Friends, Family, Gardening, & Pizza

Today, even though it was a Monday, was a great day. A terrific day, even. I did all kinds of things that I like to do which is good because I’m so old. In no particular order, I got to say pizza, dig in the dirt, watch a softball game in person, eat cake, visit with friends, ride with Diane for dozens of miles on various freeways, mow the yard (all of it), and something else I can’t remember. Perhaps it will come to me as I get all that in order.

First, I dug in the dirt on the east side of the house, making a space for the five new roses Diane got in the mail a couple of days ago. I took my trusty pulaski out there and dug up about 400 pounds of grass that had to go. Before I could get it gone, however, Diane beckoned me into the house to and ordered me to scrub my body because we had to be in Vancouver for a scheduled lunch meeting with the 3 Jerry group. There’s a long story associated with the group and we three Jerry’s respond to our shouted numbers. Jerry T is #1, I’m #2, and the other Jerry C #3.

Actually, it’s a short story. We all belonged to the TVCC PT Cruiser club for many years beginning in 2000. Since there were three of us, we just numbered ourselves according to age, oldest first. So, there it is.

Then, since we’re all old, and retired, we started having lunch once a month. Others, whose schedules allowed, joined the group to ensure there were enough people to make a memorable amount of commotion wherever we went. Those folks are Vie A, Rick & Jody R, Colleen G, Tom & Linda V, and whoever knew of the lunch dates and could make it. Big Brother Jack and his lovely bride, Wynette, also joined us on occasion. It was all good and we never, not even once, got kicked out of any of the many restaurants we visited over the years.

Today was scheduled a couple of weeks ago and the venue changed, but I didn’t give it a thought. We went to Jerry #3 & Nelda’s house in Vancouver for  a pizza party. What I didn’t know was it was also a birthday party for me. Diane set it up and totally surprised me. How fun is that? I went with Jerry #3 to get the pizzas, with some urging from Diane and others. We had a very nice visit and he didn’t scare me even one time. When we got back the cake was unfurled and the secret was revealed.

We sat in their back yard, ate the pizzas, the cake, and had a terrific time visiting. We always have a terrific time whenever we get together. Their backyard is totally unique, very electric, and serene. It’s very difficult to describe. It’s a very large back yard that has a pond in which a fake duck floats, a little bridge, many large trees to which cowgirl boots are nailed, some have teapots attached, many kinds of bushes, a few squirrels, and, reportedly, an unwanted rat. There are large antique chains hanging from sturdy supports, there’s a hammock, obtained in Costa Rica, hanging under a house-like structure, that has lattice for a roof, which Jerry #3 said he has to tear down because his old cat used it to sharpen his claws. The cat, I learned, is no longer able to sharpen his claws because he can no longer move them because he died. I sensed that wasn’t a bad thing, according to the person who told me about the scratching.

Tom told me a couple of jokes I was supposed to share, but they got lost in my head on the trip home. I’m sure they were both inappropriate for a mixed audience so it’s probably OK I can’t remember them. If I had, Diane would have objected because I’m supposed to be nice.

Sadly, 1630 rolled around and it was time to leave. We would have stayed longer, but softball games had been in progress since 1530 and we wanted to watch the second game, if possible. It was supposed to be a JV double-header against Wilsonville, but turned out to be only one because they didn’t have enough players to field a team because they needed them for the varsity game which started when JV was done. Sarah, Lydia, and Abby joined the varsity team after winning their game 4-3. They didn’t get to play because the varsity girls had a defensive battle on their hands, and no one got injured. St. Helens won 1-0. Our pitcher was awesome, striking out Wilsonville girls one after another.

After the game, sometime after 1900, we went home and let the dogs out. They were very happy to see us return. They were alone for over 6 hours. They’re really good dogs.

Then I mowed the yard. Then entire thing. I also mowed one of the neighbor’s yard. Toward the end I was happy that the mower had headlights because I needed them. I think I finished somewhere around 2100.

Now I must take garbage to the street, something I do every Monday night. Then I’m going to bed because I have to get up early tomorrow and go play 18 holes of golf with Jim O at Wildwood. Should be fun. I’ll let you know how that goes. On, snap! While I was type all that, Diane took the garbage out. Awesome!

By the way, today wasn’t really my birthday. That’s not for another 8 days. But, considering my advanced age, Diane thought it would be good to celebrate with our friends because you just never know what’s going to happen next. It was a good idea.

Relaxing & Lots Of TV

Today was just exactly like a vacation day, but a little different. We didn’t have to drive 1200 miles to do it. Instead, we got up late, and watched TV all day long. Didn’t even take a walk except to the bathroom. Diane insisted. The remainder of time we sat in our recliners ridding the DVR of old shows. It rained here all day so it was OK that we did that. I didn’t even get up to eat lunch. Diane made me a tuna sandwich and brought it to me.

Then we watched the Blazers lose the 2nd game of this series with the San Antonio Spurs. The Blazers got to within 8 points in the 4th quarter, but then Joey Crawford started calling phantom fouls against PDX kinda shutting them down. It wasn’t all that, of course. San Antonio shot the lights out and Portland had a horrible time making a shot. Still, they closed the gap with pretty darn good defense in the second half. Now it goes to Portland.

I’m sure all of you really care about that, right?

We just watched the end of American Idol where Jesse goes home.

Now it’s almost 2200 and time for bed. Sitting in this chair all day made me really tired.

Oh, ya … Lydia’s team went to Sandy this afternoon and beat them 15-7. Lydia said they 10-runner them in the 2nd inning then the game was called in the 5th in the middle of a torrential downpour. All the girls nearly froze because Sandy isn’t far from Mt. Hood and the rain out there ices one up quickly. They all had to be carried off the bus, into the already warmed up showers, when the bus returned to St. Helens.

That was a lie. No one really froze. They just got really, really, really, cold.

 

Mornings, Golf, Dead Clams, Stumps, & Mowing

This morning Ozzie woke me up at 0530, a fairly certain indicator that we need blackout blinds for our bedroom. It’s getting light earlier and earlier and it’s pretty obvious that’s what gets him going. I learned a couple of days ago that Diane has been playing possum in the morning because Ozzie tries to wake her up first by walking up and down her body. She tuffs it out, however, knowing I’ll eventually get up and let him outside. Then she goes back to sleep for 3-4 hours. Tomorrow I’m going to try that and see what happens.

I slept on the couch until 0830, when Diane got up. She said Doug had called about golfing this morning so I went out and we teed off at 0945. I took Cedric’s Ping driver to see how well it worked, just for fun. I’ve never hit anything with a Ping club because I’ve never been in close proximity to one of them. Turns out it really does make a “ping” sound when you hit the ball just right. That’s not something I did with consistency, but I have to admit I did manage to whack a few tremendous drives. Straight, and everything. Very un-Jerrie-like.

After a fun, but bad round of golf with Junior and Doug, we went to Scappoose for lunch at Fultano’s Pizza joint. I knew Diane was going to be in Scappoose because she told me. That meant she would be at Goodwill, about 300 feet from Fultano’s so I couldn’t very well go to lunch there without alerting her. I’d planned to do that, anyway, but forgot my phone. So, I borrowed Junior’s to make the call. She agreed, of course. Who wouldn’t? We ate pizza and salad, and visited.

On the way home I stopped by Junior’s place to get some fresh dead clams so I could deliver them to Jack & Wynette. He’s always doing that because they really like dead clams. I was happy to do it for him because he was tired. Also, the story about how he got those clams was pretty exciting according to Doug. He told me that while hunting the tell-tale clam signs on the beach, Junior had to get closer to the ground. Too close, it turns out, because he was tumbled by a rogue wave. If he hadn’t been broadsided, the outcome may have been a little better, but he was. Doug said Junior rolled around in the water for a while, embarrassing him so he had to finally go get him and move him to higher ground. Doug said it wasn’t easy because Junior’s boots were full of water and he was hard to drag up the beach. But, he did it, and he salvaged the clams Junior had painstakingly gathered. That was the important part. So, sharing them with J & W has more meaning because Junior put his life at risk to capture some poor unassuming clams, trying to make a living in the sand. Now they will never see their babies again. If they had babies. Maybe they didn’t.

After visiting with J & W for a while I went home to dig out more stumps. It’s a grueling job, but it had to be done. So, I donned a new set of dirty clothes and went out to getter done.

The chore began in a normal manner but it was terribly tiring. Made me breath hard, like a pretty girl does, or going up the stairs. And I rid myself of a lot of excess sweat. Because of my tendency sweat at the sight of a pretty girl, I’m not allowed to watch any of those Victoria’s Secret commercials, or the Blazer dancers. Any dancers, actually. Especially those nearly naked ones on Dancing With The Stars. It’s a terrible affliction. Honest, it is.

When the sweat ran out, I had to find a better way to eliminate the stumps and decided to use the truck to pull them out. I found the towing strap in the garage, hooked it to the bumper hitch, wound it around a stump and wallah! Out it came, simple as could be, making me wonder why I didn’t think of that before. Such a simple solution, until the truck ran out of gas. I found a couple of gallons in a can in the garage, dumped it in the truck … and the battery was dead. It wouldn’t start. Being a believer in Karma, I took that as an obvious sign that it was time to quit.

So, I did. I quit, went out back and mowed the yard. That went fairly quickly because I didn’t bag it. I had to get it mowed because it’s going to rain tomorrow and I was prevented from mowing it completely because of events a few days ago. Don’t remember what events those were, but they kept me from mowing.

Once I was clean enough to enter the living room, we watched the new “24” show.

Jack’s back!

Portion Control & SHEDCO

Portion control, of course, relates to food. In this case, it’s about why it just isn’t an issue when eating meatloaf. That’s what we had for lunch. I was tasked with cutting the left-over loaf and asked Diane if she just wanted to eat half. She said, “No! I just want a couple of pieces.” So, I cut her half in half, and my half in thirds. Apparently that was OK because I didn’t complain.

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I earned it, though, and so did Diane. We yanked a bunch of weeds out of the ground in our little fake garden plot. It’s a fake because the main crop is weeds, a stray blackberry vine, and a few walking onion plants that survived the winter. Maybe we’ll plant another tomato plant like we did in 2010.

We worked at this project before and after the epic meatloaf meal. Then we cleaned ourselves up and went to our scheduled Lion’s Club meeting. We don’t go to all the meetings so we’ll never get one of those perfect attendance awards many of the others get. That’s OK because we go to most of them. Tonight was a special night because Mary came to give a presentation on SHEDCO. I’ve mentioned it previously because she was scheduled to give her presentation last month but her spot was usurped by another presenter who was also there due to a communication error. Mary graciously stepped aside to accommodate the other presenter and agreed to reschedule for tonight. It was well worth the wait.

Mary is a University of Oregon graduate (go Ducks) who currently works with the city of St. Helens as a project manager for SHEDCO, the St. Helens Economic Development Corporation. The program is associated with the National Main Street Center which helps cities, big or small, redevelop their core areas. Typically, that means getting folks to rediscover the forgotten areas, and businesses, of their city that have been lost due to traffic flow. That’s a simplistic explanation, and probably doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s all I got.

In St. Helens’ case, Highway 30 has always been the way to get to St. Helens. The downtown area, where all the fun stuff is, has been ‘forgotten’, if you will, because of the numerous businesses that have line #30 past the roads that lead to the downtown area. The main street to get there is Columbia Blvd. I’m guessing it was named that because it leads travelers directly to the Columbia River. Back in the day, that’s where boats were constructed. Business was booming. St. Helens was destined to be the main deep water Oregon port on the Columbia River until someone flipped a coin, or paid off some politician, and that title went to Portland. Lots has happened since then and the current program is getting people involved to create a main street that makes them proud and gets folks downtown to fill the sidewalks. Diane and I do that quite often. It’s a great place to just roam around. They even have tours that take people around to the various areas used in the Twilight movie.

So, check out the SHEDCO and see what’s going on.

Now, for the important, breaking news, my Weekend Wound. I guess it really isn’t ‘breaking’, since it happened yesterday, and I actually forget about it until I look at my left hand. That’s where the burns are. I got the first one when I was directed to remove the first pizza from the oven. It was Baylee’s desire to have pizza, so that’s what Jeff & Heather got her. The burn was applied to the back of my wrist, just above where things bend, so it could have been worse. It was just a glancing injury so didn’t blister. It just hurt, really bad.

The second burn was administered to my left pointer and middle fingers when I was directed to remove the second pizza from the oven. You’d think they would learn to not ask me to do stuff like that, wouldn’t you? I mean, 425 degrees is really, really hot. and it hurts, a lot, when you bump your arm on that silver gasket thing that seals the door. The finger burns happened because I changed my approach to avoid contact with that gasket. I reached into the oven, with pads, putting one hand under the pizza and misjudged the distance between the oven rack just below the one holding the pizza. It looked like there was plenty of room, but there wasn’t. Consequently, I made excellent contact with the two mentioned fingers, burning the skin to a crispy light brown, about the shade of a well toasted marshmallow. Or the color of a done pizza crust. It was a 4th degree burn, for sure. I can say that because contact was long enough to make the blister, then burst it and cook it shut, sealing in my bodily fluids.

I’m confident I’ll heal just fine. I always have, so far, and have no reason to think otherwise. Apparently one of the blessings about getting older is that pain like I received doesn’t register in my mind as bad as, say, kneeling then getting back up. Or bending over, then establishing a vertical position. In the first case, knees protest. In the second, it’s the back. Burns? They heal and they don’t really hurt for very long because they kill all the nerve endings. Knees and backs? They’re going to hurt every time you bend then the wrong way, or maintain a position longer than necessary to do simple tasks … like pick up a penny in a parking lot.

Tomorrow Lydia has a double-header starting at 3:30, so if you’re in town, come on over to Campbell Park. After those games we can all go to our house for ice-cream and watch the Portland’s first game in the second round.

Go St. Helens High School softball teams, and Go Blazers!

Baylee’s 5, & Other Stuff

Here’s a hodge-podge of stuff for you to ponder. Mostly, it’s photos of recent events about which I’ve posted already. I finally downloaded the pictures from my camera. I was just too lazy to do it before. So, here they are. Perhaps while they are downloading I’ll think of something clever to write about, but no guarantees. I might just add something that’s true. You just never know …

The photos are in no particular order …

This one is from today at Baylee’s Birthday Party. She was 5 on April 30th, but the party wasn’t until today. That’s Jerrie Anne Diane next to her.DSC_9787

The Walters clan gave Baylee a bat, ball and glove which she loved. Lydia gave her some batting tips …

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Then Jeran pitched to her and she was pretty good at it.DSC_9779

 

Lydia pitched a few, too.DSC_9774

 

Brianna, Michelle (Brianna’s Mom), Jennie (Lydia’s Mom), Lydia. Brianna is Lydia’s best friend. I know that’s true because Lydia told me so.DSC_9720

Baylee ran to thank Jack for his and Wynette’s gift to her. We had to recreate this because I wasn’t quick enough with the camera on the first, more significant encounter.DSC_9747

Here’s Gilligan all dressed up. She picks out her own clothes and goes to school like this. I think it’s awesome. She’s quite the individual.DSC_9712Here’s what the west side of the house looked like after a whacked down the overgrown, unkempt trees.
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Then I did this, three times, to get them all down to the burn pile. One of these days we’re going to have one heck of a fire.DSC_9695

This is Breezie, our Holstein cat, enjoying the remnants of a Oregon Dark Cherry yogurt from Tillamook.DSC_9682

Then there are girls in trees … this is Brianna, probably from Easter. I don’t think any of the kids ever make it past that old tree without climbing it. It’s a source of joy for them all. Lydia’s above her but I couldn’t get a good picture because she was obscured by branches.DSC_9678That’s all I’ve got except to report I spent the better part of yesterday, before it began pouring rain, mowing the church lawn. I even edged it, too. I did that as an incentive to edge our yard at home. it’s been a while, and needs it badly. Once the rain started, it drained a whole bunch of clouds throughout the night, and got pretty brutal this morning. Thankfully, it was nice this afternoon so the kids could play outside.

It was a good day with the kidlets and we got to see Jack & Wynette. We talked about Jim & Donna like we always do when we get together. We do that because we’re pretty sure they talk about us, so it’s only fair.

After everyone left, and quiet descended, our friend Doug came up to retrieve the laptop I worked on for him. He would have picked it up days ago but he was at Long Beach, WA killing clams. He and his brother JR do that a lot. Kill clams.

Time to quit so I can watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

Portland Trailblazers Advance to Round Two!!

OK, just gotta give everyone a bit of sports news that made Diane’s day. Although the following information is based on my memory of events, and totally suspect, and I have a habit of making stuff up. So, take it all with a grain of salt …

Game six of this 7-game playoff series went to the Trailblazers, advancing them to the second round of NBA playoff action. Although they missed a ton of shots late in the 4th quarter, the game was tied with 24.something seconds remaining, Houston ball. After a bad shot by Houston, the refs made a terrible call that gave them possession with a couple of seconds remaining. On the inbound, the refs ignored a foul and Houston scored making is 98-96 with only 0.9 seconds remaining.

Blazers took a timeout before inbounding and advanced the ball to their end of the court. Th inbound pass went to Damien Lillard who took the 3-point shot. The shot clock went off when the ball was about halfway to the basket, and it swished for the win. Blazers 99, Houston 98. With the loss, Houston goes home. It was a really good series, close all the way.

However, I have to whine a bit because of the terrible calls made in all 6 games, all in Houston’s favor. Those calls made all of the games close, and three of them went to overtime.

Because of all the bad and missed calls, it was pure justice, karma, that Damien hit that last second shot. I have to admit, however, that Damien has a reputation for doing just that. Pressured last second shots for the win.

Now, since Portland is the only Western team to end their series in six, they have to wait for all the other game sevens to find out who they play next.

Awesome!

Congratulations Blazers!