Today

While Diane was reading my entry about “Yesterday”, she reported that she had photos of yesterday. I did not know that. So, now I’m getting them and will share them with you.

First, I just share me in my COVID face mask that Jennifer made for me.

It’s Sponge Bob, one of my favorites, and it’s very comfortable. I only wear it to Walmart.

This is me relaxing at home …

It’s relaxing because I don’t shave. I’m protesting the virus.

Here’s me and the ice cream cake. That’s not 76 candles but it sure looks like enough fire to melt all that ice cream. But, it didn’t.

In case you’re wondering, That’s Ivy’s left ear in the foreground, in case you were wondering. The sister to her left is Autumn.

Here’s a good photo of my left ear and a fireball on top of the cake. Pretty awesome.

That’s it. I got no more.

Yesterday

Yesterday was my birthday. I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want to stir up a panic situation causing everyone to wish me a happy birthday all at once. I’m sure it would have brought the internet to its knees and we can’t have that. Especially in the midst of a pandemic. No sir. I didn’t want that on my conscience. Surely it would have been the end of me. So, I kept it a secret from the masses to avert an overload on the world’s limited supply of internet connections.

Now that the party is over (yes, someone had a party for me) I can let you know that I am now 76 years old. Wow! I’m amazed that Diane let me live this long. I must admit there were moments when my continued presence in this world was in peril due to something stupid I said, or did, but we got through those rough patches and it’s all good.

Yesterday’s party was attended by Diane, Jeff, Jennifer, Heather, Tiana, Ivy, Lydia, Autmn, Jeran, Cora, Gilligan, Baylee, Jerrie, and Me. Please note that the only male participants were Me, Jeff, and Jeran. That made it 10 to 3 in favor of the fairer gender, but that’s just fine.

I would include photos of the festivities but, since I was the main attraction, I wasn’t available to take the shots like normal. Someone did, however, get a shot of me blowing out my candles. I didn’t blow them out like normal, but just fanned the flame with my hands until the candles went out. It worked pretty well and I’m pretty sure no one was expecting that.

Diane and the kids always ask me what I want for my birthday and my standard answer has always been “World Peace.” That worked well until a few years ago Jennifer actually gave me that. she made a PEACE sign and put a picture of the world behind it. She’s very creative that way. I haven’t some up with a viable alternative yet. I’m OK just living another day and being able to see all of these people frequently.

Three of the attendees most of you don’t know. That’s Ivy, Autumn, and Cora. They were spawned by Adam and Alicia. Alicia is my 2nd cousin because she’s the daughter of my 1st cousin Deborah, daughter of my Mother’s Brother, Uncle Lowell.

Got that? So, when it’s all said and done, Ivy, Autumn, and Cora are my 3rd cousins. I’m pretty sure that’s true. They sprouted from the Friday family side of my life.

My party was awesome. I even ate a piece of the ice cream cake Jennifer brought and it hardly elevated my BS level at all. Just a little over the desire number, but not much. It was good to spend time with my family and to get a chance to know a little about my 3rd cousins. Now all we have to do is get their parents over once in a while so we can get to know our 2nd cousins.

That’s about enough nonsense for today.

Hope all is well with all of you.

Here’s my newly installed flag pole that I won in an American Legion raffle about 10 years go. It resides where the Walters’ kids climbing tree used to be. Nice. Jeff worked really hard to get the tree down and drill a huge hole in the stump so the flag pole could be installed by my birthday. He did well.

Social Distancing & Alicia’s Baby Girl

Social distancing is what I’m practicing by not adding one post after another like I used to. Actually, that isn’t something I’ve done recently, just when I first began this journey. Back then I thought it was my job to make an entry every day. It was pretty easy until I started running out of nouns.

At this point in my new life as a sequestered servant, I’m waiting for someone to deliver the new starter motor for my riding lawn mower. It’s supposed to be here today before 9 pm. That was an interesting time of day for them to pick. I also think I was informed that the USPS would be the final leg of it’s journey and they don’t deliver mail after 5 pm.

Diane is working on the election board again. Hopefully it will be another normal day, getting home at 5:30 pm. Up to this point she and her team are dealing with the ballots voters turned in early, like all good people should. Makes it a lot easier when it comes to the final day. That will be Tuesday. That will be a late night because there’re always folks who wait until the last minute to submit their ballots. It’s their right. I get that.

Long pause …

In the midst of this, the starter motor arrived so I installed it and put the mower back together. There were only 6 screws left over so I consider that. win. Actually, those 6 screws were already in the little magnetic tray I use when dissembling stuff. Hard telling where they came from but nothing has fallen apart in the last few months so it’s all good.

The mower works great, by the way. I didn’t try starting it until I had it all back together, an act that I usually shun. As a computer tech, I learned early, that you don’t button up the case until you make it work. If you don’t do that, it won’t work and you’ll have to take it apart again to fix whatever you did wrong. It always works if you check it before putting in all those screws. Really, it does.

Now for some fun stuff. The following photo is one I took of my golf ball imbedded in the remains of a very soft stump. It was sitting in my way about 50-60 yards from the tee which should give you an idea of how high I can hit the ball. It was a terrible lie and I suppose I could have pulled it out and dropped it, but this was a challenge. I t took me six hits to get it out of there, but I didn’t count 5 of them. Seemed fair at the time. I do the same with sand traps. When I land in one of those I use a rule we made up where you only have to take two swings at it before you can pick it up and throw it in the direction you want it to go. Sometimes I actually get it out on the first hit.

This next one is some chalk artwork on the street in front of our house. We live on a private road that serves us and the 7 other homes. Neither the city nor the county maintains I so it’s not in the best shape, and has little cracks all over it. So, kids with chalk made it pretty by drawing along each crack and it turned out like this …

Kind of festive, don’t you think? Sadly, it all goes away when it rains.

Here’s the dogwood tree in the front yard before a couple of really hot days caused them to all drop all the pretty flowers in the yard …

Now it’s just a tree with green leaves.

Moving to a more poignant topic that I missed earlier in the month, I must report that Alicia’s Baby Girl (ABG), Adam’s, too, turned 18 on May 5th. In my defense, I don’t normally report on birthday’s outside the immediate family. However, Alicia & Adam moved from Damascus to St. Helens recently so Lydia wouldn’t have to drive all that way to visit with the girls (Ivy, Autumn, & Cora). Now she only has to drive about a mile making her gas bill more reasonable.

It’s Cora, the family Baby, who had the birthday and I missed it even though I knew it was coming. I’m a little saddened that Alicia didn’t call me on it. I think subconsciously I forgot just so she would remind me. But she didn’t.

So, Cora, in addition to welcoming you to St. Helens, let me sing you a song:

  • Happy Birthday to you.
  • Happy Birthday to you.
  • Happy Birthday dear Cooorrraaaaaa.
  • Happy Birthday to you.

Had you called me on the appropriate day and reminded me of those significant event, I’d have actually sung it to you in person. I always do. Ask anyone.

OK, Birthday is over. You’re 18 and it’s time to either get a job or join the Navy. The Navy reference is important because it’s not a “job”, it’s an “adventure”. Just ask Diane.

I don’t have a photo of Cora when she was a tiny human so I used one Alicia sent me. Rumor has it that this is how big Cora was when the Pinkston clan took possession of her. The grown up photo, is actually her. I know because Lydia took it.

I hear Jeff chopping on the stump out front so I probably should go watch him in case he injures himself. We try to always have someone available during manual labor evolutions to call 911 should the need arise.

Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.

Good News!

Diane had her virtual doctor visit this afternoon to find out what’s going on with the spots in her lungs. The doctor said that none of the spots, especially the big one (about the same size as the end of your little finger), have changed even a tiny bit so she believes them to be scar tissue from past infections.

Next visit is planned for October, then the doc thinks she will be on a 2-year schedule for a CT scan.

Time for my Happy Dance.

Jerrie

Gene Who?

Last Saturday Diane told me that Gene called and left a message littered with a lot of descriptive adjectives regarding my heritage and failure to communicate with the older generation of Cates. Diane told me every day since then that I needed to call Gene back and find out where he learned all those words. Today I finally called back to talk with him but totally forgot to ask that critical question. We just talked and reminisced about the Good Old Days.

Normally when I capitalize things like that I make it an acronym that would allow me to use it elsewhere in my post without having to type all those words. In this case, however, I won’t because using GOD for good old days just doesn’t seem right to me. So, I won’t.

The good old days for Gene extend well beyond what I remember because he’s well into his 90’s, and his bride, Shirley, is 90. He told me that this evening so I’m fairly sure it’s true. They live in Mesa, Arizona. I’m pretty sure.

Regarding all those words Gener shared, and where he learned them, baused me reflect on Gene’s educational career. He wasn’t a teacher, or a professor, as far as I know, but he was a professional student for a long time. During that career he gathered many Master Degrees in various disciplines. I once asked him why he never took any of those disciplines to the doctorate level.

He told me he didn’t do that because doing so was expensive and the net gain just wasn’t worth it. He was just fine lingering around with Master Degrees and they served him well both in his work history and as a topic of conversation.

While some of that the info shared in that last paragraph, most of it is fiction because I just made it up. Even so, the act of doing that may have unlocked knowledge hidden in the deeper folds of my brain where I keep stuff I don’t think about very often.

Gene is a source of vast knowledge about our family history. Today he told me that our Aunt Maude’s granddaughter, who’s name is currently unknown at this time, has the Cate family history back to the 1100’s. That interests me a great deal. Though it’s incredibly unlikely this young lady will stumble across this post, and contact me, it could happen. The world is, after all, getting smaller every day thanks to internet magic.

So, young lady, who reportedly lives in the midwest, your Grandmother was my Aunt Maude, my Father’s sister. My father is James Lynn Cate Sr. He was born in Hebron, Nebraska in 1900 and passed from this plane of existence in St. Helens, in 1992. That’s enough history for now.

Back to Gene … my family has a history with him and his family that goes back decades. I won’t bore you with a lot of details. Just a few.

While Diane and I were stationed on Guam in the mid 70’s, he worked for the Micronesian Trust Territory and lived on Saipan. Figure the odds.

We had an opportunity to visit Saipan and visit with Gene and his family for a long weekend over one 4th of July. I have lots of pictures from the parade we attended on that little island but they are stuffed in a box somewhere. Waiting for us to find them and digitize them so we can enjoy them again.

Having family close at this time was great because when our daughter, Jennifer, was born in 1975, Gene’s daughter, Kathie, came to live with us for a while to help Diane take care of Jeff who was 3. And me. Yes, I needed to be taken care of. I’m sure all the women in my life will agree that I’m the one that needed Kathie’s attention. However, it was great that she came to us. Not only was she immensely helpful, we formed a strong bond that’s lasted, gee, right up to this very moment.

A lot has changed since the 70’s, but we’ve retained this strong family connection. So, as I age I need to make sure I remember that and call Gene more often. Like weekly. I need to do it that often so he’ll remember who I am. Like I said … he’s well into his 90’s.

I’m fairly safe smack-talking about Gene because not only does he not read this blog, he doesn’t know how. I did, however, give Shirley the address so she can look me up and catch up on all the gooy stuff that’s drained out of my brain over the years. Shirley knows how to use her computer so I’m actually knowingly throwing myself under the bus about all this beause Gene will read this.

So, hi, Gene. Hi, Shirley.

Did I mention that Gene was a Marine?

Itsa Monday – May the 4th be with you

I’ve established a routine for eating properly that has been successful in controlling my BS level. My wife is pleased. She was getting a little annoyed with me for not minding established rules for diabetical eating requirements which caused my BS level to go whacky every once in a while. Truthfully, being an amateur diabetic (I’m not on insulin), I tend to experiment with the hope I can find just the right solution the will allow me to eat whatever I want, whenever I want. Sadly, that doesn’t work.

I must control myself. I was kinda hoping that Diane would be my guide through this confusing sugarless existence, but she’s right … this is my battle and I need to take charge.

Getting to this point has had it’s ups and downs over the past few years, at times causing extreme concern about what’s going on. I’ve learned to recognize the need for sustenance when the cold hollow feeling grips my innards. That doesn’t happen often, but it’s exciting when it does. The last time was just a few days ago when I had Dungeness crab Louis for lunch and a bunch of sautéed shrimp for supper. I don’t know how many there were, but I bought a pound of them. My BS dropped to 62. Apparently there’s not a lot of diabetic-fighting ‘stuff’ in shrimp to keep things stable. Or, there was a conflict between the crab and shrimp during the digestive process. Who knows? Obviously not me.

Half a can of peaches fixed it. I would have had a glass of orange juice but I couldn’t find any. That works, too.

What made the event a little scary was that it occurred just as I was ready to go to bed. So, of course, my head took me down the path where, had I not caught it, Diane would have found me unresponsive in the morning and would have had to call someone to haul me away.

My golf buddy, Doug, is a professional diabetic, who assured me that had I been asleep when my BS dropped too low, my body would have alerted me to that fact so I’d awake to take care of it. He knows all that stuff. He lives alone and has dealt with high BS for many years.

Since my last ‘event’, I changed my eating habits in this way: one piece of toast, with crunchy peanut butter for breakfast, around 6 am; a large sausage patty, 2-3 eggs, O’Brien hash browns with freshly chopped peppers & onions, and one piece of toast for lunch, around noonish; whatever Diane wants for supper, whenever she wants it. Supper is an unknown but breakfast and lunch are consistent. Eating that way has allowed me to drop my morning BS level to around 130, down from 260+.

And, another thing I discovered is that those rumors I’ve heard about exercising being good for me are actually true! Who knew? Being sequestered at the moment, makes exercise difficult. Generally, my exercise routine consists of waking up, walking about 3 feet to the bathroom, then another 50 feet to the kitchen, then 30-40 around the house gathering dog and cat food after letting them out to do whatever they want to do, 30 feet from the kitchen to my recliner with a fresh glass of water and my PB toast, back to the kitchen to let the dogs back in, 10 feet to the dishwasher with all their dirty dishes, 40 feet back to my recliner where I sit, but don’t recline, to wait for the cat to come back, then 15 feet to the patio door when she announces her desire to return, then stand there with the door open which she exerts her authority by licking one foot or the other, then saunters slowly in.

Then I go sit down and start reading my book on my iPad. I don’t recline right away because I know the cat is waiting for me to do that so she can go beat on the patio door to go back outside. If I remain upright she may come jump in my lap and give me a false sense of security that she’s going to be there a while, then I recline. She waits a few minutes, looking over her shoulder, waiting for me to get comfortable, then jumps up to go beat on the door. She actually does that, too. Stands on her hind feet and pounds on the glass with her front feet. It used to be cute. I used to leave the patio door open for her as it’s on a secure balcony but in the past she’s brought treats, like mice, and various kinds of birds into the house when not supervised.

Sorry about that. I was talking about exercising, wasn’t I? What I shared really is exercise, but it’s just not enough to make a difference win one’s BS level. So, I decided to do my exercising on the golf course. Sounds like a really dumb idea because I have sciatica that’s brutal at times. But, I decided I’d walk the course instead of ride a cart like normal.

Turns out, I survived. We only play 9 holes and the course we use is pretty flat so the pain was negligible. I didn’t golf all that well, but I had some good hits. The big benefit from walking was this: I walked over 8,000 steps without falling down even once, and I travelled over 3 miles without getting out of breath. Amazing. Then, the next morning, my BS was something I could like with, literally.

Now I’m being a really good boy by eating regularly. I quit eating cake, ice cream, and pie, cut my bread intake in half (one piece of toast, not two), and don’t skip meals.

My bride is proud of me, and I feel better. I’d take a picture but “feeling better” doesn’t relate well to “looking better” in my case. I’m still really old and I need a shower. Diane told me that a couple of days ago so I guess today is the day for that, even though it’s not Saturday.

I must stop now and go make my breakfast before I fade away,

All of you please stay safe.

My Favorite Son-in-law

That would be Daniel. He really does have that distinction in our family for a couple of reasons. First, he married our daughter, Jennifer, with whom he created a pretty nifty family, and Second, he’s the only son-in-law we have. I suspect that #2 kinda solidifies the title statement but #1 makes the statement a little bit more genuine. In case you have a mind to wonder about our relationship with Daniel, rest your weary heads. We love Daniel. Of the five or six husbands Jennifer considered prior to marrying Daniel, he is by far the best choice. Now I’m compelled to report that Jennifer’s previous possibilities were part of her youth before age 19. Technically, that means her previous considerations really didn’t count. They were folly. Fun, but folly nonetheless. I’m sure Jennifer will raise a couple of eyebrows if she reads this because, though her suitors during high school were numerous, her interest was minimal. I think she had her eye on Daniel for a long time. After all, she was a cheerleader and Daniel was a stellar football player for the St. Helens Lions.

Daniel is the topic of this post because he got older. Yes, he had a birthday. I know, I typically celebrate birthdays on the proper day, but I’d just done Baylee’s and didn’t want to diminish Daniel’s accomplishment by running it on the coattails of Baylee’s B-Day.

So, today, in the quiet confines of my recliner, I deemed it was time to let you know another milestone has passed. Daniel attained the lofty age of 40-something on May 1st, or May Day to many people.

About May Day …

May Day originates from the Pagan festival of Beltane, and falls exactly half a year on from November 1, which also marks various neopagan festivals. The earliest May Day celebrations are thought to have occurred during the Roman era when youths would celebrate the coming of spring with a day of dancing dedicated to the goddess Flora.

I’m pretty sure Daniel’s parents didn’t plan for Daniel to be born on a pagan holiday, but that’s what happened. Thankfully, Daniel bypassed his pagan roots and developed into a rather magnificent man. We’re very proud of him.

For that, and many other reasons too numerous to recount herein, his Mother-in-law and I got him a new burger burner so he could cook for us. He’s good at that.

But, things had to be done first, to make the celebration possible. Just getting the BBQ wasn’t really the end. The patio area had to be rid of leaves, and we had to assemble the BBQ.

Leaves were blown willynilly around the yard by Lydia who has a secret love for power tools. Here she is, before makeup:

And, here she is after getting all cleaned up:

We assembled the BBQ the evening of April 30th, after Daniel went to work. Lydia and I did it and, according to the audience, had I listened more carefully to Lydia during the process, we’d’ve been done a lot sooner. But, I didn’t, so we managed to make the assembly process last deep into the night. It was fun, it was funny, and the audience (Diane and Jennifer) sat watching (laughing) the entire time, making fun of a retired, disabled Navy veteran, and didn’t take one photo. So, there’s really no proof about what either of us did, right or wrong. All we have are the questionable comments from three women who tend to stick together, regardless of the truth. Just sayin’.

The celebration started around 6 pm on the 1st with the arrival of me, and some cousins from Damascus, Oregon. In case you didn’t know, Damascus is near Boring both of which a just a smidge to the east of Portland.

Getting the first load of charcoal.
Smokin’ hot
I mean, really HOT!
Jennifer – the Inside Cook
Daniel – the Outside Cook

Here’re some more photos of the festive occasion:

See! She’s still laughing at me.
Grandma Linda (Daniel’s Mom)
Adam and Me. I tipped my head back so you could enjoy the full expanse of my forehead.
The Pinkston Trio – Ivy, Cora, and Autumn
Alicia – The Pinkston Trio Mom – My Cousin Debbie’s & Roger’s daughter.
Adam – The Pinkston Trio Dad

We all had a great time. Wisely, Diane felt better about staying home, away from crowds so I attended alone. She has a virtual appointment with her doctor on Thursday and doesn’t want to take any chances until she has more information about what her Chest CAT Scan revealed. Please pray for her with me. After she reads this I’ll correct all the errors she finds.

Please stay safe.