Lydia’s 18, take two …

Here’s what I wanted to do with the first post about Lydia turning 18 but thought about it too long and decided I should be a little more respectable. It’s a significant junction in the road for her, after all.

I was going to say …

Here was Lydia yesterday …

… then today, when we cleaned off the spaghetti, we found this …

I think she’s part butterfly …


Girl Scout Cookies & the “Today Show”

Today on the “Today Show” our very own Julia Vieira Reis was highlighted as one of the nation’s top Girl Scout Cookie sellers. She’s been doing that for years, selling lots and lots of cookies, and it’s fun to see that she’s getting recognition for her efforts. Seems like only yesterday she was bugging me, in a very nice way, to let her fiddle around with my iPad. It really wasn’t yesterday – it was 7 years ago. Just seems like yesterday.

If you missed the show, you can see it here. Julia is interviewed along with her Mom, Susan. Susan is my brother’s Granddaughter. To me, she’s my Niece-Niece because she’s my Niece’s daughter. So, I guess that makes Julia my Niece-Niece-Niece, or just Niece³. Having made that decision, and discovering that I could actually add the “²”, that would make Susan my Niece². Then, of course, Cheryl, Susan’s Mom, is Niece¹. What fun. All these people live in Connecticut.

All those superscript numbers work well as long as we’re dealing with the same-sex … like Carol Niece¹ (Alicia Niece²); Susan’s Sisters, Heather Niece² and Laura Niece² (Jeffrey Nephew³, Ariana Niece³)). Then we get to Cheryl’s son, Larry (Nephew¹), who has a daughter, Sarah (Niece²). This dilemma validates my newfound use of superscript numbers because I could never, with a clear conscience, call Sarah my Nephew-Niece. Well, I could, but it would be right. Maybe I should, however, since she only lives a short ways away from me and never calls. Ever. I’ve left some of the family out, so please forgive me for that. There are many new names, for some small people that I haven’t actually seen in person.

Anyway, I encourage you all to click the link and watch the presentation. Julia is a pretty special girl for many reasons, not just because she named her bass violin “Jerry”, even though she misspelled it. Actually, the whole fam damily is pretty special. Even the Grandma, Ruth.


2017 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament

Hey! Is anyone watching the ladies play, or are you dedicated to the men’s teams?

Well, in case you weren’t paying attention today, both the University of Oregon and Oregon State University lady’s basketball teams advanced to the Sweet 16 of the 2017 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. I think the Beavers have been there before, but this is the first time ever for the Oregon Ducks.

The Ducks beat Duke on their home floor giving them their first home loss of the season. Making it even sweeter was the way the team responded after a Duke player intentionally ran down an Oregon player on her way to the huddle during a time out. Totally avoidable.

Now we get to see where it goes from here. In the end, if a team other than UCONN wins, it will be a surprise.

Oh, ya. The Oregon Ducks men’s team is also in the Sweet 16 of the male version of the tournament.



My Lawn Mower

Just letting you all know that it was spring in our neighborhood yesterday so I mowed the lawn. All of it. Diane timed me and said it took me an hour and ten minutes. The mulching blades were still on from last summer so I could run flat-out pretty much the entire time. I did that partly because I had no idea how much gas was in the tank because the last time I filled it was in August last year, I think. So, I just cranked it up and figured when it sputtered to a halt I might be able to get another 5-6 feet of lawn mowed as it coasted to a stop. Yes, I could have gone out and got more gas but that would have made it a lot less exciting. As it turned out, there was plenty of gas.

The real upper for this evolution was the fact that the mower cranked right up without hesitation after sitting outside all winter.

I love my mower.

March Madness

I have a question for all you sports nuts out there.

When you think, or hear about “March Madness,” what comes to mind?

I’m betting that the majority of anyone who followed NCAA sports will say it’s all about the NCAA men’s basketball playoffs. I do even though I know all about the other aspect of this craziness and the more I think about it the more I think how unfair it is. College and University women’s basketball teams are also competing for their championship at t his time but you don’t hear a lot about it in the media. It’s all about the guys. Always has been.

If I were King, I’d be working to make it a more even playing field because I find that watching the ladies play their sports is quite often more enjoyable than watching the boys play.

There. I’ve said it.


The following photos aren’t provided to indicate I endorse the legalization of marijuana in Oregon. Nor do they indicate that I don’t. I’m kinda in the middle. Still, the fact is, recreational marijuana is legal now no matter what any of us think.

There are shops selling this product all over the place. Most of them simply have green crosses outside their facilities.

Anyway, here’s the future …


March Madness, Softball, and a Puppy

The games have already begun and according to the bracket I made here I’m already a loser. Well, some may say I was already a loser for various other things I’ve said and done, but I’m thinking I don’t really care about that. But the brackets … Only two games played so far and I missed on both. Now I can only hope that none of my picks win so I’ll still have a nice clean bracket of choices, all with little ‘x’s’ in a circle to indicate the loss. My one consolation with regard to this is that ‘Bing’ lost both of them, too.

I’m guessing that many of you couldn’t care less about NCAA basketball. That’s kind of me, too, until this time of year when things get exciting. It’s way more fun than watching the pros play. My opinion, of course.

It’s still raining here, but we did have one glorious day of sunshine when we drove to Eugene to watch the lovely Maryssa Santi play some fast pitch softball for Eastern Oregon University. It’s like God looked down on us and decided to give us a nice day to sit in the sun and watch the games. They played four games over two days (Sunday & Monday) and won all four. We only got to watch 1 and 3/4 of those games, but it was fun.

Lydia brought her new family member, Kylo, along for the 2.5 hour ride because he’s only 5 weeks old and is hard to put down. He’s kinda cute. This is Matt holding him, trying to keep him calm. Yeah, like that’s a problem because he sleeps about 90% of the time.

On the way, Lydia gnawed on the breakfast burrito she bought at Muchas Gracias before we picked up her and her Mom, Jennifer for the ride. I probably could have eaten one of those, too, but no one asked. I’ve had them before and they are really good.

EOU won the first game 7-4 and they were ahead 7-1 when we had to leave during the late innings of the 2nd game. They won that one, too, 9-5. On Monday EOU won 10-1 and 1-0 (I think). It was a good trip for the girls to win all four games on the road like that.

Now, back to the puppy …


Here’s Maryssa #10, 2nd base … she’s a junior at EOU.

Here’s Steffani, Maryssa’s Mom, Bob’s Wife, My Brother’s Daughter …

Here’s Maryssa and Lydia, Diane (in the hat), and Jennifer …

And that pretty much covers the trip. The puppy slept through the 5 hour trip, interrupted by a couple of softball games during which he was adored, and held, by all the pretty girls who walked by. Guys seem to be more immune to puppy cuteness than girls.

Lucky dog.

Kylo joins Solo (a big dog) and Boba the cat. Perhaps you can sense the ‘Star Wars’ theme for the Walter’s Family Pets.

Winter Golf in Oregon

It was a beautiful day in the neighbor hood today. So good, in fact, that my friend JP deemed it worthy of losing a few balls on the golf course. That venture began right around 10 am. Here we are ready to tee off on #1. That’s JP on the left.

The first hole wasn’t too bad once we got past the first ditch. That’s where balls land and the ground is so saturated that the balls just bury themselves, never to be found again. Hole #2, below, is fairly flat and doesn’t drain well at all so this is what we had to contend with. Fortunately, the tee box is to the left of the little lakes and neither of us landed in the water.

Then, on #3, things got nasty. From here on to the end it was difficult to find firm ground for the cart and we wound up pushing it more than riding in it, I think.

So, we had the best of both worlds: golfing and 4-wheeling in the mud. I took home proof for Diane.

The end result was that we had a lot of fun because we didn’t seriously keep score. It’s hard to be serious when you actually make a good drive that lands in the fairway, but when you get to the spot, the ball just isn’t there. The only thing you get from searching for it is muddy shoes. Thank goodness they’re waterproof.

After leaving the golf course, I stopped to talk with Cousin Don for a while. I knew he was home because he had the shop door rolled up. He was sitting in the middle, eating his lunch, feet propped up on one of the many large tools he has in his shop. The tools are mostly related to the construction, upkeep, and resurrection of race cars. I pulled up a chair to rest my weary bones next to the absolutely prettiest engine I’ve ever seen. It’s brand new and doesn’t have a speck of dirt on it. Yet. Seems a shame to put it in a race car that’s more than likely to get smacked around. But, that’s what he’s done most of his life. I count my blessings whenever I get in a mechanical fix because Don has all the answers and replacement parts.

When I got home I found Diane hard at work cleaning the house. That’s what she does when I go out and play, probably because I’m not in the way. She stopped long enough for lunch (crab louies), then gat back at it while I went outside and started the old truck. I haven’t done that in a couple of months so was pleased when it started right up after cranking it and pumping the gas pedal for about thirty seconds. It’s a brute to start when the engine is cold, and runs like a top once it’s warmed up.

Satisfied that the engine still ran, I shut it down and got busy picking up debris from the front yard. Most of it was residue from one of the rhododendrons that Ziva had fun with when we had snow worth playing in. She loves to chase sticks and she especially likes rhododendrons because their branches snap in half really easy. Consequently, she shattered bits and pieces of it all over the place. It was work, made me sweaty, but I got it picked up and hauled to the burn pile.

Now it’s time for me to scrape the rest of the dirt from my torso so I can sit in a nice chair and get ready to watch Oregon tussle with Calf in one of the Pac-12 semi-final games. Should be a good game.

See you tomorrow.