Maryssa’s Graduation and Other Stuff

Diane’s Wandering Dog, Ziva, was delivered back to the house about 0900 this morning after visiting the neighborhood below us. When I answered the door, a lady in running gear was holding her collar and explained that she was on North Vernonia Road, a very busy place. The lady said Ziva was a sweetheart and turned to run up the street when she started talking to her so she followed her. When she got to our yard she sat down and waited for her. She knocked on the door to ensure this was indeed ‘home’ for her. Nice neighbor. I think the reason she turned for home is because I whistled for her. She always comes back to the whistle. Sometimes it takes a while. I suspect she’s just out looking for a better place to live. Maybe someplace where there’s an RV and a young family who would take her everywhere with them. We didn’t take her on our last trip so I suspect she’s miffed and letting us know.

Old oldest dog, Panzee, has apparently recovered from a terminal case of arthritis in her left hip. Just a couple of weeks ago she came up lame to the point where we thought it was time to visit the vet to see if it’s time to send her on her way. But, she never indicated that she was in pain so we left her alone and gave her Rimadyl (dog ibuprofen) twice a day. Expensive stuff – $2 a pill. But, she’s family, so it’s OK. Letting her work it out turned out to be the right thing to do because after nearly going to the Great Beyond, she managed to work out her kinks and is currently getting around with just a minor limp. Before, she could hardly put any weight on it. Now she runs like nothing’s wrong. Amazing. I believe she’s living proof that if you don’t move it, you lose it. Lots of times I wish I was as smart as our dogs. So does Diane. I think Diane thinks I’d be a lot less prone to injure myself if I didn’t have opposing thumbs. She tried to trick me one time by taping my thumbs to my hand when I was asleep. She said she just wanted to see if I noticed the difference but boy did I fool her. I figured it out right away when I went to the bathroom and discovered that I couldn’t rip off a piece of toilet paper like normal. I believe she regretted that decision and hasn’t tried it again, as far as I know.

Speaking of questionable hips, I’ve got a couple. Now, I don’t mean to share this information as if I’m complaining, which I’m often accused of doing. No, I’m simply sharing facts as I know them. With regard to hips, I may have mentioned that I occasionally contract a semi-case of near-terminal sciatica and have successfully combatted it’s spread with frequent naps. The reason for previous naps may not have inferred the reason, but now you know. When I nap, I heal. We all do. I think.

Anyway, our BIG event this last week was a trip to Eastern Oregon to attend Maryssa’s graduation from Eastern Oregon University, in La Grande. She got a job in Albany, Oregon as a 3rd grade teacher at Waverly Elementary (I think) so things are going well for her.

The graduation ceremony was the 2nd one of the day for EOU students and was held in  a big auditorium that looked suspiciously like a gym with chairs all over the floor for the graduates, and extremely hard bench seats for the masses who attended. To ensure we’d get a seat, we arrived early.

Arriving early wasn’t difficult because we drove our RV to the Wild Horse Casino RV Park near Pendleton where we spent Friday night. We arrived at a reasonable hour thinking we might give the casino buffet a chance when Steffani and Maryssa both called to find out where we were. We explained where we were and Maryssa told me, “well, I’m just going by Wild Horse right now and we’re going to have dinner at Rooster’s Roadhouse in Pendleton. Turns out that Matt (Maryssa’s favorite male person in the world) was arriving with his family from Salem and were staying in Pendleton and everyone available was going to meet them. We were invited. I had just finished hooking everything up and the water heater had been on just long enough that I got a warm shower without having to dilute the hot with cold water to avoid burning off the first couple layers of skin. Having full hook-ups made that possible.

We arrived at Rooster’s right on time to find a herd of people waiting near the front door. Joining them, and passing around platitudes, we learned that Matt and family hadn’t yet arrived so we stood and waited for their arrival. It was a short wait.

Once in the restaurant we were ushered to a back room where we discovered even more people that we know, like brother Jim and Donna, and Bob’s parents. Bob is Maryssa’s dad. In all, once everyone was seated, there were 15 people at one long table.

Going down the left side, and back on the right, we have: Bob & Mary (Maryssa’s Grandparents), Me and Diane, Steffani (Maryssa’s Mom), Mia & Tom (Matt’s and David’s Folks), Bob (Maryssa’s Dad), Bogie (Bob’s Friend and Maryssa’s fake Uncle), Tyler (Maryssa’s Brother), Maryssa, Matt, David, Donna & Jim (Maryssa’s Other Grandparents). Hope that clarifies things.

The dinner was great but I caught a little grief when I commented to the waiter that I found it interesting they could cook a tenderloin to perfection and only get it luke-warm. But, it was good and I ate it all.

After dinner we parted ways and headed for our assigned abodes, some in Pendleton and some in La Grande (47 miles away).

The next morning we drove to THE EVENT and immediately connected with others in the group and captured good seats in the 18 that earlier arrivals (Steffani and Stefany) had reserved which was totally against the rules. I sat next to Donna and right behind Stefany (Daniel’s Fiancé and Maryssa’s Other Brother). We had fun talking with each other, adding our voices to the gathering crowd, and just relaxing. On those cold, hard benches, previously mentioned, which brings us back to the cause of my sciatica situation. Again, I’m not complaining, just explaining. To lighten the mood, Steffani gave us a look at a couple of sides of her personality:

I’m sure I’ll be blamed for instigating this, but that’s OK. Steffani has been well-trained through frequent exposure to her Uncles.

We mostly sat there for four hours, maybe five, seemed like six, and I actually wasn’t aware of the severity of my situation until the graduation was over when I stood up to leave the area. Prior to that, Maryssa received her diploma and was blessed with her BA in Elementary Education.

She ran down the ramp …

Posed for one last photo, and headed for the exit.

Her Mortarboard. The reference to Cleats is about her collegiate career as a stellar softball player. She ended her career at EOU with a game-winning, bottom of the 7th, Home Run in her last time at bat. What a way to go.

I took this one because I like the way her hair looked.

One last Coy Look before morphing into a Professional Teacher.

M&M – Matt & Maryssa

 

Interesting rock sculpture that Diane wanted to capture.

Us and Maryssa – one last touch …

Diane’s graduation gift to Maryssa; a cooler full of strawberry freezer jam. She had some at our house years ago and Diane never forgot. It was the perfect gift.

After that, we headed back to Pendleton to rest one more night before heading home on I-84. My little sciatica bones were absolutely killing me and thinking about the drive didn’t help.

Long story short … I drove for a couple or three hours of the planned five-hour trip then stopped and rested for a while. Couldn’t dally long because we had a date in Scappoose with the Walters family (minus Lydia and Ceiarra who drove to Nampa for Maryssa’s Graduation Party, taking a detour through Lewiston on the way – another story).

First, we met at Ixtapa for dinner then planned to go to the Incredible’s 2 movie. It took forever for our food to arrive making us wonder if we’d make the movie on time, but it worked out. The upside of eating first was that we didn’t spend $50 on popcorn and drinks at the movie.

I sat next to Jeran and he put up with a lot of fidgeting from me as I had to keep changing positions so I wouldn’t cry. The seats were soft, but the position wasn’t good. I hurt.  Still, I enjoyed the movie. We all did. Even Jeran who’s seen it about six times. It was a good, fun evening out with the Fam. I regret that I didn’t get any photos of everyone at the dinner, but you’ve seen them before. Just close your eyes and visualize Me, Cedric, Stephen, Jeran, Daniel, Jennifer, and Diane.

Then, home. When we got there Diane gave me half a Vicodin and I went to bed early. Slept all night, to 0430 when the dogs got up. Let them out, fed them, then found a position on the sofa that didn’t hurt. When Diane got up she gave me a whole Vicodin and I slept most of the day away, healing. I had to heal sufficiently to enable me to go play golf the next day. Oddly enough, as bad as my sciatica hurt me, swinging a golf club doesn’t hurt.

Now my story is done.

It’s Been Busy Here

I just checked my calendar and discovered why I normally add ‘stuff’ more often than once every couple of weeks. Generally that isn’t a problem because we’re usually not very busy. Including today, here are the significant ‘things’ that happened over the past 16 days:

4/24 – Our annual Anniversary trip ended this day when we arrived safely home from Bayview State Park, Washington. In case you missed my previous post, this was our 50th. I’m surprised that she let me live this long and told her so. Since she didn’t respond right away, I suspect she’s surprised, too. I thanked her for my longevity. On a previous anniversary trip to NW Washington we arrived 2 days after they lopped off all the tulip tops in all the tulip fields. We had no idea they did this so it was a real downer. This year we arrived in time to take it all in …

4/25 – Trip to Best Buy to retrieve Diane’s repaired computer that we left with them before we took our journey. They had it fixed before we reached our destination and told me so. So, it was kinda funny that when I went to pick it up, it didn’t work. I couldn’t log in to it. Neither could the Geek Guy. So, I sat there while they went completely through the process of reinstalling Windows 10 and all the subsequent updates needed to get it current. It took two hours. I didn’t take a photo of Diane’s computer but you can trust me that it works nicely and it now has a cute little backup hard drive connected.

4/26 – Ruth arrived from Connecticut to join us for our 50th anniversary party where we planned to renew our vows. Ruth is our Sister-In-Law who was married to my older brother, Lyle, who is no longer physically with us. I have a photo of him on my desk that was used at his funeral so I see him every day. Ruth is staying with us for two weeks and was assigned to sleep in Jeran’s and Gilligan’s bedroom because it only has a twin bed. Our other party guests are couples which dictates the need for larger beds.

4/27 – Jack & Wynette arrived from Arizona to also join in our 50th celebration. They drove day and night to arrive on time and we were very happy to see our old pickup truck. You may remember that we swapped vehicles a few posts back. Jack is my brother and won the right to sleep in Diane’s and My bedroom simply because they arrived before Brother Jim and wife Donna. Then, Diane and I moved to the basement and made our beds on the sofas down there. Turns out they were pretty comfortable.

4/28 – Jim & Donna arrived from Idaho. They won a 4 day stay in Lydia’s, Baylee’s, and Jerrie’s bedroom because it has a queen bed. Their arrival signaled the end to our house guest for the near future. We loved having all the brothers and sisters with us because it doesn’t happen nearly often enough. We’re a little bit too spread out in the country.

4/29 – Diane and I renewed our marriage vows with a short service in the afternoon, after our normal Sunday morning service. Lots of friends and family showed up and I’m afraid I didn’t get around to talk with all of them during the course of this celebration. I was too busy eating. So, for those of you I may have missed, please forgive me. If you want to stop by the house sometime, we have plenty of turkey and ham left.

This is us and most of the grand kids.

Our daughter, Jennifer, and son, Jeffrey, took the role of Bride’s Maid and Best Man. I think they had a good time.

We even had a beautiful wedding cake thanks to Jennifer. She has a cake-baking friend. 

Unlike the first marriage, in 1968, Diane tempted fate and tried to smash some cake into my face. She was moderately successful, as was I. I’ve always wanted to do that.

This is pretty much all of us. We were missing some cousins (Debbie and Roger) who could have joined us but probably thought it would be better to not have a permanent record of our association. That’s OK. I’ll leave it to you to figure out who’s who.

The 2nd wedding was presided over by our good friend, Carolann, who lives part time in an old (1989) Winnebago that her husband, Terry, got from our other good friends, Les and Sofie, because they got a new Winnebago and decided they no longer needed three of them. They kept Wilbur, their very nice 1972 rig. It’s complicated. It’s a fun club (Classic Winnebagos) with fun people who have amazing skills and interesting backgrounds.

We also had attendees from our old PT Cruiser Club with whom we’ve been cruising since 2000. And, there were high school classmates who still talk to me. We even play golf. It was great to see everyone.

Although gifts were not encouraged, some were presented and gratefully accepted. Some were monetary in the form of $50 bills, and one notable pile of 50 $1 bills, in addition to this marvelous framed street sign from our USS Cleveland shipmates, Gary & Cindy:

4/30 – Baylee Jean Marie Cate celebrated her 9th birthday.  

Since we had a lot of exceptional cake left over from the day before, we used it and some candles to have a little party.

5/1 – Daniel’s Birthday. He’s getting closer to middle age all the time even though he still looks like a kid to me. He’s only 43. I’m not sure if that’s supposed to be a secret, or not, but don’t tell him you got that info from me. That escalated age happened very quickly over the course of the last 20 something years. Daniel single-handedly runs one of the many Intel campuses in Hillsboro. If it wasn’t for him, your computer wouldn’t work. That may, or may not, be true.

5/2 – Jim & Donna left which meant Diane and I could have moved out of the basement, but we didn’t. Turns out we were pretty comfortable down there, and we didn’t want to make the vacated bed. So, we stayed in the dungeon with all the dogs. And the cat. Probably a bunch of spiders, too. It was sad to see them go because we don’t often have the opportunity for the whole (remaining) family to gather and visit. There will be more, I’m sure.

5/3 – Sarah Visited. Sarah is Ruth’s and Lyle’s granddaughter who moved to Hillsboro from Connecticut a couple of years ago. She’s the one on the left in the following photo. Ruth is on the right. Diane and Lydia are in the middle. We had lunch at the Klondike then took her on a scenic trip around St. Helens, stopping at Lydia’s place of work so she and Sarah could look at each other live for the first time. It’s good to know who your cousins are. It was good to see Sarah and especially good for Ruth to see her Granddaughter. If she looks familiar to you, you probably had open heart surgery at St. Vincent’s. She’s the nurse who is totally in charge of all the doctors and nurses at St. Vincent’s who do that kind of stuff. She’s pretty special. I’m sure most of that is true, especially the “pretty special” part.

5/4 – Dinner @ Elks with Jack, Wynette, Ruth – Jack & Wynette took us all to the St. Helens Elks club for dinner and it was excellent. I didn’t take any photos there because it was dark, but you know who all those people are. One of them, at an adjacent table, is a lady who used to share a seat with me on the bus to Portland when I was still working. Hadn’t seen her in 8 years. The rest of us had a great time visiting, something we don’t get to do as a group nearly often enough.

Earlier in the day, Lydia brought her year old Rottweiler puppy to the house for a last visit. Sadly, he had a spinal deformity that caused him to fall all the time and it can’t be repaired. Lydia and family have been hoping he would grow out of it and thrive, but that didn’t happen, so he was released from the strings that trapped him in a malfunctioning body. Lydia and Ceiarra spent the day taking him around to visit friends, then to the beach, and out for an ice cream cone before the appointed time for departure. He was well-loved and will be missed a great deal.

5/5 – Family dinner at home – pork roast and tiny taters by Ruth and associates. Sadly, Daniel, Cedric, and Ceiarra were missing due to scheduling conflicts. We missed them, but we ate anyway. There was a report that the pork was a little dry because I was left home, alone, without proper instructions or supervision, while Diane and Ruth toured Portland in search of Diane’s almost 50-year-old sewing machine that was at the Sewing Machine Hospital of Portland. We delivered it to them before departing on our Anniversary Trip to Bayview State Park. It was gratifying to learn that they had successfully resuscitated the machine. We had doubts.

5/6 – Jack & Wynette departed on the first leg of their journey back to Arizona. We were sad to see the pickup go, as well as it occupants, and wished them safe travels along the winding road home. One of these days we will be visiting them in Arizona. Really, we will. Looking at the photo, I see a band-aid on my left thumb so this must have been the day, before dinner, when I was brutally attacked by Dexter, the dog next door. Actually, there was an altercation between Panzee and the neighbor’s giant black lab that prompted me to insert myself into the middle of that dog fight. Probably not a smart thing to do, but I did it anyway. I do lots of un-smart things like that. I wasn’t actually attacked. All I did was break a nail on something, probably a shiny white tooth. The break was about halfway down the quick of my thumb and halfway to the middle where it was ripped away. There was blood on Panzee’s neck, which was in grasp of Dexter’s very impressive mouth, so everyone thought it was hers. Then I noticed my disheveled thumb and fell to the ground whining and groveling when I realized it was my blood, not Panzee’s. In spite of the groveling, I was able to extract Panzee from Dexter’s jaws of death and Tim was able to get Dexter under control. It was a pretty exciting series of events. Then we had dinner.

5/7 – Sarah invited us to a BBQ dinner in Hillsboro. Of course we went and were pleased to meet Sarah’s boyfriend Jay, his brother Todd, their parents, and Todd’s wife’s parents. Being an expert at forgetting names immediately after hearing them I was at a severe disadvantage for figuring out who everyone was. I know Keith is J & T’s Dad, but can’t remember their Mom’s name and cannot remember Todd’s wife’s parent’s names at all. I do remember Lucy, however, who was the smallest person present because she’s only 9 months old and belongs to Todd and his Wife. There is a pretty incredible story about how Sarah met Jay and it could be long, but I’ll give you a short version. Sarah and Todd are both RN’s who worked together in Connecticut. Todd moved to Hillsboro, Sarah visited, and they went to Seaside to visit Jay and family where Todd exposed his plan to marry his current wife. She’s an Emergency Room Doctor for Kaiser. Jay and Sarah got along well and she decided to relocate to Hillsboro. Jay was a Policeman in Connecticut and traded that job for one with the Washington County Sheriff’s department. They got a condo. The BBQ was awesome … the biggest and most tender filet mignon I’ve ever seen. Cooked to perfection by Todd and Jay. Halfway through the meal Diane and I had to leave to visit the Good Sam ER facility. This was a planned visit, nothing to do with the food. Did you know you can make appointments for Urgent Care? I did that to have someone attend to my escalating case of epididymitis that I’d been fighting for a couple of weeks. End result, I had a soothing ultrasound of my testicles, by a nice young lady, while Diane and I held hands and watched TV in ER room 10 at Good Sam. This was a new one for us. I got antibiotics and am healing. For some reason, this is the only photo I took at the BBQ:

Diane wouldn’t let me take photos in the emergency room.

5/8 – Diane & Ruth  took a trip to get their toes fixed at a local nail salon. Well already had the appointments but I gave up my spot for Ruth. Yes, I get a pedicure once in a while. I’m thinking that the next time I have an ultrasound on my testicles I’ll just get my toes done at the same time. Ya, I know that’s not going to happen, but it conjures up interesting things in my head.

5/9 – We took Ruth to the beach, via Astoria, and ate Crab Louie’s at Norma’s near the Seaside turnaround where Louis and Clark finished their epic journey. Here’s proof …

Then we went to Ecola State Park by Canon Beach where we were delighted to see a dozen elk wandering around in the grass by the parking lot.

Guess they like the view, too.

One of the main points of interest you can see from this location, is the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse.

It’s fun to watch in a storm.

Then we went to Cannon Beach to see Haystack Rock that was in the movie Goonies.

Then, it was time to head home by way of the Astoria Column located on a hill above Astoria.

 

This is just to show off the T-shirts Diane got us. Kinda cool, huh?

We made it home safely from our journey to the coast (that’s the same as ‘shore’ to those of you on the east coast).

Ruth left for home yesterday after spending two weeks with us, looking everyday for a glimpse of Mt. Hood. Alas, it never showed up even one time. Then we put her on a plane. When we got home, here’s what we saw, so this is for Ruth.

I think that pretty does it for the past umpteen days. Now I need to get out of my PJ’s and go mow the yard.

Cheers.

Breakfast, Lady Ducks Softball, & The Oregon Coast

University of Oregon Lady Ducks softball team just beat Kentucky for the second time in the Super Regionals to advance to the final 8 that will compete  for the Women’s College World Series title. They’ve done well, starting out their season with a 36-0 win loss record which is an NCAA record. Sadly, they lost 6 games along the way and are now standing 52-6, winning their last 15 games.

Today’s win was super sweet because it finished their quest to reach the World Series. It’s a double elimination tournament so they had to beat Kentucky twice. Yesterday they did it 4-0 by playing stellar defense. Today Kentucky, in a must win situation, needed the win to even the series and advance to game three. The way the game started out I figured they wouldn’t have a lot of trouble because adrenalin got in the way of Duck defense allowing 2 runs to score on an error. Then they settled down and held Kentucky to 2-0 through 3 innings when they scored again making it 3-0 in the 4th. The Ducks loaded the bases in the 5th and scored 2, holding the home team Kentucky scoreless. All the sudden it’s 3-2 and the Ducks were closing.

Then the 6th inning happened where Kentucky scored 2 more in the bottom of the inning making it 5-2 and only 3 outs remaining for the Ducks. It didn’t look too good for them but they came alive and loaded the bases with no outs. Then, to the amazement of the ESPN crew reporting the game, the 3rd base umpire called Kentucky for an illegal pitch and advanced all the runners one base. Now it’s 5-3 with 2 on. The illegal pitch wasn’t explained but the way the announcers talked they didn’t think it should have been called “in a game like this.” Really? Don’t the rules apply at all times?

That kind of signaled Kentucky’s demise because the Ducks kept hitting, scoring 4 runs in the top of the 7th making it a 6-5 game, Ducks. Three quick outs against Kentucky and it was done. Game over.

Before getting home to watch that, we went to Portland to have a “late breakfast” with our friends at Elmer’s in Delta Park. There were about 14 of us there and it was a normal, noisy affair for which we’re famous. We can typically only eat at a place as a group one time then have to wait either a year, until they either forget us, or the facility changes ownership. We’re that noisy. But, the waitresses always get good tips for putting up with us.

Since the sun was out, and it was hot on this 4th day of summer for us, we rode home with the top down on the car. Yes, I know, it’s not really summer yet – it’s still spring. But, I count every sunny day as summer. Some weeks we have 2-3 summer days, some weeks we have none. With the temps in the high 80’s these past few days, I believe that qualifies as summer. Anyway, we discovered that we could carry on a normal conversation, at highway speeds, with the top down. Nice. That’s two people who spend many parts of a conversation, in a quiet room, saying, “Huh? What did you say?” It was a nice ride and reaffirmed our decision to purchase the fun car. That feeling will continue until it breaks and I have to go to YouTube School and figure out how to fix it.

When we got home from Portland Diane took her Mom, Jean, grocery shopping so she will have enough vittles to get her through our absence next week. We’re going to Nehalem Bay State Park on the Oregon Coast. It’s been a long time since we’ve been there so it should be fun. We’re taking Ziva again so there won’t be any food wars for Lydia to mediate while she fills in as Queen of the House.

That’s about it for today. Now I’ll just add some random photos that I may have taken today.

I didn’t take this one today. I just found it while looking for others and it’s one of my all-time favorites. Jennie, Lydia, Cedric, and Logan. Probably from 12 years ago and has absolutely nothing to do with today’s activities. I just like it.

This one was today. That’s Steve. He’s acting out a little because his wife, Ladeane, wasn’t there. He’s everyone’s favorite Undertaker. There’s more to that story, of course. For another time.

This Rick, Jerry 3, and Steve.

Nelda, and Rick. Nelda is married to Jerry 3.

Panzee enjoying a good day at the beach. Another one of my favs. Again, years ago.

Again, today. This is the most organized I could get everyone because no one would stop talking. We’re a noisy crowd, and we have a lot of laughs whenever we get together, which isn’t nearly often enough.

And, once again, Jerry 3 and Steve from today.

Need I say more?

A Fun Surprise

Yesterday evening we had a little fun at the house when Jennifer, our daughter, called asking if she could come up and print something. She does that once in a while and knows she doesn’t have to ask but she always does. What a gal. When I heard the car arrive I went to the door in an effort to keep the dogs from making a huge amount of noise but it was a waste of time. Any time they see someone heading for the front door they think it’s a signal to cut loose. So, they do. And it’s annoying. But I seriously suspect that anyone attempting to enter the house without permission would be a little intimidated.

With barking in progress I let them out to greet Jennifer but turns out she wasn’t alone. At first all I noticed was more than one person exiting the limping Envoy but it wasn’t until they made it to the door that I realized that with Jennifer, Lydia, Ahmed, and Solo (their dog), was Cedric. Apparently he planned this surprise with his Dad, Daniel, a week ago after his ship returned to Bremerton. He has a friend who has family in Portland and makes the trip on a regular basis when the ship is in port and she offered Cedric a ride to St. Helens which is on the way. How nice. He freaked his Mom out when he just showed up and walked into the house around 5 pm yesterday.

Then they came to us to share the surprise.

What a fun way to end the day.

Note: For those who don’t know, Cedric is a Navy cook stationed aboard the USS Nimitz (CVN-68), the Navy’s oldest nuclear aircraft carrier.

Day 9 – Beach Haven Reunion Banquet

Today all the attendees of this reunion gathered to eat a catered lunch by the hotel in which we’re staying. We already knew the food is good so the prospect of a cafeteria style banquet was not a scary thing. We embraced it.

The banquet was scheduled to start at 11:30 am so we all gathered in the gathering room, next to the banquet room, at 11:00 am to prepare. That, and to produce the gifts we were directed to bring for the auction for which many, many tickets were sold. Because Diane and I were sitting in the gathering room next to the banquet room door, we wound up selling raffle tickets by the dozens. To be precise, we sold $700 worth of raffle tickets. We were busy. One guy, Freddie, bought $80 worth of them.

After we sold all those tickets, we ate. Since Diane and I were the last people into the banquet room, we had to scuffle for a place to sit. That worked out, though, because just as we were heading to our table Ken stood up and ask the room how we should line up for the food. Since I was right behind him, I suggested that we begin with the row of tables next to the wall where Diane, Marvin, and I were sitting. My suggestion was accepted so I just turned around and got in line for food. It was pretty good, but I didn’t take a photo of it. Mainly because I loaded the plate so it wasn’t very pretty. Very good, but not very pretty.

Once the food was devoured it was time to start calling raffle tickets. Now, I gotta share some insight about raffles that I’ve gleaned over the years. The most profound one is that there are always one or two tables in the room that wind up with the majority of winners. It just happens that way Always. Perhaps you’ve noticed this. There were about 14-15 tables in the room, some longer than others and seating 10 instead of 4, so with each shipmate providing at least one gift, adding to those provided by the organizer, there must have been about 150 things to raffle off. Don’t question my math. It’s correct.

During lunch Diane hid the bucket of tickets behind her chair, in the corner. When Ken stood up to start the raffle,  transported the huge bucket to his vicinity so he could kick things off. Simply by virtue of the fact that I transported the tickets I was sucked in to helping out with the drawings, calling out the numbers in a loud voice that everyone bu Ed could hear. Ed won a couple of times but only because when a number was called and no one responded, and it was evident that Ed wasn’t looking at his tickets, Mary gave him a hand.

The rule of raffles is that the person who wins must draw the next number. That worked OK until Freddie finally won and he drew three tickets in a row that matched three of the vast array of tickets he had spread all over his table. As the drawings continued I managed to remember the sequence of tickets Freddie had making it easy to know when he won. Which he did. A lot. He was that guy. He finally got tired of walking to the next room to pick out his next prize and started appointing people to do it in his place. Those around him were very happy.

Every once in a while we stopped calling tickets so Ken could auction off. He was doing a pretty good job, but George jumped in and caused bidders to go way higher than they had intended. George made the group a lot of money on those auction items. Finally, all the auction and raffle items were gone and we were allowed to leave.

I failed to mention that we had a group meeting after lunch, prior to the raffle, during which we talked about where we should have our next reunion. Since the last two were on the East Coast it was unanimously agreed that we should strongly consider the West Coast for the 2018 reunion. We do them every two years. That’s why I put 2018 instead of 2017. You may have wondered. The location discussed for the West Coast reunion was Bremerton. That will work great for us since we live on the West Coast. I wouldn’t be surprised, either, if Diane and I wound up taking care of all the details since we live there even though we didn’t volunteer. That’s how things seem to work out.

After it was all done, around 2:55 pm, Diane and I retired to our room where we sat on our balcony enjoying the breeze caused by bad weather that’s causing the waves to crash into the beach at an angle instead of coming straight in like they were doing yesterday. And the day before. It’s actually very stormy and the weather has turned cold making it uncomfortable to be out there even in a sweatshirt with a hood. So she went back into the room, but I stayed outside for a bit longer just to prove that I’m a man even though Diane already knows that. She’s seen me naked. A couple of times. When I felt I’d made my point, I also went inside.

Then I opened up one of the Xfinity apps on my iPad and discovered that I could actually watch TV shows that are recorded on our DVR at home. That’s amazing! So, I watched two episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and one episode of Quantico. Since Diane was sleeping I used my handy ear buds so I would wake her up. Since I was reclined I managed to fall asleep a few times myself but, since I had the buds in, I’m pretty sure I didn’t miss anything.

Now for some photos for those of you who ventured this far even though I didn’t take very many at the banquet. Just a few. I’ll find some more to share just for fun.

Here’s Diane wearing my Scappoose hat. It fits her way better than me so it’s now her’s.

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She looks good in any kind of hat.

Next is a photo of the head table at the banquet. I said earlier that the longer tables sat 10 people but I lied. There were only 6.

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This next  one Diane took of me helping Ken with the raffle.

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Until I saw this photo I had no idea my right breast was lower than my left one. I guess I don’t usually notice it because of the sports bra. Should have worn it today, I guess. That or that new push-up number I found at Goodwill the other day.

Now, on a more serious note, here’s a photo from the Albany Democrat-herald. It was taken during the game when our St. Helens went all the way down there to whip East Albany 4-3. I guess it was nip and tuck throughout the game, but our girls persevered. That’s our Lydia in the yellow goalie shirt. Jennifer sent four other ones that were also in the paper, all of Lydia doing her thing.

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I guess it’s OK to shove on the goalie’s face in Albany although it didn’t do them any good.

That’s about it.

88 on 8/8/15, Family, Kid Duties, & Devious Maids

Greetings dear Minions. I hope everything is going well with all of you. On this end, it just keeps getting better and better. That’s the upside. The downside is that folks on my TV set keep telling me what a horrible world we live in where police keep shooting unarmed teenagers for no apparent reason. It’s just terrible and makes me want to move some place. But, gee, where would I go when the whole world is going to crap in the same manner?

On a happier note, yesterday was a festive day because we celebrated Diane’s Mom’s 88th birthday. Even better, we did it at her house so we didn’t mess up our place even a little bit. Just hers and it only took a few hours to put it all back in order.

Diane’s been planning this event for a while, inviting people from all over the place and got RSVPs from most of them meaning it was going to be a fun time. The end result was that virtually everyone in the family who all live locally, in addition to a pair of sisters who don’t, showed up to eat cake. Having the entire family together to celebrate Jean’s 88th year was pretty awesome. In all there were approximately 30 people in attendance ranging in age from 1 month to, gee, 88 years old.

Here’s the long and short of it. Mom, Grandma, Great Grandma, and Great Great Grandma Eleanor Jean at a pretty frisky 88 years old.

MomD Then there’s Draiden Jeffrey Cate showing up at one month and one day old. He has some hard growing up to do because he has two older sisters in addition to three aunts who are not much older than him who will all be either giving him grief or daring anyone to lay a hand on their little brother or nephew

DraidenJeffreyOther attendees were … Ceirra, Lydia, Jerrie, Gilligan

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Diane’s cousin John, his wife Pam, and their son JonathanDSC_3759
Another cousin, Don, John’s brother, and wife Judy
DSC_3767 Father, Son, and UncleDSC_3769 Cousins … Julie, John, Diane, Don, & TerriDSC_3774 Jeff & Heather’s clan (minus Shene & Draiden who was eating) — Logan, Heather, Jeff, Gilligan, Baylee, Jerrie, Juliette, & Danyell. The three little ones on the left are aunts to the two on the right.DSC_3782 The Walker clan – Julie (daughter from Arizona – she came the farthest, but didn’t win anything for it), Carolyn (Mom), Jean (Sister & Aunt), & Terri (another daughter).DSC_3804 Great Granddaughter Lydia and the Birthday GirlDSC_3810 Logan & Shene’s clan – Juliette, Danyell, & Draiden. Aunt Jerrie photo bombed them.DSC_3834 More cousins — Cedric, Logan, & Lydia. Jeran was missing because he was having fun elsewhere.DSC_3853 The Walters clan – Jennifer, Lydia, Daniel, & Cedric. As noted, Jeran was missing.DSC_3873There were others, of course, but I’m sure everyone is tired of looking at family photos by now. So, I’ll just move along with a little narrative about happenings.

Now all I have to is ponder for a while to see if I can remember stuff. If I can’t, I’ll just make something up.

Beginning last Monday Diane and I both took a little trip back in time and participated in the taxi service normally enjoyed by parents who are much younger. In this case, however, we had a ball getting the kids to and from the places they needed to be. Since the kids needed to be in places far apart, at the same time, it’s good that there were two of us and that we are both still allowed to drive. Lydia to soccer training in Hillsboro at 0845, the same time Cedric was due at school and Jeran at Pacific Camps.

I drew Lydia so had to leave at 0730. That’s like 7 thirty in the morning! Really early for someone who is normally deep into his morning nap at that time. But, I did it, and did it well. I stayed and watched for the entire 3 hours of Lydia’s workout. Then we had lunch and I took her home. The rest of the day was a blur and I’m sure I didn’t do anything of importance.

Tuesday I took Cedric to his place of confinement. It was a simple task and I was proudly successful. While attending to this Diane transported Jeran to his dental appointment in Longview. Lydia had a ride to Hillsboro with Morgan’s Mom. Morgan is Lydia’s team member and is also attending soccer training. She was absent on Monday.

On Wednesday I repeated my Monday responsibility for Lydia and Morgan, staying for the entire three hours before taking them home. I’m not sure, but I think there was a nap or two during the afternoon. I think there were many naps involved with the remainder of the week with the exception of time on Thursday & Friday spent putting things together for Saturday’s birthday party. Diane put in a lot of overtime planning everything.

Saturday morning we made a trip to Oregon City for a St. Helens High School soccer game which St. Helens won 3-0. Lydia played awesome making some pretty great stops. As soon as we got home we started loading everything we own into the Impala for the trip to Grams’. I loaded ten (10) folding chairs, a folding table, a case of water and a very large sports umbrella into the trunk. It’s a HUGE trunk. With the back seats folded down I added a cooler, my camera & tripod, a large crock pot full of pulled pork, a box of assorted Avon items, a lantern, six cases of warm beer, and a small hot tub. The Impala also has a HUGE back seat. I must admit that I lied about some of the things I listed but it really does have a large back seat.

Today we went to church, ate breakfast there, came home with Mom and spent most of the day hanging out. After Diane took Mom home we walked next door to visit with Muriel and Bob who recently lost their son to pneumonia. It’s a long story but sad to say his passing was a good ending.

Now it’s getting late and I must watch the last few minutes of “Devious Maids” before retiring for the night.

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