Today’s Lesson & My Finger

At church this morning our First Reading, which was listed as the Second Reading, was from Romans 12:9-21. Nancy was the reader which was awesome because I’m supposed to be in charge of getting readers, but I never do it. There’s always someone stepping up to get it done, mainly Nancy and Diane. They save my bacon a lot.

Pastor commented that this reading could also serve as another list of commandments because they share a lot in common. It’s true, they do. I just have one comment, then I will move along.

The lesson starts out just fine with “Let love be genuine; …” then fades right in to an area that I’ve been taught my entire life to avoid when it continues, “hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; …”.

On the surface, the last part kind of evens out, but I’ve been taught to not “hate” anything. So, that’s a really harsh word for me to comprehend during church service. I can live with “don’t like,” and similar words of discontent, as can Diane. She just hates it when I say I hate something so I tend to not use it, when I remember.

The rest of the lesson is filled with flowery words that repeatedly state that we should just like each other, you know? It’s pretty simple stuff when you whittle it all down to the basics.

Yesterday it rained for the first time in the last year and a half. It was really refreshing. Cleared the air and settled the dust next to the garage where I’ve been moving rocks and dirt around for the last few weeks. It caused our new neighbors, Scott & Whitney, a little distress because they’re trying to paint their house. It was grey and they’re painting it a really nice green. Diane and I are really happy that I took down the trees between the houses because it’s easier to keep track of how they’re doing. Before it was all blocked by that huge overgrown hedge. What’s more significant about the rain was that none of it seeped into the old motor homes because I spent some time on the roof spreading around various kinds of sealant to ovoid that nasty mess.

In the process, because I chose to ignore the gloves laying next to my right knee, my right pointing finger suffered a life-threatening injury as I slowly smoothed out the sealant over an area of exposed aluminum roofing that did not want me to do it. It hurt a lot, but I had to do it because I felt the timing was just right for me to alter my finger print a little. Also, I couldn’t quit because I knew the rain was coming … the weather woman told me. Then, after filling all potential access points to the interior, I removed myself from the roof, picked up my tools, and put them all away. Then I went to work on my finger.

As you can see, it wound up a mess because I had to pick up some of the tools from the yard where I tossed them …

IMG_0090You can see the blood seeping through the grass stuck to my finger, but I ended that by scrubbing all the contaminated areas with turpentine. Although it hurt a great deal more than obtaining the cut, it served well to seal the leak in my body. After the first 15 minutes, or so, I was used to the pain of scrubbing the sealant that was clinging desperately to my hand. In all, it took about 30 minutes to make it all go away. In hindsight, I wonder if gasoline would have worked better.

Once I got the turpentine smell removed with soap and water, I was allowed to enter the house and relax a bit. I have no coherent memory of leaving the house again, so I guess I stayed inside and watched football the rest of the day. Being Saturday, I’m sure that’s what I did.

Today my finger is still sore, and it hurts to type but I was compelled to complete this missive so none of you would worry about me continue to leak, in case you heard about my mishap from someone with less knowledge about the incident.

Oh Ya … it really hasn’t been a year and a half since the last rain. It’s more like a couple of weeks. But, considering this is “rainy Oregon”, we’ve received surprisingly little rain. I believe Phoenix, AZ recently got more rain in a couple of hours than we’ve had all year. Interesting.

 

Matthew 15:20 & Family

It’s been six (6), count them, ess-i-ex days since my last entry and I fear that I won’t be able to fill you all in on what’s been going on. Actually, it’s not important that I do. What’s foremost in my mind is to relate a bit about what I learned in church last week. It’s something that I, and every other little kid in the world has griped about when it comes time to eat. Not just a meal, but pretty much anything. It’s about washing first.

According to Matthew 15:20, by my interpretation, it’s OK to eat with dirty hands.

19“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. 20“These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.”

I know, most of you will disagree and side with Cedric who told me, when I pointed this out, that “cleanliness is next to godliness.” That’s an old saying that my research could not attribute to a biblical passage so it doesn’t count.

Logic dictates that washing ones hands before touching food you about to consume is the right thing to do, and I will readily admit that my interpretation of Matthew 15:20 is suspect, but when Diane read the lesson to our congregation last Sunday I kinda stopped listening. The reason, of course, was because I had to find a pencil so I could underline it for future reference. Then I folded it up and put in my pocket. I viewed it as validation that I didn’t really have to wash in order to eat.

I do, however, have to wash before opening the refrigerator, or any packaged food that others may wish to access after me. That’s a “Diane Rule” that everyone in the family knows. Even me. Therefore, unless I want to eat only food that falls on the floor, I’ll be washing my hands.

Besides, I’m not up to arguing with the dogs about floor food. It’s always been there’s in the past and I see no reason to change that unless it’s something they shouldn’t eat. Like chocolate. Or a newly warmed hot dog.

Just for fun, here’s Webster’s definition of “defile” …

Definition of DEFILE

transitive verb

:  to make unclean or impure: as

 

a :  to corrupt the purity or perfection of :  debase <the countryside defiled by billboards>

b :  to violate the chastity of :  deflower

c :  to make physically unclean especially with something unpleasant or contaminating <boots defiled with blood>

d :  to violate the sanctity of :  desecrate <defile a sanctuary>

e :  sullydishonor

— de·file·ment  noun
— de·fil·er  noun
 
 
Like all my multiple choice answers, I choose “C” as the correct definition of defile.

Now, on to something more interesting …

Yesterday Jack, Wynette, Daniel, Jennifer, Cedric, Lydia, and Jeran returned home after a long absence. J & W from Arizona, where they attended the marriage of grandson Brian to the lovely Annie, and the Walters Clan from Las Vegas where they spent a week of well earned vacation time. Everyone had a good time and brought home lots of photos to prove it. We just haven’t seen all of them, yet.

Also, Jeff brought Gilligan and Baylee up for a visit which is always fun. The latter two spent their time running all over the house making all kinds of happy kid noises which is something we enjoy.

All of the kids are gearing up for school which starts next week. Gilligan will be a First Grader, and Baylee will be going to pre-school. Cedric will be a Junior, Lydia a Sophomore, and Jeran a Freshman. I think Gilligan’s & Baylee’s niece, Danyell, will also be a First Grader. So, we’ll have six Grand, and Great Grand Kids attending St. Helens public schools this year. Can’t wait to see how it all goes.

Manual Labor & Uranus

Hi! It’s been a while and I’m sure everyone has been wondering where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. About all I can tell you, without crossing that fine line separating from … well … make-believe, is that I woke up in my own bed this morning with no memory of what transpired since the 18th. Consequently, what you about to read, should you choose to do so, is probably a complete fabrication.

Last Tuesday I spent part of the day recovering from a little computer work I did for Roberta, one of Wynette’s classmates from High School. I did that work on Monday and it’s something I haven’t done for a while so it made my brain tired.

During Tuesday afternoon I spent my time moving rocks and dirt from the side yard, by the garage, to various other places on the property. I know that’s all true because I can see where rocks and dirt are missing, and I can see where other places have more than they used to. The following days it is apparent that I continued this behavior, all the way through yesterday, except for the side trips we took to look at cars because Diane wants a new one. Not a NEW new one, but an OLD new one. Specifically, what she wants is a 2005 PT Cruiser GT convertible just like Nancy’s, but different. Diane wants a white one with a tan top. Like this …

02

If you see one for sale, wherever you are, please let whoever owns it that Diane  wants it. Or, you can send her the contact info at d.j.cate@hotmail.com.

Besides all that work, and shopping for cars, we also had an opportunity to meet and get to know our new neighbors. They are: Scott, Whitney, Kye, Brooklyn, and Taylor (the dog). I’m sure I misspelled Kye’s name, but she’s a cute 3-years-old. Her younger sister is 1.5, or so. A very nice young family happy to be out of Hillsboro. Good neighbors. So far.

I think there was a moment of lucidity in the last few days where I called Scappoose Sand & Gravel and ordered a few yards of driveway gravel which explains the reason I moved so much dirt and gravel from the space that’s destined to received the new, clean gravel. It’s my understanding that it will be delivered on September 2nd. We’ll see how that works out. Once it’s delivered I’ll have to expend some manual labor to spread it out. Either that, or rent a really big power tool.

Outside the lucid moments I’m sure I made a couple of trips to Uranus. Something like that. I’m guessing, but it’s based on the fact that I mysteriously have a brand new roll of toilet paper in my bathroom where the last I knew it was half gone. So, it’s for sure got something to do with an anus of some sort. Probably mine. I’m not sure. I also have an injury on my chin that was, I sense, caused by an unprovoked attack by a piece of fencing I moved. There’s also a rhododendron injury beneath my left breast area that is pretty sore. I know it’s from a rhododendron because I’ve had them before. There’s no logical reason for me to suspect the fence for my chin injury but whenever I look at it I’m forced to cringe. So, it’s got to be guilty.

Today was a normal Sunday in many ways. Specifically, we got up and went to church. Then, instead of dropping by the Kozy Korner for lunch, Diane drove us to the Sizzler in Longview, Washington. She apparently read my mind because I’ve been hankering for a piece of dead cow and Sizzler is the best place to get some of that for a decent price. Diane’s Mom, Jean, had the salad bar, Diane had the chicken Malibu, and I had the 6 oz steak, all you can eat shrimp, and the salad bar. I was also hankering for some dead shrimp, so it worked out great. When it was all said and done, I’d consumed the steady, 45 shrimp, 3 pieces of dead chicken, a baked potato, and a soup bowl of ice cream. When eating at any establishment that allows you to serve your own ice cream, always use the soup bowls instead of those tiny little cups they provide. They have handles and they hold more ice cream.

Now it’s almost evening and I’m stuck in my recliner where I intend to stay until it’s time for bed. That will be in about 4 hours. We’ll be watching re-runs of “Big Bang Theory” until then. We’re halfway through season 3.

Merc Returns Safely From Camp Tadmor!

Merc, his camp name, aka Cedric, was retrieved from Camp Tadmor yesterday afternoon after spending two months living in the wild eating bugs and wild berries, and feral rats as a member of a group of super heroes who monitor camping activities of hundreds of younger, severely advanced members of homo erectus from all over the world. He slept on the ground, without benefit of blanket or pillow, and has permanent dents in his sides and back that look a lot like pine cones, small rocks, large bugs, mice, birds, and other debris that typically litter the forest floor of this camp located a bit SE of Lebanon, Oregon. There’s talk about having these impressions tattooed to ensure he retains the memory on the off-chance they fade over time.

Diane, her Mom, Jean, and I traversed the harrowing I-5 corridor from Portland, artfully dodging drivers from neighboring states, who are apparently allowed to disregard some pretty basic driving laws,  to retrieve Merc from the tenacious clutches of his fellow campers and counselors so he could be returned to civilization to prepare for his Junior year of High School.

On the trip down, the Buick’s A/C decided to go on the fritz making the vehicle interior a bit uncomfortable in the near-90 degree heat, but we persevered and arrived safely. When we arrived we visited with some adults who are part of the camp’s permanent crew, one of which was Ruby who is about 1. Very cute. With dimples. She looked at me in a ho-hum manner but lit right up with a big smile when Diane sauntered over. We suspect it was because of her natural affinity to like anyone who looks like a Grandma.

We didn’t have to wait long for the tour bus to arrive, bringing the campers back from their 2-day trip to Sisters, Oregon where they were encouraged to frolic in a river. Each person was given a bar of soap prior to the raft trip which they used to scrub away two months of grime they had accumulated as there are no showers at the camp and they aren’t allowed to contaminate the local streams in an effort to remain shiny.

As they exited the bus, it was readily evident that each of them had experienced a profound event, made life-long friendships, and were a bit sad to be leaving. But, leave they must. First, however, it was apparently mandatory that all of the girls who attended had to hug Merc. They lined up in two rows and waited their turn for a short time, then they all flocked to him leaving us only a small glimpse of the baseball had he was wearing. We had to pry the last three girls off him so we could get him to the Buick and begin the trip home. One of the girls broke down and sobbed. It was very touching, but Merc’s family was waiting for his return back in St. Helens and we had to go. He understood the need, as did the sobbing girl.

The trip home, for Merc, was filled with a constant stream of text messages with those he had just left, as well as all his family at home. His phone was DOA at the beginning of the trip, but i just happened to have a charger which we hooked up so he could get busy with his texting.

I don’t think he quit smiling during the entire 2.5 hour trip home.

When we arrived, he was greeted in the driveway by his Mom, Jennifer, Dad, Daniel, Sister, Lydia, and brother, Jeran. We stood around visiting for a few minutes before he went into the house where he discovered that about 10 of his friends had gathered to welcome him home. It was a touching scene, replacing his recent sense of loss with one of incredible gain.

It was a great day.

Sadly, I do not have any photos of either the departure or arrival home, but I do have one of Merc in a truck that a group of his fellow campers liberated it from a local farmer who inadvertently left it in his corn field from which the group was gathering food for one of their meals.

SCAN0002Cedric is wearing the blue shirt, just behind the cab of the pickup.

No doubt you have all guessed that the foregoing narrative, with the exception of the touchy-feely aspects of the camp departure, and home arrival, are pure gibberish. Lot’s of it is true, but most of it isn’t.

Camp Tadmor is a Christian camp where most of the activities I related are discouraged. It’s a great place, actually. It’s all about caring for one another and getting in touch with ones inner self. Cedric has returned to us with a far more confident outlook and a more firm direction on where his life will go. We’re proud of his efforts and of the fine young man he is.

After he shaves his face, he will be perfect.

Cars & Soccer

This morning Diane let me sleep in which was awfully nice of her. Totally out of character, but she chose to leave the house early to help Jennifer with a pressing task, and just wasn’t there to tell me what time it was. Since she let the dogs out when she got up, they thought everything was cool, and kept quiet. So, I got an extra 4 hours sleep. It was awesome.

Shortly after arising, I received a call from our friend, Jerry 1, who had driven his custom vehicle to the car and airplane show at the Scappoose airport. Since I hadn’t seen him for a while, I was allowed to go but had strict instructions about being home in time to leave for Astoria for Lydia’s soccer tournament which started at 1300. So, I only had about 30 minutes to spend at the car show. Here’s what I saw there …

Mr. Miagi from “Karate Kid” … it’s really Jerry #1.

DSC_2007

A really nice pickup …

DSC_2012

With a really nice interior …

DSC_2011With a dash just like mine …

DSC_2010Except mine isn’t shiny like this one … (sigh) …

Then we drove to Astoria, arriving late, but before half time, of Lydia’s first game. I’ve mentioned previously that she’s a goalie and today she spent a lot of time during the first game doing this …

DSC_2048

… because her team kept the ball at the other end of the field most of the game making the other goalie do stuff like this …DSC_2046

Lydia’s team won 5-0.

The second game got Lydia off her feet more than once, doing stuff like this …DSC_2101The ball was almost always being kicked around in front of her goal, but none of them got past her. The one in the above photo went off her little fingers, right over the net. Here’s proof in the photo taken approximately 1/4 of a second after the first photo …

DSC_2102Actually, it was exactly 1/4 second after the first photo. I know this stuff because I read it in the manual for the camera.

That’s a lie. I only knew it because I heard somewhere that my camera can take 4 photos a second. I didn’t read the manual.

Yet.

Due to Lydia’s hard work, and the excellent team work, the game ended 0-0. It was fun to watch. Really, it was.

After the second game, one of the referees came over to us while we were talking with Lydia, and told her she did a great job. He’s originally from Germany, he said, and is a goalie coach somewhere in the Portland area. Apparently he was giving her tips during the game. He showed us the place where half the teeth on his right side were missing, explaining that he left them on a soccer field in Heidelberg when he was 16. He’s much older than that now, or course.

We were all very proud of her efforts. She’s getting more aggressive and daring in her position.

After saying our goodbyes to everyone, we got in our car and drove home. Half way there we discovered Jeran was in the car and had a little panic attack until we remembered he was supposed to be there. He’s spending the night with us tonight and will go with us to Lebanon tomorrow afternoon to pick up Cedric from camp. He’ll be done tomorrow and will not be returning until next year.

On the drive home we stopped at Burger King for a sandwich and something to drink. I had a coke, something I rarely drink, and Jeran had two (2) very large root beers. Once back in the car we had some lively conversations that consisted mostly of stuff like this …

Jeran would tell me something, and I’d say, “not it’s not.”

“Yes it is.”

“No it’s not.”

“Yes it is.”

“No it’s not.”

“Yes it is.”

“No it’s not.”

“Yes it is.”

“No it’s not.”

“Yes it is.”

“No it’s not.”

“Yes it is.”

“No it’s not.”

There were variations on that theme, like “Yes he did,” “No he didn’t,” and “Yes she was,” “No she wasn’t”. With the help of Jeran’s infusion of too much sugar, and my caffeine, we were able to keep this up for many, many miles. Finally, Diane threatened to pull the car over and beat us up if we didn’t stop, so we did. Mostly. One would sneak out once in a while, but not in a repetitive manner.

It was fun. We all laughed.

Then I fell asleep and all the sudden we were home.

Now it’s time for bed, so, g’nite.

Oh wait! I almost forgot! Here’s Beth’s foot … Beth’s daughter plays with Lydia.

 DSC_2032

Nicks & Dings

This morning, after visiting my doctor, where I was directed to provide urine and blood, I came home and worked a bit on some picture frames Diane brought home. She got them for the glass to cover some photos we purchased somewhere. One of the glass panes fit, the other one didn’t so the search much continue which doesn’t bother her at all.

During this evolution I decided to stab myself with a flat blade screwdriver, which I was using to pry out staples, and press in retainers for the one frame in which the glass fit. I pushed too hard, the blade slipped, and the blade went right in to the palm side base of my left pointing finger. It hurt a great deal causing me to clench my fist, and my teeth, for a bit as I danced around in the kitchen with my hand-held high to impede the flow of blood to a potentially fatal wound.

After a while, Diane asked, “Is it bleeding.”

With my fist still clenched I looked at the back of my hand and couldn’t find an exit wound, or blood, so responded, “I don’t know.”

“Hold your hand over the sink and look,” she said, so I did.

I opened my hand slowly so I could avoid the spurting blood that must surely be waiting because of the incredible amount of pain it caused, but nothing happened. There was only a tiny little spot where the blade broke some skin. It was disappointing. I can only believe that my lightning fast reflexes saved the day by staunching the flow, and minimized the size of the wound, before it could fully manifest. I attribute this to years of experience with such things.

We retreated to the bathroom, where the band aids are, so Diane could try out a new one she’s been holding for a while. It’s made for knuckles, but it worked perfectly to cover the little wound on the inside of my pointer.

As I was lamenting the disparity of pain to results ratio, for damage that didn’t even bleed, Diane said, “you should be proud of me.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Because I didn’t laugh.”

Then she laughed.

So did I.

Good News, Bad News, & Hotness

Those of you who know me, or have read the frivolous things I’ve written about, understand I’m not the guy who routinely goes down a serious road. I work more on the positive side of life because I like it better there. It’s more fun and, I hope, provides an opportunity for you to join me there, for a moment, and find a reason to smile. I have no other motive. It’s really that simple. I’m here to counteract just a little bit of the negative aspects of living on planet Earth, deflecting them into outer space, replacing them with happy thoughts.

For just a moment …

It’s brief, I know, and won’t last, because I’m just one old guy pecking away on his computer, trying his best to get along. In order for efforts like mine to make even a tiny impact on anything, we’d need a really large herd of old guys with metaphorical peckers like mine, doing what I do. Better yet, a really large herd of girls and guys, young or old.

I share that bit of information because of recent events in Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, that hit home for some reason. I’m sure most everyone in the USA has seen something on the news about this. What happened isn’t unique, but it’s still very sad and far more satisfying for news folks to share than the 100’s of good things that no doubt happened in that same neighborhood, before and after the reported event.

What kind of response would you expect for a newspaper, or newsletter, that reported only good events and things? I thought I might take a stab at culling the internet for happy “stuff” and make a newsletter to share all of it. But, gee!, it’s already been done.

Check out these links.

Good News … Happy News … Positive News … Amazing News

Kinda makes the world a better place, doesn’t it?

On a more personal note, I must report that I’ve been trapped in the house for the last few days because of the weather. Diane won’t let me go outside to work because it’s too hot and she doesn’t think she could drag me back inside before I melt if I were to pass out. So, I’m stuck in the house until the temps drop back into the low 70’s. That means I’m going to get a fairly long vacation and won’t be able to go outside to take care of some waterproofing issues until it starts to rain. Makes sense, right?

Now I’m going to watch TV for a while. Not news.