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.

img_9332

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.

img_9346

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

img_9349

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.

img_9351

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

DSC_3720
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

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.

DSC_3015

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. 
DSC_3033 DSC_3036

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.

DSC_3045 DSC_3047

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.
IMG_1562

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.