Various and Sundry Things

Greetings fellow Earthlings who woke up on the green side of the grass, as did I, this glorious morning.

My awakening was a confused one because the house was so quiet. Like normal, I was once again on the living room sofa and noticed my bride in the kitchen making coffee. On a normal day, once the coffee was done, she would bring me a cup which is code for “GET UP YOU LAZY BUM AND GO YANK SOME WEEDS!” That didn’t happy, however, and it took me a while of this quiet solitude to realize that it didn’t happen because today is Sunday. I don’t have to pull weeds on Sunday. So, I just relaxed, went back to sleep, and waited for my coffee.

She never brought it to me, though, and I couldn’t hear her thrashing around in any of the nearby rooms that generally alerts me to the need to get up. “Thrashing” is too harsh a word here. She never really Thrashes. It’s just the noise people make, especially me, when they’re trying very hard to be quiet so as to not wake up people they love beyond measure. It never works out well for me because I always do it in the dark. No lights for me. No Sir. I know where everything is in the house … except which doorway the big brown dog has decided to lay in front of, or which end of the hall she chose to occupy. Because of that uncertainty, I walk slowly and carefully but the result is still the same because the big brown dog is deaf. She responds to touch. Consequently, when I finally make contact with her, as I slowly slide my feet, one at a time, she jumps up making all kinds of skritching noises on the floor which ignites the Barking Gene of the little black dog (toy poodle). On the verge of chaos, I get them both calmed down, but the damage, I know, has been done. Still, I close the bedroom door and sneak away. It always works that way, but over the years I’ve learned that all that noise really isn’t my fault and my bride understands this. All I want to do is let our four-legged family members out to run freely in the field behind our house. And, to hopefully pee in said field.

Normally I go to church with her on Sunday and she makes sure I’m up and functioning in time to make myself pretty for the event. When I looked at the clock it was 10:30 am and church has already started so I look in the garage and observe that her car is gone so it’s obvious that I’ve been abandoned, left unsupervised, and could, if I so desired, don my weed-pulling attire and go outside to get really sweaty.

Instead, I got my own cup of coffee, fired up my computer, corrected the church newsletter that I sent to everyone yesterday with an error, then sent it again, and finally decided to visit with all of you for a while. That’s what I do when I’m not given a task. I sit quietly, like this, and think of ‘stuff’ I could be doing, and things I’ve done since last we ‘spoke’ …

… like golfing. I was allowed to go golfing with Doug and Junior twice over the last couple of weeks and, predictably, I did badly. But we all had a good time, especially JR. He didn’t fall down even once. Doug and I help avoid that by teeing up JR’s balls so he can take a whack at it, then pick up his displaced tee and escort him back to the cart.

Now, about JR … in my mind he’s kind of a miracle because a few weeks ago he had a stroke and was paralyzed on his right side. I talked with him about it, and it went something like this …

“So,” I asked, “when did you discover that you’d had a stroke.”

“Well,” he responded, “when I woke up with a severe need to urinate and tried to get out of bed. I couldn’t move my right leg.”

“Did you determine right then that you’d had a stroke?”

“No. I just thought something was really screwed up. My right arm wasn’t working too well, but I was able to make it grab my right leg and swing it off the bed, then I rolled to the floor.”

“Why did you do that?”

“I had to take a leak really bad.”

“Oh, ya. That.”

“I started dragging myself to the bathroom but gave up after a couple of feet and called Jeri for help. She helped me back to bed after my bladder was pleasingly empty (in a way will not explain in detail as he did). Then people showed up. I knew who they were, but could not say their names. I guess I was mumbling. So, they took me to the VA Emergency Room where they hooked me up to a bunch of stuff and just left me there. When a doctor finally showed up he told me that I’d definitely had a stroke, but that there wasn’t anything they could do for me.”

“Really!”

“Yes, really. So, I yanked all the hoses and tubes off my body and Tami took me home. My heart rate and blood pressure were higher when I left than when I got there so once I got home I medicated myself.”

“What did you take?”

“One morphine, 2 oxycodone, 2 Tylenol, and 1 nitro. My BP went down, my heart rate slowed, and things started going back to normal. Then I just sprawled in my recliner until it was time to go golfing again.”

Yes, we went golfing again about two weeks after this happened and he still beat me. We went a couple of days ago, too, and I really thought I had a chance to finally whip him, but that didn’t happen even though I was keeping score. So, after a really harrowing event, JR is back to being about as normal as he can be. Quite amazing.

On other news fronts, I was summoned to the County Courthouse by Betty, our County Clerk, who is kind of Diane’s boss when it comes to counting votes during elections. She, Betty, apparently was cleaning out her attic and found some computer parts she thought I could use and wanted me to get them. Turns out, she had a brand new, in the box,  NCR keyboard, the one with the HUGE connector, way bigger than a PS2 connector, that will not work on any computer made today. I was grateful for the gift and plan to incorporate it in a project I have in mind using obsolete computer parts. I think something like that would look nice hanging on the living room wall, don’t you?

Last Thursday I spent a log of time on my feet chopping onions and carrots, and blending black beans and tomatoes while assisting a herd of ladies to construct a 150 portion version of Diane’s Black Bean Vegetable Soup. It’s really great soup, a family favorite. Making it for 150 people was interesting for me because it required extended use of appliances that I generally only get to use for short amounts of time. Like the Cuisinart. Great for the onions and carrots, but they wouldn’t let me chop up the celery. I really wanted to chop the celery.

After the chopping was done, and soup taste-tested (I’m the official taster) I was dismissed with instructions to return at 7 pm. I went home and just relaxed until the phone rang at 6:45. I answered and was asked, “are you coming to get me?” I considered my response and figured that saying I was told to her there at 7 wouldn’t be well received. She was tired and needed to get home.

Last Saturday the family celebrated both Jeff’s and my birthdays. We’re only two days apart and the ‘real’ dates were middle of the week, the reason for deferring till the weekend. Gatherings like that are always a loud, fun-filled event for everyone. They fill the house with happiness and we love it. We also love the quiet that follows, but the hustle-bustle noise always makes us smile. One thing, though, is trying to explain to ‘outsiders’ that son Jeff’s birthday is only two days after mine. He’s 46 now so I just tell folks that he’s my step son from Diane’s first marriage. That’ a lie, of course, because even folks with rudimentary math skills can quickly surmise that if he’s 46 he was obviously born in 1972, four years after Diane and I were married. I just add another lie that she was pregnant for a really long time.

Yesterday Diane and I attended a retirement party for our friend Rick who exercised his right to end his 30-something-year career with ABF Trucking. We got to visit with lots of old friends that we don’t see nearly often enough because they live so far away. There were three Ricks, two Jerry’s, two Pats, Nelda, Diane, Jo, Josette, Jody, Vie, Lucan, Stacy, Brandy, Linda, Allen and many others I cannot remember. For those who I failed to mention, forgive me. I’m old and forget things. Diane thinks I have dementia even though I’ve explained, many times, that I don’t need to remember ‘things’ because she does it for me. That’s one of the many responsibilities a wife has. Right? Well, maybe not all wives will agree with that, and it’s OK.

Once again I’m totally upset that when I select the magic button on my Xfinity remote that displays current and future sporting events, there is absolutely no mention of NCAA Softball. I’ve got to actually search for info on the games. Then, after doing that, I have to sit quietly while the #1 seeded Lady Ducks get smoked by lower ranked teams in the Women’s College Softball Championships. Last year they lost the first two games and went home. This year they won the first game 11-1 then lost the next two and were eliminated. I think if Xfinity would simply include college sports properly in their displays, the teams would do much better. Just wait till next year. Now we must root for Washington, the #2 seed who won their first two games.

Go Huskies.

Desiderata

No doubt most of you have read, or at least heard of this poem. It was  written by Max Ehrmann’s in 1927. I don’t read it often but every time I do a sense of peace settles over my soul, making everything right with my world. There are many experts out there who have analyzed Max’s poem in an attempt explain what Max is ‘saying’, but the true analysis, in my opinion, is what it means to each reader.

I share with you simple words of peace …

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann – 1927

Weather, Hewlett Packard, Politics, and Religion

It’s Saturday and I’ve spent most of the day printing “stuff” while Diane actually worked. She’s the best. I would have helped her but misunderstood the instructions she gave me. There will be payback for that at some point in time and it will come as a surprise to me. That’s OK. Instead, my faithful HP Photosmart 7520 all-in-one printer got a serious workout.

Oregon spring weather is holding true to form … sunshine and rain at the same time quite often. Sometimes a downpour followed shortly by clear skies. Funny stuff. Soars to 88-90 for two days with nights down in the 50’s, then  65 for a week with nights into the 40’s. It’s the kind of weather that plays havoc with people who are prone to breathing issues.

Perhaps you’ve figured out that I don’t have much to write about. I could touch on politics, again, but that’s a broken record lately. The news is full of that topic. The one thing I will say is that it really doesn’t matter how any of us vote because those crafty “delegates” will have their way regardless of how a popular vote goes. That saying that “Your Vote Counts” is fiction. It really doesn’t. The vote go the way big money wants it to go. Simple as that.

That’s strictly my opinion, of course. That’s an admission that I may be wrong. But, I doubt it. That’s another opinion.

There’s always religion, the other forbidden topic of social conversation. Because of that, it’s naturally fun for me to talk about it, and share more of my opinions. Like, most religions preach Peace & Love. There are, of course, sects that do not preach P&L and we hear about them on the news all the time. Still, those that do promote P&L vastly outnumber those who don’t so why don’t we gang up on them and put an end to all the bickering and blood shed? Well, because all those different religions that preach the good news have their own belief system in how things show happen which are typically at odds with those who do things differently. So, there’s conflict within. That will only change when there’s just one religion in the world, and that’s just what every religion in the world believes … theirs is the best. That’s another opinion, if you’re counting.

I should probably stop, now, before I can’t get out of this hole.

I wish Peace & Love to each and every one of you, no matter how you praise your God, your Higher Power, or whatever.

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue 2016

Yesterday Diane handed me the latest Sports Illustrated issue telling me it appeared to be “pretty good reading.” I didn’t understand what she meant until I saw the cover.

I have to admit it was a page turner because the magazine is thick, and there’s a model on pretty much every page instead of a bunch of photos in the middle. So, I paged through the entire magazine, looking at the pretty girls, then I did it again looking for interesting article, and feel compelled to share these observations:

  1. It appears SI is working toward replacing Playboy with nearly naked ladies.
  2. Lots of the new swimming suits don’t have tops.
  3. The most alluring models are the plus size ladies.
  4. There are no articles regarding sports at all – just pretty girls and advertisements. I checked three times.
  5. Apparently paint counts as a swimsuit. I believe that’s illegal. Nice, but illegal. Unless it’s water based latex paint.

I believe Ronda Rousey was the only model/athlete and she was one of the painted models. I guess one could say she is truly “Sports Illustrated.”

Get it?

Trivia

This is just an aside to share a little trivia about all the blogs I’ve made since November 2011. I’ve been wanting to capture them in a way I could compile them for  a while now and learned I can just copy them enmasse from WordPress into a Word document, photos and all. I was amazed. This is a good thing for me because it provided me a way to find out just how many pages of drivel, and how many words of wisdom, I’ve actually shared in that time.

Turns out it’s in the neighborhood of  …

  • Pages                 1,058 (font size 12)
  • Words             231,758
  • Characters    1,223,234 (with spaces)
  • Paragraphs          5,180
  • Lines                 21,199

… or thereabouts.

But who’s counting?

I had absolutely no idea that I knew that many words. Go figure. No wonder my fingers are numb.

Beer Butt Chickens & Karma

Today was another good one that included a great breakfast, a trip to Costco with everyone but Maryssa, a visit to Jim & Donna’s, and a trip to Bob & Steff’s for a great BBQ of beer butt chickens. It’s “chickens” because there were four of them and they were all wonderful. I’m only going to show you two of them, however …

DSC_0444 DSC_0448

It was all marred by only one, simple, negative event that was entirely my fault. I’ll admit that right up front. I lost the bag containing my laptop and Diane’s iPad. It was a horrifying 1.5 hours of searching the Buick, the room, returning to Jim & Donna’s, then Steff & Bob’s, checking with the front desk for lost and found until I finally accepted that I’d done a terrible thing by leaving it in the dinning area this morning before we left to visit Costco.

We returned, sadly, to our room with the understanding that I’d lost some important items. Out phone chargers were also in the bag. What an entirely huge bummer.

Then, all the sudden, a little light clicked on in my tiny little mind and I knew right where it was. It was in a special little hiding place in the Buick. I came to this realization when Diane, saddened by my mishandling of equipment, said she was going back to the Buick to make another search. That’s when the little light switched on.

So, I stuffed my feet back into my sneakers, got my room key card, and headed back down to the Buick to get it, knowing full well it was right where I thought it was. Diane had to tell me where the Buick was because I wasn’t with her when she parked it. It was out back instead of out front so I had to have the card key to get back in to the building.

To kind of top off the evening, my card key didn’t work in any of the outside doors so I wound up walking all the way around the outside of the building to the front entrance.

I figure that was Karma in action for what I’d done.

Now it’s all good. Getting up early in the morning to attend church with all the family. Should be fun.

Oh ya! There was an interesting upside to the Costco visit because Alan E. Grey was sitting at a table selling copies of his book “The Life of Chief Joseph”. Jack and I each got a copy and I sat and talked with Alan for a while. An interesting man Pretty old, and a little shaky, but fun to talk with. He received his doctorate in 1952 which should make him around 90 or so.

Sempre Fi my Brothers & Sisters

Today we took a trip to Camp Pendleton to forage for food as we were apparently running low.

I accompanied Diane into the commissary, and followed her around for a while until she suggested that I go get a haircut. Boy did I trick her because I got every single one of them cut, not just one.

Photo on 4-2-14 at 7.59 PMThat’s a Marine haircut that I got in a Marine barber shop for $8 in 8 minutes. Maybe less. Although I retired from the Navy, and I’ve always heard about the rivalry between the two services, I’ve always considered them to be my brothers and sisters. They are all warriors and I totally respect their dedication and integrity. So, I got a haircut to honor them, and the sweater I’m wearing in the photo above has a Marine emblem on the back.

When I was done I drove carefully back to the commissary and stopped by the spot closest to the exit door and waited for that person to appear and move their car. All the people lined up behind me got a little testy, but I didn’t mind. I just put my blinker on and waited. It didn’t take more than 30 minutes or so.

Inside, it didn’t take me long to find Diane because she wore her new hat … the one she bought at Hearst Castle. I have a photo of her wearing it, somewhere, but can’t find it right now so I’ll just share this one of my right foot that I took on our way “home” from Mission Viejo …

IMG_0265I think it’s a very dramatic shot of an undramatic foot wearing a festive sneaker, and little fake socks. Notice how the shadow eliminates the need for anyone to be struck with awe by the skinny stick-like leg. I think I’m going to blow this one up, have it framed and give it to Diane for our anniversary. She bought the sneaker for me for this trip. She said I can have the other one when we get home. Can’t wait for that! Neither can Diane because my left sock gets really dirty and people stare at me in public.

They did that before I started wearing just one shoe, though, so that’s really not reason enough to yearn for my left shoe.

After returning from our shopping spree I made a couple of trips from the car with the food that will last us for a few days. Hopefully.

It was chilly, too chilly to sit on the beach, so Diane put on her sweat suit and sat on the deck, facing the setting sun, reading her book. Me? I stayed in the safety of our room and tried to take a nap, but Diane had the living room window wide open and I was cold. I suppose I could have put some long pants and a long-sleeved shirt on, but they were in the other room. I didn’t want to make any sudden moves that might distract Diane so I just toughed it out on the couch. I did, however, sneak into the bathroom and got my towel so I could cover up my little legs. There was a breeze blowing across my exposed elbow so I installed one of the couch pillows on top of my elbow and it helped a little. I actually nodded off for a short time. About 8 minutes, like I did at the barbershop.

After Diane finished her book she came back inside and started waiting on me, something I thought was overdue. That’s an out-and-out lie, of course. She waits on me all the time. She promised to do that the day we got married … you know …. “… love, honor, obey, and wait on …” and she hasn’t disappointed me. Fortunately, we wrote our own vows and that part wasn’t in mine. Well, it was, but I forgot to say it during the ceremony. She didn’t. Therefore, she’s really kind of obligated to cater to my every whim, even the whims I don’t remember having. I’m sure she’ll deny this, but that’s OK as long as she keeps waiting on me.

Now, having said all that, I’m going to start looking for resources on the internet so I can learn how to take care of myself. I’m sure that’s in my future, like, as early as tomorrow. Perhaps even a little later this evening unless go to bed before she reads this.

I know, I could edit all that out, but I don’t do that. Once it’s visible on my computer, it’s a done deal and I have to live with that. Like saying something really dumb in public … you just can’t take that stuff back, ya know?

I need another glass of water, and I’m going to go get it myself. For practice.

Then I’m going to quit.