Happy 54th

That’s Happy 54th Anniversary to me and my lovely bride. I think that’s a pretty good milestone for me and my first wife. We’ve been to a lot of places over those years, seen a lot of pretty nifty things, made memories to last a lifetime, and met some incredible people who are scattered all over the USA. Lots of those friends are located near us in the greater Portland area which makes it easier to stay connected, even though this electonical age keeps people in touch 24/7.

Diane had an anniversary trip all planned that included many days at the beach, rain or shine. Sadly, the RV became unpredictable causing us to modify our plans a little bit. The RV issue is that it will not move forward or back. Really. It won’t move either direction. Well, it moves a little bit, but not much. Just enough to give one a little hope before it seizes up again. Because of that Diane cancelled all the campground reservations she’d made and got us rooms near the locations we had planned to park the RV. That was necessary because we planned to visit with our Classic Winnebago RV Club members, even though none of us currently own a classic Winnebago. But! All the members, except Diane and me, still actually have Winnebagos. We are renegades, we are, and it’s OK. Even though Diane and I will be spending our nights in a cozy room we’ll still be able to spend time with them gathered around propane campfire, wrapped in blankets and hoping it doesn’t rain. Then we’ll all retire to our respective rooms. Then, do it all over again the next day. I’m sure that may sound perfectly boring to most of you but it’s actually fun and very satisfying. It’s OK to get old and share our days with friends.

That part of this story will continue tomorrow and I’ll report on it later.

Today, while watching the evening news we watched as President Biden boarded his very large airplane in Portland and head for Seattle. As the plane soared into the air Diane and I looked at each other, then headed to our back porch. You see, our house is almost directly under the flight path for plans going from PDX and SEA. Turns out Joe wanted to get a look at our place on his trip north. I believe he even waved at us as he and his entourage flew on by.

Air Force One

Sorry it’s not a better photo but I only had my iPhone available and this is that photo blown up a little. Now we’re famous.

On that note, I’m going to sit here and finish Season 8 – Episode 3 (“From the Ashes”) of “When Calls The Heart”. We kinda got hooked on it and have been binge-watching for the past few weeks beginning with S1-E1. It’s a fun show. You should try it.

Procrastination and Other Stuff

That’s me, for sure. I’ve waited just a couple of days beyond the two month mark of my last post, but I suspect no one missed me. Still, it may come as a surprise to some of you that I’m still alive. I am old, after all, and old people tend to die sometimes.

The pandemic has been tough on all of us but things seem to be slowly getting back to normal. Diane and I still wear masks when we go to stores and we choose to avoid Portland unless there is not choice about it.

dot dot dot — The above opening was written on April 1st then I apparently got busy doing a bunch of other stuff. Consequently, I unintentionally validated what a procrastinator I truly am. In my defense, you’ve got to believe me when I claim that my head was very busy all this time, filled with good intentions, but none of it triggered a need to activate my sore, busy fingers … until now.

We’ve survived COVID, so far, but it’s apparently sill causing havoc in many other parts of the world. Masks, although carried in a purse, or pocket, are rarely used. Even so, it appears, to me, that people are doing a better job at keeping their distance from one another. That works for me. To enhance that action I quit taking showers. Seems to work OK, too.

Diane is still tending to her Mom most of the time, and I’m still the cook. This has been going on since October and Diane is well past the point where a break is necessary. So, she contracted with a professional care giver which will allow us to take the RV out for a short trip to the beach. Right after we made these plans, it snowed 4″. In April! For Portland it was the first measurable snowfall in April in records history. Weather is pretty screwy all over the US so we plan to just deal with it and make our trip anyway. Should be fun.

Big Brother Jim turned 85 (I think) a few days ago. I waited all day, then a couple more days, for him to call me so I could wish him a happy birthday. Yesterday I gave up and called him to find out why he hadn’t called, and to make sure he’s OK. Turns out he took a trip down his driveway a while ago, literally. Smashed up his glasses, broke his arm, and pretty much caused a huge intake of breath from the family and friends who live in his vicinity. He explained the even in great detail for me and I was able to visualize every frightening step of the way. Bleeding profusely, he said he crawled to the back door and pounded on it seeking help, which he finally got. Now he’s got a problem with the blood stains on his driveway which probably won’t come clean.

He’s well into mending, and actually found humor in it as he looked back and shared with me. I think we both agreed that at his age falling isn’t a good thing. He promised to never do that again. I hope it’s true, but I’m skeptical.

The other day we gathered at The Old Spaghetti Factory for a late lunch with our PT Cruiser Friends. One couple had moved to Florida and were back in the area for a visit so our leader chose that as a reason for us to gather once more. That, and the fact that COVID restrictions had eased making such gatherings legal. A good time was had by all and Diane and I were able to visit with some folks we hadn’t seen in years. Turn out that some of those folks actually read this blog which surprised me. Because of that I felt compelled to get busy and at least say “Hi” to everyone. So, “Hi!” everyone.

I’ve been having trouble maintaining a stable BS level. To help with that I’m intimately involved with a VA Pharmacist and a VA Dietician to help and guide me. Diane knows and it’s OK. All the visits are virtual so all we do is talk. One hand thing I learned was that the little BS meter the VA gave me is actually a bluetooth device and, with the proper app, will send all BS info to my phone. I don’t remember how I discovered that because no one told me. When I shared that with the pharmacist she went, “huh. Didn’t know that could be done.” I’ve had this meter for years and spent countless hours writing down all those numbers only to discover it could be done automatically. Since discovering that, and complaining to my pharmacist that, since I’m only an amateur diabetic they only allow me 50 test strips for a 60 day period and they want me to test morning and night. The math doesn’t quite work for that so they upped count to cover my need. Now I take tests pretty much any time I want and my tiny little fingers are suffering from it. All of them are covered with little scars on the ends from needle pokes. They don’t seem to hurt as much as they used to so I think I pretty much killed all the nerves in my finger tips.

The clock on the wall tells me it’s time for me to trek down the hill to Grandma’s House so I can feed her. That’s a need because I’m the cook for all meals. Did I say that before? I also need a cup of coffee to kickstart my day.

Hope all of you are doing well. Stay safe and keep a light on for me.

The Bachelor

Diane and her Mom have been watching The Bachelor every chance they get. Normally, it’s when I’m off doing something else. This morning, however, I was busy working on a 1000 piece puzzle Diane got me. It’s on the dining room table close enough that I can hear the dialogue between all the pretty girls and the very well developed Bachelor. I admit, he’s a hunk, but I, personally, do not feel the attraction, like, you know, whatever those girls do. It’s, like, you know, a competition that’s usually won by the friskiest (in my opinion). But, you know, they all, you know, speak the same, like, language, so what’s, you know, not to, like, like, right?

I listened to those conversations until my eyes started to blink out of sync making puzzeling difficult. I then retreated to Mel’s (Diane’s Dad) little shop in the garage. It’s very quiet in there and it has a heater.

When I have conversations with kids I tend to keep track of how often they use “like” to fill the quiet spaces, and I count them by holding my hand out and extending a finger every time I hear them use that word. It doesn’t take long for them to wonder what I’m doing. When they finally ask I explain my actions, explaining that when counting the “likes” I lose track of what they are saying and the conversation devolves into a blur of words punctuated with a lot of “likes”.

When I’ve finished explaining my actions, we continue our conversation and they keep an eye on my hand, doing their absolute best to avoid filling spaces with “like”. It’s quite effective and they quickly learn that it’s much easier to engage and maintain conversational continuity by leaving the likes alone.

You know? And that’s, you know, another problem for me.

Now, let’s get back to that puzzle Diane gave me …

It’s truly brutal and a serious challenge for someone with fat fingers. It’s 1,000 pieces that fit in 12 x 16.5 inch border. I know that’s true because I measured it … see …

I know, it looks more like 16.75″ in the photo, but if you look at the dumb end of the tape you can easily see that it is at least 1/4″ away from it’s target so I extrapolated a little.

Each piece is about 1/2″ by 11/16″ and they are all the same shape. The edge pieces are an exception to that rule.

So now you know what I’m doing, you know?

Now, although it’s not truly lunch time yet, I must go prepare.

Stay safe and have a wonderful day.

Oaths

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

Everyone who holds public office in our government is sworn in (or affirmed) by repeating the above oath. Too bad it doesn’t include consequences for those who choose to ignore the oath.

Writing just that little bit caused my head to swirl mightily with many things I’d like to say about our elected officials but I can’t seem to quell the noise of the filibuster in my head so rational synapses can vote on something meaningful.

Think I’ll go take a nap.

hasta la vista 2021

OK – I know. That’s a bad choice for bidding farewell to a year we will never see again. Sayonara would be more correct I believe.

Iregardless, or regardless if you prefer, it’s time to say goodbye to a year fraught with amazing and frightening events. I have no intention of reiterating the lengthy list of candidates as I’m pretty sure the big ones (newsworthy) are well known to all. Rattling around in my head, up near the top, are events that occurred on January 6th. I’m sure you all know that’s the day Epiphany is celebrated.

“Why,” you may ask, “does anyone celebrate the Capitol Riots?”

Pondering the question with my arms crossed, my head tilted a bit to the right, tapping my chin with my right forefinger, I respond, “Actually, though the Capitol Riots did indeed happen on that January 6th, it isn’t known for sure if that day for such activities was chosen for religious reasons or if it was purely coincidence. You see, January 6th is the 12th Day of Christmas.”

You might respond with a resounding, “Really!” or a “Now, you’re just yanking my chain, right?”

“Nope, not at all,” I reply. “January 6th is the day of Epiphany, marking the end of the Christmas season . Epiphany celebrates the baptism of the infant Jesus Christ by John the Baptist, and the visit of the Three Wise Men to Bethlehem, and the day all Christmas decorations must be removed from the exteriors of homes in areas where HOAs are very strict.” That last bit was only recently added.

Just so you know, the events that happened on January 6th, 2021 had nothing to do with Christmas whatsoever (I’ve always wanted to use that word in a meaningful way). According to many news networks, there may be another upheaval in 2024. I can only wonder if it, too, will transpire on January 6th.

COVID, in many forms, assaulted people throughout the year and caused lots of problems for the nurses and doctors who did their best to deal with it. The medical community will forever have my respect for what they are enduring. If only people would just suck it up and get vaccinated, perhaps they could help end this by not getting sick and overwhelming our hospitals and medical facilities. Who knows?

Enough of that.

How about a nice January 1st, 2022 sunrise?

This is the way 2022 started for me. Kinda pretty, don’t you think? In my mind, however, it conjures up an old nautical saying … Red sun at night, Sailor’s delight. Red sun in the morning, Sailor take warning.

I’ll admit that such a stunning display as this doesn’t really reveal that the rising sun is red. There’s a lot of reflected light on display just before the sun makes it’s appearance. Whenever I see such a display in the morning I wait to see what the sun will do. Not only because it’s very pretty, but because something woke me in time to see it and I need to watch it to the end. It doesn’t last very long so you can’t look away.

In this instance, the sun revealed itself like this …

It means the day will be good.

Hope your’s will be good, too. Like good all year.

Electric Cars

It’s been about a week or so since I discovered that authorities have intervened to prohibit one more electric car feature that had me right on the exciting verge of obtaining one of those vehicles. First it was the auto drive feature which really tweaked my interest from the start. I mean, how cool would it be to just set the vehicle to auto drive, then climb in the back seat for a nap while traversing the massively boring trip through LA. It’s normally a very slow trip so the danger of damage caused by a speeding, out of control vehicle is minimized. Still, I can see the potential for disastrous results if such technology fell into the hands of someone less responsible than my humble self.

It’s my understanding that the auto drive feature isn’t totally disabled. One can activate it but someone in the driver’s seat must keep both hands on the steering wheel. I’m actually OK with that because I think I could find a small child, who can’t reach the pedals, to sit in the driver’s seat and hang on to the steering wheel for me.

Now, after making the auto drive feature more difficult to use, they’ve taken away the games from the driver. I’m thinking, “Really! They allow us to install games on the iPad-like dashboard then make it illegal for the driver play them? What’s the point of that?” OK, they make it difficult for the driver to play because they will have to push a button to verify they aren’t driving. That makes sense, too.

I’m saying this with tongue in cheek because I’m not someone who plays games on my iPad. Therefore, in my electric car I would simply sit and watch while my passenger played. That makes sense, too, right? Quite a safety feature.

Now that I’ve got all that off my chest I’ll share that I think installing video games on a device that’s in a prominent position for both driver and passenger is about the most ignorant thing I’ve ever heard of. Making Tesla gaming available is like daring the driver to not play them while driving.

O, wait! People play on their phones all the time while driving so, perhaps, playing on a larger screen, installed in your dashboard, will make it easier to keep an eye on the road while playing since they won’t be looking down in their laps in an attempt to fool people into believing they aren’t playing with their phone. Until they run into someone. Then everyone knows.

The previous information is based on personal opinions of which I have many and, so far, opinions which I can share at will.

I’d continue but don’t have anything worthwhile to share. It would just be a continuation of the foregoing, wasting words for absolutely no reason.

Hope all is well with all of you.

My High School Sweetheart

She had another birthday today, just like she did last year, and the year before. It happens every year on this day, just like clockwork. Today’s birthday is her 75th and she’s blessed me by letting me share the last 53 of them with her. I hope it never ends.

My gift for her today was freedom to go with our daughter, Jennifer, on a shopping trip without worrying about returning at a specific time. Since she’s the main care giver for her Mom, she doesn’t get to do that often any more. It’s important that she does when given the chance.

They took little Jessie (Jessiah) with them and they were gone for nearly 7 hours. That’s not a complaint or a criticism, just a fact. Jessie is 5-months old and the mellow one of the two children Jennifer Foster’s. This is him in a bad mood after being strapped in a car seat or a stroller all that time:

While they were gone I kept watch over Diane’s Mom to ensure she was fed, watered, and not allowed to leave the house. The latter really isn’t isn’t a problem because although she’s still pretty mobile, when she gets up it’s usually to lock all the doors.

I was told the girls both had a good time, spreading lots of smiles in their wake as they rolled Jessie around Washington Square Mall in search of adequate bras for both of them. I suspect that was one of the reasons they were OK with me staying home.

Lunch was supposed to be at the Cheese Cake Factory, but with all the shoppers wanting to eat at the same time it would have been a 1.5 hour wait. So, they went to Subway and had a sandwich. Personally, that would have been my choice, and it’s one Diane and I used to visit fairly often.

This is my true love (the one on the right). I count my blessing every day that the cosmos aligned properly and allowed me to win her heart. I fear one day she’ll wake up and see the error of her ways and make me leave. So far, so good.

Happy Birthday Sweetheart.

DeJa’Vu All Over Again

I woke up this morning at 0545 thinking that it’s been a while since I shared something with all of you. This caused my brain to swirl (counterclockwise) with myriads of possibilities for topics to address. I lay there for a while, waiting for the swirling to stop, but it never did, so I extracted myself from bed and headed for the kitchen where I found a fairly fresh baked loaf of bread. This caused the swirling to stop and shift into a more immediate need for sustenance in the form of peanut butter toast. Since I’d not had any in a while, I toasted two slices of bread while I looked for the cat.

Yeah, I know. Looking for the cat really doesn’t have anything to do with toasting bread. It’s just that while toasting is going on there’s a period of idle time that required me to be doing something, so I looked for the cat. She had to eat, too. I didn’t find her right away, but had time to put some kitty bisque in her bowl with the optimistic belief that she would show up and, she did. Right on time.

By the time I go my toast buttered, and got settled in my chair, she was done eating and looking for a lap to nap in. Actually, it’s more like a lap to shed hair and lick herself all over. During these times it’s necessary to keep one hand on her to keep her away from my toast. She likes peanut butter. I give her a little lick once in a while by swiping some on one of the fingers of my cat hand, risking dozens of diseases, while I gobble my toast. By the time I’m done, so is she and she settles down for a short nap.

It’s a short nap because guilt creeps into my head as I think about Diane sitting alone with her mother. Now, sitting with Mom isn’t all that difficult, but she isn’t much of a lap person which makes me feel like I have the advantage. Cutting the cat nap short by standing, thereby removing the lap, I ready myself for the trip down the hill.

Another reason I scurry down the hill is because I know Diane has a pot of coffee brewing and I need some. It’s a horrible affliction but I read somewhere that coffee is good for the heart. Choosing to believe that, I imbibe every morning.

The weather here in the Pacific Northwest is very wet right now. And, it’s getting colder as winter sneaks up on us.

The foregoing words reflect pretty much every day now. It was started on December 6th and the only thing that’s changed is that I don’t often find fresh home baked bread and I don’t eat peanut butter toast every day – just once in a while.

Since Diane stays nights with her mom, I’m the designated cook for both of them. That’s really just a continuation of our arrangement before Diane changed home addresses and that’s OK. I like to cook and doing that, as I’m sure I’ve reported previously, means I don’t have to clean up the mess I make. Still, I’m careful not to make it too messy

Today is Thursday, December 16th, the day some of us fellows from church meet for coffee at the Kozy Korner Cafe. Regarding that, I’m curious to know why it isn’t the Kozy Korner Kafe. Makes more sense and doing so would allow me to shorten the name to K3. As it is it’s a more complicated K2C. Just a thought.

The Girls who wait on us at the Kozy, Kerry and Kerry are the best. They deliver coffee to us without us having to ask. We sit down and full coffee cups appear like magic. It’s kind of interesting that toward the end of summer I ran across one of the Kerry’s at Safeway and didn’t recognize her until she said “Kozy”. I knew I knew her, but the synapses weren’t firing correctly. She understood the look of confusion on my face as I struggled to say her name. Very odd. I’m sure that’s the kind of confusion people who have dementia suffer. Well, that’s me. Diane tells me I have dementia so it must be true. Instead of worrying about it I just embrace it even though it makes Diane cranky. It’s easier to ask than to remember.

She doesn’t like me asking her to repeat things to me that she’s shared in the past, and I know it’s true; but I also know that Diane remembers stuff and I don’t hesitate to ask.

Considering all off that, perhaps dementia should be spelled DeMen’Tia, kinda like DeJa’Vu. Or, just get rid of the word dementia and stick with DeJa’Vu since that’s pretty descriptive for the malady.

Looks like it’s time to stop this nonsense.

I hope everyone is well and looking forward to a blessed Christmas.

The Rest of the Story, kinda …

I just learned a new favorite quote that I’m going to plagiarize from a movie I’m watching with Jean, Diane’s Mom, while Diane goes to Walmart in her nightgown. Here’s the quote, then I’ll explain the rest of that in great detail.

A problem is an opportunity dressed in work clothes.”

The Movie is “A Taste if Christmas” and it’s on the Lifetime channel. A great quote.

Now, for the rest of the story …

First, Diane swore she wasn’t going to wear her nightgown to Walmart but I don’t know why. If I had a nightgown, and looked as good as she does in it, I’d do it. Honestly, she did leave Mom’s house in her nightgown to go home and tackle a chore while I look after Jean. That’s code for “make sure she doesn’t fall down,” “feed her,” and “watch whatever she wants to watch on TV.” The first two are simple because she doesn’t fall down any more, and I feed her when I’m hungry. The last one is more difficult because I’m never sure I’m on the correct channel at the correct time. During the week we progress through News, The Price is Right, News, Wheel of Fortune, News, Days of Our Lives, News, Lifetime, etc…

Today, however, is Saturday and, as I watch this movie I know there’s a college football game playing on at least 12 other channels but I’ve been directed to steer clear of those to spare Mom the agony of being forced to watch that kind of chaos. Sometimes I dial up those channels on my laptop so I can watch one of my favorite teams (Ducks & Beavers). I’ll be doing that later this afternoon when they are playing.

Sorry, but I got a bit distracted by all the keys on my laptop and it’s difficult to NOT touch at least most of them while I sit here. Sometimes things appear on my screen that actually make sense. All the other “stuff”I try to make it disappear. Once in a while something stupid slips by, so forgive me.

The reason Diane leaves Mom’s in her nightgown is because she spends her nights with Mom. After I get here, and have my coffee, she sneaks into the garage and gets in her car, before opening the big door, then drives home where she takes a shower before getting to work on one project or another. Our house is a little bit remote so there’s no danger of being seen in sleep wear up there. Or, there’s no danger of being seen improperly dressed at home because no one really cares up there.

About that … taking a shower, then going to work on something that’s bound to make one sweaty. I’ve always thought she did that in the wrong order. She should work first, then shower, right? But, she doesn’t and I’ve become accustom to her dyslexic approach to work and hygiene. On the upside, she always smells really great when she begins working. She also smells really good after she’s done working. So, having said that, it’s evident that I don’t really know what I’m talking about when it comes to taking a shower. Because of that, I’ve decided to just take a shower whenever she tells me to. One more decision I don’t have to worry about.

Oh! I went through the TV directory and discovered that there are 13 channels with football games on, not 12. Although I just guessed the 12, I’m sad that I was wrong because I’m so rarely that. Wrong, that is. Just ask Diane. She’ll tell you I’m almost always right.

Today Diane said she’s going to work on getting “things” out of the RV before the weather turns to bad. It’s not fun carrying a load of “stuff” from the RV to the house in the snow, or a torrential rain storm. Actually, doing it in the snow isn’t totally bad. I kinda like it that way. So, I’m not taking out my “stuff” until it snows. The way the weather is trending, I may not have to move my “stuff” at all.

I’m rambling so it must be time to stop.

Now, I think I’ll go take a shower, then watch some football.

Happy Veteran’s Day 2021

As most of you know, I spent a considerable amount of time on active duty as part of the US Navy. I retired in 1989 and still celebrate my association with the Navy and appreciate the many ‘Thank Yous’ I receive from those I meet. It was an honor to serve and I’m humbled when people take the time to thank me for that service.

What many folks do not consider is the sacrifice our spouses made over the course of those military careers. They did not have an easy job being left alone with all the household responsibilities. Many marriages cannot weather that storm and, sadly, ending in turmoil for the families.

I am blessed to still be married to my high school sweetheart who joined me in 1968 and was whisked away from sleepy Warren, Oregon to Okinawa, Japan on the other side of the Pacific Ocean . She experienced culture shock and endured this life-changing experience, supporting me, making us an unstoppable 2-person team throughout the remaining 20 years of ‘our’ career.

Yes, it was ‘our’ career, not just mine. She put in the time and dealt with just as many difficult times as I did, never faltering, always there for me and our children.

That’s what I think about every day, and especially on Veteran’s Day when we who served are put in the spotlight.

So, My Love, Thank You for Your Service.