Jeran Went Shopping !!

Yesterday, Diane and I took Jeran shopping for shoes. He’s going to be 17 on Tuesday the 11th and we figured it was about time he had some. Oh, he’s had lots of shoes over the years but they don’t last long because his feet just kept growing. Considering that he’s around 6’3″ you would think he’d have fairly large feet, but he only wears a 10 1/2.  Go figure. His older brother, Cedric, has him beat with shoe size and he’s a bit shorter.

You’d think taking Jeran shopping, for anything, would be a big deal, but it is. He hasn’t liked shopping, for anything, for a long time. That’s apparently changed. Or, maybe it was the lunch stop at Olive Garden that swayed his decision. We tried to convince him that Home Town Buffet was the best place ever, but he fixated on Olive Garden. That turned out very nicely because I had the absolute best shrimp carbonara ever. Jeran had cheese raviolis and Diane just had soup and salad. In addition, we devoured 12 bread sticks and 6 glasses of raspberry ice tea. It was a terrific lunch.

On the way to Portland we stopped at Fred Meyer just for fun to check out their shoes so Jeran would have a reference point in case we couldn’t find anything at DSW. With my help, it took about 3 minutes to find some perfectly suitable shoes at Freddie’s, but we couldn’t leave right away because Diane was stuck in another part of the store. Finally she finished whatever she was doing and we were on our way.

Lunch was first, or course, since it was … well … lunchtime. It just made sense. We chose the Olive Garden in Hillsboro because we knew where it was. After spending about 30 seconds with the menu, all of us were ready to order. I just had to get a ruling on the chicken & shrimp carbonara to see if I could get the shrimp & shrimp carbonara. Out waitress, Misha, said sure since there was actually a menu item for shrimp carbonara. I know, I usually get chicken because it’s one of my favorite animals to ingest, but shrimp win the day when available.

After the meal, we headed for DSW and the dreaded shopping. This is the store. It’s located in a small strip mall right next to Jack & Wynette’s favorite Asian food restaurant. We at there with them once, and I was awesome. Terrific folks own and operate it.

This is the women’s side of the store. Diane is back there someplace looking at the free shoes. Instead, she found a pair that we had to pay for. She reported that they are extremely comfortable so it’s worth it that she has comfortable kicks.

These are the men’s shelves. Based on our astute observations, Jeran and I determined that they apparently sell more women’s shoes than men’s. That was OK, by us. That’s Jeran in the white hoody, checking his phone for something. He wouldn’t tell me what, so I figured it must have been one of his girl friends. He’ll deny that, but I bet it’s true.

This is what Jeran used to look like. He’s the one on the left. With him are his older sister, Lydia, who recently turned 18, and Cedric, who is currently serving his country aboard the USS Nimitz CVN-68. As you may have guessed, they are all much taller, now. It’s true.

When he was in the seventh grade, Jeran had some emotional problems that required an unusual amount of surgery, counseling, and patience to resolve.

Thankfully, he had good doctors who were able to restore his boyish good looks allowing him to go back to school where he is currently in the 11th grade. That’s what he tells you if you ask what grade he’s in. Not, “I’m a junior,” but “I’m in the 11th grade.” Here’s what he looks like now. He’s the only child wearing glasses. Lydia has connects and Cedric will never need glasses. He’s got 20-10 vision. The transformation is amazing, don’t you think?

While shopping Jeran was fixated on the price tags, not the shoes so I had to talk to him about that. I explained that we were there to get him some good, comfortable shoes and he wasn’t to concern himself with price. He asked how much he could spend and I told him $700. I knew he wouldn’t believe me, but it worked to get him actually looking at the shoes and he picked out a couple pair of very nice shoes … one for casual, one for dress.

He got these for dress …

                                               and these for casual …Quite spiffy choices, we thought.

I got new shows, too, and a new belt. Now my pants won’t fall off.

On the way home we stopped at Freddies again to pick up Diane’s ring. She left it to be appraised and thought it might be a good idea to get it back. She left Jeran and me in the truck, with the windows up, and it was sunny out. It didn’t take long for it to heat up inside to the point where Jeran started removing his clothes. I had to remove one layer, too. We thought maybe she did this on purpose for some reason, but we hadn’t done anything wrong. Then I noticed the keys hanging in the ignition. Jeran was sitting in front so he turned the ignition on so we could roll down our windows. In that manner we kept the police from arresting Diane for leaving her children in a hot car while she shopped.

Today we went to church the brought Diane’s Mom, Jean, back home as we always do on Sunday. We watched movies and ate popcorn. I share this photo so you can see the laser-like focus Ziva had on every bite Mom took. Ziva knew that if she stared long enough, she’d get a kernel or two. She got more than that and eventually convinced the other two dogs to join in on the guilt trip. It’s quite effective.

That’s all I have for today. Hope everyone had a great Palm Sunday.



Day 21 – Maymont Park – Richmond, Virginia

Today we left the base and embarked on an adventure to Richmond to visit Maymont Park based on the recommendation of the nice lady with the German accent behind the reception desk at our exceptionally nice abode.

I programmed our destination into my phone’s GPS, plugged it into the car, and away we went on I-95 North. It was a quick trip because Richmond is only about 29 miles from Fort Lee. Since Columbus Day is apparently a holiday for most folks in Virginia there was very little traffic on the freeway. That was true for the side streets in town that we had to traverse at the insistence of Veronica, our GPS expert. It’s actually SIRI, not Veronica. I was just trying to trick you.

Richmond has some very narrow streets that I’m sure haven’t been widened since they were primarily used for horses and buggys. With the only available parking is on the street for most of the housing we saw, like this, the situation doesn’t get any better. There actually are individual houses around, and we saw some, but row houses like those in this photo are all over the place. These are actually separate homes with about a 5-6 foot space between them, but on first look they appear to be joined at the hip. There are others that are obviously newer, made of brick, that I would call town homes because they are physically joined. I didn’t take a photo of any of those because I didn’t want to. That, and my phone/camera was connected to the car for the GPS. That’s why I didn’t want to.img_9853

Getting to the park took us directly through the heart of VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University). At least that’s what it seemed like because we were surround by buildings with the VCU logo on them for a mile or so through town. If those were indeed university buildings, I’d hate to have to make it from one class to another across that campus. Maybe they have some sort of underground delivery system for students.

Once we got to the park the first thing we discovered was that the welcome center wasn’t welcoming anyone because it’s not open on Monday. So we followed what looked like a group of Richmond natives down a walk that led waaaay down into a valley on this 100 acre estate.

At the bottom Diane stopped to rest her knees, which hurt all the time, and she was in need of a restroom. Fortunately, Dave was just about to pass us and he was dressed, to me, like someone who might work on the estate. I know his name was Dave because I asked and told me. Before that, however, I asked him if he knew where a restroom might be. He did, of course, because he volunteers his time at the park working in Raptor Valley where the birds live. He said he was heading that way and to follow him. Naturally that led to a conversation about where we were from. When he discovered that we were from out West, he slowed his pace to match ours and gave us a comprehensive history of the Maymont property and its original owners, the Dooley’s. What a guy!


Dave said James Dooley made his millions in a variety of enterprises, including the railroad industry, and built this incredible mansion on a hill in Richmond. When he and his wife died they had no family so left the property to the city of Richmond. Unfortunately, the property didn’t come with money to maintain it. That required a group of wealthy Richmond folks to step up and begin a program for that reason. The result is beautiful Maymont Park that includes the mansion and all of it’s grounds. It’s worth a trip. Oh! and it’s free.

Diane and I wandered around the winding paths and stairways to the tune of between 4-5 miles, depending on whose fitbit you want to believe. Mine came up with 3.97 miles but Diane’s was 5. My fitbit also said that I climbed up and down 15 floors of stairs. That one is absolutely true, I’m pretty sure. We did some ticking up and down hills. Diane’s knees will never be the same after today.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped at the Wal-Mart* super center a little south of Fort Lee to get some required items, then stopped for a Pizza Hut dinner at the facility on base. When we got to the room I was a little shaky because I hadn’t had anything to eat for approximately 6 hours. As a newly crowned diabetic I could feel the need for food and confirmed it when I checked my BS level. It was 73.

The pizza was good and we demolished the entire thing, each eating half. That’s significant for Diane because she normally can only eat 3 pieces.

Now we’re settled in for the night and I need to stop because Monday Night Football is about to start. Since Cam Newton is out with a concussion for the Carolina Panthers our home town boy, Derek Anderson, will be in at quarterback. They are playing Tampa Bay with Jamis Winston at QB. It would be fun to see Derek beat them.

I will terminate this with some photos from today’s trip.

This is a terrific little stone bridge at the bottom of the trail, just before we met Dave.


Wandering through the Japanese Garden.

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At the to, near the mansion, we found a large stone barn that has huge bird houses for dormers.img_9909-1

More out buildings with a really pretty fountain.


A comprehensive view of the estate buildings. This was taken from a wicker chair tied to 3 large weather balloons. It’s secured to the ground with a very long rope, thank God. It was still a little breezy up there, but it provided a terrific view of the James River and the estate. Those descriptive words just magically showed up when I imported the photo.img_9922

This is the last shot I took as the handlers were hauling me out of the sky.


Inside is the freakishly weird Swan Bed in Mrs. Dooley’s bedroom. I’m guessing this feature of her choice in bedroom furniture was a large factor in their childless marriage. I mean, really? img_9926

The kitchen is huge and finely attired. Looks very functional.


The living room is very ornate. Lots of wood that needs lots of pledge to keep it looking like it does.


Outside Diane walks through the arches where the Dooley’s, and guests would access the home from their carriages without getting wet, in case it was raining.


That’s Diane standing at the top of the steps on the front porch. She thought it was pretty nice, but that it should be screened in. Still, pretty classy.


On the way out, pondering the best route back to our car, Diane stops to consider how long it would take me to mow all that yard. It’s massive.


Lastly, here’s a pretty nice looking tree standing all alone so it could flourish in all directions.img_9941



Grandma Jean is 89, so we ate pizza

Today Diane’s Mom, Jean, turned the calendar to begin her 89th year. We got a jump on the festivities when Diane organized a celebratory coffee hour after church yesterday morning. Today’s event was more intimate, attended by Diane, Jennie, Lydia, and me. We went to Fultano’s in Scappoose to partake of their lunch special so we could just sit and talk, mainly. But we ate pizza, too. And Salad. And ice cream. And cookies. We left stuffed and happy. Lydia had gone on a 14 mile hike this morning with members of her soccer team and made it back just in time to switch from hiking clothes into an adorable little dress so she could go to Fultano’s with us. Sadly, she had stopped at McBurgerville on the way home for some chicken strips so wasn’t hungry. She did, however, have a couple of glasses of ice tea. It was good to have her with us. Pretty soon she, like Cedric, will be off in search of her own life. Jeran would have come along, too, but he was working. He does that. A lot.

Yesterday, after coffee hour, Diane, Jewel and I helped the Scappoose High Class of 1962 celebrate their 54th reunion, in the rain, at Trojan Park, previous home of Oregon’s only nuclear power plant. Besides us, the following folks attended: Karen, Darrell, Laurie, Phyllis, Josette, Mary Ann, Eva, Evelyn, David, Sam, Vern, Larry, Harold, Howard, Harriett, and Judy. So, counting Jewel and me there were 17 of us from a class of about 100. Also in attendance were eleven spouses. It was a potluck, the best kind of picnic. Pretty good stuff. We visited for a few hours then dispersed to resume our normal lives until next year when we’ll do it again.

I heard through the Grape Vine that Terri and Lisa have started construction on their new home. We wish them well, and that there will be no hiccups that cause delays.

This morning, before getting ready for our trip to lunch, I helped brother Jack make a couple of dump runs. The first one was 460 lbs making us ineligible for the senior discount. The second trip, however, through judicious choice of products to discard, we were able to get the weight right on at 320 lbs, the maximum allowed for the discount. Pretty slick. Teamwork. I had to take Diane’s truck to haul the trailer because I need to fix the brakes on my old truck. Only the left front brake works, I think. I was going to take it anyway but then it started raining making use of the old truck a deal breaker because I still haven’t put the windshield wipers on it. They’re in the garage someplace. Guess it’s that time of year where I’ll have to dig them up if I want to keep driving it. Might need them tomorrow when I go golfing.

Wait! Good news! Diane just told me she’d get up early to take me to the golf course if Doug could bring me home. Oddly enough, Doug called right about then and agreed that he would do that. What a guy.

Now I need to think about going to bed so I can be nice and rested for tomorrow’s grueling contest.


Oh ya. Hope all of you Idaho people have already purchased your gift for Gracie’s party next Saturday. It’s my understanding that everyone is gathering at the Idaho Center around 2-2:30 for a brief visit with her opening act, Garth Brooks, then everyone will be directed to their reserved seats for her birthday party. No gifts, please. Just give her money. There will be more on this as the event draws closer.

News in the News

Amid all the shootings, and stories about people blowing each other up, is a scattering of nonsensical news items that make me pause and go, “Hmmm.”

First, I must tell you that I typically don’t watch the news and I rarely read the newspapers that are delivered to our door, so my news view is decidedly limited. Still, I have opinions about what I see when reading “Bing” news on my computer.

Using that handy doorway to the world I’m able to choose from many sources for any of the news items they deem noteworthy. I have my favorites, of course, but tend to look at the most recent entries available. I suspect the trivial items are included to dilute ones perception of news in general to keep their interest. You know, like scattering candy in a pile of crap to make it look more festive.

Take today, for instance. I’ve investigated the world and discovered that a “Popular Tucson TV Reporter Couple” have been charged with child abuse after their baby tested positive for cocaine. This was accomplished through the use of the former Miss Arizona contestant’s shapely left breast, while feeding her infant, after she ingested cocaine the previous evening. How fun. Now she’s newsworthy, but no longer reporting the news. Dumb.

Then there’s news about a Milwaukee woman who has been added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list. She’s the suspect in the murder of her pregnant neighbor and her unborn infant because of loud music. One source indicated that Shanika, the suspect, is Milwaukee’s first fugitive on the ‘Ten Most Wanted List’, like it’s some kind of honor, like when the Bucks win a ball game. Kinda makes you want to move to Milwaukee, doesn’t it?

How about Mark Z, Mr. Facebook? He’s making all his new Kauai neighbors angry because he’s building a six-foot high wall around his 700 acre estate. That’s certainly noteworthy, don’t you think? His spokespeople said the wall is meant to be a sound barrier but I think it’s there to keep the wild pigs out. Or maybe keep them in. One resident of the island reported that she’s 5’8″ tall and when walking along the property all she can see is the rock wall instead of the Hawaiian scenery to which she’s accustom. They want Mark to tear down the wall because it’s an eye sore. I mean, really? It was built to code, using local rocks and, most likely, local artisans. I think it’s a nice looking wall. I also think a more simple solution to tearing it down would be for Mark to build platforms outside the wall, every 100 feet or so, where those who are less than 6′ tall can ascend above the wall and take in all of Mark’s natural beauty. Each ramp would have to have wheelchair access, of course.

 For the sports minded folks, there’s news about LeBron James who declined his player option and is now a free agent. The reason, I surmise, is due to his inherently greedy nature that propels him to seek more and more money for his “talents”. Yes, he’s pretty good but, like all pro sports icons, waaaaaay overpaid for what they do. Declining the option, it is reported, James salary will increase from $24 million to $27.5 million a year, a modest 14.58% increase. Not bad for someone who already has far more money than he needs.

I know, I sound a bit bitter talking about stuff like that, and probably smacks a lot like socialism. That’s not really it for me. It’s just that I find it amazing that professional athletes, and most CEO’s make such obscene amounts of money each year when we severely under educated kids, many of whom don’t know what having a full belly is like. It’s just sad.

There are many more topics, of course, most of them about people getting shot and places being blown to smithereens. You know, fun things to read about. The topper for all of today’s news, for me, was finding out that there might be a Tetris Trilogy in our future.

Stunning news.

ISS, Reunions, Soccer, & Relative

Have any of you folks in the Great Northwestern portion of this here United States looked at the evening sky lately to see the International Space Station flying by? Three days ago we were gazing up, watching the stars pop out, when the ISS went zooming overhead and watched for the entire five minutes it took to transit from one horizon to the other. Initial speculation that it was the space station was confirmed, by me, when I jumped on my smart phone, figuratively speaking, and searched for information about this event. What I found on the APP Store (for my iPhone) was “ISS Spotter”, a pretty handy application that plots the station’s progress around the world and provides a list of times when it will be visible, if clouds permit, over your location. Because of this we’ve been able to see if the last three evenings at the times indicated. Pretty cool. It was especially great last night because big brother Jim, and his bride Donna, as well as our other brother Jack, and his bride Wynette, were visiting and we all stood at our deck railing watching together as this wonder of science whizzed by overhead. It was a special moment.

The occasion of Jim and Donna’s visit was so they could attend the All School Reunion for Scappoose High School, an event that happens every five years. For a small town it’s quite an event and brings folks back from all over the place. For my bride, Diane, it was even more special because her class celebrated their 50th reunion in conjunction with the five-year event.

As a result of all these festivities I’ve managed to regain the 12 pounds I recently shed, by studiously eating reasonable portions at reasonable times. During the past week there was no schedule for meals and it’s hard to say No when there’s an opportunity to share a meal for family we don’t often see. Especially when they’re buying. Now I must climb back on the wagon and pay attention before the doctor tells me I must start injecting myself with insulin every 3-4 hours. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Jim and Donna arrived last Wednesday afternoon and it’s been pretty much non-stop until this morning when they departed on their way back home to somewhere in Idaho. We visit them once in a while when they grant us permission to cross the border. That doesn’t always happen and it’s getting more difficult to get a visa for such visits because of all the shootings around the country. Coming in to Oregon isn’t a problem because we don’t have any border restrictions, yet.

At this point of my narrative there will be a rather long pause as I depart our premises to transport Lydia & Morgan to goalie training in Hillsboro at this undogly hour of 0745. I don’t normally doe things like that this early in the morning, but Diane is going the other way, to Longview, shortly thereafter to get Jeran to his dentist appointment. She can drive fast, for sure, but not fast enough to be in two places 60 miles apart at the same time. So, I get to take the east-bound leg, something I don’t really mind doing at all.

Now for the pause —————————-0719 to 1350 – elapsed time 6hrs 31min

What a morning. Picked Lydia up and had to skip Morgan because she wasn’t feeling well and stayed home. So, we arrived about 20 minutes early and Lydia was the only one there for a long time. I pointed out to Lydia that some of them didn’t show up until 0930 and she said “that was the twins (girls). Their dad is an actor and they’re filming “The Librarians” in the area so they are spending the summer here. Interesting.

 Lydia got a 3-hour workout on very little food and she did great. The group was composed of both goalies and what I call “shooters” so Lydia and the other goalies got a good workout from some kids that can really handle a soccer ball. Made me tired so I put the top down on the PT, parked in the shade, and took a nap.

One of my classmates shared a joke with me that I feel compelled to pass along. I must warn you that, though it doesn’t contain vulgar language, the subject matter is a bit racy. If that concerns you, please stop now …

The joke … two ladies had lunch together at one of their village’s nicer establishments and the topic of their conversation swayed a bit to the exciting side of their lives. This happened when one of them noticed a gentleman across the room having lunch.

“See that fellow over by the door? I had a date with him a few days ago and he was a perfect gentleman the entire evening. He opened doors for me, took my jacket, helped with my chair, stood when I left the table … it was very refreshing to be treated like a lady. I was so comfortable with him that it didn’t occur to me to say “No” when he asked me to his home for a nightcap. Once we got in his house everything changed and he became an animal, pushing me around the house and ripping my clothes off like a wild man!”

Her friend, hand to mouth, exclaimed, “so, you’re telling me I should date him?”

“No,” said the lady, “just wear old clothes.”

To end I’ll share some photos from the part of the weekend I remember. First is Diane’s class of 1965.

IMG_2103 Here are what I understand are the main trouble makers of the class. A fun group.IMG_2128And, here’s a selfie of the Cate boys …IMG_2134

Hot Tub & Water Conservation

According to Diane, our hot tub works pretty well. I wouldn’t know because I typically don’t use it. I just make sure all the chemicals are OK so Diane doesn’t come out of the water all splotchy like she did once when I forgot to check. Thankfully the splotches went away before Diane noticed so there was no need to engage a lawyer, or marriage counselor. I also wisely chose to NOT photograph her during this delicate time in her life. Her memory of this event was a good one of relaxing and time alone reading a book on her iPad as it floated conveniently at eye level in the styrofoam holder I made for her. She really likes that thing which makes me happy.

Since that event I’ve been very careful to ensure the chemicals are ready for immersion any time she wants to use the tub. One night a week or so it was late when she exited the tub and I failed to replace the cover. Consequently, over the ensuing days, much of the water evaporated to the point where it was necessary to replace it so Diane’s shoulders wouldn’t be exposed the next time she chose to use it. Therefore,  one morning, I hooked up a hose, put it in the tub and turned on the faucet. Six inches were all it needed but it went a little over because I forgot it was running and didn’t notice until I went down stairs to lock the lower patio door late in the afternoon. By this time it had been “filling”, and overflowing, for approximately 4-5 hours.

Upon this discovery I immediately sensed I had wasted a tremendous amount of water that would have come in handy for many folks living in Southern California and turned the water off. But, the damage was done and there was no way I could stuff all that lost water back in the hose so I went on about my business.

Since the tub was overflowing I felt it was necessary to find a way to lower the level in a manner, short of using a bucket, to ensure Diane could breath OK the next time she wanted to use the tub. Taking a less hands-on approach to achieve my goal, I chose to simply leave the cover off and let nature take care of it for me. The water was heated to 103 degrees which aided in the desired evaporation. I will reinstall the cover when the water reaches the appropriate level which should be in a couple of days.

Unless I forget.

Then I’ll have to fill it again.

This could become a vicious cycle that could result in threats from folks living in areas where water is in short supply.

Perhaps this is where I should ask for those who care to pray for my continued safety.


Viva Las Vegas !!

So, we’ve been in Las Vegas since last Friday (28th) which you may all assume is the reason for delaying this entry. You’d think we were out running the strip with the rest of the party crowd, adding to our collection of those girly cards that are given freely available to anyone, even children, to accept those evocative gifts. It’s evident that many folks aren’t happy that their children accepted those cards by the number of them littering the sidewalks and street. I’ve been collecting those cards for years and have successfully gathered 998 cards with unique renditions of very pretty girls with very little, or no clothing, no two alike. I feel that’s quite an accomplishment considering that most of the cards are duplicates. I haven’t collected any this trip, yet, but I’m after those illusive two needed to round my collection up to 1,000. I actually saw one that I needed, but it was in the street and I figured Diane would frown on me picking it up, so I sadly walked on by, watching it disappear in my peripherals as those unconcerned people revelers around me nimbly walked over it, grinding it into the pavement making it totally useless for a valid collection destined to become very valuable.

But, no, that was not the case. Instead we’ve been spending most of our time gazing out the window of our room at the millions of lights illuminating the pointy end of Nevada. Here’s part of what we can see from our room on the 54th floor of the Elara.

IMG_1517 IMG_1525 IMG_1527Quite festive. We can see, from left to right, Aria,The Cosmopolitan, Rio, Bellagio, Planet Hollywood, Caesars Palace, Paris, The Mirage, Treasure Island, Trump, Wynn, Palazzo, Encore, Ballys, Venetian, Harrah’s, High Roller Ferris Wheel, and the Stratosphere. Granted, we can’t see the fronts of them all, but enough to make for a pretty dramatic night sky.

The main reason for making Las Vegas our vacation destination this trip was to join a group of old folks with whom we’ve become acquainted over the years because of our mutual fascination with the Chrysler PT Cruiser. The 109 in attendance, including us, still own PTs, and a large number of them drove their vehicles to the party. The notable exception was our new friend from Sydney, Australia. Pretty cool that he came all that way to visit with us. There were lots of folks from Canada, and the US East Coast, too. This event was the brain child of our friend, Rick, pictured below with my bride, Diane.

IMG_1539This gathering was for breakfast at the Gold Coast for which we had to leave our warm beds at 0500 Monday morning. It was good. Rick, Rick, and Pat had microphones and went around the room giving everyone a chance to introduce themselves. Once some of them got the microphone, however, they were compelled to share some pretty involved stories about their love affair with the PT. IMG_1553Pat Chase, who is, oddly, the current husband of Pat Chase, gave an impressive dissertation on the PT Cruiser from its concept to production, and all the emotions associated with that little car during it’s production run from 2001 through 2010. In another 15 years our 2005 convertible will be a classic. Can’t wait for that. The downside of that is that I’ll be 86 and the state of Oregon probably won’t let me drive it.

The remainder of Monday’s activities for us, after breakfast, was to find a car wash so we could get the bugs scraped off the front of Diane’s new Impala. I found one really close to the Gold Coast that is strictly a hand wash facility. They did an outstanding job and made the car look awesome. This is the new ride …IMG_1491Monday night 58 of us took a 3-4 hour ride on The Big Bus tour of Las Vegas with Kate as our tour guide. Had it not been for her interaction with our crowd of old folks, the trip would have been kind of ho-hum, “look at all the pretty lights” instead of the incredibly detailed, historically correct narrative of every building or vacant lot we passed. She even gave us some pretty interesting back ground of many of the questionable people we passed during our travels. Kate is extremely funny and could easily, in my estimation, excel as a standup comic. Perhaps she is one of those already, but that wasn’t mentioned. She was, however, the Witch in “Wicked” and played all over the west coast for considerable amount of time.

DSC_3012Kate has a commanding presence and we all fell in love with her during that 3-hour tour. What a gal. Here she is making friends with one of the many Ricks who made the trip from Oregon. One of the other Ricks is sitting right there to the right in front of Linda. The other Rick, our leader, was sitting up front.

Sadly, the Rick pictured with Kate injured his knee on the way up the steps to this seat and had to be carted away in a wheel chair at the end of the tour. We trust he will be fine, eventually, but don’t have a prognosis at this time. He was taken to one of the local hospitals, of which I found there are many in the area.


Here are a few of the places we saw along the way down the strip.DSC_3026 DSC_3027 DSC_3030 DSC_3019 DSC_2999 DSC_2997 DSC_2992

Then we headed for the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino on Fremont Street. 
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We’ve been there many, many years ago, before it evolved into what it is now, so we weren’t prepared for the incredible transformation that’s been made in that area. It’s pretty amazing.

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Outside the Golden Nugget, Fremont Street is totally covered with a curved video screen that stretches over 300 feet. Below the screen, for the entire length, stretched 3 zip line wires on which people whizzed by overhead.

When we first got there it was displaying random graphics which were very pleasing. As we walked through the crush of people on the street, we were smitten with all the pretty lights and the great attitude of the crowd. We didn’t encounter any attitudes at all during our circumnavigation of this amazing venue. About halfway around all the lights along the street, and those advertising the various facilities, were extinguished and the overhead display lit up along the entire length of the street and the sound was cranked up as we were entertained with a Bon Jovi concert of epic proportions. It was mesmerizing and incredibly fun to watch. Even for an old guy like me. DSC_3049 DSC_3052

Inside the Golden Nugget all the lights are covered with these incredible artsy creations and all I could think about was how I’m so happy I don’t have to change the light bulbs in them. Pretty, but really sharp on the pointy ends.DSC_3055

Also inside the Golden Nugget is the Shark Tank. A swimming pool surrounds the tank and you can see a tube running through the center of the tank. That’s the end part of a water slide that starts a couple of floors above the tank and through which people fly, probably with their eyes closed. Kinda freaky.DSC_3061

Prior to the evening festivities, we wandered around the Miracle Mile Shopping portion of Planet Hollywood where Diane found a hat shop. She loves hats and looks great wearing pretty much anything on her head.

That’s pretty much it for yesterday. We had a terrific time and are looking forward to the evening festivities today. We’re having the Old PT People Banquet (OPTPB) at the Gold Coast. Should be a hoot.

Resolutions, Electricity, and Basketball

Gee! Once again I’ve failed to honor my commitment to write something every day. This bothers me, a bit, because I’m sure there are hundreds of readers out there who are upset with me for this deficiency. I can only offer a little my Sad Sack apology that means essentially nothing, because it wouldn’t be totally sincere. I’m OK with it. Besides, I have an excuse.

Winter time, whether it’s really cold or not, is a particularly bad time for me because of all the static electricity. Unless I sit at the computer constantly, the contents of my brain spontaneous shoot out the ends of my hair, the little I have left, and stick to the walls and ceiling. Consequently, I don’t have many memories to share because I’m not allowed to sit at the computer all day long. And, if I did that, it would be pretty boring, since all I could write about would be, well, sitting here. Like this. With my hair in the air after the last static discharge …Photo on 1-21-14 at 8.08 PMWhen the discharge is complete, my hair falls back in place, kinda, and my glasses turn black again. Photo on 1-21-14 at 7.32 PMI’ve tried scraping the brain residue off the walls, so I could regain all that lost knowledge, but it’s hard to distinguish brain cells from paint and plaster chips. That, and it tastes just terrible. So, I’m learning to live with the loss.

This morning I went to the dentist again because I discovered that I still had some Social Security money remaining and I heard the doc purchased a new SUV and needed my help. So, it was one of those win-win things where he got money, without the need of hassling with an insurance company, and I got another tooth fixed. It was the one I chipped. Now it’s good as new.

Diane and I went to another one of Lydia’s basketball games and it was a good one. They lost, but only by 4 points after coming back in the last 5 minutes from 15 down. It was pretty exciting to watch them get their act together. Now for a qualifier … the St. Helens JV team is probably the only one in the league that doesn’t play varsity players in the first half. As a result, they are normally playing from behind in the second half. Sometimes they don’t recover anything, but tonight they did. Tomorrow they play against Scappoose, in St. Helens, because the Hood River High School doesn’t have a JV team. That kinda confused me for a while until it clicked that the coaches must have talked and viewed it as an opportunity for the Scappoose and St. Helens JV teams to get a workout. Should be fun.

Before leaving for the game this evening, Diane showed up with the mail and gave me the turn signal switch I ordered for the old truck. Got a new lever, too. I plan to install it tomorrow, then I’m driving the truck to the dump so I can empty it. Might even clean the crap out of the cab while I’m at it.

Hope everyone had a good day.



Unsupervised With Yard Tools

I trimmed the hedge out front today. It’s an odd kind of hedge, made up of 8 rhododendrons. It was just getting out of hand, growing so tall no one could look in our bedroom windows. So, it had to go, at least in part.

I used the battery-powered hedge trimmer that I rediscovered a couple of days ago, and it worked just fine. I even used the battery-powered chain saw that came with it to whack off a couple of big branches that I decided were no longer necessary.

Now the truth – I rally did trim to top and sides, but my goal was to carve a path to the water spigot on the house, and the nearby down spout from the front gutter. We have a hose connected to the spigot year round because it’s just too inconvenient to disconnect with all the branches in the way. Now there’s no excuse to leave the hose out when it freezes, but I’ll do it, anyway. It seems to weather the storms just fine.

The downspout, however, was another matter. It was constructed of 2″ PVC piping which is OK, but not normal, and it had a major flaw in that the gutter was connected to the drain pipe via two 90 degree elbows which restricts water flow immensely at the far end, where there should be another down spout, but there isn’t. One 2″ down spout to drain one entire side of the house, with two 90’s doesn’t make for a very efficient water removal tool.

I’ve been looking at that downspout for a few years now, and today decided it was time to rectify the situation. The first part was, of course, removing all the pokey branches from the hedge so I could get to it. Consequently, the front yard is a mess, full of what Diane would readily call “all that crap you cut down.” I admit, it’s unsightly, and I will remove it, possibly before she gets home. She’s working at Community Meals today, a volunteer effort which she attends to monthly. It’s a program sponsored by most of the churches in St. Helens that provides free dinners to anyone willing to show up on any Tuesday or Thursday. It’s a good thing and I love her more for doing it. I help when she calls me, but I’m only allowed to scrape plates and vacuum the floor.

Anyway, after making a path through the hedge, I moved my ladder to the corner so I could remove the downspout. I’d already made the necessary trip to ACE for the parts I needed, and was rewarded with a chance to see Brother Jack. We had a nice talk. It’s always good to see him.

Back home, I used my non-electric hack saw to construct a replacement downspout using two 45 degree elbows instead of the offending 90’s. It just made more sense to me. I only glued part of it together so I can make changes without a saw after I see how it handles the next rain, whenever that will be.

It’s been a while since we’ve had any moisture here. The one we were supposed to get turned in to Tropical Storm Flossie which went to Hawaii instead. Don’t blame it. I’d go to Hawaii instead, too. It’s really nice over there. We lived there for the last three years of the 1980’s.

Gutter … I got the hose fired up and ran it in the gutter for a while to see what would happen. Like, would all the water run to the other end of the gutter, and just stay there, or would it actually drain? I suppose I could have used my level to see which direction it leaned, but that would have been too easy. Besides, I didn’t think about that until just now. So, it’s a moot point, because the water actually ran the correct direction and emptied the gutter quite nicely. I’m a proud little downspout builder, by golly.

Now I must drive my lawnmower to the front yard, pulling my little trailer, and fill it “with all that crap” I cut down. It’s going to take a little while but I still have a couple of hours before Diane gets home. If it looks like I won’t make it, I’ll get my shop vac out there and put it on ‘blow’ instead of ‘suck’ and shove all the small debris back under the hedge. That actually won’t do any good because the hedge is just sticks for about the first 3 feet from the ground.

Maybe I should just cut it down. That would solve some problems, and create more, no doubt. But, I am unsupervised which means I can do whatever I want as long as I’m willing to accept proper punishment for those things that I do which are forbidden, even though I don’t necessarily know what they might be. It’s like the law, you know. Ignorance is no defense when you break it.

I better get busy.

Banished !

The Bachelorette is on so I’ve been sequestered in my room. I’m not allowed to watch it because apparently I ask too many questions and make rude comments that are not acceptable. So, here I sit, typing away, while Zero Hour plays behind me. It’s on the DVR, but I let it run through the commercials anyway so I can add to this. Also, some of the commercials are as entertaining as the shows they sponsor. Some are even better. Zero Hour is one of the three shows I’m allowed to record. I don’t remember what the other two are, so they must not be very memorable.

Since I cannot discuss The Bachelorette with someone in person, I’ll do it vicariously with all of you. I do this with the full knowledge that I will pay dearly for this transgression because that show is one of my beloved’s favorites. A very close second, perhaps an equal, is The Bachelor, an equally interesting piece of work. Diane gets upset when I mock the shows, but I can’t help myself. I know it’s wrong, and not nice, but ‘things’ just leap out of my mouth without provocation. It’s there and gone before I’m able to get control of myself. Then, it’s just too late and I’m in trouble again.

Seriously – why don’t the two TV shows just get together and let The Bachelor and The Bachelorette go on 25 dates all around the world, and see what happens. Whats the worst that could happen if ABC picks your mate? True, doing that would eliminate all the drama, and back stabbing that goes on, but it would simplify things a great deal, don’t you think?

In my humble opinion, both shows are designed to promote promiscuity in a positive light. Seriously, now. One girl going on test dates with 25 willing guys? Or one guy doing the same with an equal number of willing women? C’mon! When that happens in real life the man is tagged as a no good Lothario, and the girls are tagged as loose and wanton. Of course there is no video evidence that romantic aspects of their dates go beyond heavy petting, but the cameras aren’t around all the time, are they?

All of this is sanctioned, by a great deal of society that objects to all the sex promoted on TV, during prime time.


Still, I admit it’s interesting to see where they get sent, all in the name of searching for Love. TV seems like a poor venue for finding true love as the world watches.

OK – my mini-rant is over. I didn’t mean any of that stuff. What I said is all lies. I made it up.

Personally, I’m perfectly happy that I was able to find my true love the old fashion way using a lot of time and patience. More than you can cram into one season of a TV show. I literally waited years for Diane to figure out I was ‘the one’. It was either that, or she just got tired of living in Oregon, wanted to see the world, and I was her ticket out. I don’t believe that, of course. I was just persistent and waited.

Now I’ll quit.

Truly, if I was even a little bit semi-smart, I’d just erase this and call it good.

But, I’m not, so I won’t, so there.