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.

Scappoose Football and Random Gibberish

I seem to have overcome the frantic behavior that compelled me to write a post pretty much everyday over the past bunch of years and I kind of like this Saturday only approach. Yes, it’s my first Saturday set aside specifically for doing this, but it’s a start. There’s another reason I’m doing this today, too. We, my bride and I, went to a high school football game last night. Our alma mater, Scappoose, was playing against Ontario hoping to move forward toward the state championship which Ontario won last year. On their way to that title, Ontario eliminated Scappoose during the first round of playoffs. So, this was kind of a grudge match. Making it even more appealing for us to attend was that the game was played in St. Helens so they could play on artificial turf.

We arrived plenty early but the parking lot was full so I urged Diane to park illegally next to the gates so we wouldn’t have to walk a mile. Being that close gave us enough time to climb all the way to the top of the covered grandstands before kickoff. It’s a long ways up there but we only had to stop a couple of times to rest. On the way up I saw Josette and Nancy, the only people I recognized from Scappoose. Once seated I discovered a few other familiar faces. Well, actually, familiar backs of their heads because we were in the last row. The only ones I recognized from the back were Howard, Ernie, and Della. Never did see my friend Larry or my other friend Larry.

Scappoose took the opening kickoff and marched down the field for the first score of the game then missed the point after kick. From there it went downhill for Scappoose. From the way the penalty flags flew it appeared evident that the umpires, judges, and referees were on a mission to ensure Ontario would win. There was one point where the line judge on our side of the field was in front of the Scappoose team. Ontario had the ball. Before the snap, this judge tossed his flag high in the air then ran out to the guy with the white hat to confer. Once done the white hat signaled “unsportsmanlike behavior”. Since the ball hadn’t been snapped we in the bleachers could only presume that one of the players or coaches had said something to, or about the line judge. He did this 3 times in a row, marching Ontario down the field without ever having their QB touch the ball. They wound up somewhere around the 10-15 yard line but, to Scappoose’s credit, they had to settle for a field goal. We may never know that happened that caused all those flags but it’s fun to guess.

Both teams kept scoring and there were lots of exciting plays but Scappoose kept falling a little further behind. In the end, the final score was 53-39 Ontario. The officials had their way.

Even with all the flags, Scappoose could have won if their QB hadn’t fumbled the fall three times. Granted, he was sacked each time, but he still lost the ball, and Ontario scored on each fumble. So, 53 minus 21 makes 32, right? Right. Scappoose wins 39-32. Oh, ya, I forgot. Ontario went for 2 points after touchdowns a couple of times, so it may have been 39-34.

We’ll never know, of course. Just wait until next year.

On the way down the stairs Josette asked if I was going to write about this. Not being a sports reporter I actually hadn’t given it much thought. Until just then. She had to stick that thought in my head and, as you all know, once something gets in there, the only way I can get rid of it is to let my fingers verbalize.

So, Josette, this one’s for you.

By the way … you and Nancy looked very nice last night. I noticed that another lady had joined you during the game but I didn’t recognize her. Perhaps I should have. Thanks for taking a chance and saying “Hi” to me in public.


Sunset Bay State Park and other Stuff

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 the Oregon Coast from our perch at Sunset 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.

It was pretty both times.

Little Jennie Has a Birthday!!

Our youngest daughter celebrated another birthday today. She’s 42. I can tell you that because that’s what the candles on the cake report. You can’t miss it. But, not knowing that, you’d never guess it. She’s one of those perpetually young people who don’t age like normal folks. I think still think she and Lydia are sisters more often than now when they are together.

Lydia and Ceiarra spent Saturday at our house baking and making all sorts of minion stuff for a surprise birthday party they hosted for Jennie. The party wasn’t until Sunday evening because Jennie worked all day. She thought she was coming to our house for a family dinner cooked by the girls so it as a total surprise when Daniel drove her up and the place was full of strange vehicles. It was a good surprise and she had a good time. There was lots of chocolate and sugar infused delicacies galore.

Here’s what the table looked like before anyone showed up …

First, the cooks, Lydia and Ceiarra – they thought it was cute to hide behind the decorations … and it was …

… but they did give me a better look.

I think it’s pretty evident that the entire party was about Minions. They are Jennie’s favorite.

The guest of honor showed up about 30 minutes after everyone else.

We got her into the house …

Then convinced her to put on her minion jammies. Cute.

I didn’t mention that it was a pajama party, did I. Well, it was. Not everyone wore them but it was still a festive mix of people.

It was a fun time for everyone.

The minion ski hat was my contribution. Diane found the pattern and suggested that I make it, so I did. I still had the stitches in my thumb at the time so crocheting was tricky because the my stitches tended to get tangled up with the minion hat stitches.

Jeran tried on the hat.

Austin and Georgie – Austin wore a banana costume and Georgie had a minion hoodie. Should have had them put up their tops.

Jerrie Anne …

The end.

My 1,000th Post, or Why my fingers are tired

This is my 1,000th blog entry and I thought I should make it special. In what way, I don’t know, because I don’t consider any of my entries special. They’re just a bunch of words I string together in a manner that I’m still not sure I understand. Sometimes they make sense, sometimes they don’t. It’s a crap shoot. Still, I do it and I wonder why, perhaps like some of you may do. I’m not about offering advice for anything. I just share the mishaps I encounter during a current project that typically lead to some sort of injury to some of my favorite body parts. I constantly receive encouragement to keep writing leading me to believe that those folks enjoy reading about all those times I needed stitches. Or, maybe it’s because I have this one particular finger that’s had a total of 25 stitches for three different wounds over the course of the last 55 years. It’s true, and all three wounds were in close enough proximity that the resulting scars intersect. It’s evident that this finger, my left pointer, is poking around in the wrong places when it shouldn’t be.

Having people suggest that I keep producing this stuff makes me feel obligated to do so and also makes me suspect that I’m filling a need for them to be entertained. I’m OK with all of that. Sometimes I do stupid things on purpose just to see what happens. According to my wife, Diane, it’s not a proper way for a 73-year-old to conduct himself. Not healthy, either. But you know what? It’s kinda fun so I ‘spect I’ll keep going a while.

Last Friday I visited some of our Winnebago friends who came to spend a few days in St. Helens at the Elks Club. In case you don’t know, most Elks Clubs all over the US have hook ups for RVs and Camp Trailers that don’t cost much. No sewer in St. Helens, but there’s water and electricity for $15 a night. Plus, you’re parked next to a restaurant and bar that’s just a short walk away. Friday was pot luck night for the campers, however, so I represented me and Diane for the BBQ hamburger meal. Diane didn’t go.

Well, she went, actually. She went a lot because she and our daughter, Jennifer, spent the day together doing girl stuff which included lunch at a local restaurant. The food is generally good, as it was on Friday, I’m told, but both of them encountered some sort of bug that acted suspiciously like norovirus. Consequently, when the girls got home to their respective habitats, they went, and went, and went, without going anywhere except the bathroom. All the while that was going on I was sitting with our friends enjoying my hamburger, beans, and potato salad. I believe I got the better deal.

By the time I got home, Diane was much better but wouldn’t be full speed until Saturday. She communicated with the girls and the decision was made for all of them to come to our house for early dinner on Saturday. It, too, was a bit of pot luck which is always great because of the variety you get. For our part, Diane dug around in the refrigerator and found some hamburger that still smelled OK and decided to make meatloaf. For those who shun beef she went to either Safeway, or Fred Meyer’s, for some dead chicken parts they cook. I like their dead chicken. Actually, I like anyone’s dead chicken. It’s very tasty.

Now, I have to clarify here that I specify ‘dead’ chicken because we all know that there are many chickens out there that aren’t dead. Like those that live in our neighbor’s back yard. I need to make that point because I’m not a fan of live chickens but I’m not the kind of person who would go out of their way to make them more likable to my way of thinking without just cause. At this point in time the resident rooster is pushing the limit. Some of the hens are apparently special kinds because the feathers stick straight out from their scrawny necks looking as if someone has grabbed them by the feet, wrapped their hand around their neck, and apparently tried to stretch them a bit. Kinda like this …

Kinda weird, right? Now, the rooster of this little flock doesn’t have a robust crowing ability, as you might imagine. He crows in a feeble way like he’s on his last leg. So, that’s kinda like entertainment for me.

Our Winnebago Friend Gathering (WFG) this time of year is normally held at the fair grounds in Hood River. That plan was nixed when some idiot child tossed a firecracker in a ditch and started the Eagle Creek Fire and burned up over 30,000 acres of prime timber along the Columbia River. There was grave danger that the Multnomah Falls Lodge would burn but the fire fighters kept the flames away.The freeway, I-84, was closed and remains closed because of the fear of trees falling on the road once the rain starts. Because of that, the Winnebagos came our direction instead.

For our dinner, I chose to use our china, crystal, and silverware because it needs to be used. I set the table so I used pretty much all the silver so folks had enough tools to choose from for the items they were eating. No one complained and everyone had a good time.

You’ll notice that Diane isn’t in the photo. That’s because she rarely sits down during meals like this. Instead, she always up getting one thing or another like most hostesses I know. In the photo, left to right, are: Susan, Cliff, John, Less, Sophia, Terry, and Carolann. That’s me in the middle, with the big head.

This is everyone. I apologize for not getting a better photo of Diane, and I will surely hear about this one, but it’s what I got. I think she was sharing, during group discussion, how her day went on Friday. I love my wife. Mainly what we were doing in this formation, was watching the news of Hurricane Irma and how the weather was affecting folks in Florida. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Florida and Texas are drowning while Oregon and Washington burn.

Here’s a better photo of Diane …

It’s always fun to watch the news people during disastrous events like the floods because they encourage all the residents to evacuate then news teams go in and stand in the flood so they can get their pictures taken. It’s even more fun when the wind is blowing over 100 mph. Gotta wonder what motivates those people. Why do they feel the need to put their people in danger to show the masses what a stiff wind, filled with pelting rain, will do to unsuspecting people. Maybe it’s some sort of punishment for low performers. This only happens for water related events. Apparently the news people are smart enough to NOT show up at a forest fire and demonstrate the dangers related to them. Nope, that’s when they shift to one of those protest rallys that seem to pop up that don’t seem to have a valid point. The most recent one in Portland, today, was the Anti-White Nationalist Rally. I guess it was just a matter of time before something like that jumped out of the ground, huh? For those of you who don’t live in the Portland area, here’s a Protest Rally Schedule of events across the country that may interest you. If you attend any of them, we expect you to report back with information about what you learned at whatever rally you attend.

OK, now that I’ve actually put that rally list out there, I think, Really?! There’s a web site for protest rallys? I guess those folks who don’t have anything productive to do on any given day need guidance, and this is it.

Now it’s getting late. Ziva was happy when folks went home so she could reclaim her spot on the couch. She loved our visitors, but they were sitting on her couch.

Goofy dog.

Oh, ya! It rained Saturday night. Just enough to put a very slight green tinge on our brown yard. First rain in about 3 months.

I hope everyone had a safe weekend. Now, get back to work. I need my Social Security Check.


My Friend Tom

Last Friday I picked up my friend Tom and we went to lunch at Hale’s Restaurant in Hillsboro. I took the Crossfire thinking we could go out and play on some of the back roads of Hillsboro after we ate. I figured Tom would enjoy that because deep in his heart he’s a racer. In his garage is a 1961 slant six Plymouth Valiant that he used to run at drag strips up and down the West Coast with a great deal of success. It’s been sitting for a while but he’s got all the parts to make it ‘new’ again, ready for another run.

In the mean time, we regressed to teen ager status with the Crossfire and ran it through the gears on some curvy roads. I’m happy to report that we were careful, didn’t get caught, didn’t run in to anything, and I only ground the gears once.

This is us after successfully getting back to Tom’s driveway.

It was a very good day.

It Rains in Other Places, too.

The news here at home is all about the havoc dished out by Hurricane Harvey and I understand. What I don’t understand is some of the dumb (from my perspective) questions reporters ask of officials involved with the recovery efforts. Like, “When do you expect the water to recede to a normal level?”

Really? Does he really think this official has that information? That’s just one, but it’s typical of the segment of CNN I watched.

I get it – huge areas of Texas, as well as neighboring states, have experienced devastating losses. It will take years for them to recover, but recover they will. But, it actually rains a lot in other places, too. Check the link. India is in the midst of a horrendous monsoon season. Last count was 1,200 dead in India and surround countries from flooding. I’ve not seen this reported on any of the TV channels I checked. I found it on BING news on my computer.

Let’s pray for them, also.