EOU Softball

I may have mentioned previously that I have a relative, Maryssa, who plays softball for Eastern Oregon University. Diane and I like to go watch her when she’s playing close to us, but that doesn’t happen very often. Still, we keep track of her shenanigans.

Last weekend they played somewhere near Pendleton, OR and won all four games. I know that’s true because Diane told me and I believe everything she says, even when she’s wrong. In this case, however, I’m pretty sure she’s correct. She told me that Maryssa hit at least one home run during those wins and because she’s related, I’m sure she played a major role in all four wins, even if she didn’t hit. She’s the 2nd baseman.

This weekend, ending today, they played in Montana and only got the Saturday games in because the Sunday games were cancelled due t0 snow. That’s a first for me. Cancelled because of snow. I guess that happens in Montana. Anyway, EOU won the two games on Saturday running their current streak to 6 in a row.

Just wanted to let those girls know they have fans in places they’ve probably never been, and we’re proud of them.

Keep it up!

This is Maryssa holding Kylo, Lydia’s puppy.

Money, Peeps, My Lawn Mower, and some Photos

Two things of concern

  1. Why so much money is spent on political campaigns
  2. Why movies are ranked by how much they earn instead of how many people watched.
  3. Peeps

OK, Three things. I was wrong, or I just can’t count. You choose.

First, lets discuss Political Campaign Money – it is my asserted opinion that spending billions of dollars on political campaigns is an astounding waste of money that could be used in a far better manner. Like, feeding hungry people in the world. That, and I think we can all agree that those who collect the most money aren’t necessarily the brightest bulb in the chandelier.

Movie Money – just because a movie earns a ton of money doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the most popular. I’ve actually spent good money, more than once, to see movies that I didn’t like at all. When I shared that information with friends, they went to see it, too, and didn’t like it either. Still, the fact that they went added to the monetary total for the period of time covered. I think those who attend movies should fill out a brief survey about how they liked the movie. And how good the popcorn was. Each theater would then upload their data to a central collection point where popularity of the movies would be accurately captured based on LIKE or NOT LIKE, not on the price of a ticket.

Peeps – In case you aren’t familiar with Peeps, they are a marshmallow confection that has miracle healing qualities that aren’t well documented in medical journals. I know this is true because Diane told me so and I’ve been complicit in helping her carry out unauthorized use of Peeps to help her. So far she’s convinced me that Peeps cure hiccups, something she discovered a long time ago. I’ve seen it work, numerous times, for Diane and multiple Grandchildren. Our Grandchildren. Another Peep solution is they’re great for removing popcorn hulls that are stuck in your throat. So far, those are the only two significant cures about which I know. Since both hiccups and stuck popcorn hulls are unpredictable, Peeps must be administered as those events occur. By taking them, however, we don’t know if taking them for those events also serves as a preventative solution for other maladies that aren’t allowed to manifest. We’ll probably never know. If anything changes with this medial miracle, I’ll let you know.

Oh, wait! There’s four! My Mower. The weather here is probably the important news because it’s been so nice everyone around here has been able to mow their lawn using the grass catcher. That’s significant because normally this time of year the grass is too wet for any mower to actually propel the clippings through the plastic tube into a bag. The clippings just jam up the tube making a nasty mess that needs to be cleaned up. When I mowed it I didn’t take a chance on the tube getting plugged up by just leaving the grass catcher laying there on the ground. I’ll make another tour around the yard tomorrow to pick it all up, after I play golf. It’s going to be 70 degrees, I’m told.

This is Jeran, Jennifer and Daniel’s youngest, waiting for a concert to start.

These guys were the concert: New Legacy Project from Nashville.

Our back yard after I mowed it a couple of days ago. Really. A couple of days ago.

Our cat, Breezie, sleeping on her head.

I dog I encountered some place. I’m getting a sign like this, and another one that says, “I’m not working now, you can pet me”

Lydia visiting with a lizard on her shoulder.

My mower before I mowed it.

Big Guns, Little Guns, No Guns, Some Guns, Snow, and Fast-Pitch

You may have noticed over the years that I tend to stay away from politically charged topics, especially those involving guns. After this last shooter took advantage of  a soft and unprotected target to make his statement, I think all of the information learned about the shooter after the fact kind of exonerates the gun as being the problem. It’s the person holding it and, oh ya, it’s all those folks who couldn’t seemingly find the time, or a reason, to investigate all the warnings they received about the shooter. You’ve heard all this if you watch the news so I’m just being redundant and I apologize.

I’m one of those guys who think it’s OK if teachers were allowed to carry a concealed weapon. I suspect that the coach who lost his life would have solved the problem in a more dramatic manner if he had a gun. Maybe he should have had the gun that the school resource officer didn’t use.

Sorry. That was a low blow. I was happy to hear that he resigned his $80K/year job after choosing to not do anything when he could have.

So, after all that, I’m going to offer a solution even though I do not know who funds the resource officer position – the school or the police department. Doesn’t matter to me. I suggest that whoever does should hire veterans, preferably ex Special Forces kind of people who aren’t unfamiliar with the stress and danger of wading into a fire fight. I think they should carry their weapons openly, like just like all those Secret Service agents standing guard around pretty much every important building in Washington, D.C. It’s a real deterrent, believe me. I talked with one of them – asked him for a recommendation of a good place to eat. He was very helpful, and I was impressed with the weapon he was carrying. Kind of like the one our Florida shooter used, I think.

With that thought in mind, I’ll also share that I don’t see the need for weapons of war to be sold to civilians. The only justification I’ve ever heard from owners of such weapons is that they are “fun to shoot,” or that they want them for home protection. OK, I kinda get that but I’m still not a fan of AR-15’s, or similar weapons, being available to pretty much anyone who qualifies, even if they’re nuts. Personally, I don’t own a weapon. Never have. However, if I were to purchase one, I’d get a shotgun. There’s a bit of logic in my addled brain that thinks a shotgun is better protection than a pistol or a fancy rifle. With the latter you have to be a good shot. With a shotgun you only need to get close to get someone’s attention.

I swerved way out of the lines there that define my normal behavior and blog content, didn’t I? I’d apologize but that would be hypocritical because I could avoid all the potential turmoil this may cause by simply not posting it. But I won’t, so it’s evident that I’m not sorry I did it. I may be sorry tomorrow, but not right now.

Our weather remains to be cold (like in the teens) and it snows a bit now and then, but the roads are clear. There was a tricky period of time at the onset of the bad weather when one of the freeway exits was nothing but black ice making it a tricky trip. It was fun to watch.

It’s after 9 pm and nearing my bedtime, but I must stay alert because we’re waiting for our Niece Steffani to arrive from Idaho. They should be here any time. The reason for their trip is they thought it was time for Birk, Tyler’s little black dog, to meet the rest of the dogs in the family. That, and Maryssa is playing fast-pitch softball against Concordia this weekend. We love to watch her play. We heard a rumor that Maryssa hit a homer in her team’s home opener. Don’t know what the score was, or who won, but she hit a home run. Good for her. It’s her senior year at EOU (Eastern Oregon University) so this is her final season as a collegiate player.

I feel better now. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. I’ll try to be a little more upbeat next time.


Haircuts & Jeran

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.

Now it’s time to eat supper.

Various & Sundry Thoughts

Today was a pretty good. First, we both were able to attain a vertical position with minimal effort and help, we succeeded in retaining sustenance, and we had a nice long visit with both minor and major relatives. The minor relatives were Maryssa and her significant other, Matt. Technically, Matt isn’t a relative, yet, but he fits in nicely so we include him. Maryssa is Diane’s brother-in-law’s wife’s Grandson’s Sister. She’s currently in her senior year at Eastern Oregon University where she’s on schedule to graduate on June 16th. After that she will be seeking employment as a teacher of young, pliable people in a school district with leadership smart enough to put her education to good use. Another minor relative who visited is Tyler, the Maryssa’s brother who recently moved from Nampa to Oregon City for gainful employment. It was great to have them honor us by visiting and talking with us. Major relatives in the group were Lydia and Cedric. They are major relatives because they are related to both Diane and me. Minor relatives are those who are related to one side or the other, not both. I’ve probably covered all that previously, but that’s OK. It’s always good to clarify.

Regardless of what level of relatives visitors are, it’s always good to see them. They all bless us with their presence and the time spent to get here. We appreciate it.

Cedric, as you may already know, is currently home on leave and will be returning to his ship, the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) on January 12th. Then he’ll be back at work not knowing when he’ll get time for another trip home. We treasure any time we get to visit with him.

Lydia, as previously reported, is employed full-time here in town so we get to see her quite often. Many of those times are when we see her driving by, while we’re traveling around town, or when she’s visiting for a scheduled social event with her parents. Jeran would have been with the crowd today if he hadn’t been with his swim team in, oddly enough, La Grande, I think. I say “oddly enough” because that’s where Maryssa attends EOU.

Jeran is a St. Helens High School senior at this time and has plans to attend Corban University in Salem, Oregon after graduation. His goal is to become a youth minister. There will be more about that as the situation evolves.

Yesterday I went to work as a plumber to fix a leaking pipe for my First Wife’s Mother, Jean. She’s 90-years-old and try as she might, couldn’t fix it herself. I determined that the cutoff valve was faulty so bought a new one at ACE. Long story short, I failed to recognize the acronyms that identified the various thread types for valves, faucets, and pipes, so the combination I purchased failed to work. But, I had the leak diminished to a livable level and called it a day. By livable, I mean it wasn’t going to overflow the drip pan if left over night. This morning I got up with success on my mind and did some searching in my plumbing supplies in the basement. Turned out I had exactly what was needed to fix the problem and it didn’t require a trip to ACE. That’s because I obtained them at a previous trip to ACE at some point in the past. Anyway, the leak has been repaired and Jean is a happy camper. It was a close call, however, because she was just seconds from calling a plumber after yesterday’s failure.

I’d complain about our weather, and all the cold weather and rain, but compared to the vast majority of the USA to our East, our weather is great. Though it’s chilly and wet here, life is good. So, no complaints from me.

From a sports perspective, the Portland Trailblazers beat Atlanta, The Tennessee Titans beat Kansas City, and there’s a chance the Los Angeles Rams might beat Atlanta. The last one is nip and tuck at the moment, but momentum is with the Rams.

Now I must snack.

Hello 2018 !!

Happy New Year to everyone. I sincerely hope that those of you who celebrated last night did so safely and find yourselves fully functional this morning.

In our neighborhood, the last day of 2017 was sunny and beautiful. This first day of 2018 continues that trend while most of the remaining states are blanketed with terrible freezing weather. Especially hard hit are towns, villages, and cities on the eastern shores of the Great Lakes area. Lake effect snow is how they refer to the over abundance of snow created in this matter. Simply put, that’s when very cold air floats across the lake and sucks moisture from the water as it passes, and converts it to snow during the remainder of the transit across the water. Upon reaching land, the ground is significantly cooler than the water and the upward rush of air ceases allowing the newly formed snow to fall in massive quantities. It’s kinda like the clouds gorge on the water vapor which turns to snow during the digestive process and makes the clouds simply miserable as they inflate beyond comfortable limits. When they reach landfall, and the water vapor source ceases, the clouds promptly purge themselves of massive amounts of unwanted snow on unsuspecting areas in their path. It’s a vicious cycle and you’d think those who reside in the line of fire during these predictable events would find a reason to visit, say, Phoenix during those times. But, they don’t. They’re tough people up there and they all have snow blowers. Life is good.

We don’t have snow at our house. It was 29 degrees when I got up this morning, but the sky is clear and it actually looks like a good day to go golfing. We really did go golfing on January 1st a few years ago, when our bodies could tolerate cold weather in a more manly like manner. Those days are gone, however.

Today I take down the Christmas lights and our faithful snowman and Diane will also take down the tree. The tree is going to be really easy this year because it’s fake, only 4 feet tall, and already has lights attached. She’s planning to just drop a large garbage bag over it then have me traverse those 15 stairs to the basement with all the ornaments still attached. I’m pretty sure I can make that happen without medical intervention.

Now it’s time to continue the tradition of starting the year off with a clean slate. In order to do that I must scrub off the 2017 residue with a celebratory shower in the back yard with the dogs. They aren’t willing participants during this cold weather tradition but they need to be clean, too. Actually, they aren’t willing participants during warm weather, either. I, however, relish the feeling of icy water flowing down my back, soaking my speedo, and continuing on down my skinny legs to my feet where it runs off and melts the ice that’s still on the lawn. The first order of business is to get the dogs clean which is no small task. There’s a lot of commotion and Diane isn’t allowed to take photos. The neighbors, however, have no restrictions and line the lower fence hoping for a good shot worthy of YouTube. I’d share, but have never found one that I liked.

OK – that’s all a lie. No way am I wearing a speedo in the back yard even though the sun is shining brightly. And, once the dogs are out back, there’s no way I can catch them once they see the hose and realize what’s in their immediate future. So, that’s not going to happen either. Instead, I’ll begin the year as I always do by taking my January shower in a warm house with warm water. The dogs will get by for another year with an occasional squirt of Fabreeze.

Now it’s time for some football.

Diane and I wish all of you peace, happiness, and prosperity as we begin this new year. Be kind to others and help make the world a better place, no matter where you live.

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.