of what the speaker means, but the play on words disturbs me and I find it necessary to do my part to educate the masses on how properly use the language. Jack and I practice this all the time, when we’re in close proximity, by doing what he calls “Correct Speak.” It’s all about taking everything literally, which is really simple for us.

I suppose there’s a lot of history involved with mixing ‘this’ and ‘next’ with days of the week, but I’m not going to bother doing any reasearch on it. Whatever it may be isn’t something I’ll agree with so I’ll just stick to my guns and do it the correct way, at least to me.

On the way home from the hospital, we stopped by Curtis Trailers and picked one out for future use. They had 2014 models, but we’ll need a 2016 version. That’s when we decided to buy one. We’ll wait.

Then we hightailed it to St. Helens to watch Lydia’s first high school softball game. She’s on the JV team so they played on the Campbell Park fields not far from our home. Diane dropped me off then went home to check on the dogs.

It was an exciting game that our girls, the Lady Lions, lost 9-7. Lydia played 3rd base and made a number of outs. She was the 2nd batter in the lineup and the coach had her bunt every time she was up. She moved runners around, but never got on base. Hopefully the next game coach will let her hit away. She can do that. Next game is next Friday, or ‘this’ Friday if you’re one of ‘those’ folks.

That ends yesterday.

Today I made phone calls to clarify ‘things’, made a trip to Comcast to change our programming package, a trip to CRPUD (Columbia River People’s Utility District) to get our billing on a program for equal monthly payments, and a visit to the local Chevrolet dealer to visit with my friend Steve.

When I got home, I discovered that Diane had been busy cooking, and treated me to another one of her wonderful concoctions. It was a stunning tuna, cheese, peas, and onion casserole. Just great! I love pretty much anything with noodles in it. Considering it had melted cheese in it, I asked Diane if, maybe, we could shape some of it into squares, let them cool down, and make sandwiches out of them, but she didn’t think it would work. Since she was the cook, I’ll leave it at that. I’m still curious, though. Bet it’d work. A tuna casserole sandwich …

After that, Diane and I sat face to face for a couple of hours but never once saw each other’s face. We’ve rearranged the computer room, pushing our desks together, so we’re no longer back to back. My 27″ iMac blocks pretty much everything in front of me so I’d have to stand up, or slide way right, to look Diane in the eye. She’d have to slide way left.

This evening we attended another Wednesday Lenten service preceded by soup and bread. Sandy made some excellent potato, ham, and cheese soup.

I’ve just used up my quota of words, so need to quit.

Gear Head Stuff & Karma

Now, I’m not a real Gear Head, Like Don, but I try. Sometime’s I’m even successful which surprises me when it happens. Such was the case today when, left unsupervised, while Diane took her Mom to the doctor to check out her head, I left the house brimming with confidence that I would accomplish my missions.

One of them was the old ’68 truck. As you may remember, I left it in a shambles with no electricity making it to the necessary wires that would ignite the engine. So, this morning, I went to work as if it wasn’t a problem, put it all back together, and it actually started right up. Oh, there’s a few extra wires hanging around, and I didn’t reinstall the radio or the heater controls, but it works. So do the turn signals, and the windshield wipers, the reason for dismantling it in the first place. One of the added benefits of getting the truck going was that I was able to move it so I could find the socket I dropped a couple of weeks ago. Many of you are probably surprised that I remembered to look for it.

I share this news as though everything went just as smooth as glass, but that’s not the case. I discovered what happens when the tiny little tube isn’t reconnected to the oil pressure gauge. Any guesses? Well, lets just say I’m no longer allowed to wear those sneakers in the house, and I’ll probably have to toss the socks I was wearing.

That reminds me … I should probably connect the speedo, too.

But it runs in an excellent manner.

From the truck I went directly to the ’79 Winnebago. It’s a tough bugger to get started but I know the trick. First I removed the engine cover inside the cab. Then I plunked myself into the driver’s seat and removed the air cleaner cover. That’s necessary in order to spray starting fluid into the carburetor, which I did. This is complicated, however, by the tricky ignition I’ve got. Actually, it’s not tricky. I had a button connected to the starter at some point in time, and it fell off one day. Since I’ve not found it necessary to reinstall it, I just turn the key on and hold the wires together, spraying starting fluid in the carburetor, until something ignites. So far, using that method, the only thing that ignites is the fuel in the engine. That’s because I really don’t spray while the engine is turning.

It started pretty quickly, surprising me, so I let it set and run until the exhausts quick smoking. That didn’t take as long as normal, either.

Then, I moved next door to the ’73 Winnebago to see if I could get it started. I know it will run, but it hasn’t been started in a while so I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

First, I needed to install one of the batteries just happen to have in the garage. There are three of them, and they all, happily still had a full charge which was applied before I gave my old battery charger away.

Before I took the battery out, however, I decided to do a little pruning. The border trees I parked next to were in the way so I just whacked a bunch of branches off until I could access the battery tray.

With the battery in place I randomly attached two of the four wires in the vicinity and achieved a satisfying spark indicating ‘something’ was connected. Back in the cabin, no matter how hard I turned the ignition key, I couldn’t get it to do anything. So, I went back out and disconnected the battery cables and contemplated which two to connect next. While pondering, I checked the battery terminals, noticing that they are a bit corroded, and the terminal ends of the cables previously used. Turns out the spark i achieved was thankfully brief because had it actually made adequate contact the battery would have imploded. The two I chose first created a direct short between the terminals.

The second and third time I was more careful. I discovered which two powered the 12V lighting, but using the 2nd positive cable still did not result in ignition. So, I figured Karma was telling me to go do something else. So, I did.

I removed the ’79 rig from the driveway so Diane’s Bunco Babes will be able to park 4 vehicles on the house side of the street. The latecomers will have to park across the street.

Now it’s getting late and I must terminate my activity for the day. Lydia has her first high school softball game today at 1630 and I must be there. I have 1.5 hours to get ready. Sadly, I can only watch 1/2 an hour of it because I have another PT session at 1700. Another reason I must quit is because Diane made it back home and reported that I “stink” of mechanical stuff and must wash.

So, I’ll do that.