Tattoos & Piercings

I’ve been toying with the idea of getting some tattoos and piercings over the years, but could never seem to settle on one thing to get.

So, I just got everything to eliminate the stress of making that decision.

What do you think?

crazy

OK. I lied. That’s not me. I’ve kept this photo around for about the last 10 years as a reminder why I never went down that road. I have to admit, though, that this person is making a very unique fashion statement.

Nifty, huh?

IRS Threats, Injuries, & Church Council

Just learned that the IRS is filing charges against me for some reason. They left a message telling me to call 360-363-5925 and I did but all I get is a busy signal. If any of you are interested in keeping me out of jail, please call this number until you get an answer and let them know that I’m sitting here shaking in my boots waiting for them to show up at my door.

Fell down again this evening in an apparent attempt by nature, or karma, to even things out, giving me injuries on both sides of my body. But, reflexes intervened and ensured that new injuries were added to the already damaged left side. This time I twisted my left knee, sprained my left ankle, and added to the complexity of pain of my left arm. That’s two. Thankfully I’ll only have to endure this one more time to fulfill the rule of threes. With luck I’ll continue without actually breaking anything.

What fun.

That’s as far as I got yesterday because I had to drive Lydia to soccer practice in Hillsboro and didn’t get home until 9:30 pm. Bedtime, normally, but we stayed up until almost midnight anyway. Gotta wonder why we do that when we know we feel and sleep better when we go to bed earlier. Old age, I guess.

Now Tuesday is almost a memory and I bet everyone is just itching at the bit to find out what kind of injury I sustained with the last of my three events. Well, even though I spent a considerable amount of time on a ladder, with my sore knee, hip, ankle, wrist, and shoulders, installing the new garage door opener, I failed to fall even one time. I didn’t even slip. Probably because I was being super careful to avoid a possible broken bone. Then, shortly, before finishing my task, which was successful, by the way, because it works, Diane came into the garage and told me I could relax about the third event because she just had it for me. She tripped over the big dog on the porch and slammed herself into the door jamb. So, she’s going to have marks tomorrow and sore shoulders for sure. I don’t think there are many husbands out there whose current spouse would be willing to take one like that for them. I’m particularly blessed for sure.

Now I must assemble my paperwork for tonight’s meeting and have something to eat. Maybe that half of a baguette I bought yesterday. It should still be good. And some cheese.

Hope all is well with all of you.

Manual Labor & Uranus

Hi! It’s been a while and I’m sure everyone has been wondering where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. About all I can tell you, without crossing that fine line separating from … well … make-believe, is that I woke up in my own bed this morning with no memory of what transpired since the 18th. Consequently, what you about to read, should you choose to do so, is probably a complete fabrication.

Last Tuesday I spent part of the day recovering from a little computer work I did for Roberta, one of Wynette’s classmates from High School. I did that work on Monday and it’s something I haven’t done for a while so it made my brain tired.

During Tuesday afternoon I spent my time moving rocks and dirt from the side yard, by the garage, to various other places on the property. I know that’s all true because I can see where rocks and dirt are missing, and I can see where other places have more than they used to. The following days it is apparent that I continued this behavior, all the way through yesterday, except for the side trips we took to look at cars because Diane wants a new one. Not a NEW new one, but an OLD new one. Specifically, what she wants is a 2005 PT Cruiser GT convertible just like Nancy’s, but different. Diane wants a white one with a tan top. Like this …

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If you see one for sale, wherever you are, please let whoever owns it that Diane  wants it. Or, you can send her the contact info at d.j.cate@hotmail.com.

Besides all that work, and shopping for cars, we also had an opportunity to meet and get to know our new neighbors. They are: Scott, Whitney, Kye, Brooklyn, and Taylor (the dog). I’m sure I misspelled Kye’s name, but she’s a cute 3-years-old. Her younger sister is 1.5, or so. A very nice young family happy to be out of Hillsboro. Good neighbors. So far.

I think there was a moment of lucidity in the last few days where I called Scappoose Sand & Gravel and ordered a few yards of driveway gravel which explains the reason I moved so much dirt and gravel from the space that’s destined to received the new, clean gravel. It’s my understanding that it will be delivered on September 2nd. We’ll see how that works out. Once it’s delivered I’ll have to expend some manual labor to spread it out. Either that, or rent a really big power tool.

Outside the lucid moments I’m sure I made a couple of trips to Uranus. Something like that. I’m guessing, but it’s based on the fact that I mysteriously have a brand new roll of toilet paper in my bathroom where the last I knew it was half gone. So, it’s for sure got something to do with an anus of some sort. Probably mine. I’m not sure. I also have an injury on my chin that was, I sense, caused by an unprovoked attack by a piece of fencing I moved. There’s also a rhododendron injury beneath my left breast area that is pretty sore. I know it’s from a rhododendron because I’ve had them before. There’s no logical reason for me to suspect the fence for my chin injury but whenever I look at it I’m forced to cringe. So, it’s got to be guilty.

Today was a normal Sunday in many ways. Specifically, we got up and went to church. Then, instead of dropping by the Kozy Korner for lunch, Diane drove us to the Sizzler in Longview, Washington. She apparently read my mind because I’ve been hankering for a piece of dead cow and Sizzler is the best place to get some of that for a decent price. Diane’s Mom, Jean, had the salad bar, Diane had the chicken Malibu, and I had the 6 oz steak, all you can eat shrimp, and the salad bar. I was also hankering for some dead shrimp, so it worked out great. When it was all said and done, I’d consumed the steady, 45 shrimp, 3 pieces of dead chicken, a baked potato, and a soup bowl of ice cream. When eating at any establishment that allows you to serve your own ice cream, always use the soup bowls instead of those tiny little cups they provide. They have handles and they hold more ice cream.

Now it’s almost evening and I’m stuck in my recliner where I intend to stay until it’s time for bed. That will be in about 4 hours. We’ll be watching re-runs of “Big Bang Theory” until then. We’re halfway through season 3.

Mazatlan – Day 6

I should have mentioned yesterday that after Linda’s surgery on Wednesday, she recognized Tom right away. There was a danger that she wouldn’t. We’re very happy for her and know that Tom is, too. I’m sure there are some days where she would be OK not admitting Tom is hers, but recognizing him is good.

So, “what’s that all about?” you ask, and rightly so because this surgery had nothing to do with Linda’s head, but her liver. Both Tom and Linda explained how the surgery could possibly cause memory loss, and it made a bit of sense at the time. However, the complicated nature of the surgery and possible side affects were well outside the scope of my understanding so the explanation never made it into long term memory. I was able to keep it long enough to nod once in a while, indicating that I understood, when in fact I didn’t. My main concern focused on the effect on these two lovely people, not the cause. So, as did they, we put our trust into the hands of God and prayed that he would guide the surgeon’s hand. A lot of people were doing that, and it worked. So, there’s something for the heathen’s amongst us to think about.

Last night, before retiring, Diane was feely frisky so challenged me to a game of cribbage, which I won. She then challenged me again, and I won that one, too. We played a third game which she won handily, ending the need for challenges. Throughout the games we laughed like little kids in a manner we haven’t enjoyed in years. It was fun, something we don’t seem to have time for at home and it makes us wonder why. We don’t really have to go all the way to Mexico to recapture that part of ourselves. No sir. We could do that by just going to, say, Fort Stevens, or even the county park by the Scappoose airport. Or maybe we could just go out in the driveway and sit in one of the old Winnebagos and play cards there. I think the point my brain is trying to make is that we don’t have to leave home, really, to experience the fun times. It’s simply that ‘Home’ seems to have replaced the term ‘Work’ in our vocabulary, and work isn’t legally a place to have fun. So we don’t.

I’m going to change that upon our return home. I’m going to have fun every day, whether or not Diane gives me permission to do so. I’ll have fun chipping paint, removing paint from bricks that was placed there by the previous owners who weren’t too concerned about being sloppy. I’ll have fun mowing the grass … no, I do that already … I’ll have fun cutting down more blackberry vines, ripping out bushes that grow in places I don’t want them to grow, painting walls that have never been painted before, finishing Diane’s laundry room, adding fake walls to cover things we don’t want to see, refinishing the wood work around the remaining 12 windows in the house (I’ve already done 4 of them) … gotta stop this, now. My head is starting to hurt and Mexico is looking a lot better with each word …

The birds are back this morning … the gaviotas. There are also a few vultures here and there that soar over us, looking for something dead to clean up. One of the warnings given to us, which I failed to mention, is that at every public place, someone must keep guard and warn if a vulture is coming near. If so, the guard warns everyone so they can start moving around to make sure the vultures know there’s nothing there for them, and they sail away. For some folks, the vultures serve as timers, because they come around on a rigid schedule, causing people to at least turn over so they can crisp up their other tender areas in the hot sun. Kinda like turning a marshmellow at just the right speed over a bed of coals so it turns toasty brown and instead of catching on fire.

Now it’s time to venture outside and take a walk on the beach.

The walk is over and it’s 1450. The sun is hot, but seems to be more tolerable each day. We may move here.

I’m saddened by the fact that I will be unable to watch the Ducks game this afternoon because the sports channels we’ve found are all soccer related. Not actually ‘related’, but specifically soccer, the only true football according to Lydia’s soccer coach. No, to him soccer is the only ‘real’ sport. Lydia found that out when he asked her what position she played and she told him pitcher and 2nd base. Obviously not soccer.

Back to the Ducks – I’ll be doing some searching in a little while to see if I can remedy the problem. I’ve GOT to see that game! My entire vacation will be absolutely ruined if I can’t. Maybe I’ll be able to watch it live on ESPN via the internet. They won’t mind if I spend a few hours in the deli to do that, I’m sure. Might even buy something this time.

Diane’s been poisening me with lactose free leche the entire time we’ve been here. I thought there was something different about how it felt on my tongue, but didn’t question it until I had to go buy some more because we drank what we had. I’m sure I’ll survive, but I feel deceived.

It is now 1717 and we have spent the past 3 hours sitting at a table outside the deli talking with an ex-pat from Ohio who lives on the north shore of Lake Chapala which is south of Guadalhara. Though we heard her entire life story, there’s no way I could remember enough to make it worth sharing. Oh, Carolina’s son, Brian, went to nuclear power school in the Navy, spent six years on active duty, then went to Texas A&M to be a mechanical engineer, joined the Air Force, and is currently the physical ed teacher at the Air Force academy in Colorado Springs. Oh, and her Dad grew up in Western Nebraska, same as mine. Go figure. Another one of those small world ‘things’.

We ate our chili for lunch today so we’re technically out of hot food. We still have bread, peanut butter, and jelly, so we won’t starve, in case you’re concerned. I suggested that we could have toasted PB&J’s for a change, which I’ve had before and found to be quite good. I love crunchy things.

Not much else left for today. Talking with Carol all that time kinda wore me out, and changed the direction of my thought patterns, which happens to me all the time so that shouldn’t be a problem.

Here’s Diane checking her email and Facebook ‘stuff’.

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Linda sent good news that she’s home and doing well. Her memory is fine so far and she can’t even forget some of the things, and people, who she would like to forget. So, there was a downside to the operation, after all. Seriously, we’re so happy she’s doing OK. Now that she’s back home Tom won’t have to cook any more.

Mazatlan – Day 4

This morning I was up at 0622, the first time, then again at 0845, to stay. Early, for me. Diane, of course, was up already, at my second arising, but not long enough to have made coffee. So, I had to wait. While doing that, we had a nutritious breakfast of imported cereal. And toast.

Then we went to the concierge and got shuttle tickets for a trip into town to look around a bit, spend all our money at the main shopping plaza, and meet new friends. The shuttle stops at the Pueblo Bonito Mazatlan hotel and it’s a fair hop from there to town, so we engaged a pulminaria (sp) taxi, piloted by Sergio, for $8 to get us there. It was a cheap ride, but not as cheap as the bus. We had a guided tour, though, so it was worth it. Sergio was very engaging, and full of knowledge, being a native Mazatlanian.

Walking the streets near the local resorts makes people like us targets for the hawkers, trying to get people to go view ‘their’ resort for their 90 minutes presentation. In addition, they will give you $300 which, I have no doubt, would be in the form of a discount should you agree to buy from them. These people drive by in cars and jump out when they see a target, and begin a serious hard sell that’s hard to get away from. Persistent “No Thank You’s” fall on deaf ears. One of the more congenial ‘vendors’, who had a table set up on the sidewalk, said when we walk out of a resort like that, it’s as if we have “… dollars signs hanging all over us.”

A pulminaria, a word Sergio taught us, but I’m not sure how to spell, is a VW chassis covered with a fiberglas body that’s open all the way around. Very breezy, which was perfect. He took us the entire 4-5 miles around the crescent shaped bay on which Mazatlan resides. If one is ambitious, one could walk the entire distance on the very broad cement walkway that keeps the beach next to the ocean. Very picturesque. There are a multitude of bronze statues along the way, but my favorite is a full size bronze rendition of the taxi in which we were riding, a pulminaria. I’m sure it was just painted bronze, but the effect was nice, and unexpected. Fun art.

We contracted with Sergio for a ride back to the shuttle stop at 1330 which gave us about 1.5 hours to shop around. The market place is a very busy place not only for tourists, but also for locals. You can get pretty much anything you want there. Mainly, for the tourists, it’s all about trinkets, and clothes. Diane bought a couple of dresses, and I bought her a beaded bracelet that caught my eye. We also bought a coupl bottles of water to lake our thirst. While in the market, we encountered Lourdes and Jim, the couple we originally thought were from Forrest Hills, but are, in fact, from Roseville. Not that far away, but close. So, sadly, my the entry in which I related this information was a lie, and I apologize. That does not mean I won’t lie again, today or in the future, but it means I’m sorry for that one error.

We spent the last 15 minutes of our downtown time in the Mazatland cathedral, a very nice way to end out trip to this very friendly city. Sergio showed up exactly on time, and took us back to the ‘other’ Pueblo Bonito where we had a terrific, over-priced lunch. I was very enjoyable, in an over-priced manner. Did I mention it was a bit over-priced? But, it was really delicious and a nice break from the imported food we’ve been eating.

Now we’re back in our room for a cool-down period prior to heading out to the pool area to rehydrate.

Beyond that, our day is pretty much done, and it’s only 1700. Go figure.

Here’s a shot of our small living room/kitchen area with Diane resting & reading. There’s a huge, very heavy coffee table that goes in front of the couch but the chairs are more comfortable for propping up one’s feet.

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This was taken from in front of the couch looking the other direction. Very spacious.

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These are some of the pet birds that live in their very own area of the resort. There are big pink ones, and much smaller white ones. I’m guess the white ones are very young and just haven’t had the chance to eat enough shrimp to turn pink, yet.

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Mazatlan – Day 3

I rained immensely this morning, according to Diane. When I got up, however, there was absolutely no evidence of nearby clouds, or wet grounds, to support her claim so it’s possible she just take a page from my ‘book’ and made it up. She does have a little wiggle room for validity, however, because she was up almost four hours before me. I didn’t get up until almost 1000, or 0900 Oregon time, when I normally arise from my morning nap. Seems that my night of sleep just carried over into my nap time since I didn’t have to get up and let the dogs out.

This new info gives me reason to believe that I should teach the dogs how to unlock the back door so they can let themselves out each morning instead of waking me up. Doing that, of course, would require psychological intervention for Ozzie who would be able to participate because he won’t jump off the bed. I guess I’ll just table that thought for now. By the time we get home it will be a lost memory and won’t be an issue.

After getting up, and having a very expensive breakfast of simple toast, coffee, and cereal, we donned our swim wear, under which we are naked, and trekked to the pool next to our building and spent a delightful two hours laying in the shade, floating in the pool, and visiting with other guests. Specifically, we talked with Claire & Meredith who are from Houston but have a marked British accent. We met them yesterday at the pool and learned that Claire, at least, is definitely a British native who has lived in Houston for the past 8 years. It would have been excellent if her British accent also had a Texas drawl, don’t you think. We actually touched on that subject yesterday, but I left that alone today. Also at the pool were Mike, retired Navy, and his wife, who gave me her name but apparently took it back because I can’t remember it. Neither can Diane.

Around 1300 or so, all of our strenuous morning activity made it apparent that the depleted energy received from our meager breakfast was in need of replacement. As a result, we are currently sitting at our little round table, that has ample room for four, which I pushed close to the wall so Diane could read her iPad, while plugged in, as he ate her imported dead chicken and noodle soup, imported Ritz crackers on to which she smeared her imported creamy Skippy peanut butter. Beverage of choice for the meal is Mexican water filtered through the imported filter. Desert is an imported scrumpcious Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treat. In all, I value the lunch at about $32.18, including tax.

After we’re through eating we’re going to go walk on the beach and send you all mental waves of pleasure that we will receive from the sun’s warmth, and the fine warm sand through which we will walk. Every once in a while I’ll dip my toe into the icy waters of the ocean to … oh wait! The ocean here isn’t icy at all. It’s quite pleasant, actually. So, dipping my toe may go totally unnoticed by those of you who monitor my ‘pleasure wave’ transmissions.

Before I forget, we spoke with a gentleman at the pool yesterday who originally claimed to be from Sacramento but, he buckled while being questioned and admitted that he was really from Forresthill, California and his name is Jim. Diane and I looked at each other thinking, “that sounds oddly familiar,” but couldn’t quite put our finger on it. It was as if we actually had friends who lived there that prompted the feeling of familiarity. As we talked, however, we determined that it wasn’t associated with friends at all. We have relatives who live in that vicinity. We have so many of those, however, that it’s really difficult to keep track of all their names. I’m sure it will come to us eventually. Probably between bites during dinner.

The will now be an intermission, though you won’t know it other than the fact I’m related the info to you, as I read a bit of my book, and then take that walk on the beach.

Duh duh duh duh duh duh duuuuuuuh …. duh duh duh duh duut, ta duhduhduhduh, duh duh duh duh duh duh duuuuuuuh … duut, ta duh duh duh duh duh, duh, duh. Now, where have you heard that song?

It’s almost 8 pm, and a great deal has transpired in my absence.

First, we took that walk on the beach that I mentioned earlier. We walked up the beach first. Going “up” means the ocean is on your left. That’s always true when you’re on the west coast of any country. If you are on the east coast of any country, up is with the ocean on your right. This is always true, I don’t care where you’re from.

So, up the beach we walked, perhaps half a mile. At this point I thought I would be clever and insert a photo of the beach that we walked up as viewed from our window. But, in all my cleverness to segregate Diane’s and my Apple IDs I am unable to access pictures taken with her iPhone. Oh, well. Perhaps I’ll figure it out later and just add them at the end like I did yesterday.

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The beach is not very wide and it slopes sharply into the sea, totally unlike Oregon beaches which spread for 1/4 mile, at times, from water to the dunes. OK, maybe not a 1/4 of a mile, but at least 100 yards or so. They are really wide, with a very gentle slope. When walking on the beach, say at Seaside, one has the feeling of being on relatively level ground. Here, however, the slope is great enough that one tends to swivel toward the water with each step, no matter which way one’s going, up or down the beach. It didn’t matter, really, because the water is as reporter, just like bath water. Incredibly warm. We just got our feet wet.

When walking on the beach we always keep an eye out for ‘special’ rocks and shells. When one catches our eye we snag it and put it in a pocket. Sometimes we even wash the sand off, first. Today Diane was looking for beach glass. Actually, that’s just remnants of beer bottles someone threw into the rocks at some point in time, smashing it into smithereens, and with time in the sand the sharp edges are worn smooth. We found quite a bit of it. In case you’re into this, my theory is that green glass is Heineken, brown glass is Budweiser, and clear glass is Miller. There are other colors, of course, but the three mentioned are the majority of what you’ll find.

The first shell we found was a nice little cowry shell, and it’s the only one we saw the entire time on the beach.

When we turned around, we walked down the beach to the extreme end of the Pueblo Bonito property, and a little beyond. It was very relaxing, and I picked up a discarded plastic cup into which I began stuff little pieces of debris that doesn’t belong on a beach. Like plastic and more cups. It’s just something we do when walking on the beach. I guess it’s our Oregon training from many beach cleanups we’ve participated in over the years. It’s gratifying.

Instead of walking back up the beach to the point where we gained access to the beach, we went up the first staircase we found at the south end of the resort. When we got to the top, we discovered another swimming pool about which we previously knew nothing. It’s beautiful and is right by one of the restaurants about which we also knew nothing. Funny thing. There is resort staff all over the place in this area, but absolutely no guests. They really wanted us to go on in and eat something, but we weren’t hungry at the time. It looked like a great place to visit before leaving here, though.

We wandered back toward our building, #1, beginning at building #24. It was a rather long walk, and it tuckered Diane out a little to the point where she was sad that she turned down a ride in a golf cart limo, offered by one of the staff who cruises around looking for people who look like they need help. I have no doubt he was sent our way because they were watching us on security cameras and wondered how we got where we were without showing up on a camera going there in the first place. Good security.

We finally got back to the room where we both plopped down on the sofa and took large breaths of cool air. After a bit of channel checking, I discovered HBO on which was playing “The Hunger Games”, a movie I’ve been wanting to see by have never had the opportunity. Diane wanted to go to the pool and read her book some more and told me to stay and watch it, so I did. First, however, we each had half a PB&J sandwich and a small glass of milk. When Diane left, I made popcorn and ate the entire bag. That’s OK because she doesn’t eat popcorn. I’m no in trouble.

She took a shower and didn’t want to come down to the deli with me to check “things”, so she sent me off all by myself, hoping I will be able to find my way back to the room. We’ll see how that works out.