Golf & Vegetables

I went golfing this morning with my friends Doug and Junior. Surprisingly, I did pretty good in addition to having a great time like I always do. Doing better than normal is a definite plus. I think I did better because I decided to make use of a bit of the golf information I’ve received over the last few decades. Those intricate instructions, to which every aspiring golfer has been exposed, are as varied as those who share them. The important ones are shared by everyone. Those would be:

  1. Keep your head down (I don’t because I need to see where the ball goes)
  2. Keep at least one eye on the ball (I go blind just before my club hits the ball, if it hits the ball)
  3. Keep your left arm straight (if you’re right-handed)
  4. Keep your knees flexed (I generally wind up on my toes because I try to swing so hard)
  5. Follow through (doing this is usually an afterthought for me)
  6. Never use a pink ball unless you’re a woman (I defy this one all the time)
  7. Always use orange balls in the winter (I use them all the time until I find some white ones)

There are a zillion other “rules” but I can’t remember them. Today I managed to remember the first five, most of the time.

Playing through the trees is, for me, part of the game. All golfers know that trees are 90% air so I just pretend they aren’t there. As a result, my handicap is 37. I’m one of only three people at the St. Helens Golf Club who has managed to maintain such a lofty handicap. It’s always fun when a ball goes into the trees because something besides the ball usually falls to the ground. Sometimes the ball just sails right through and winds up in a location far removed from where anyone would suspect. Other times we are entertained when the ball rattles around a bit on the trunks and branches, once in a while causing a branch of significance to tumble down. Today Doug hit the jackpot as far as nailing branches …

IMG_0083He didn’t really knock this one out of the tree but he hit the tree from which it fell, and his ball landed on it. So, in a way, that counts.

Now, about vegetables. Carrots, specifically. Until today I lived blissfully in a world where carrots were genderless. Then I was shocked right out of my socks when I went to help Diane make her black bean vegetable soup for tomorrow’s Community Meals at First Lutheran Church.

My job was to chop vegetables of various kinds so carrots had to be in the mix. One of the church ladies provided the carrots which she had recently plucked from the church garden next to the St. Helens Senior Center. Most of the carrots were your normal run of the genderless type.

Then I encountered these – two girls and a boy.

IMG_0934OK. It’s a MAN carrot, not a boy. Must be the dirt.

Noxious Weeds & Other Things

The first round of blackberries are ready for picking, so get your buckets and come help us get rid of them. No matter how vicious I am with the blackberry clippers, they grow back. So, we have a zillion of them. If you don’t like them for eating, it’s always fun to give them to little kids so they can smear them all over each other. That’s always fun.

IMG_0083These things are all over the place and they are very clingy when attacked. Long sleeves, long pants, hats, and leather gloves are a must unless you have are OK with pain and bleeding. The upside is, of course, they taste really good and make the challenge of picking them worth it.

My unsupervised forays into the wilderness surrounding our home have been limited due to the high temperatures we’ve been having. High for us, that is. It’s really only in the high 80’s and low 90’s, but gets into the 60’s at night so sleeping is wonderful. Since I generally don’t venture outside unless I have something important to do, like remove weeds, rake rocks, haul trees to the burn pile, stuff like that, I always wind up expelling huge amounts of moisture that must be replaced. I know this because my lovely bride makes it her mission to ensure I don’t run dry. She brings me large glasses of water on a regular basis, and I’ve learned that I can go get it all by myself, when I want, leaving her free to do more important things like cook dinner for me, or clean the house. You know, woman-type work. That sounds a bit sexist, I guess, but we have a relationship where I take care of things outside the house, and Diane takes care of things on the inside. She told me that once. It’s good to be king.

Having said that, I must share that Jeran would disagree – I’m not the king. Instead, Diane is the queen. He has no illusions about who’s in charge at my location. Neither do I, really. I just have lapses in common sense once in a while and think I’m the ruler. Diane will agree.

Diane just left to play bunco at a friend’s house, so I’m alone with the TV remote. It’s a rare event for me to have the remotes in our living room. The Man Room is where I’m free to change channels to my heart’s desire. Fortunately, Diane’s remote and my remote are just exactly alike so I know how to use it.

That’s what I’m going to do, right now. Just sit here and randomly change channels.

What fun.

Don’t forget those blackberries.

Beware !

Just so you know, danger, in the form of a cute blond girl, lurks the hi-ways and by-ways of our little city.

Lydia got her driver’s permit.

IMG_0312

I’m confident that she will do just fine and obey all the rules but feel it’s only fair that everyone know. I’m sure she’s been warned to watch out for all of you, too.

Ultrasounds, Lawn Mowers, and Lightning

This morning Diane drove me to Good Sam hospital for an ultrasound. It was scheduled, not a spur-of-the-moment thing. Nope. I called yesterday and made the appointment all by myself. I did so as a result of my last doctor visit at which I was advised to do so. So, I did. The complaint I had, in case anyone missed it, was an ache in my lower left abdomen area that radiated to the right side occupant of my scrotum. That’s my right side, not yours. It’s been there since my angiogram so I wasn’t sure what was going on. I figured doc would make an effort to rule out a hernia first, and that’s what the ultrasound was all about.

Kit was the technician who did the ultrasound so it was a bit touchy at first. I talked to her a bit, reassuring her it would be all right if she waved her wand over my scrotum because I’d lost all my inhibitions years ago. She calmed down and went about her business in a professional manner. I have to admit that the application of the warmed jelly stuff to my scrotum was quite pleasant so I scheduled another appointment for next month. Just for fun.

From Portland, we took I-5 north to Longview, Washington so Diane could show me the nifty storage buildings she discovered a couple of days ago when she took Jennie to her orthopedist where she learned that the avulsion fraction of her right ankle isn’t a recent break. So, she didn’t get a cast like she was afraid would happen. The buildings she found are exactly what we had in mind, but different. I mentioned before that we were planning to embed a storage building for the lawn mower into one of the slopped areas on which many irises used to grow until I ripped them out of the ground. Instead, the buildings we looked at are all above ground and I learned we can build, or install a 10×20 foot building without a building permit. That’s a big building. Bigger than I had anticipated. But, having one of those for the mower and lawn tools would provide enough space to remove pretty much everything that’s laying on the floor in the basement. That’s a plus. I don’t really know why we’d do that, but knowing we could is an attractive feature. The buildings, by the way, are made in Oregon from lumber that was made from logs that were shipped to China six years ago. A lot of logs are shipped from here. Lots and lots of them. Zillions, I’m sure.

From the building lot, we went back home to let the dogs out. They like it when we do that. Then we sat for an hour or so, then went to the Scappoose Fred Meyer to get bark mulch for the flower beds. We discussed the wisdom of getting bags of it, or calling Beaver Bark and having a truck deliver a load. The delivery would have been cheaper, probably, but the bags were on sale. So, we got 20 of them. Half of them we left with Diane’s Mom, Jean. She’s been wanting some for her front flower beds. Tomorrow we plan to go down and spread it around for her.

When we returned home, I continued my work on a poster for American Legion Post 42 that advertises our AR-15 raffle. I also made up a list with 500 slots on which to capture the names of those who purchase tickets. In case anyone is interested, they are $10 each. First prize is the AR-15, second prize is $250 cash, and third prize is $100 cash. All profits made will benefit veterans in Columbia County. The drawing will be on Veteran’s day, 11/11/14, at 11:11 am at the Veteran’s Memorial in McCormick Park in St. Helens.

Then I mowed our entire yard in 1 hour and 20 minutes. All of it. But, I have mulching blades installed. It takes about 3 hours if I use the grass catcher thingies. Also, there wasn’t much to mow. It was more about cutting the tops off all the dandelions and other random weeds. But, it looks better, just the same.

Speaking of McCormick Park … the city has a popular frisbee golf course that is going to be one of the courses used in the National Frisbee Championship. I haven’t got any details, only that it, and probably the only at the Trojan Park will be used. Trojan Park is what’s left of the old Trojan Nuclear Power Plant where I used to work. It’s also the one at which Homer Simpson used to works. I thought I’d met pretty much everyone at the plant during my tenure, but never ran across Homer even one time. I was in the IT department so guess he didn’t use a computer. That would explain it. There were a few people who, in retrospect, quite possibly could have been Homer but that’s only based on short memory snippets of those I encountered who displayed questionable behavior. Nothing definitive.

Back at home, I joined Diane on the porch just after the sun went down and we watched the lightning strikes going on in Southern Washington. You may have heard about the huge wild-fire in progress east of Seattle that was caused by lightning. It was actually four fires caused by lightning that burned together and currently covers a 400 square mile area. Lots of homes have gone up in smoke due to the fire, and the lightening we witnessed this evening doesn’t bode well for the southern reaches.

Fires like this are not uncommon and there’s really not a lot anyone can do about preventing them. How could anyone stop lightning in the far reaches of a remote forest? Fires like this have been going on since the first trees started growing. Even with all the fires going on, pretty regularly as an annual event, I once heard that there is more standing forest now than when Lewis & Clark traversed this area. The reason is, of course, that we have equipment, and brave people, who find a way to contain current fires. Back then, they just burned until they went out. Makes sense.

A mosquito buzzed us, so we retreated to the house innards, and I’m seriously considering bed. So, g’nite all. Stay safe.

Oh! I almost forgot. I really didn’t make another appointment for an ultrasound. I was just kidding. I am, however, planning to experiment with some warm blackberry jelly and ziplock bags in an effort to find a way to go to sleep without meds and still keep the sheets clean. Diane won’t be happy about this, I’m sure, but it’s all in the name of research. I’m sure she’ll see the wisdom once she thinks about it a bit.

Golf, Baseball, & Thieves

Yesterday I was forced to participate in a golf tournament at the Wildwood Golf Course which everyone in the country knows is located on the West side of Highway 30 not too far past the truck scales on the way to Portland from Scappoose. Most everyone of importance also knows that Jack & Wynette had their wedding reception in the Wildwood Club House which was located right next to Highway 30. At some point in the future, it mysteriously burned down, the golf course receded back into the forest, lost & forgotten, and was ultimately resurrected and expanded into an 18-hole course that careens through a small valley, and up and down hills. The current owner is, in my opinion, an abject jerk, so I don’t go there often. I may never go there again, for that reason. One person mentioned that he’s a “money whore,” which was confirmed by his willingness to insert walk-on golfers into the midst of the tournament we were involved in. Nice.

The tournament was a version of best ball, and it was gratifying to me that a couple of my balls were deemed best. That just means that I hit my ball better than those in our foursome so everyone was allowed to hit their next shot from that spot. I even made a few pretty good chip shots onto the green. My foursome was composed of Doug & Jim, high school classmates, and George, a person none of us had ever met until tee time. All in all, it was a good day.

On the way home I followed Doug home so I could check Carolyn’s computer to see why her Gmail wouldn’t appear. She wasn’t there when we arrived, but her computer was energized so I hit a few keys, clicked the Gmail icon and it popped up quite smartly. When Doug saw this he went, “Hmmm. She must have figured it out.” Then we sat in the living room and visited for a while. Then I went home to play in the dirt for a while before cleaning up to attend Lydia’s soccer game.

Before getting dirty, I took my mid day pills. Shortly thereafter, we went to Diane’s Mom’s, Jean’s, house for a visit where I promptly fell asleep. Then we went to the soccer game which wound up in a 2-2 tie. They played against the 14U rec league team and Lydia played goalie the whole game. Since it was a practice game, and most of those on the 14U team are in-coming St. Helens freshmen this year, the goalies switched sides at half time. The second half Lydia had to block against the varsity team and that’s when she gave up the two goals. But, she blocked about 20 shots. She did good.

Back at home, I had a hard time staying awake so decided to go to bed. It was then I discovered that I had taken my sleeping pill, the dreaded Ambien, somewhere around 3 pm. So, the erratic behavior Diane witnessed was totally not my fault. I slept through the night anyway, which surprised me.

This morning I got back into my morning nap routine and didn’t go out to get dirty and sweaty until 10 am or so. Consequently, I only got about 4 hours in before it was deemed time to eat lunch. We had Taco Bell tacos, always a favorite.

While writing this, I got a text from brother Jack, who is in Arizona with his first wife at this time, watching Sage pitch against a California team at the Cincinnati Reds training field in Phoenix. Sage, as you may all recall, is Maryssa’s boyfriend who is going to play for the North Carolina Tarheels after he graduates from high school next year. He’s a talent to watch. Click his name to check him out – Sage Diehm. A little more research revealed that Sage is the first Idaho baseball player ever recruited by North Carolina. Last text I got from Jack indicated that one of Sage’s teammates had hit a triple, driving in one run so it was 1-0. Nothing since so I have no idea what’s going on now. The suspense is killing me, but I’m not going to beg for an update. Nope. Just not going to do it.

I’m going to have to go rent a large piece of equipment from Don’s Rental so I can move some dirt around a little, leveling the area next to garage in preparation of installing a load of gravel that doesn’t squish up when a car drives over it. That’s wheat we have right now is squishy rocks. They are all round, which was intentional, to allow for good drainage into the pipe I installed some time back. Now I want to park something on it, like one of the old motor homes, or my truck, and need non-squishy gravel so it will remain level. To get the equipment home means I must spend a bit of time trouble shooting my truck to find out which ignition wire I dislodged the last time I drove it so I can get it started. I’ve already cleared this event as one that isn’t technically “working outside” since I’ll be inside the truck, so I’m good to go. Just need to work up a little more motivation. Might even see about getting the old ’73 RV fired up. Or not.

You may have heard about the crime spree going on around town these last few months. Thieves are going around during the day, knocking on doors so see who’s home. Those who aren’t get robbed. Those who are home are asked questions about someone they are looking for, wondering if they are inside. Last I heard, about 60 homes had been robbed. Sadly, the spree has extended to our quiet little dead-end street. Since we have Panzee, a large barking dog who greets family, friends, and strangers with the same intimidating welcome, I doubt seriously if anyone would be motivated to break into the house in our absence. But, you just never know. To be on the safe side, we decided it would probably be a good idea to lock all the doors, to everything, when we leave. In the past we’ve failed to do that many times.

So, any of you who may be compelled to visit our house when we’re aware be forewarned that Panzee, Breezie, and Ozzie have been training as a team to take down anyone they don’t know. It will work like this … you enter the house, via any access, and Panzee will make a concerted effort to rip your testicles off while Breezie takes care of your eyelids. Oz will gnarl his way around your ankles, severing your Achilles tendon, allowing it to snap up into the calf of your leg accompanied by an incredible amount of mind-numbing pain, ensuring you cannot flee the scene. In the unlikely event you are of the female persuasion, Panzee will go for your neck and face. If you have large breasts, you may want to wear a really tight sports bra because they’ll probably get in her way. Breezie’s and Oz’s missions do not change. I do not feel there’s a need to post this information outside the house because the dogs will make their presence known at the first hint of a foreign presence.

In the event you are still compelled to pay us a visit, please ensure you have the name of your next of kin somewhere on your body. Since the back of your shoulders probably will remain undisturbed, it would be a great place to tattoo that information. Alternatively, if you are opposed to tattoos, please have your partner in crime use a permanent black marker to help you write this information on the inside band of your underwear. If you don’t wear underwear, the waistband of your pants will suffice.

Better yet, just ensure you have proper ID on entry.

Good luck.

Now I must quit for today and go outside, by request, and climb to the top of a 24′ extension ladder to replace one of our outside security lights.

Eyeballs, Weeds, & Jerrie

Monday morning I did something I haven’t done in about 4 years — I got up at 0530, fed the dogs, then went to work. It was a test, to see if I could actually do it and I think I passed.

Getting to work was a short trip, not like before when I inserted my vehicle into the mass of others heading toward Portland, making the road look like a red snake weaving itself down the road. No, yesterdays trip was only about 30 feet into the back yard where I selected appropriate tools and continued our work on the weed hill that used to contain a bunch of irises. What I’m doing out there is peeling off the top 6 inches, the part that contains the incredibly mass of interwoven grass that’s been growing there since time began. Lots of it comes off in large mats, some in small, but they all come off with lots of resistance. Lots of it. The kind that’s makes one sweaty in the extreme.

However, beginning this work at 0545, or so, was OK because it’s nice and cool then and it takes longer to work up a good sweat. Still, I didn’t like it. That’s too early to be headed to work, even if it is only outside the back door. So, I”m not going to do it any more. I’d rather have my morning nap.

After the morning workout, I cleaned myself up and Diane drove me to the VA in Hillsboro for my annual eyeball exam. I passed, but learned that retinas, like skin, wrinkle with age. At least mine do. So far it hasn’t impaired my vision but I’m on the lookout for anything funning happening to the things I look at.

Yesterday, Jerrie was 3-years-old. My how time flies. To celebrate the event we contracted with Diane’s Mom, Jean, to use her back yard so the kids could run willy nilly up and down Milton Creek which runs through her back yard. It was a good plan and it worked to perfection. The kids had a great time wading and jumping in the water while those of us more advanced in age enjoyed sitting and visiting in the back yard. It was great.

Jerrie & the cake …

DSC_1870

Baylee, Gilligan & Jerrie blowing out the candles …DSC_1884

A new jeans jacket from Aunt Jennie and Uncle Daniel. DSC_1891

Girls in the water …DSC_1819

Gilligan doesn’t stand still for very long. Jumping is her ‘thing’ …DSC_1814

Baylee is a bit more subdued, but still a poser …DSC_1795That was yesterday. Today I put on my American Legion hat and participated in a flag raising ceremony to officially open the Columbia County Fair. In all, there were approximately twenty of us lining the path to the flag. Our shipmate, Frank Weber, WWII veteran who served aboard the Colorado during the Big One, raised the flag. He’s 89 now, and retired as a Navy Chief Petty Officer. He’s a very spry guy and I’m honored that I share a connection with him as a chief. In his spare time he manages a Navy Museum in his Scappoose home. He’d love it if you stopped by to look it over.

Also at the fair opening were county Commissioners, state Senators, and Representatives for Columbia County. It was fun to be involved.

After the ceremony I joined Diane and her Mom, Jean, to go look at flowers. Just like every other time we’ve visited the fair, we wished we’d bottled up a few of our flowers to display. We always forget until we see those on display. We have pretty ones, too. Next year, by golly, I’m going to remember to enter a few of my photos for judging. Just for fun. Maybe I’ll make a doily, too.

Lydia was working in the Dairy Booth so I visited with her a bit, using it as an excuse to obtain an extra malty chocolate malt for my sipping enjoyment. An ‘old’ friend, Julia, was there, too. She’s a college girl now. Not long ago, as is true for all the young men and women I know, they were little. All of them. It’s sad that they have to grow up, but good to know they are growing up quite nicely.

I got to visit with Bree, too. She and Lydia are friends and, Bree says, I’m her replacement Grandpa. I’m honored. It’s always fun to see her.

Then we came home, it got dark, and now it’s almost time for bed.

G’nite.

 

Trivia

This is just an aside to share a little trivia about all the blogs I’ve made since November 2011. I’ve been wanting to capture them in a way I could compile them for  a while now and learned I can just copy them enmasse from WordPress into a Word document, photos and all. I was amazed. This is a good thing for me because it provided me a way to find out just how many pages of drivel, and how many words of wisdom, I’ve actually shared in that time.

Turns out it’s in the neighborhood of  …

  • Pages                 1,058 (font size 12)
  • Words             231,758
  • Characters    1,223,234 (with spaces)
  • Paragraphs          5,180
  • Lines                 21,199

… or thereabouts.

But who’s counting?

I had absolutely no idea that I knew that many words. Go figure. No wonder my fingers are numb.