The Beach

Greetings from the wilds of Lincoln County. Last Thursday Diane and I hitched up the trailer – actually, I hooked up the trailer while she loaded it – and headed southwest to Lincoln City where we had reservations at Devil’s Lake State Park. To make the trip interesting, we let Veronica, our GPS Lady, pick the route. We were thankful that she chose to NOT take us through Dundee, the slowest way to Lincoln City Ever, we thought, until we found ourselves in the equally slow back streets of Salem. We figured it was a toss up as to which way took the longest. We’ll be going home via Dundee to check that out. 

It rained most of the way on the trip but we didn’t care. We were going to the beach. The weather didn’t matter.

The main reason for the trip, in addition to the beach, was to meet up with Kathie and Kevin Coon. They’ve been married for a while but we’ve never met Kevin. We had seen a few random shots of her and Kevin traveling all over but everyone knows photos can be doctored. We were looking forward to meeting him. 

That happened Friday morning, shortly before lunch, so we can verify to the masses that Kevin actually exists. He’s not a figment of Kathie’s imagination. He was a little surprised that his cover had been blown. 

He calmed right down once he realized we weren’t a threat …

As a bonus, almost all of Kevin’s family were there, also. What a surprise. Including Kathie and Kevin, there were thirteen of them: Will, Casey (Kevin’s daughter), Wyatt & Gracie (Will & Casey’s), Jason, Rhonda (Pam’s daughter), Cody & Colton (Jason & Rhonda’s), Danny, Pam (Kevin’s sister), and Cam (Kevin & Pam’s Mom). Cam, incidentally, is 95, and a fun lady. The reason for this family gathering was the semiannual hand off of Cam from Kevin & Kathie to Danny & Pam as she transitioned from California to Washington. It’s a special event and we felt blessed to have been invited into Kathie’s new family to share it. 

Danny and Pam. Pam is Kevin’s sister. 

Left to right: 

Cody, Wyatt, Will, Colton, and Jason Kooy the famous race car driver. 

Will owns Wyatt and the older boys are Jason’s. 

Rhonda, Will’s wife, Mother of Colton & Cody, daughter of Pam & Danny.

Diane, not related to anyone present except Kathie, a 2nd cousin, and me, a 1st husband. 

Cam, mother of Kevin and Pam, mother-in-law to some, Grandma to the rest. She’s 95. 

Casey, daughter of Kevin, wife of Will, mother of Gracie and Wyatt.  I have no photos of Gracie. She moved around too fast for me to get a still shot. 

For lunch at on Friday we drove K&K to Depoe Bay to visit the Sea Hag, our favorite place. Had to have my crab Louie. K&K also had crab Louie’s and Diane had fish and chips. Turns out it was all excellent, served by my new favorite waitress, Shannon, who Kathie said was going to spit in my food if I didn’t leave her alone. I’m pretty sure she didn’t but you never really know, do you? It all worked out nicely for Diane and me because Kathie grabbed our bill and made Kevin pay it. 

While eating, Kathie spied Pam walking past on the sidewalk carrying a box of wine from which she was able to decipher the name of a winery. Using that info she searched Google on her phone and discovered there was a tasting room only three doors north of the Sea Hag. So, after we were done eating we went that way.

Upon entering the tasting room potential customers are greeted by a low ceiling with dollar bills taped all over it. The story, according to the wine steward on duty is that the dollars are removed once a year and the total is matched as a donation to charity.  Pretty nifty. 

I believe the tasting experience was a success because Kathie & Kevin bought some. I’m unclear as to whether or not they also bought into the wine club plan the Wine Lady offered, but I don’t think they did. 

The rest of the day was spent visiting and relaxing while Pam BBQ’d a lot of dead chicken for supper. I suspect she had help but I have no firm information regarding that. I could speculate, but that wouldn’t be fair because I’d miss someone for sure and won’t be invited back next year. All I can say is the chicken was awesome, as were the beans and potato salad. Also, the banter at the table as we ate was very familiar to us. Just like being at home when the family gathers. Very nice to be involved. 

On Saturday we arrived later, after lunch, and I stayed outside with Ziva working on this blog entry, outside in the cold wind, while Diane and Kathie went bra shopping at Goodwill. I understand they both came away with items that were as good as new for less than half the price. If I properly understood the gist of the conversations regarding their treasures, we’ll probably be buying our underwear from Goodwill from now on. I’ve looked at them before and noticed that most of the items offered do not have labels, but that doesn’t matter because they are also color coded so there’s no doubt which is the front or back. That’s really handy unless you’re trying to out them on in the dark. That’s when you have to resort to using the scratch-and-sniff feature also available on their used underwear. While extolling the virtues of these items I learned that not everyone is a fan of used underwear. Seems like such a waste. 

The foregoing topic was covered at another incredible dinner that Pam made … BBQ ribs. Really, really good stuff. I discovered that I really like ribs and that I’m a pig because I ate too much. 

Sadly, after spending 2-3 has hours hammering out my blog entry I turned off my iPad with the intent of finishing it later. Turns it that if you don’t make an attempt to save it, turning off the iPad just makes it go away. Forever. So, I had to start all over. I suspect you don’t really care about that but had to tell you anyway. 

All to soon it was time to part as Kathie & Kevin’s clan had to depart early Sunday morning so the respective wives could get home in time to rest so they could be all fresh for work Monday morning. We said our good byes and travelled back to the trailer, and Ziva, who was returned there before dinner. She was excited to see us, as she always is, no matter how long we are away. 

This Sunday morning, we jumped in the truck and headed south to Agate Beach. There are no longer agates on that beach, but there used to be.  It was pretty bare. Pretty, but bare. Diane found a stick that interfered with putting her hands in her pockets. I suggested she drop the stick and she said, “No. I might find something I want to Poke.” I understood, and kept my distance.

It took us about 20 minutes to walk all the way to the waters edge, the tide was so low. Ziva had a nice walk, as did we. The beach was mainly for Ziva because Diane promised her another trip to play in the sand. But, she didn’t play. She just followed along with us, sniffing things that interested her, ignored those that didn’t,  it was always on the alert for another untethered dog to visit. There weren’t many of those, as your can see. 

Diane stopped at the Newport Fred Meyer for gas, but they didn’t have a gas station, so she bought some food and candy for us. Then we went a little further south to a Shell station that honored our Fred Meyer card. Saved $2.05. Then we went back to the trailer and took a nice walk in the sun. I didn’t mention that it was sunny, did I? It was.

We walked through the park to the lake with Ziva and came across this duck swimming around in space C-4. Many spaces here are flooded like that because of the incessant rain lately. I’m sure the duck didn’t have a reservation for C-4 but doubt if it mattered. There are many other spaces available. 

A little rest stop. This is just one little finger of the lake. It’s much larger than this. 

Now we’re back ‘home’ in the trailer for our last night. Tomorrow we depart for the other home. 

Hope everyone had as good a weekend as we did. 

Prom and a Party

Yesterday was Prom Night for St. Helens High School kids, the time of year when girls get new dresses and boys get new ideas because of the new dresses. Every year the cycle repeats. This year our Lydia, a senior, chose to observe this special event by avoiding the boy/girl drama by going with 9 of her friends. She did, however, invite her brother, Jeran, a Junior, and the family’s foreign exchange student, Ahmed, who is from Pakistan. So, it was 10 girls and two boys who were, I have no doubt, the envy of every other boy who attended. Avoiding the dating drama for most of her High School career has allowed her to focus on school work and sports. For her, and her friends, the drama is something that can wait because it will always be there.

So, here’s the crowd who reportedly had a terrific time. I only know a few of their names so will have to make something up for those I don’t know. On the left is Jeran, then a cute little red-headed girl in a white dress, a cute blonde in a purple dress, Maryssa, Lexi, a cute brunette in an aqua dress, Fiona, Lydia, a cute girl in a jacket, Ceierra, another cute girl in a white dress, and Ahmed. Good looking bookends for ten lovely young ladies. This photo was taken in front of the Midway Veterinarian Hospital in Warren, Oregon where Jennifer works. She’s Mom to Jeran, Lydia, Ahmed, and some times Ceierra, and had to work so they blessed her with a drive-by on their way to Portland. How cool is that?


Ahmed, Lydia, Jeran

Jeran , Lydia, Ahmed

I can’t go through those names again so refer back to the first photo …

We’re proud of our young adults and the values they embrace. In case any of you are wondering where those last three photos were taken, it was at Cathedral Park, which is under the eastern end of the St. Johns Bridge, which spans the Willamette River, which courses through down town Portland. Another interesting thing about Cathedral Park is that it’s where the Library resides in the TV Series, “The Librarians”. Watching that show gives folks an opportunity to see bits and pieces of Portland. “Grim” gives you more but, sadly, that show ended recently.

This afternoon, after church, we had a party at the house for Baylee who is going to be celebrating her birthday on April 30th. We had the party today because Diane and I won’t be home and we wanted to have fun, too. It was a simple affair with a herd of little girls running all over the house having a great time. There is one little guy, Donny, in the front row next to Baylee, but he wasn’t there for the festivities, just the photo-op.

They had a piñata, a Hello Kitty piñata, that took them a long time to destroy because I was in charge of the rope. Everyone had a good time and had a chance to take a whack at it, even the big kids. Here’s what was left of it. It was on the stake for just a short time before a short person grabbed it and made a gallant effort to destroy it by hand.

This is Eilena, a little girl Lydia babysits who many folks thinks is her daughter, which she finds adorable. Eilena (I’m guessing at the spelling) is like a Lydia Mini-me. I had to take this photo because Eilena managed to get cupcake frosting all over her face without ever attempting to take a bite of the cupcake. She dipped her fingers in the frosting one hand at a time, cleaning the fingers of one hand while the other was dipping up a little more frosting. Economy of motion. Smart kid.

Here’s Baylee, Gilligan, and Jerrie on their way home after the party. I think the smiles are a good indication that things went well. The candy didn’t hurt at all in swaying that good feeling to the positive side.

Here’s Lydia and Ceierra with that cute red-head in the white dress at Cathedral Park.

This is Gilligan and Abba resting with Ziva … in the very wet grass, that I haven’t been able to mow, because it’s so wet. Did I mention the grass is wet?

And, finally, here’s a rainbow Diane and I saw yesterday. We don’t often get rainbows where we can capture both ends. Quite festive.

Now it’s getting late and time for us to head to bed. I have ‘tasks’ tomorrow and need to be alert.

Bless you all.


Four-twenty. Kind of a benign combination of numbers but they cover a wide range of associations. For instance, a lot of famous folks were born on 4.20, a few of which are:

  • Adolph Hitler in 1889
  • Jessica Lange in 1949
  • Luther Vandross in 1951
  • George Takei in 1937
  • Ryan O’Neal in 1941
  • Crispin Glover in 1964
  • Carmen Electra in 1972

Then there’s significant events, of which there are mass quantities. Here are a few:

  • 1939 Ted Williams for his 1st hit, a double.
  • 1948 NYC doubles subway fare, from 5 cents to 10 cents.
  • 1949 Jockey Bill Shoemaker wins his 1st race.
  • 1951 US performs atmospheric nuclear test at Enewetak
  • 1962 Neil Armstrong takes X-15 to 63,250 mph.
  • 1967 US Surveyor 3 lands on the Moon.
  • 1981 The final performance of TV show “Soap” airs.
  • 1986 Michael Jordan set NBA playoff record with 63 points.

Lots of stuff happened before 1939, of course, but I didn’t recognize any of it. Probably because I wasn’t paying attention in History class.

Another “important” 420 association is in the wonderful world of Marijuana. 420 became a kind of code word amongst those who dabbled in the the early 70’s world of pot. The link above will provide you way more information that you really need about 420 origins and what it means.

Now, about the one all the media missed, and one you will not find with a Google search, is, without a doubt, the most important one in modern history. On that day in 1968 I was permanently joined with my high school Sweetheart. Two days ago marked our 49th anniversary. Whatever else happened on 4.20, the one in 1968 will always be the most important.

In case you’re wondering, we celebrated our 49th by me leaving Diane alone all morning while I attended Coffee With The Guys at the Kozy, then an American Legion Officer’s meeting, followed by a trip to the Christian Church to get food from the Lion’s club that we deliver to the high school every Thursday. I would have delivered them, but they were finally too heavy for me to cart any distance, so I went home to get our hand truck. Diane was up by then and said she’d help me and that we should just continue on over to Park Rose for Lydia’s soft ball game. We did that. We made it all the way to Portland, in the rain, before Lydia texted to let us know the game had been cancelled. So, we enjoyed a 49th anniversary lunch at Home Town Buffet, $20 for both of us,

then spent an unproductive visit to the nearby Habitat for Humanity Restore Store. Empty handed, we hung our heads low and made our way back to St. Helens where we stopped by Lewis TKD to see about martial arts lessons for Baylee. Turned out the TKD Master, and owner of the facility, was a Marine and we had a lot to talk about. He and Baylee get along nicely.

We got Baylee there at 5:00 pm to get registered and she spent the next 1.5 hours trying to knock people down. She’s a quick study and will do well. There will be more on this in the future.

I’m a lucky guy.


Rabbits & Eggs

Though it’s a day late, Happy Easter, a time of year when many kids get to eat their fill of Cadbury Eggs, and other assorted candy. For many of them, that’s the reason for Easter. They don’t understand the real reason. Perhaps it’s because they are confused with the concept of a rabbit delivering eggs on the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I’ve heard the reasons before, but that information never made it to long-term memory. Perhaps because I was unwrapping a chocolate rabbit at the time.

Just to satisfy my own curiosity, I did a brief internet search and discovered that the eggs are residue from a pagan ‘thing’ where kids were sent out in search of wild game eggs for breakfast on a specific day. Since wild fowl eggs are hard to find they resorted to chickens because they are easier to catch, most of the time. The fact that they did this the same day as Jesus’ resurrection is a coincidence. I did not find any credible evidence about how the rabbit got involved other than the fact that rabbits, due to a special gene, are incredibly fertile and can pop out tons of little rabbits in a very short period of time.

That’s probably why parents purchase their kids little chickens, in addition to lots of chocolate, instead of rabbits for Easter.

Yes, I know that makes no sense at all. Just like rabbits and eggs.

Happy to live in a small town …

This morning I checked Bing News on my phone, like I do every day, to see what’s going on in the world and decided to first start with the US. Here are the headlines presented to me:

  • Illinois Judge Shot Dead Outside of His Chicago Home
  • Texas depot’s killer committed suicide the next day …
  • Triple murder defendant jumps to his death off courthouse balcony
  • Chicago father, son shoot each other after arguing about walking the dog
  • Manhunt intensifies for Joseph Jakubowski, Many Who Allegedly Stole Guns and Mailed Manifesto …
  • Video: Police officer throws woman face-first onto sidewalk
  • SEE IT: Georgia teen, boyfriend arrested in connection to double homicide involving suspects grandparents
  • Calif. teen dies in skateboarding crash
  • Man shot on street in South of Market area of SF
  • 2 women grilled 20 minutes, 2 blocks apart at Stanford
  • 42 arrested, 14 injured at annual Deltopia spring break party in Isla Vista
  • Police arrest Chicago man driving 158 mph on Indiana Toll Road
  • POLL: Is Aaron Hernandez Guilty Or Not Guilty Of Double Murder?
  • Woman charged with raping taxi driver
  • As deliberations begin, here’s the jury’s task in deadly N.J. stabbing trial
  • Bones found near border are those of missing Texas teen
  • 3 officers assaulted at Tennessee prison
  • Activist ties police shooting of car thief to Clint Greenwood slaying
  • Dylan Roof expected to plead guilty in state trial for Charleston church massacre
  • Iowa man charged with killing mother, father and sister

… I think you get the drift. Apparently there’s nothing good going on in the US according to Bing News. Makes me very happy I live in a small town where cows getting loose is important news.



Jeran Went Shopping !!

Yesterday, Diane and I took Jeran shopping for shoes. He’s going to be 17 on Tuesday the 11th and we figured it was about time he had some. Oh, he’s had lots of shoes over the years but they don’t last long because his feet just kept growing. Considering that he’s around 6’3″ you would think he’d have fairly large feet, but he only wears a 10 1/2.  Go figure. His older brother, Cedric, has him beat with shoe size and he’s a bit shorter.

You’d think taking Jeran shopping, for anything, would be a big deal, but it is. He hasn’t liked shopping, for anything, for a long time. That’s apparently changed. Or, maybe it was the lunch stop at Olive Garden that swayed his decision. We tried to convince him that Home Town Buffet was the best place ever, but he fixated on Olive Garden. That turned out very nicely because I had the absolute best shrimp carbonara ever. Jeran had cheese raviolis and Diane just had soup and salad. In addition, we devoured 12 bread sticks and 6 glasses of raspberry ice tea. It was a terrific lunch.

On the way to Portland we stopped at Fred Meyer just for fun to check out their shoes so Jeran would have a reference point in case we couldn’t find anything at DSW. With my help, it took about 3 minutes to find some perfectly suitable shoes at Freddie’s, but we couldn’t leave right away because Diane was stuck in another part of the store. Finally she finished whatever she was doing and we were on our way.

Lunch was first, or course, since it was … well … lunchtime. It just made sense. We chose the Olive Garden in Hillsboro because we knew where it was. After spending about 30 seconds with the menu, all of us were ready to order. I just had to get a ruling on the chicken & shrimp carbonara to see if I could get the shrimp & shrimp carbonara. Out waitress, Misha, said sure since there was actually a menu item for shrimp carbonara. I know, I usually get chicken because it’s one of my favorite animals to ingest, but shrimp win the day when available.

After the meal, we headed for DSW and the dreaded shopping. This is the store. It’s located in a small strip mall right next to Jack & Wynette’s favorite Asian food restaurant. We at there with them once, and I was awesome. Terrific folks own and operate it.

This is the women’s side of the store. Diane is back there someplace looking at the free shoes. Instead, she found a pair that we had to pay for. She reported that they are extremely comfortable so it’s worth it that she has comfortable kicks.

These are the men’s shelves. Based on our astute observations, Jeran and I determined that they apparently sell more women’s shoes than men’s. That was OK, by us. That’s Jeran in the white hoody, checking his phone for something. He wouldn’t tell me what, so I figured it must have been one of his girl friends. He’ll deny that, but I bet it’s true.

This is what Jeran used to look like. He’s the one on the left. With him are his older sister, Lydia, who recently turned 18, and Cedric, who is currently serving his country aboard the USS Nimitz CVN-68. As you may have guessed, they are all much taller, now. It’s true.

When he was in the seventh grade, Jeran had some emotional problems that required an unusual amount of surgery, counseling, and patience to resolve.

Thankfully, he had good doctors who were able to restore his boyish good looks allowing him to go back to school where he is currently in the 11th grade. That’s what he tells you if you ask what grade he’s in. Not, “I’m a junior,” but “I’m in the 11th grade.” Here’s what he looks like now. He’s the only child wearing glasses. Lydia has connects and Cedric will never need glasses. He’s got 20-10 vision. The transformation is amazing, don’t you think?

While shopping Jeran was fixated on the price tags, not the shoes so I had to talk to him about that. I explained that we were there to get him some good, comfortable shoes and he wasn’t to concern himself with price. He asked how much he could spend and I told him $700. I knew he wouldn’t believe me, but it worked to get him actually looking at the shoes and he picked out a couple pair of very nice shoes … one for casual, one for dress.

He got these for dress …

                                               and these for casual …Quite spiffy choices, we thought.

I got new shows, too, and a new belt. Now my pants won’t fall off.

On the way home we stopped at Freddies again to pick up Diane’s ring. She left it to be appraised and thought it might be a good idea to get it back. She left Jeran and me in the truck, with the windows up, and it was sunny out. It didn’t take long for it to heat up inside to the point where Jeran started removing his clothes. I had to remove one layer, too. We thought maybe she did this on purpose for some reason, but we hadn’t done anything wrong. Then I noticed the keys hanging in the ignition. Jeran was sitting in front so he turned the ignition on so we could roll down our windows. In that manner we kept the police from arresting Diane for leaving her children in a hot car while she shopped.

Today we went to church the brought Diane’s Mom, Jean, back home as we always do on Sunday. We watched movies and ate popcorn. I share this photo so you can see the laser-like focus Ziva had on every bite Mom took. Ziva knew that if she stared long enough, she’d get a kernel or two. She got more than that and eventually convinced the other two dogs to join in on the guilt trip. It’s quite effective.

That’s all I have for today. Hope everyone had a great Palm Sunday.



A trip in the trailer, Lydia, Ceierra, Ziva, & Jeran

I did not realize that it’s been over a week since my last posting so there’s a lot to catch up on.

First, and almost the most important thing, I got to golf with the Peal brothers on Friday the 31st of March then again yesterday. The most important thing, really, was getting to watch Lydia play softball a couple of times. They were pre-season games against more powerful schools so the outcome was predictable – they lost all of them. But, they were fun to watch and they had fun playing. That’s the important thing. They were supposed to have their season league opener this evening, at home, but it was cancelled because it’s been raining, a lot, and the school doesn’t have a decent field for the girls to play on. So, it was a muddy mess and the game was cancelled. So, I took that opportunity to mow the yard, in the rain, with the hopes of keeping it low enough so Ozzie doesn’t get lost when he goes outside. Then, wouldn’t you know it, the sun came out, dried everything off, and it’s actually a perfect afternoon for a softball game. Sad.

In between those two golf events Diane and I took our trailer to Fort Stevens State Park on the Oregon Coast so we could participate in the SOLVE Beach Cleanup. I’ve mentioned this in the past (way long time ago). It’s simply an event held twice a year where anyone can join the effort to keep Oregon Beaches clean. It’s amazing what kind, and the amount, of trash is removed by the voluntary clean up crews. Last I heard the total was over 27.5 tons. That’s a lot of “stuff” to haul off the beach in little plastic bags. For our part, Diane and I managed to remove a considerable amount of small plastic pieces and a few hypodermic needles. A small but significant contribution.

Other than the trip to clean the beach, and a couple of other walks on the beach so Ziva could run willy nilly, we spent our time in the trailer, listening to the rain, reading our books. No wi-fi, spotty phone reception, so it was very quiet most of the time. Diane took an afternoon off to visit Goodwill, leaving Ziva and me at ‘home’ to fend for ourselves. We had a good time taking walks and just sitting around. My prize for being good was a DQ chocolate malt. I love those things. Give didn’t get a prize because dogs don’t get prizes. Instead, I gave her a treat. She was happy about that so it was all good.

I got a message from brother Jack giving me a little more info about what’s going on with him in Arizona. As many of you know, he’s got prostate cancer. He recently started receiving radiation treatments which he must endure for 5-10 minutes every day through the end of May. His new motto is “I’m not dying of cancer, I’m living with is.” That sounds pretty optimistic to me. I’m pretty sure that all those praying for him are having an effect so keep on focusing good thoughts his direction.

Now for some photos to end the day …

Diane and I had PB&J sandwiches, Ziva got the empty jar. That sounds mean, I’m sure, but she loved it.

Just another ho-hum sunset on the Oregon Coast.

Ziva investigating miles and miles of driftwood.

Taking a break, guarding Mom’s Peeps.

Nap time …

Back home to the overgrown yard. Thankfully the little yellow flowers are back. I was afraid they wouldn’t show up this year for some reason. Silly me, because they always show up. The trick is to keep them mowed down so they don’t turn into those fuzzy things that fly seeds everywhere. My up-wind neighbors don’t do that.

These always show up, too. More and more each year.

So do the peonies.

Then there’s Alice, the neighbor’s yorkie, in a standoff with one of their chickens. Alice chased the chicken all the way home, then back to the same spot. Fun to watch. I think the chicken has fun with it.

Then Jennifer sent these to share … Ceierra, Lydia’s best friend, and her new prom dress.

And Lydia in her prom dress.

Quite stunning for a couple of jocks.

I didn’t get a photo of Jeran giving his testimony yesterday evening at the Junior High Youth Group at his church, but I can tell you it was a very emotional story about how and when he found his faith in God. He will be 17 next month and knows pretty much exactly what his future will be. We’re very proud of him.