Bethany’s Facelift

Our little country church, Bethany Lutheran, is on the verge of a major facelift in the form of new carpeting. The current carpet has been in place for 45 years so the church ladies made it a mission to replace it. That’s going to happen over the next two days.

To make that happen it was necessary to remove everything from the church innards because the carpet people do not move ‘stuff’. Therefore, it fell on the shoulders of a few old guys and as many young people as they could muster, to move 27 pews. the altar, the pulpit, and the lectern leaving the current carpet unlittered with heavy objects. They wanted the piano removed, too, but after moving everything else there wasn’t enough strength remaining in the entire crew to pick it up. So, it stayed. There’s a plan afoot to have someone available to roll it out of the way as needed tomorrow.

To commemorate this effort, we took a couple of photos using those taken of the iconic PDX carpet, before it was replaced not long ago, as an example of how to properly make it special. I’m not sure that was accomplished, but we had a bit of fun doing it. The tools were necessary to unbolt the pews from the floor. Not all the bolts came out willingly.

Not everyone who participated is included in the photos and I regret that. Nor do I have photos of the pews leaving the building because my camera was in the church while I was in one of the two large semi trailers that were graciously loaned to us by LC Hall trucking of St. Helens.

It’s a little weird to have the sanctuary empty, and it looks a lot smaller. However, if everything goes as planned, all the pews will be back in place for service this coming Sunday. How that goes will decide whether or not I show up for service on Sunday because I assume responsibility for making sure the pews are properly aligned and that all the pews are returned to their original spots to ensure that those who attend regularly get their assigned seats back. At this point I’m pretty sure I can get them lined up fairly well, but I can say with confidence that no one is getting their old pew back except by accident. It’s time for them to step out of that comfort zone and sit in someone else’s seat.

A Birthday and a White Christmas

Today is December 29th. Two days to 2018 and our temperature is 51 degrees. We had a white Christmas for the first time in about 30-40 years but the warm weather and ensuing rain made short work of that. Still, it was pretty nice.

The dogs weren’t huge fans, especially Ozzie, the little guy. After the snow, we had freezing rain which allowed him to walk on top of the precipitation had he chosen to do so. We’re talking about a little dog that has a hard time walking around the house unless there is a throw rug for him to use. Figure the odds that he’ll walk on a sheet of ice voluntarily. Consequently, there is no photo.

Before Christmas I attended an art class with our daughter, Jennifer, who is the crafty one in the family. This was the first time I’ve done something like this so it was an experience to remember. First off, I was the only male participant and I had to ask permission to participate. I didn’t really, but thought it would be prudent to do so. Thankfully, I knew a few of the ladies so it wasn’t difficult. One of the knowns to me was Kristen, Daniel’s sister. Daniel, for those who don’t know, is my son’s brother-in-law.

Kristen’s Mom and Grandma were also there, I believe, but didn’t get their photo.

As you can see, we all did an acrylic painting of a bear of some kind that wears clothing. Mine wasn’t too bad if you didn’t get too close to it. The farther away the better.

Jennifer did a much better job.

Pretty much all of the class.

The class was conducted in the Running Dog Brewery which is located next to the old Fat Boy’s Pizza in downtown St. Helens, and about 3-4 doors up from Jillian’s, the 2nd hand clothing store that was used as the Seattle store where Bella went shopping for a prom dress in the vampire movie Twilight. Considering that the beer flowed continuously throughout the painting experience, you’d think it would have been pretty noisy and the paintings might have been a bit interesting. It was true for both of those presumptions but I wasn’t allowed to capture any proof. I was going to do it anyway, but they outnumbered me about 20-1 so didn’t see the benefit of risking precious body parts to a potentially vicious mob of enraged women.

Actually, I really don’t think anyone would have minded but I just figured not doing so was a better choice. Everyone was having a great time, even me.

Our church choir practiced many times to prepare for our traditional Christmas Eve 11:00 pm service, and the last one was on December 20th, Diane’s birthday. Jennifer arranged for a fancy cake and we had a party at the church.

Since Diane and I are advanced in age, we had Christmas dinner a day early at our house so we wouldn’t have a need to be in traffic with all those other folks. Jeff and the Littles, Gilligan, Baylee, and Jerrie, were in attendance, as well as the entire Walters clan, except for Cedric. There was a short period of time where it appeared that Daniel and Jeran might go get Cedric but the weather had already turned bad and the roads were terrible. So, they returned to base.

Cedric will be home on leave today (the 29th) and we’ll be celebrating Christmas again with him, tomorrow, at the Walters’ home.

Almost lastly, here’s my new favorite coffee cup that Lydia got me …

She knows me so well.

Finally, if anyone is in the market for a nice vehicle, this one is for sale. We’ve had our fun, but can’t tow it behind the RV except on a trailer. It’s replacement will probably be a 2015 Chevy Malibu.

Happy New Year to everyone. Make it a safe one.

Random Thoughts In No Particular Order

I left you wondering if I was going to figure out how to hook up the satellite system and I’m sure you are all expecting a report of my success. Well, I hate to disappoint you, but it never worked. So, I put everything back the way it was when we got the rig and just closed that little door. Instead of watching TV, we wound up playing lots of cribbage, walked the dog a lot, and actually talked to each other. I learned stuff, like Diane’s favorite color is Yellow, she’s really not French even though her maiden name is French, and she was only 14 when we got married. I was afraid she was going to tell me we were distant cousins at some point, but that never happened. Doesn’t mean we aren’t, just that she didn’t say it.

Bob and Steffani, my brother Jack’s oldest brother’s oldest daughter, have been visiting for the last few days after delivering Maryssa and Matt back to Salem to finish off the summer. A big plus out of the trip was that Under Armour was having a huge sale at the outlet stores in Woodburn where Matt works. Now they have to buy another suitcase to get everything home. I think they got socks for all their neighbors.

At some point during their stay, Steffani purchased a six-pack of Pepsi to consume while watching Matt and his brother play 3 on 3 basketball in Salem. It was a tournament. Maryssa was a pretty good basketball player in high school and couldn’t keep from giving pointers to the brothers because they were struggling with scoring. At one point one of them tossed the ball to Maryssa who promptly tossed it up and swished it from the sidelines. Point made, both literally and figuratively.

The Pepsi came home with B&S because they could only open 2 of the bottles. None of the manly men playing in the tournament could open them, Steffani couldn’t open them, Bob couldn’t open them, and I was never asked to try. That was OK. Since they were such a challenge we dropped by Wal-Mart* on the way to dinner yesterday, at Mark’s On The Channel, so Steffani could return them for bottles that would open. She returned quickly and reported that she never made it past the Wal-Mart* greeter who asked how she could help. Steffani explained and handed the bottles to the lady, who was in a wheel chair, and she took one of the bottles and twisted the top off with no problem. She did the same to the remaining three, solving the problem, and handed them back to a startled Steffani who was wondering about the veracity of the men populating her life. How could a frail little old lady, in a wheel chair, open bottles that young, healthy studs couldn’t? I guess the lesson here is that we should never underestimate the power of someone based on visual evidence alone.

This is us sitting at our table while dining at Mark’s On The Channel:

For those of you wondering how the meal went I’m proud to report that I didn’t get even one speck of my fish on my clothing. It was really too good to waste in such a manner. Bob had a hamburger with bacon jam on it, we other three had Alaskan Halibut which was wonderful. Bob said the jam was pretty good.

A question came up on Sunday about why the bench seats in a church are called pews. A little fumblefinger research provided me with this:


Late Middle English (originally denoting a raised, enclosed place in a church, provided for particular worshippers): from Old French puye ‘balcony’, from Latin podia, plural of podium ‘elevated place’.

That was going to be my second guess. My first guess was was all about hygiene and whether or not parishioners routinely engaged in bathing rituals beyond baptism way back in time. Just thought you should know.

Last Saturday Diane and I attended my 55th High School Reunion at Trojan Park. Trojan used to be a nuclear power plant owned by PGE and the first place I went to work in 1989 after retiring from the Navy. It’s the one where Homer Simpson worked. That’s true. It’s not mentioned in the link, but I read it somewhere. It’s obviously true because Matt Groning’s point of reference for all things concerning Homer were those surrounding Portland, Oregon.

Anyway, the Scappoose High School class of 1962 held their 55th reunion at the park and it was catered by Sunshine Pizza in St. Helens. It was good to see all those old people again and I’m sad that I didn’t get to visit with all of them for long periods of time. Our class is controlled by the “Tarbell Twins” and we will do pretty much anything they tell us to do. They are absolutely super humans. In the past we’ve always had pot lucks for our food but this time it was catered and so much better. Not the food, so much, but the ability to just graze and visit without worrying about food. Still, “The Twins”, Evelyn & Eva, were there making sure everything was perfect. It was, and we appreciated it. Now, let me see if I can remember those who were there that I actually looked in the eye: Eva, Evelyn (of course), Sam & David (another set of twins), Jimbo, 2 more David’s, Delores (another twin), Darrell, Vern, John, 3 Larry’s, Mary Ann, Phyllis, Harriet, Josette, Don, another Delores, Judy, Jim, Tom, Karen, Howard, and me. Here’s what we all look like at 73 years old:

I want everyone to know that I compiled the list of names above the photo before looking at the photo. I was one off on the count for a long time until I remember that, gee, I’m in the photo, too. I’m the guy in the green shirt ion the middle next to the really short girl (Delores). Here’s the list in order, top to bottom, left to right:

  1. David, Tom, John, Don, David, Larry, Darrell, Larry
  2. Howard, Jim, Vern (these guys kinda made up their own row of 3)
  3. Eva, David, Harriett, Josette, Delores, Jerrie, Jimbo, Larry, Delores, Sam, Karen
  4. Judy, Mary Ann, Evelyn, and Phyllis

I found out at the reunion that some of those folks actually waste their time reading my posts so all errors will be corrected, I’m sure.

On Sunday afternoon Diane, I, Bob & Steffani attended a bible lesson presented by our very own Jeran. He’s been helping with them as his Senior Project. He did a good job and all the kids just love him. His goal is to become a Youth Pastor which is perfect for him. He’s totally focused on this goal and knows exactly where he’s going in life. Pretty impressive for a 17-year-old.

After the bible study, we went to Scappoose for dessert at DQ. That’s where I get my occasional chocolate malt. I just love those things. Today’s treat, however, made itself known to me in the form of heartburn, something I’ve been avoiding lately with a chocolate-less diet. So, I’m either going to have to quit getting those things, or just get them earlier in the day, like for breakfast, so I can sleep well at night.

Bob and Steffani left this morning allowing us to reclaim all the space they’ve been taking up with their presence. Don’t get me wrong … we love having them visit, any time they wish. Them being here doesn’t impact us in any way except when it comes to food. Diane feels that a good host would make meals available on a regular basis but I’m less inclined in that direction. I figure they are adult humans and fend for themselves. So, there’s that little point of contention. The compromise is, of course, that we go out to eat a lot. It works.

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.


Wondering about Stuff, Quilts, and a BLT

This morning as I lay trapped by a cat on our couch, I got to wondering. Not about anything specific, but about things in general. I find that life is much less stressful if I generalize everything and don’t dwell on specifics. Specifics require concentration and knowledge about actual “stuff”. It’s much easier to just make up things … for instance …

I was released from the mother ship just a few days ago and when I got home I couldn’t wait to get to my computer to tell everyone about that incredible experience. It was really awesome. But, as soon as I touched my computer things started going haywire in the electronic world and finally ended in the demise of my treasured Apple iMac computer. I fiddled with it for a couple of days before giving up and seeking the help of the Best Buy Geek Squad. I was so distraught (ask Diane) that I took the old iMac to the store without first making an appointment, like Apple Folks do at the Apple Store, but they took it in hand with the promise that they would extract all the data they could find and export it to the 1TB drive I provided. Knowing, deep down in my heart, that I’d never see the old iMac run properly again, I purchased a new one to take home. Like all Apple products, it wasn’t cheap, but it’s really nice and I’m used to it. So there.

Anyway, once home I extracted the new iMac from its box, found the new keyboard and mouse, got new batteries for both and proceeded to get it all set up. The first problem I encountered was with the keyboard. It’s wireless, but there’s no place to put the batteries. As a matter of fact, the HDD is about half as thick as a AA battery and just a little thinner than a AAA battery. Discovering this prompted me to turn the mouse upside down, which I did, and noticed right away that there isn’t a battery cover on it, either. A mystery, but quickly solved when I noticed the Lightening port which indicated I was dealing with a futuristic mouse like the ones the aliens use. A more thorough investigation of the keyboard revealed the same port on it. That would, I surmised,explain the presence of the brand new lightening cable that was packaged with the keyboard and mouse.

Setting those two items in front of the new iMac I turned on the power, trusting that the keyboard and mouse were truly already paid like the instructions said. They were and things worked just great. All that’s missing is all the data I had on the old iMac. It’s gone into the ozone, headed for a fiery demise on a journey to nowhere. Sad. I had 42,000+ photos on that computer, as well as about a ton of documents, that I’ll never see again. Thankfully, I uploaded all the photos to my iCloud server a couple of weeks ago, but just hadn’t made it to uploading the documents. I know, however, that those documents are lurking around here somewhere on a wayward thumb drive, or on the My Cloud drive I used to use for backing up the old iMac. Regarding the latter … it quit backing up recently and apparently convinced this 4TB drive that there wasn’t anything on it. I know that’s a lie but I can’t yet prove it because of login issues. Yes, I’m having those. Something about not knowing the password. That information, of course, was on the old iMac.

Now I’m sitting at this new computer that’s really, really fast … mainly because there’s really nothing on it. Yet. I do have it hooked to my iCloud, wherever that is, and you’ll all be happy to know I can see all those photos. They are safe. The really big item I’m missing is the spreadsheet I made using Excel that provides all the details I need to be debt free in three years. It took a while to make it because it has a bunch of formulas in it that I’ve added over time. If I can’t recreate this thing then I’ll never get out of debt.

I was going somewhere more interesting at the start of this but it’s gone, now. So, I’ll stay with the computer for a while.

Diane took me to Portland yesterday to give up the old iMac for the work described, and on the way home we were stranded on Highway 30 for a couple of hours to accommodate the actions of an idiot driver who thought it would be OK to pass a bunch of people in the center median – a big no-no. When trying to regain the lane he apparently hit a van and caused it to flip over. For those of you familiar with Highway 30 this happened near the weigh station. We learned today that no one was injured in the accident except for the hundreds and hundreds of motorists trapped in the requisite traffic jam going both ways for miles. Nifty. Thankfully, both Diane and I are retired, and it was a bright sunny day, so we just relaxed and enjoyed the view, one of which was a flock of geese that landed in the overflow lakes from the Willamette Slough. We watched them paddling north, our direction, and we couldn’t keep up. It was OK. We finally made it through and made it home. The dogs were glad, but they’re glad to see us when we come back after a 3 minute walk to get the mail. It’s like they thought we’d be gone forever.

This morning the Geek Guys called to report that they were unable to extract any data from the iMac because it looked like it had recently been restored. I’m pretty sure that’s something I did while fiddling around trying to figure it out on my own. That’s what I get for thinking I know stuff, ya know?

After absorbing this information we made another trip to Portland to retrieve the failed unit and get the $80 refund for the fee charged to transfer data to the new HDD I mentioned earlier. That drive, by the way, is really tiny and it hardly weighs anything. But, it’s got enough room to make continuous back ups on this new iMac. It’s amazing.

Going back to last week, there’s more fun stuff that happened. The 37th Annual Quilt Show was hosted at Bethany by the WELCA ladies. It’s quite an event and this year was the best in many years. Here’s what our humble little church looked like for last Friday and Saturday …

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These photos were taken before the doors opened to the hoards waiting for access. Sadly, I wasn’t around to get photos of those folks. I think I was home sleeping. No! I was home trying to get that iMac to work. That’s it!

This is Angela and Diane (my 1st wife) working hard to wrap things up so the drawing for the quilt winner could commence.

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To end, here’s the BLT Diane made me for lunch yesterday. It was awesome.


Now I must quit because my eyes burn. A lot. I need eye dropsThe font size on the new iMac gets way smaller than the old one. Really, really tiny. I like it that way so I can get lots and lots of open windows in view.

Things & Stuff

Lots of Things and Stuff have happened and transpired over the last 10 days. Thankfully, Diane keeps good track of what’s going on by making sure everything is on our shared calendar. Even little things like “Jerrie take pills”. That’s an important one because, alas, I sometimes forget. I’m sure that’s a surprise to most of you, but I really do. Even when my overflowing pill case is sitting right in front of my keyboard all the time.

Using the calendar, I’m going to try something different and go in order. Doing that won’t, however, deter me from wandering off the beaten path once in a while to fill in where things need to be filled in.

First, Donna, Mother of Steffani, Wife of Jim, Husband of Bob, and Grandmother of Daniel, Tyler, and Maryssa, had a birthday on January 26th. I may have mentioned this before, but don’t feel like looking back in my posts. Jim thinks she only 58 but he’s like one of those records that keep skipping back, repeating the same verses over and over, and you have to bump it to make it continue. Since I’m not there to do that, he’s stuck on 58. I’m sure she’s at least 62 because I’m pretty sure she’s drawing Social Security now. This will be a shock to him, I’m sure, but he can take. Learning about that extra income will perk him up.

Reaching back into my ancient bag of IT tricks I was able to resurrect the Windows XP computer that belongs to my friend, Jeri. Now, getting an XP computer to function isn’t really as difficult as you might think because it is, after all, just a silly computer. The difference is that it hasn’t received any updates from Microsoft for a few years, and internet security has been absent for nearly as long. That would make one who does online finances a little jittery which is why I was summoned. It’s tax time, you know. Well, it’s almost tax time. That will be on April 17th this year since Jim’s birthday in on Saturday. He was born on the normal tax day. That’s April 15th, in case you were wondering. Jim will be 80 on that day. OK, now I’m feeling old …

Getting that old computer to respond was awesome and I left feeling pretty good about myself. Not bad for an IT guy who was dubbed “Mr. 286” at the peak of his career.

Next we have the Bethany Lutheran Church Annual Meeting. That happens once a year. That’s why I added “Annual” in there. This is the meeting where our Church Council, and Cemetery Board reveal all the secret stuff about their respective areas of church activity that they’ve kept secret all year. It’s all the time when new council members are elected. I may have mentioned in previous posts that I’ve served on the council for many years – about 15 I think – and have only been absent for one year. Sadly, that made me eligible to be nominated for another turn at the oars. Like normal, I accepted, as did Nancy, Shawn, and Randy. Nancy has been absent from council for a number of years, but Shawn and Randy have never served. So, we have new blood to spill. Our first meeting is February 15th. Until then I really have nothing worthy to say about this recurring aspect of my life.

I made a trip to the ENT Clinic at Good Sam Hospital in Portland and was quickly referred to the Vestibular Clinic to see what makes Jerrie almost fall down sometimes. Hopefully it’s not a vestibular schwannoma. That would be terrible. I think. I’m curious to find out. I was told the first visit will last 2.5 hours. Part of that time, I suspect, will be helping me off the floor while doing some of those fast turn exercises that led me to this point in the first place. That, and running into an occasional wall. Nothing major, just little mishaps that do not cause severe injury. Just a few nicks and dings that are quickly forgotten.

Then I went to OHSU (Oregon Health & Science University) which is located on Pill Hill next to the VA Medical Center and Doernbecher Children’s’ Hospital. Actually, Doernbecher is a OHSU facility. It’s complicated. Here’s what the entire mess looks like from a helicopter.


If you don’t have a helicopter, you can take the tram that launches from the banks of the Willamette River. The tram looks like fun to me, but Diane won’t ride it.


Our trip to OHSU was to, once again, participate in an intake process for a Diabetes Study for folks who are taking Metformin and whose A1C is above 6.8. I qualified because I take metformin and my last A1C was 7.4. So, I was looking at getting $10 a visit for the next 4 years. At the appointment I went through all the paperwork with Trish then she took some blood away from me while Brianna watched. Then I was released with the promise of a phone call the next day. Brianna called, as promised, and told me I didn’t qualify for the program because my A1C has mysteriously dropped to 6.2. This happened the last time I was interviewed for this program. So, I was out before I even got started and I had plans for that $10.

With that out of the way, I assisted Diane with some chores at our church to prepare it for their 37th Annual Quilt Show. That’s when all of the pews in the church are draped with elaborate quilts from all over the area as well as some antique quilts that have been in use for many, many years. It’s quit impressive and very beautiful. My job for this effort was to clean up the spots in the carpet where people always drop drips of wine with we have communion via intinction. We tell them to put their hand under the dipped wafer to avoid those drips, but not many listen. Thankfully I had a machine to help me and I’m happy to report that the carpet looks wonderful and will remain that way until we have communion again. The quilt show, in case you’re wondering, will be this coming Friday and Saturday, February 10-11, from 10am to 3pm both days. Downstairs there will be other displays, a bake sale, and sandwiches – egg salad and chicken salad. And pie. Lots of pies. Come and eat. It’s all good and it’s free unless you feel like donating to the jar located on each table. Donating is encouraged.

Another part I did was take photos of the Bethany Quilt Ladies who meet each Thursday morning and generally sit around drinking coffee and visiting, unless someone shows up, then they look busy. I don’t know how they do it, but they still manage to complete about 100 quilts for Lutheran World Relief every year. That’s amazing. This is, Right to Left, Vi, Pat, June, and some lady I’ve never met. Probably should have asked her name, huh? Diane said she is June’s niece.

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One of those days I got another haircut. That’s two I’ve had in the last few weeks. It wasn’t so much that I needed one, but the barber, some of our Grandchildren’s Aunt, came to the house and I just couldn’t resist. Diane got a haircut, too. She looks great with her new do, like always.

Jeran went on a bona fide date last weekend to attend the Winter Ball. It’s mainly for Juniors at school so Lydia, a senior, help organize it. While we were at Diane’s Mom’s, Jean’s, house the group came by for a photo-op. Included was the Prince – not a Princess – which was a first for St. Helens High. A great group of kids on the way to having fun.

Jeran, Danielle, Lydia, Julianna, and Fiona.


That brings us to yesterday when I escorted my adopted Grandson, Ahmed, to our Lions meeting where he gave an incredible presentation about Pakistan, his home country. He’s really good at it. I call him my Grandson because he calls me Grandpa. It works. He’s living with Dan, Jennie, Lydia, and Jeran while attending St. Helens High School this year as an AFS student. His adopted parents, and sister, also attended the presentation. Jeran stayed home and ate spaghetti.

Another highlite from last week is that Lydia was one of the three students selected as Student of the week at the High School. The other two were boys. She was the best looking one in the crowd.

Sadly, I failed to get photos of Ahmed’s presentation so the day ended in failure but this is what he looked like from the back … on the left …


… and from the front … on the right …


The other people in there you already know.

Diane was summoned to the Court House again this morning. She wasn’t there very long before they released her into my custody so now I must regroup and work on being responsible.

Best Pork Chops and Gravy Ever

For those of you who use computers but don’t particularly care what day it is, like most retired people I know, today is the last day of July for this year. That would be 7/31/2016; 07312016; July 31st, 2016; or 31 July, 2016, depending on your preference for denoting dates and time.

Me? Although today is July 31st, it’s also Sunday which is really all I need to know. So, if anyone asks me what the date is, I just say, “It’s Sunday”. My brother, Jack, would say “It’s July”. He told me that, so I know it’s true.

Diane made a terrific meal after church today. She pan-fried pork chops, made mashed potatoes, cooked fresh beets (which I washed), stirred up some outstanding gravy, and added a salad with a stunning variety of salad dressings. We all oohed and aahed about the savory aroma and taste of everything. It was all going great until I exclaimed, without thinking, that everything tasted way better than the last TV dinner I had that had pork chops in it. Although it was true, it was obviously the worst possible thing I could have said.

So, since I know Diane reads this stuff, I must make amends and relate that the meal she prepared was absolutely one of the best she’s cooked us in the last 38 or 40 years. That’s the truth even though I really don’t have a clue about what I ate that far back, but the number of years chosen far exceeds the extent of my memory of what food I ingested at any given time. Maybe I should have just said that … “I have no memory of eating a better meal than that one.” It’s a true statement.

Except for any time she makes sloppy joes. Everyone loves that stuff. But that’s a one-dimensional meal whereas today’s had many more colors. That’s important, I’m told.

Diane’s Mom, Jean, joined us for that luscious lunch. After dinner we ate popcorn, a little popcorn, some watermelon, and something else I can’t remember. That was all done while watching “Rango” from start to stop. I thought I’d seen it previously but apparently that was not true. I have no memory of watching it so really enjoyed the surprise. Jewel saw it previously but was not a spoiler by telling us what happened next.

It’s 9 pm and getting dark so it must almost be time for bed. I need to get up early tomorrow for another rousing round of golf with the Peal boys. Doug and I are determined to kick Junior’s ass. Oops. Sorry. I forgot that I can’t say “ass” here so please ignore that. He’s convinced us that he’s always on his last leg as we progress around the course, then always manages to beat us somehow. Well, we’ll just have to do something about it, won’t we.

See you tomorrow.