Truly, it was a trek. For Diane and me, it was an epic trek. It began quite calmly with a short walk around B Loop here in the park, to a very soft sand path that immediately aimed itself uphill. Next to the entry point stood a pole to which was attached a small sign with an arrow point the way. Beneath the arrow the distance was revealed to be 0.75 miles.
So, 3/4 of a mile uphill in soft sand. No problem. It was a challenge for both of us so we marched on. Very slowly.
Here I must report that this park has a portion available for folks who bring their horses and they are allowed to use portions of the sandy path we were trekking. Dodging occasional horse droppings on shared portions of the path caused me to wonder why campers are constantly reminded to clean up after their dogs but nowhere did I see similar reminders for horse owners to do the same. Especially for common use areas.
How is this fair? I suppose it could be a safety issue for the riders who would have to stop, dismount, cleanup, remount, then restart. Maybe OSHA made a decision that exempts horse folks from stooping so low as to pick up their poop. I don’t know, but, I have a solution.
Pretty much every parade I’ve ever attended had horses who marched down the road with all the other displays. Usually, they followed all the bands and marching units, for obvious reasons. Each group of horses is followed by a brave group of people with a shovel and a cart, picking up the droppings as necessary. I don’t think it’s beyond reasonable to provide the same service for horses allowed to traverse paths shared by humans. The pickeruppers could follow along on an off quad, or a small jeep.
Just a suggestion.
Now that I’ve unburdened my troubled sense of fairness, let me just say that Diane and I made the 1.5 mile round trip without incident. Although the temperature was reported at 68 degrees, neither of us believed it and took hoodies for the trip. They were put to good use once we arrived at the beach. The wind was blowing quite hard driving the wind chill factor down to about 9 degrees. That’s probably not true but it was really chilly. Even so, I ventured down that last steep hill to the beach so I could look at the little rocks the water scatters all over. Diane chose to skip that last challenge and found a comfy place to sit by a large sign with 146 on it. These signs, scattered up and down the coast, are used by safety agencies for locating emergencies along the coast. I looked that up so it must be true. Makes sense.
Anyway, while wandering around smartly on the beach, with no one within 2 miles of us, except the wind surfer making his way south. The results of my pebble hunting was about 7 pounds of extra weight for the return trip on that soft sand path home.
We took numerous breaks on the way back to let our hips and knees rest. Now it’s later, we’ve had supper, and sitting for any length of time causes micro seizures of all my crotch muscles. Getting up is difficult and painful. I’m having the same symptoms I get when I drag my golf bag around a 9-hole course. I fail to understand why all my discomfort is centered within the confines of my crotch area. Doesn’t make sense.
Still, it hurts. I will heal, I know, but for now, it hurts.
Grace Baptist Church Family Camp is an event we attend every year as honorary Baptists. That’s mainly because we are related to some of the members and also because they just like us. The “also” is an opinion but I’m sticking with it.
We departed civilization on Tuesday, July 28th and completed the the trip, that normally takes about an hour, in about an hour. It’s really not that far away … just over the hill about 5 miles from Vernonia. Vernonia is only about 25 miles from home and Google maps thinks it’s only a 38 minute drive. What Google Maps doesn’t know is that the road is only 2 lanes and it’s very curvy. Therefore, I’ll stand by my claim that it’s about an hour away, which it truly is, unless Diane’s driving.
I will surely be in trouble for revealing that last bit …
The camp doesn’t officially begin until Friday but we die hards (the old people) arrive early to enjoy a bit of peace and quiet before the children descend to make a joyful noise. We took three of them with us so we had a head start, and that’s just fine. They were good as gold the entire time.
Since Vernonia is only about 32 miles from Forest Grove, where the Sunset Grove Golf Course is, it was decided that I should meet Doug there Wednesday morning for golf. I figured, “What the heck, I’m in the area, so why not do that?” So, I did. Turns out that the golf course is closer to Scappoose, where Doug lives, than it is to Big Eddy. But, I made it on time and we had a wonderful time. We always do. I lost, of course, because I always do. You’d think that since I always keep score I’d win one once in a while. The trouble is, even with fudging the numbers a little, Doug still wins.
Back to camp …
Big Eddy Park is located along the Nehalem River just off Highway 47, the road from Vernonia to Clatskanie. Big Eddy Park and I go back a long ways to April 20, 1968, when my big brother, Jack, thought it would be a good idea for me to participate in the Nehalem River Boat Race. Seemed like a fun thing to do so I was all in. What wasn’t related until later was that as we passed under each bridge along the way he would drop half a case of beer to us. After a couple of bridges I figured out that it wasn’t really a race at all. It was just a reason to float down the river and drink beer.
The fact that I was getting married later that day was the primary reason for involving me in the ‘race’. Jack, you see, was my best man and it was his job to make the day memorable. He did that.
When we finally made it ashore at Big Eddy I admit I was ready for a nap. I had no idea what time it was, but I remember getting to the church in plenty of time for the ceremony and I totally remember the entire ceremony. It was awesome!
Back to camp, again …
Diane and I spent time around the camp fire with Daniel, Jennifer, Lydia, and Jeran, and anyone else who had a notion to join us. Yes, we were socially compliant, keeping our distance, but I’m pretty sure we could have sat a little closer because the fire surely burned up any virus bits that came into our area.
The kids, Gilligan, Baylee, and Jerrie, ran wild all day, every day, until they got hungry. Then we fed them so they could go out for another round.
The bottom of the river throughout Big Eddy Park is covered with river rock. Those are the nicely rounded rocks that don’t kill your feet when you step on them barefoot unless you’re old like me. Then you wear shoes. Kids spend a lot of time looking for the pretty rocks when they aren’t actively floating around on an inner-tube. Here’s the best rock of the day that a little girl found:
Here are my girls in a rare moment of inactivity …
Bronson even came along for a couple of days but had to leave because it was all a bit stressful for him.
Diane made camping more homey with her kitty slippers …
Jennifer and Daniel cooked gourmet meals twice a day throughout the entire stay because they are on the Whole 30 diet …
I tried some of it and it was really good.
Jennifer braided hair for anyone who had hair long enough and wanted it done. Mine wasn’t quite there, yet, so i missed out. Little Jerrie didn’t, though …
Gilligan, Jeran, Daniel, and Lydia spent a lot of time running their long boards around the park. Lydia is the only one I could capture. The others were just too fast for me …
We came home last Sunday afternoon, when church service was over, then returned the children to their rightful owners, and took. naps.
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,
We walked again, very slowly because our little legs were sore, and there is a lot to see and do here in Myrtle Beach.
Instead of trudging our way up the beach (north), as we did the day before, we stuck to N. Ocean Blvd, walking south. I think we walked a couple of miles (one going and one coming) and the handy dandy app on my iPhone incorrectly reported that I took 6400+ steps doing it. I know that’s wrong because Diane’s fitbit told her she walked over 9300 steps and covered over 4 miles with the effort. I’ve brought this discrepancy to her attention many times and she always says, “you set it up.” What she means, of course, is that I entered the information about how long her steps are.
Considering that she gets credit for twice as many steps as me I can only presume that she either changed the settings or I made a mistake setting it up.
The other possibility is that the app I’m watching is the generic one provided by the infallible Apple people that keeps track of “stuff” only when it’s on your body. My phone isn’t always on my body. Ergo, I’m going to use Diane’s numbers instead of mine from now on. Looks better. Also, the length of her step isn’t much different than mine any more because I’m in the shuffling stage of life and, due to my excessive military career, tend to walk in step with her as we mosey along. So, I walked over 9,000 steps yesterday, too.
So, on this trip south, which fronts pretty much all of the big resorts along the beach, for 50 miles we had an opportunity to see some pretty snazzy places. Lots of them have tricky names like RipTydz, or Sea Dip Motel & Condominium Family Resort. Tricky stuff like that. There were many more, of course, but I can’t remember all of them.
We stopped in a few shops and determined that shopping on the ‘strip’ wasn’t financially feasible and decided to drive inland for a while to see if things got better.
We’re thinking we’ll go to Conway today. Diane read something about it in the tour guide book and thought it would be fun. On a map it looks like a long ways from the beach, but it’s only about 30 minutes away. More on that later. Maybe.
We found this boardwalk not far from our hotel. As you can see, like most other vacation destinations Myrtle Beach has it’s very own giant ferris wheel. We will not be going on this one, called Sky-Something, even thought it actually stops to let people on and off unlike the really BIG ones.
In the middle of all the busyness there was a plaque that totally defines Diane’s Credo.
On the way back I was intrigued by this facility. Considering it’s diminutive size I thought it was improperly named. But, since it’s right across the street from a very large, tall, resort, and it appears to be pretty old, I suspect that it’s been here a while, no doubt before the big boys moved in.
After the walking tour we went to the movie to see Downton Abbey. Diane’s been wanting to see it since it was released and, I admit, so did I. Yes, I’m a fan.
The last two photos are just looking ahead to future movie possibilities.
Then we went “home” and watched the sunset from our porch.
This morning Diane noticed that the water was making scallops on the beach as it came it, unlike it’s been doing previously. Although the waves were still pretty straight, the way they finished coming in was very interesting.
Now we’re going to Conway to visit a museum which you will learn all about when we make it back.
PS – The movie Downton Abbey was absolutely wonderful. Highly recommended for those who were addicted to the TV series.
Over the years Diane and I have walked a little on our trips and vow to continue doing so when we return home. For many reasons that never seems to have happened. Mainly, I think, it’s because it’s easier to sit in our comfy recliners instead of walking. It could be, also, that it was raining a lot. Yeah, that could be it. We don’t walk in the rain.
Today, however, we walked almost 4 miles on Myrtle Beach this afternoon and didn’t cramp up even one time. Although we didn’t discuss continuing our walks at home, I think it’s understood that we really should. If it’s not raining when we get home, we will walk for sure.
The thing about walking on Myrtle Beach is that the beach slopes pretty sharply toward the water and the flat part is all soft sand which is very difficult to walk in. Plus, Diane’s fitbit doesn’t give her any credit for the extra effort involved with walking in soft sand. It doesn’t give extra credit for the wear and tear on knees and hips due to the slope one must traverse on the north and south trek.
One thing Diane learned, because of that slope, is that her right leg is shorter than her left. That revelation is based on the fact that walking north (left leg on the up slope) hurt more than walking south (short leg on the up slope).
I may have a similar affliction because walking north I was always wandering off to my right, toward the water. Now, in addition to the possibility that I have a short right leg, it could have been caused by my distraction with the water as it recedes away to my right. It’s very disorienting and causes me to lose my balance. On the trip south, however, my tendency was still to wander off to my right as I walked. I guess I’m just totally out of whack. I was happy that Diane found the trip back less stressful on her joints. So, all of our walks from now on, while we’re here, will be south bound only while on the beach. On the way back we can take one of many surface streets. Although they’re level, Diane thinks if she walked with her right foot on the sidewalk and her left on the street it might even things out for her. We’re going to give that a shot tomorrow. Don’t know why we didn’t think of the a lot sooner. I’ll let you know how that goes. If I remember.
After returning from our walk Diane warmed up some soup for a simple lunch, then we took another walk to our rental car, which is parked in a facility about 1 block away. There is no parking at the hotel for anyone. They do have a valet service but all vehicles are parked in the same building. The difference is valet is $10 a day and self parking is free. For me it’s a no-brainer to opt for free.
Anyway, we got the car and drove approximately 1 more block where Diane parked equidistant between a barber shop and a Dollar General store. The barber shop was for me because I agreed with Diane that I needed a haircut. She wanted me to get it cut before our trip but I refused. Today was the time, so I agreed. The Dollar General store was for Diane for two reasons; 1) she loves cheap stores and 2) we needed more bottled water. We apparently needed another bottle of wine, some chips, fruit, place mats, a cheese grater, and some spices, too.
Diane got all the stuff she wanted and I got a pretty stellar haircut from a guy named Enoch. Best haircut I’ve had in years.
Now, here are some photos that commemorate the day …
After a bit of resting we went to the activity center to paint a picture. This was Diane’s first try at painting with acrylics and she did awesome. Now she wants to do it some more.
Today in Myrtle Beach we had a brief scare in the morning. There was evidence that it rained during the night because the railings on our balcony were dripping wet and there were dark angry clouds covered the sky, hiding the sun. It made one wonder what the day held in store for us.
Turns out there was a sunny day hiding from us. It finally made its appearance late in the morning when we were at Wal*Mart obtaining provisions that are to sustain us for the remainder of the week. We hope. If the weather turns nasty, like we’re told it will tomorrow night. We’re talking thunderstorms by midnight. But, that leaves the entire day open for opportunity. We’ve already decided that we’re going to walk 5,000 steps north on the beach then turn around and return to our room to cook something. Maybe we’ll have a tuna sandwich.
That’s what’s left. We ate the steak this afternoon.
I think there’re a couple cans of soup, too. And crackers and cheese. We’ll make it stretch to the weekend.
Shopping at Wal*Mart wore us out. That’s why we ate the steak when we got back to the condo. Then it was touch and go for a bit while we contemplated the benefits of a nap over actually doing something.
We determined that it wasn’t the right time for a nap so we went outside and sat on the beach for a while. Diane spied an umbrella with two empty beach chairs under it so we headed for them. When we got there the “For Rent” sign on one of the chairs was a little upsetting because I didn’t think we would be comfortable in one chair so I let Diane sit while I wandered around on the beach and took a couple of photos.
Now the truth – the For Rent sign on the chair indicated we should see the lifeguard. Looking around there wasn’t a lifeguard in sight so we sat down and enjoyed the view, the breeze, and the silence for just a moment before a lifeguard showed up as if he was waiting for someone to sit down.
I asked him what the deal was with renting and learned that the two chairs and umbrella cost $35 for the day, from 9am to 4:30pm. He added that since it was 4:30 it was OK if we just sat there till 5pm and he’d only charge us $5. Apparently $20 is the suggested price. I forked over a $5 and we just sat there enjoying the warm breeze and the sound of the ocean. For some reason the Atlantic Ocean sounds different than the Pacific Ocean. I think it’s because the Atlantic is quiet. The Pacific is much noisier as the waves crash with with more energy. However, if that were the case, you’d think the Pacific would be warmer from the friction of the crashing, but I guess it doesn’t work that way. The Atlantic is warm and quiet here.
We returned to our assigned perch on the 17th floor and nibbled on stuff until it got dark and the moon came out. It’s a full one today and we weren’t sure we’d be able to see it this evening. But, we did see it and it was wonderful.
Yes, we’ve embarked on another journey. Some of you may be thinking that, considering the sad time we had in Maui recently, we would have given this trip a little more consideration before committing. But, we’ve actually been trying to get some time at Myrtle Beach for the last five years or so but something always comes up that messes it up. Mostly the deterrents come in the form of hurricanes this time of year.
This time, we made it all the way. Here’s proof …
OK, yes it’s the baggage carousel at the Charleston airport, but that’s the airport we flew to and rented the car that got us to Myrtle Beach. Another reason we flew to Charleston was so we could reconnect with our luggage which got there 8 hours before us.
Here’s what happened – there are no non-stop Alaska flights from Portland to Charleston, but there is one from Seattle. So, all we had to do was get to Seattle early enough to make the connection so that we could arrive on the east coast at a decent time of the day. The reservations she got allowed us almost an hour to get to the connecting flight in Seattle that would arrive in Charleston at 4:30 pm their time. If you think about that for a minute, considering the 3-hour time difference, we would arrive at 1:30 pm St. Helens time. Then, figure in flight time from Seattle you can see we had to leave pretty early.
We got up at 3:30 am to catch the PDX to SEATAC leg that left at 6 am. The first snafu we encountered was when TSA kicked us out of the precheck line because out KTN wasn’t printed on our ticket. We knew that but had the letters from TSA as proof that we had KTNs. That’s Known Traveler Number in case you didn’t now. Not good enough for the ambitious little guy who insisted that it had to be on our boarding pass. The first time this happened, on the way to Maui, the TSA agent would have let us continue if we knew the KTN. Not this guy, however.
So, we returned to the ticket counter and fixed it with some manual interventional assistance of a cheerful Alaska Agent.
We breezed right through.
Got to Seattle in plenty of time to make our connection then ‘things’ kinda went south with regard to customer service and scheduling accumen of managers at the SEATAC International airport who parked our plane on the runway for 30 minutes because there wasn’t an open gate for us.
There we sat, with 12 other folks who needed to make the connection, watching the clock tick away, diminishing the probability of making the flight to Charleston.
We finally parked at N15 about 7:20 pm and our connecting flight was scheduled to depart at 7:45. Our pilot and crew assured us that everyone knew we were on the ground and the reason we were late and that they would hold the plane for us.
It was a huge lie. We got to the next gate, D21, in time, but management had already filled our 12 seats with standbys and sent the plane on it’s way, 20 minutes early. Kinda makes your day, ya know?
Then we were sent to the Alaska Customer Service desk near gate D2 that is manned by folks who are accustom to dealing with upset people and apparently don’t see the need to be friendly any longer. We 12 were demoted to 3rd class citizens (whatever that is) and the fact that we missed the flight due to decisions made by the airline.
The two agents behind the counter were working to re-book flights for misplaced people but their hearts weren’t in it and they weren’t very careful about information they doled out. For us, for instance, after they professed to have got us seats on an American Airline plane leaving shortly, gave us a confirmation number and sent us to gate D8 and told us to talk to one of the AA agents there to get us seat assignments. We made that trek and learned that the confirmation was invalid and that the flight we were supposedly put on was full. No seats available.
Back to D2 and customer service. At different agent made another attempt and actually got us seats on a plane leaving in a few hours for Dallas. From there we were booked on an AA flight to Charleston which was to arrive at 11:30 pm.
Interestingly, our bags were transferred from the Portland flight to the original non-stop connection with no problem, but they couldn’t delay 10 minutes to wait for the people who owned them. That’s why our luggage arrived in Charleston on time.
And, they didn’t have any trouble delaying the newly acquired flight, for some reason, which pushed our arrival time in Dallas a little later yet. That was OK because we had a 2-hour layover in Dallas.
Once in Dallas the flight to Charleston was delayed twice ensuring our arrival time wa pushed beyond midnight. Yippee!
By this time both Diane and I were to the point that we could see humor in all the things that had happened to us during this trip. It was like a comedy of errors so it was easier on both of us to accept the comedy of the situation instead of being bitter and upset.
Now, the good part of all this. On both of the flights we met passengers who went out of their way to accommodate both Diane and I by switching seats so we could sit together. You see, with all this switching going on, we were considered standby passengers with no real guarantee we’d get on an airplane. Because of that, we were placed in seats that were rows apart because, you see, all those other passengers made their flight on time.
Our fellow passengers made it all OK and we had a great time talking with them. Had we caught our original flight we would have missed that opportunity which would have been kinda sad.
When we got to Charleston we sent directly to the AA office in the baggage claim area to retrieve our on-time bags. The cheerful agent said, “oh, you were on that Alaska flight …” which kinda told the entire story.
After getting the bags we went looking for a cab because I was told the car rental agents closed up at 11:0-0 pm. But, we saw some lights on at the rental area and saw people turning in to that area. There was hope, after all. You see, we had a car reserved for the trip so we could get to the Air Force Inn at Joint Base Charleston for the night, then drive to Myrtle Beach in the morning.
When we turned the corner and saw lines of people at pretty much all the various rental agencies, and way off in a corner was Enterprise, with one agent working and a line of 2 people ahead of us. It was a miracle.
Long story short, we got a car and made it to Joint Base Charleston with no problem. It was only about 5 miles away, so we didn’t expect problems.
At the Air Force Inn we had a reservation and the agents were waiting for us. We got our room, spent the night, and took off for Myrtle Beach earlier this morning. We fudged our check out time beyond 11:00 am because it was so late when we checked in (1:30 am or so) and stopped at a really busy restaurant for lunch. It was the Long Point Grill in Mount Pleasant, SC for lunch. It was absolutely wonderful and the place was jumping. I had shrimp and linguine. Diane had a chicken BLT sandwich and a cup of tomato and artichoke soup. It as good, but getting it meant she could only eat half her sandwich. So, of course, I ate the other half.
The drive to Myrtle Beach was very relaxing and it was great sailing along without a care, our worries behind us. Life was good.
Now we’re here on the 9th floor, at 1200 S. Ocean Blvd with an ocean view.
How sweet it is.
Oh ya, the reason we’re here is to attend the 22nd annual reunion of the USS Cleveland Reunion Association. So, there will be more news later.
As previously reported, Jeran Daniel Lynn Walters was officially ushered into adulthood when he participated in his class graduation ceremony last Friday. In truth, it was really official at the conclusion of his graduation party hosted by his family Sunday afternoon. Everyone cleaned, Daniel cooked, and Jennifer did the “Mom Thing”, flittering around, organizing, and making sure everything was OK. It was.
It was a gala event that included everyone important in his life including his kindergarten and first grade teachers.
The food was terrific, especially with the introduction of something Lydia made after watching YouTube. It’s called an Avocado Bomb and looks like this before cooking:
If memory serves me correctly, it’s a peeled avocado, cut in half and filled with mozzarella cheese, wrapped in a packed layer of ground beef, then secured into place with as many pieces of bacon you want to use. They were cooked on the BBQ and slathered with BBQ sauce when done, about 40 minutes. Lydia isn’t a fan of ground beef so used ground turkey instead but everyone loved them anyway. When I first saw them I thought it was just a bunch of bacon wrapped around a bunch of bacon.
Unlike Lydia, I’m not a fan of ground turkey but I sliced off a chunk anyway. It was really good.
Today the dogs felt it was OK to wake me up at 0400. I know they do that because that’s when it starts getting light here and another reason I don’t like daylight savings time. Dogs just don’t get it.
I got up, fed them, and released them into the neighborhood. Actually, I released them into the back yard, but they have access to the neighborhood from there and occasionally choose to exercise that option. After eating my morning banana and taking my pills, I welcomed the dogs back into the house. The cat showed up and came in with them, ate a few crunchies, then went right back out on the porch to glare at the yard. She does that every morning. She’s always on the wrong side of the door. Because she does that it makes getting comfortable difficult for me because about the time I’m ready for my morning nap she starts beating on the door. Literally. Thankfully, this time of year, I can just leave the door open for her. Then I napped until Diane got up.
Diane got up early this morning to clean up 24 hallocks of strawberries that we got at Kruger’s Farm on Sauvie Island after church yesterday. I added a link for “hallock” because you won’t find it in the dictionary. At least I couldn’t. But, it’s one of those words from my youth when it was OK for kids to do manual labor in Oregon. The link pretty much tells my story with regard to that subject so I won’t elaborate except to share that 1 hallock is about 1 pint. When I was picking berries, I could easily eat 2 or 3 hallocks of berries during the course of the day. That’s totally a guess because the strawberries that were eaten were always the biggest and best ones I found. Also, if I found my carrier magically full and I still had, say, 10 feet to go on my row, I’d just eat my way to the end. I say “magically” because I was very slow. Everyone, especially my brothers, were way faster than me and earned a lot more. The money we earned picking berries went toward school clothes. My brothers got lots of stuff. I got socks and underwear.
While Diane was working on the berries, I went around the yard killing blackberries and pulling grass. Since it rained quite hard yesterday, and a little this morning, it reminded me of berry picking … sticking my nice warm hands into those cold wet strawberry bushes. It was brutal. Today I had gloves, though, so it wasn’t so bad.
In the end I had this much stuff for the burn pile:
When looking at it the thought occurred to me that I either needed a bigger trailer, or I should make more than one trip to the burn pile.
Of course I discarded that thought because the trailer was already loaded and I wasn’t going to expend more energy unloading some before giving it a shot.
I almost made it all the way. Had I skirted around that last blueberry bush a little wider this wouldn’t have happened. Turns out I had enough energy to hurk the part that escaped over to its proper place.
But that was apparently the last of my energy because I fell on the lawn mower when mounting it to go back to the house. Yes, I fell on it, not off it. It was one of those slow motion moments where you think you have event under control but you really don’t.
In this case, my right foot was obstructed by the mower deck (I didn’t lift it high enough) and I knew something interesting was going to happen so I calmly grabbed hold of the steering wheel with my l left hand. This caused a rotation toward the right causing my right knee to land on the running board which I thought ended the falling process so I let go of the steering wheel. Some physics genius probably could have warned me that letting go of the steering wheel would result in a pivot on that knee to my right because of my unstable weight distribution in that direction and the fact that I was still moving slowly to my right.
So now I’m slowly turning to my right, headed for a header in front side of the mower deck with nothing to hang on to. I’m reaching out, and touching a lot of ‘things’, but nothing I could grip and I just went down, turning slowly, until I finally landed on my back next to the mower. It was quite exciting as my mind whirled with all the possibilities of which part of my body was going to get hurt the worst from all the projections in close vicinity.
I lay there for a few moments, assessing the damage, and going over the sequence of events that brought me to that moment. Nothing seemed to hurt and I couldn’t see any blood dripping off my hands and arms, so figured I must have missed all the things that usually make me bleed when I just bump them. It was amazing!
Had anyone been watching they would have found it pretty entertaining. I was kind of wishing someone had been there to capture it on video so I could enjoy it myself. From start to finish I bet it took 10 seconds for me to reach the ground. That’s slow. Normally when I … when someone falls it’s way quicker than that.
After a bit I rolled over and slowly attained a vertical position without detecting any new injuries, then climbed on the mower without mishap and drove back to the house. I figured that fall was a sign my work day was done and put everything away. Then I went in the basement door, took all my clothes off near the washer, and went upstairs to take a shower. I couldn’t hear any strange voices up there so figured we didn’t have company so I was safe.
Diane was still working on the strawberries when I got out of the shower so I tried to help but she wouldn’t let me. Had she allowed me to help I would have gladly taken the blame for this …
Apparently strawberries increase in volume when you beat them up with a Cuisinart. Actually, she’d gone through the process without mishap 2 or 3 times previously so it was just “one of those things.” No permanent damage was done. That was some sticky stuff, let me tell ya. I offered to clean it up but was denied again. The end results will be something we’ll enjoy for a long time.
This last photo is for Ruth, and anyone else who loves mountains. It’s for Ruth especially, however, because she tried to capture it every day of the two weeks she recently spent with us and it was just never out for viewing. So, Ruth, here you are… Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson. And a lovely view of a new neighborhood in progress.
Yes, I’m still here, taking sustenance, and using my allotted portion of oxygen. I haven’t made any posts for a while because I haven’t injured myself one time during this break. My last injury was before Diane had her 3-fer injury marathon on December 29th. Apparently she used up our family quota for a specific period of time which makes me immune during that time. Not knowing how long I have before I puncture myself is a little unnerving, but I can handle it. Although I know something is going to happen eventually, I think I can act surprised when it does. Just like I always do.
During this hiatus Diane and I cut each other’s hair. We did that to save a few bucks and I learned something during the process. I’ve cut Diane’s hair previously, so it’s not a new skill set for me. I’m not saying I’m a skilled hair cutter, but rather I’m just not afraid to do it. There have been times, more than once, when she returned from her barber and made me fix it. I guess that says something about her confidence in my efforts, or my willingness to just do it equals her willingness to let me. So, I do.
What I’ve learned during my previous stints as a fill in barber is:
Never say “Oops!” Doing so generally ignites a contentious conversation. Barbers (and doctors) never say “Oops”.
When taking turns cutting each others’ hair, always get yours first. You do this so you can judge the quality expected on the reciprocal haircut. If you get a bad one you don’t have to be nearly as picky with your efforts as you might normally be. However, I preach that no matter what you’re doing, do it well. With that in mind, if you get a bad one, do your best but know that you are not working under pressure. Relax and just let the scissors do their work.
There may be other lessons learned, but I can’t remember them now.
Jeran received his acceptance letter from Corban University and is a pretty happy kid. He’s also on the St. Helens High swim team which also makes him very happy.
Jennifer worked the home meets as one of the time-keepers so she was involved and able to capture moments like that last photo.
Sorry I haven’t been around to make my normal short, concise, posts, but Diane and I were off planet for a number of days enjoying theOregon Coastfrom our perch atSunset Bay State Park near Coos Bay. It’s near North Bend, too, and right next to Shore Acres State Park. Shore Acres is the park that has a botanical garden that volunteers decorate every year. Grant MaComie did a story on it not long ago and it’s a nice story about how it all came together. Knowing about this ahead of time, Diane booked another four days, in the same space (A-13) at Sunset Bay that we vacated last Monday. These four days are for the end of November when the lights are all up and blinking. The crews have already begun the task of stringing lights and they will be lit from Thanksgiving thru New Year’s Eve.
Actually, we were only gone for five days but who’s counting? Really. Just five days. We didn’t have cell service, no TV, no internet, no nuthin. We actually had to sit and talk to each other for long periods of time which was interesting and revealing to one of us. With all the distractions of our daily life on Earth we don’t seem to take time to visit like we should. I recommend such a trip like this for everyone. We were in a beautiful place and found that we really didn’t miss all those things that capture our attention for long periods of time.
We did miss Ziva, however. She’s our camper and loves getting away from the other dogs once in a while. As we packed to leave she knew we were leaving without her and did her absolute best to make sure we knew she knew and that she wasn’t a bit happy about it. It was really tough to leave her standing there, all alone in the driveway, as we pulled away from the house to leave.
OK, we didn’t really do that … she was in the house, but she knew we were leaving. I suspect that she slept most of the five days we were away. Truly, she does that when we’re home. She’s a dog. When not chasing something or barking at something, she sleeps.
Normally I jot little notes down on my next post about things I want to share. Kinda like an outline. But it’s not an outline, it’s just a list. To use this program I need the internet so I used the Notes app on my Ipad for the list. I just now tried to bring it up and got a brief glimpse of what I saved, then it just all disappeared. Like magic. Poof! So, now I’ll have to remember stuff to make it worth your time.
We left home at 1:30 pm on Thursday and arrived after 6:30 pm. It’s a long drive (277 miles) and I had to do it all alone because Diane doesn’t feel ready to drive the RV yet. So, we go slow. Making that more of a necessity was the windshield that was really, really a mess. Actually, it was only a problem when cars came at me causing all the dirt smeared on the window to refract the light to the point where I was just kinda guessing where the road was. Another reason for arriving during daylight. It would have been just fine if we could have left home around 9 am as planned, but that never seems to work out. I dislike having to park and hook everything up in the dark and told Diane that if we don’t leave by 9 am on this next trip, we will wait until the next day. Or, we just don’t go. Just before I could stomp my foot for emphasis, she agreed. We’ll see how that works out.
The next morning we got up really late and didn’t do much right away because it was really foggy crappy looking outside. So, we just lounged around and read our books. Later in the afternoon we launched the Toyota and took a trip up and down the road outside the park, then cruised in to Coos Bay to look around. Diane drives the Toyota so I had an opportunity to view the road with a critical eye and couldn’t help but be amazed that I had actually driven a 35.5′ motorhome around those windy turns without once dumping us into a ditch, or the ocean. It was humbling, let me tell ya.
Over the course of the next 4 days we did a lot of reading, watched one DVD movie that we’d both already seen (Dare Devil) and slept a lot. Once in a while we ate something. I can hear many of you thinking that “you watched Dare Devil twice! Really?” Well, yes we did. It was luck of the draw. We’ll never have to watch it again.
We made a few trips to Fred Meyer in Coos Bay, walked up and down their boardwalk for a while, saw a couple of really interesting sea-going vehicles,
and had lunch at Shark Bites. Diane had halibut fish and chips and I had my crab Louie. We both loved our meals. Each piece of Diane’s fish was about an inch thick and cooked to perfection. My Louie had at lease half a pound of Dungeness crab meat on it. Wonderful. The trip was now worth it.
We were able to spend our last day sitting on the beach watching the sun go down on Sunset Bay. Sadly, I failed to bring my phone/camera to capture the moment. Just believe me, it was really pretty. I’ll take pictures when we go back there the end of the month.
Perhaps the following photos will serve to tide you over till then. These are just shots taken around the park.
This is Simpson Reef. Way back ‘when’ the Simpson family owned all of this.
This is the bottom of a tree that apparently blew over a long time ago.
Just me and my lovely bride.
A different look at Simpson Reef in the distance.
Then, while driving back to the park one day, we came across this and thought you’d enjoy it as much as we did.
The trip home was uneventful.We stopped at the DQ in Reedsport for lunch. Ate inside, then took our drinks and headed north up Highway 101 to Florence, the scene of our last visit to this area a few weeks ago.
One thing I didn’t get while at the beach was a good bowl of clam chowder. I really like that stuff. So, I rummaged around in a bunch of cupboards until I found a can and warmed it up. When it blew up and figured it was done. I was using the saucer as a cover and when it blew it flipped completely over. What fun.
Betty, our County Clerk, called this afternoon to find out if Diane is ready to go to work with the Counting Board tomorrow. I told her that I’m sure she was and that I was currently washing all her underwear to ensure she was properly dressed … then Diane snatched the phone right out of my hand before I had a chance to say goodbye. I thought that was kind of rude
I forgot to mention that I went golfing with the Peal Brothers before we left on our trip and again on the day after we returned. Diane thinks it’s good for me to golf with these guys. So do I.