Who Are Those Old People?

A couple of days ago, on our way south, Diane needed something that could only be obtained at a grocery store. So we pulled off the freeway and found one.

As we were walking up to the store Diane said, “Look at those old people walking toward us.”

I looked around to see who she was talking about but didn’t see anyone. Then she pointed out our reflections in the windows of the store. Once she brought it to my attention I immediately recognized the good-looking young lady but it took a beat or two to realize the old guy was me. That’s understandable, I think, because I’ve never really paid much attention to me walking toward me in a reflection.

I will pay more attention in the future.

Dunsmuir to Naval Air Station Lemoore

The title is our current location, the one we attained on the long drive from Dunsmuir. Driving tasks were shared, which is new for our trips. We’ve established a new pattern where Diane starts us off, I drive the middle, and she ends it. Works just great. I drove for 2 hours and 4 minutes. She drove the other 5. Doesn’t seem fair, I know, but that’s way better than her driving all 7 of them, which she’s been known to do. It’s nice to know that she trusts me now.

While in Dunsmuir we had time to wander around a bit and learned that there’s way more to the place than the little bit one sees while flying by on the freeway. It’s an old town which we confirmed by visiting the local cemetery. We do that once in a while because we find it very interesting. I even took photos, like normal. The three headstones shown captured my interest the most. The first one because it’s a military stone commemorating a gentleman who was in the Indian Wars. Never seen one of those before. The older two were important to me because they were obviously hand-made and didn’t have dates. Just the names Pa and Ma Rafferty.

Then this church jumped up in front of us and demanded a photo of its own. Really nice stone work. Beautiful.


One of the most anticipated portions of this trip was when we went by Shasta Lake. The last few times we’ve been this way, the lake has been nearly empty. We were happy to see that it was full, once again.


I tried taking a photo when we crossed the bridge, but that didn’t work out very well. So, Diane drove down to the moorage on the other side, something we’ve never done before. It was good to see the recovery up close and personal.

Somewhere along the line, noonish I think, we stopped to eat brunch. I found a place using my iPad that looked promising and that’s where we went. It was a country-style place where everything is home-made on site. Nice. I think they shipped the eggs in from someplace because we couldn’t hear any chicken noises. Same for the bacon … no pig noises. There was, however, a cow out back. I think.

Anyway, we both had omelets and fried potatoes with non-noutrishonal white bread toast. It’s our favorite. While eating, Diane saw a guy digging around in the garbage for something to eat. Sitting there with a nice meal in front of us required that we take action. I went out and introduced myself and saw that he was articulate and didn’t appear to be incapacitated. I asked if I could buy him a meal and he said that would be great. I escorted him inside and turned him over to the hostess, then gave him $20 so he could get whatever he wanted. He chose to sit by himself and ordered a huge order of biscuits and gravy. Satisfied that he wasn’t going to bolt and spend the money on something less healthy, I left him alone. He said his name is John and he’s from Longview, Washington.

Figure the odds of that. We’re from St. Helens, Oregon, 800+ miles from home and John is from Longview which is only about 15 miles away from our home. Diane and I call these chance meetings “God Moments” because we feel we are led to moments in time where we have a chance to make a good decision. It’s gratifying to make the right one.

Getting John fed allowed me to return to Diane and enjoy my Denver omelet.


And Diane got a good cup of coffee …


Now we’re enjoying our stop at NAS Lemoore. When we arrived the fighter jets were landing and taking off, making lots of noise. That was going on when Diane called her Mom to relate our day. She had to stop a few times because she couldn’t hear and I asked if I should call the front desk and complain about the noise. She didn’t think it would be a good idea, considering where we were and all.

I could only agree. Then we ate soup and called it a night.


Carl The Waiter

If you ever find yourself out near Mall 205 which is, oddly, next to I-205, and thoughts of Italian food tickle your taste buds, you might find it worth your time to stop at the Olive Garden. We did that last Friday after Lydia’s soft ball team waxed Rex Putman High School 16-0. It’s the first time they’ve beat them so it was a serious victory and we celebrated.

We also celebrated Diane’s and my 48th anniversary, and Daniel’s birthday (a little early). We all had excellent meals and it was topped off when our waiter, Carl, asked if he could sing us a song. Thinking it was going to be Happy Birthday, we said sure. To our surprise, and delight, Carl thought a bit, started snapping his fingers, and treated us, and everyone in our vicinity, with a stellar rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “You Make Me Feel So Young”. He was incredible and caused everyone around us to stop eating so they could just listen. This guy should be on Broadway.

So, if you go to this Olive Garden, ask to be seated in Carl’s serving area. It’s his full-time job. Why, with that talent, we don’t know. But he’s happy.

Ask him to sing a song.


Weather, Hewlett Packard, Politics, and Religion

It’s Saturday and I’ve spent most of the day printing “stuff” while Diane actually worked. She’s the best. I would have helped her but misunderstood the instructions she gave me. There will be payback for that at some point in time and it will come as a surprise to me. That’s OK. Instead, my faithful HP Photosmart 7520 all-in-one printer got a serious workout.

Oregon spring weather is holding true to form … sunshine and rain at the same time quite often. Sometimes a downpour followed shortly by clear skies. Funny stuff. Soars to 88-90 for two days with nights down in the 50’s, then  65 for a week with nights into the 40’s. It’s the kind of weather that plays havoc with people who are prone to breathing issues.

Perhaps you’ve figured out that I don’t have much to write about. I could touch on politics, again, but that’s a broken record lately. The news is full of that topic. The one thing I will say is that it really doesn’t matter how any of us vote because those crafty “delegates” will have their way regardless of how a popular vote goes. That saying that “Your Vote Counts” is fiction. It really doesn’t. The vote go the way big money wants it to go. Simple as that.

That’s strictly my opinion, of course. That’s an admission that I may be wrong. But, I doubt it. That’s another opinion.

There’s always religion, the other forbidden topic of social conversation. Because of that, it’s naturally fun for me to talk about it, and share more of my opinions. Like, most religions preach Peace & Love. There are, of course, sects that do not preach P&L and we hear about them on the news all the time. Still, those that do promote P&L vastly outnumber those who don’t so why don’t we gang up on them and put an end to all the bickering and blood shed? Well, because all those different religions that preach the good news have their own belief system in how things show happen which are typically at odds with those who do things differently. So, there’s conflict within. That will only change when there’s just one religion in the world, and that’s just what every religion in the world believes … theirs is the best. That’s another opinion, if you’re counting.

I should probably stop, now, before I can’t get out of this hole.

I wish Peace & Love to each and every one of you, no matter how you praise your God, your Higher Power, or whatever.

4/20 isn’t just for Stoners …


Yesterday Diane and I celebrated the completion of our 48th year of wedded bliss. It’s been an incredible journey, so far, filled with some sad times, scary times, adventurous times, and most of all, happy times. I’m a lucky guy. As long as I’m with my bride, I’m convinced that nothing is impossible. I tell her frequently that she has the best husband in the entire world and she always agrees. But, I only say that, when I’ve done something good.  When she’s searching for band aids, or driving me to the emergency room for another new nick, or ding, I’ve learned that pointing out what a great husband I am is met with disdain.

Over the years I’ve conditioned her to expect some exciting injuries to the point where I think she no longer questions her sanity for voluntarily joining in this adventure.  We’ve weathered much together and we have lots more to do.

Our anniversary gifts to each other this year were bicycles and a promise to use them frequently. I got them all put together (they came in a box) without mishap for which we were both thankful. Then, while cutting the plastic tie wraps from our helmets, I managed to stab my left thumb with a box knife. The puncture is about 1/4″ deep and went under the thumbnail. Considering how badly it hurt when it happened, I’m pleased to announce that it didn’t affect my golf game one bit. I still golf just as bad as I used do.

After wishing us a Happy Anniversary, our son, Jeff, pointed out that Diane and I were married on most stoners favorite day – 4/20. It’s nice to be recognized for choosing such a popular day but I cannot take credit for it. Diane chose the day because our birthdays are both on the 20th of our respective months and she thought getting married on the 20th would help me remember it. So far it’s worked nicely.

Now it’s bed time.

Me and My Saw, and Other Fun Stuff

While packing our stuff into our “new” trailer, Diane discovered that the utensil holder thing was too big for the drawer. Therefore, I was commissioned to create dividers with some of the spare wood I have lying around in the basement. To do that required the use of a saw. Even though I had tons of wood of varying size I couldn’t find five pieces of the proper length.

Considering my last encounter with my table saw (1/8″ kerf in my left forefinger that required 6 stitches to close) I’m sure you can imagine my concern about testing my dexterity again.

For this project I chose 1/2″ wood which is handy because most of my fingers are more than 1/2″ thick lessening the possibility of cutting one of them clean off. Also, I only raise the blade enough to clear the piece I’m cutting which makes it even better because there’s only 1/8″ or so sticking above the wood. The worst that could happen if I, say, lost my balance while running a piece through the saw, is I’d get another 1/8″ kerf, 1/8″ deep, and as long necessary to regain my balance and remove my hand from the blade.

About now I suspect those who know me are holding their hand to their mouth, and their eyes are really big, because you’re thinking that I managed to cause myself significant damage. So, I must point out, that the above details only provide possibilities for damage, none of which I endured.

Instead, I managed to cut all the pieces I needed to get the job done, turned my saw off with a well deserved sense of satisfaction, then, for some unknown reason, managed to stick my right forefinger into the blade just before it stopped spinning. Actually, my finger caused it to stop. The result isn’t as magnificent as you might expect. It’s just a tiny little thing, hardly 1/4″ long. And, It’s not deep enough to count as a bona-fide kerf.

Upon noticing the blood attempting to escape the injured digit, I immediately applied pressure with my opposing right thumb which caused me to wonder, to myself, if that’s what opposing thumbs are all about. I mean, if you hurt the inside area of any finger, the associated thumb if perfect for applying pressure. Maybe it’s not about grasping tools at all. It’s a medical issue.

Anyway, I presented myself to Diane, with pressure applied, and the conversation went something like this.

She looked at my hand, then into my eyes and asked, “What did you do this time?”

Feeling properly warned, I responded, “I cut my finger.”

“How bad is it?”

“I don’t know.”


“I haven’t looked at it yet.”

“Well, let’s look.”

I held my hand over the sink as we both looked at my finger with growing interest, then removed my thumb from the wound.

When nothing profound spurted from the tiny wound, we both leaned closer for a better look, and she said, “do you think it needs stitches?”

Noticing the absence of flowing blood, I said, “no, what do you think?”

I was proud of the way I turned that decision over to her and especially liked her concurrence that it was a fairly insignificant wound. She had removed the supply of bandages from the Bandage Drawer during the early stages of this investigation so had a couple of large ones ready to apply once it was determined no stitches were needed.

The bandage pressure relieved the pain for which I was grateful because it was moving from a 4 to a 5 on the Pain Scale doctors use. Normally small wounds like this are a solid 2-3 but the ones on the end of any digit are always worse. I know this because I’m an expert on finger injuries.

After getting the bandages applied I went back to my task of building the silverware divider. All I had to do was glue it together. I would have nailed it but didn’t know where the small nails were. Since I was using Gorilla Glue I figured nails would be overkill so just applied some and clamped it all together for a few hours. It’s a test, really, to see how long it will last without nails.

The trailer is mostly packed for a short inaugural journey to Hood River. The water tank has been thoroughly disinfected following the instructions Diane gave me, using the exact amount of bleach required to make it nice and clean. I did that yesterday. Continuing to follow the instructions, I drained all the water from the tank, and lines, and refilled it with fresh water which I also drained. Then I filled it again and discovered that bleach, in even very small amounts, burns one’s tongue. So, I drained it and filled it again.

Diane can taste it first this time. I’m done with that.

To finish off our evening we went down the hill to Campbell Park to watch another one of Lydia’s softball games. They played Sandy High School and beat them 8-2. Lydia had a triple to center field, and a couple of singles. She’s been hitting the ball very well lately as have most of the other girls on the team. Over the last three games they’ve beat their opponents a total of 43-6.

While at the game I called my Brother, Jim, to wish him a Happy 79th Birthday. I call him every year to do that, adjusting the age accordingly. Turns out that he, Donna (Jim’s first wife), Steffani (their favorite daughter), and Bob (Steffani’s significant other) we in La Grande watching Maryssa (Steffani & Bob’s favorite daughter) play softball for Eastern Oregon University. I was glad he was with family and enjoying himself. Watching Maryssa play is lots of fun, as is watching Lydia.

During all of our trips to and from the trailer today, Ziva became very concerned about our pending departure. She found it necessary to be within visual range of me at all times for fear that I would ditch her and disappear. The other dogs didn’t care, and the cat never cares. But, they are all going to have company during our absence as Jeran is staying with them. It will be OK. Then, on our next trip, all the dogs will go with us. If the cat cared even a tiny little bit, she could go, too. But she doesn’t.

Now my day is complete and I must nap.

Silly Me

I failed to report a recent malfunction of my brain cavity … after I got the old ’68 truck working we loaded it up with all manner of things we no longer need and no one else wants. It was going to the dump. At the dump they have bins into which we can freely toss metal, cans, glass, and cardboard prior to weighing and dumping the real junk.

While tossing out the metal I came across two sets of lawn mower blades from my mower. The mulching blades were well battered but the vacuum blades looked pretty straight. After making the observation about the vacuum blades I tossed them in the bin.

Later that day, when I decided to install the vacuum blades, I discovered that I’d tossed the good ones. Really dumb, huh? Now I have to save up $60 to replace them. Until then I must mulch the yard, rain or shine.

Diane said.

Jeran’s 16, and other Important Stuff

Miss me? I’ve been busy doing all kinds of stuff. And Golfing. You may be happy, or amazed, to know that since my last post I have failed to injure myself. I believe this is a personal record – seven days with no injuries! Might have to put up one of those boards our front advertising this milestone. You know, like they do at factories. But they do their in hours, I believe. I’ll stick to days.

Today is another milestone for another family member. Jeran, Daniel and Jennifer’s youngest, is sixteen (16) today. Sixteen! Seems like just last month Lydia turned 17 not here’s Jeran turning 16. something’s going on. For his gift he wanted a bicycle so he could get more exercise and increase his stamina. The reason? He’s looking ahead two years when he plans to join the Navy, as did Cedric. He has a two-year plan to get ready. I find that amazing because when I decided to join the Navy, way back in 1962, I probably thought about it for a couple of days, tops. Two years to plan.

Jeran’s birthday party was last Saturday and it was planned without his knowledge. Diane, Cedric, and I took him out for breakfast, then we went to Portland to play putt putt golf at a strange indoor course where everything glows under black light. Even the balls. It wasn’t overly challenging, but was an experience. The outdoor ones are far more fun. Still, we all had fun. I won, of course. Because I’m better at golf. And, I kept score. Hard to lose when you keep score. On the way to the golf game, which didn’t open until 12:30 pm, we stopped at Wal*Mart, Fred Meyer, Costco, and Target to see if any of the bikes appealed to Jeran. After seeing dozens of possibilities, he settled on the one at Fred Meyer because it was blue. That’s a good reason. It’s also got disc brakes and eleventy-seven gears, but the defining criteria was the color. That’s OK.

The plan, as told to Jeran, was that Daniel and Jennifer were going to meet us in Portland then go to an arcade that has all the old games. J and D had to stay back because Lydia was taking the ACT at school all morning. During that free time they set up for the surprise party and greeted a herd of his friends who were invited. Jennifer said the first 7 friends who accepted the invitation were girls. Then, around 2 pm, Jennifer called to report that she wasn’t feeling well and that we should come home. Jeran was very good about doing that because he was hungry and wanted to stop at every fast food place we passed. But, there was pizza waiting at home so he was easily swayed to continue the trip. On the way back we stopped at Freddie’s in Scappoose to get he new bike.IMG_0368

When we arrived we unloaded the bike so Jennifer and Daniel could check it out. Finally, Jeran went into the house and the noise level increased logarithmically to the point where it was difficult to maintain a conversation. When the gear for the planned Nerf War arrived Diane and I felt it was time to depart to calmer climes. Like our electric couch. Plus, the dogs had been alone for nearly 8 hours and no doubt needed a trip outside. But, we stopped to see Diane’s Mom on the way, because we hadn’t seen her for a couple of days. The dogs had seen us that morning and could last another hour, we were sure.

Mom was just fine, you’ll be happy to know. Hovering on the edge of 89 she’s doing very well. We suspect she’ll out live us.

The dogs were very happy to be released from the house which was evidenced by their very loud happy barks and jumping. Their happy barks are distinctly different from their, “Hey, there’s a cat sitting on the fence” bark. Or, “The UPS guy is here” bark. Or, “That car I’ve seen about 700 times just drove by the house again” bark. The happy barks sound different because they’re smiling.

Yesterday we played hooky from church and just layed around most of the day. Diane worked in the basement, Jeff brought Jerrie, Baylee, and Gilligan over for a visit, and I moved the Winnebago and the old Chevy truck to new parking places across the street from the house. They had to be moved in order to make room for the trailer we bought the other day. Don’t know if I mentioned it or not. It’s a 2013 Jayco Eagle 266RKS that we found at the Rainier RV Center. The graphics are the same color as the truck so it seemed to be a sign that we should get it. So, we did.

Speaking of the trailer, we drove to Rainier this morning to pick it up. Diane’s truck, purchased with a trailer like this in mind, pulls it nicely down the road. I was a little concerned about getting it parked in the driveway, but that turned out to be pretty simple. I was able to stuff it into the proper spot with only a couple of tries. Made me proud.IMG_0363


I didn’t get any pictures of the noisy people we encountered upon our return because non of them seemed to be in the proper frame of mind to stand still long enough for that to happen. They were very energetic. I did get Cedric, Justin and Uncle Don who chose to sit at the table with the food.


At one stop where we checked bikes, Diane demonstrated her belief that when you have a handicap parking pass you can park in designated spots pretty much any way you want.


When we left with Jeran and Cedric Saturday morning I caught Jennifer at her best. Immediately after snapping this one, she jumped behind the bush to her left and moaned “Nooooooo!”, but it was too late.


It’s been a good week.

Sad News

Well, it’s finally happened. After spending the best years of my life attempting to fulfill the desires and wishes of someone who was a stranger to me in 1960, she’s accepted my most recent offer to get a lawyer and split the sheets. This is something I’ve alluded to, in fun, of the years and I never thought she would actually take me up on it. But, she did.

Now I have to either find a lawyer, or just leave. She’s agreed to let me have the motor home and the old pickup, and the PT Cruiser so I’ll have a place to stay, transportation that works, and a truck to work on. I’ll be looking for a new place to park the Winnie, so if any of you can find it in your heart to provide a temporary parking place, I’d appreciate it. Perhaps someone will trade time in their yard for one of the power tools I won’t be able to bring with me. It’s kind of pointless to even try doing that since I won’t be starting any more projects. So, they are up for grabs as either barter, or cash. Whichever works.

Since electricity will only be available by my benefactors, or when I get the generator running, this could be the last post you receive from me for a while. I’ll return as soon as I can.

Until then, I trust that each of you will continue to enjoy your lives and that I may have added a little joy to your days with my mental wanderings. Stay safe and be happy. Now, it’s time to go.

Oh, by the way, Happy April Fools Day.