How to make little tiny rags

I’m pretty confident that many of you, like me, have often wondered what would happen if, when mowing your lawn, a towel, normally used for drying off wet dog feet, that was being used to seal the hole around the grass pickup tube, magically fell down the chute and got all tangled up in the mower blades.

First, it makes the entire machine buck and jump like it’s going to tear itself apart, then, if you continue to run the mower deck, friction will ignite it which creates an unsettling amount of smoke from both the mower deck, and the discharge bags. Actually, it never really ignited … it just created a lot of smoke.

It’s quite exciting.

Here’s the resultant product …

I figure I can just little rags like this for a lot of projects around here. Getting them back into shape will require a washing, however, and I’m not sure Diane would be a fan of tackling that project. I might have to take it all to the laundromat. Or maybe just soak it all in a bucket for a few days and just lay the pieces out to dry.

For those of you wondering what Jeff brought me for my birthday, the suspense is over …

My new shirt and a pair of imogee jammie bottoms. Diane was very happy because the legs are long enough to reach the floor. I have another pair that don’t. The last time I wore them she said, “whenever you want to make me laugh, wear those.” They fit a little like pedal pushers. Remember those? Anyway, I love my new clothes.

Diane took her Mom, Jean, to the doctor today and she got a clean bill of health, all things considered. She doesn’t need to see him for another year. Pretty good for 89. I should be so healthy.

When Diane returned from Portland cooked up some more hamburgers. I was trusted with a knife to slice the tomato and chop up the last bit of shallot remaining in the fridge. Diane doesn’t eat them so I got all of it. There was enough to make about an 1/8th inch layer which I imbedded in the mayo on the bottom part of the bun, then put the meat over the top so none of the pieces fell out. It’s very important to me that shallots don’t escape from the bun while eating a hamburger. Most of the time that’s not a problem because I usually have onions. They always fall out.

Now I must flush the grass residue so I don’t make the house unbreathable for Diane. She went to Wal-Mart to get a new kitchen clock to replace the one she got in 1974 at a Copper Ware party in Pensacola, Florida. It’s been around for a while. Now it’s going to be a picture frame. Maybe.

The dogs are barking so Diane’s home. She’s been gone about an hour but they think it’s been days.

Later …

Happy Birthday Jeff & Other Stuff

He’s 45, but he’s still our baby boy. He will always be that and I think he’s OK with it. Now.

Jeff was born this day in 1972, in Rome, Italy. Consequently, his birth certificate is in Italian. Unique. When he started playing Little League we thought it may pose a problem, but no one seemed to mind. Apparently all those official could read Italian, or they didn’t care. He got to play which was all that mattered to us.

Jeff has made our life interesting over the last 45 years. Lots of memories, some good, some bad. Oddly, the good memories are easier to remember so it’s all good. We love our Little Baby Boy who has grown into a good man and a well-loved father. There’s more in store from him in the future, we’re sure.

Today I had really good intentions of digging up the rest of those weeds that inhabit the east side of the house, but that didn’t work out. The weather got in my way by turning up the heat. To about 117 degrees. That’s a lie, of course, but it sure felt like it. It really was 90, or so, thought. As I manipulate this keyboard it’s 85 out there and it’s 7:00 pm. Actually, it’s 7:04 pm.

I didn’t do the weeds because Diane said I wasn’t doing it when it’s 90 out there because she doesn’t want me to die, I guess. As a compromise, I got permission to mow the yard which doesn’t require a lot of physical effort. Just steering the mower which is pretty easy to do when the tires are properly inflated.

To prepare for mowing the yard, I lifted the front end of the mower off the ground to more easily access the mower deck so I could swap out the mulching blades for the hi-vac version. That needed to be done because the lower 40 is too tall to run mulching blades. Instead, I plan to just blow it out all over the place, let it dry, then vacuum it up. Much easier than trying to get the stupid thing to vacuum up heavy grass. Much easier on Jerrie.

Once I get the mulching blades off I thought, “you know, I should clean the old grass off the deck before putting on the other blades.” Yes, I actually thought all of that in one coherent sentence. So, I took the mower to the front of the house, got the power washer, changed the short water hose for the longer one so it would reach across the street, went to the gas station to fill my gas can, filled the power washer, and cleaned the deck. Whew. Then I just left it over there to dry.

While waiting I thought, “gee, I might as well finish power washing the front walk. I’d both ends un touched from the other day because Diane usually likes to do a little PWing herself, but not today. I was directed to finish the job, which I did. That and a little more. Not much more. Just a little.

While working on the sidewalk I only had to stop twice. Once when Doug showed up and I did some work for the American Legion Post 42 at his request, then again when Jennie appeared, looking for addresses. She’s working on Lydia’s graduation announcements. Maybe you’ll get one.

After all that, it was time for lunch but I couldn’t eat until I cleaned up. That meant a shower because I was a mess. Since I had to take a shower, my work day was officially over so I put on the PJ’s Jeff gave me last Saturday, in addition to the apple fritter, and called it a day.

While in the shower Diane constructed a Crab Louie for us. We love those things. She was well into hers by the time I showed up because she said she’d given me to 4:00 pm to finish before she started because she was hungry. I don’t blame her because while I was messing around outside, she cleaned the entire inside of the house. That’s the deals with all the dust and pet hair inside and I deal with anything that’s green and grows.

After lunch I took the trash and recycle cans out front so they can be emptied tomorrow. I took the dogs out with me because I knew they’d stay close. They got all interested in the fermenting grass I’d cleaned from the mower deck, to the point where Ziva was laying down in it. Diane poked her head out the door and asked, “What are they eating?” I didn’t know they were eating it, but they were. Must be tasty stuff, but I certainly wouldn’t do that. It was pretty nasty looking. All squishy, rotting, and just plain nasty. It was like silage. And they were eating it. Maybe they are mutated cows that look like dogs.

It wasn’t easy getting them away from their new-found treats, but I did it. I knew they wouldn’t let me brush their teeth because I’ve tried it before, so I didn’t bother. I just won’t be kissing them any time soon. No sir, not me.

Now I must stop and watch the Golden State Warriors finish the destruction of the San Antonio Spurs. I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s just the way it is. The Spurs are a really good team, but they can’t stay with the Warriors. They have a 67-15 win loss record this season. Not too bad.

Now I must stop.

Prom and a Party

Yesterday was Prom Night for St. Helens High School kids, the time of year when girls get new dresses and boys get new ideas because of the new dresses. Every year the cycle repeats. This year our Lydia, a senior, chose to observe this special event by avoiding the boy/girl drama by going with 9 of her friends. She did, however, invite her brother, Jeran, a Junior, and the family’s foreign exchange student, Ahmed, who is from Pakistan. So, it was 10 girls and two boys who were, I have no doubt, the envy of every other boy who attended. Avoiding the dating drama for most of her High School career has allowed her to focus on school work and sports. For her, and her friends, the drama is something that can wait because it will always be there.

So, here’s the crowd who reportedly had a terrific time. I only know a few of their names so will have to make something up for those I don’t know. On the left is Jeran, then a cute little red-headed girl in a white dress, a cute blonde in a purple dress, Maryssa, Lexi, a cute brunette in an aqua dress, Fiona, Lydia, a cute girl in a jacket, Ceierra, another cute girl in a white dress, and Ahmed. Good looking bookends for ten lovely young ladies. This photo was taken in front of the Midway Veterinarian Hospital in Warren, Oregon where Jennifer works. She’s Mom to Jeran, Lydia, Ahmed, and some times Ceierra, and had to work so they blessed her with a drive-by on their way to Portland. How cool is that?


Ahmed, Lydia, Jeran

Jeran , Lydia, Ahmed

I can’t go through those names again so refer back to the first photo …

We’re proud of our young adults and the values they embrace. In case any of you are wondering where those last three photos were taken, it was at Cathedral Park, which is under the eastern end of the St. Johns Bridge, which spans the Willamette River, which courses through down town Portland. Another interesting thing about Cathedral Park is that it’s where the Library resides in the TV Series, “The Librarians”. Watching that show gives folks an opportunity to see bits and pieces of Portland. “Grim” gives you more but, sadly, that show ended recently.

This afternoon, after church, we had a party at the house for Baylee who is going to be celebrating her birthday on April 30th. We had the party today because Diane and I won’t be home and we wanted to have fun, too. It was a simple affair with a herd of little girls running all over the house having a great time. There is one little guy, Donny, in the front row next to Baylee, but he wasn’t there for the festivities, just the photo-op.

They had a piñata, a Hello Kitty piñata, that took them a long time to destroy because I was in charge of the rope. Everyone had a good time and had a chance to take a whack at it, even the big kids. Here’s what was left of it. It was on the stake for just a short time before a short person grabbed it and made a gallant effort to destroy it by hand.

This is Eilena, a little girl Lydia babysits who many folks thinks is her daughter, which she finds adorable. Eilena (I’m guessing at the spelling) is like a Lydia Mini-me. I had to take this photo because Eilena managed to get cupcake frosting all over her face without ever attempting to take a bite of the cupcake. She dipped her fingers in the frosting one hand at a time, cleaning the fingers of one hand while the other was dipping up a little more frosting. Economy of motion. Smart kid.

Here’s Baylee, Gilligan, and Jerrie on their way home after the party. I think the smiles are a good indication that things went well. The candy didn’t hurt at all in swaying that good feeling to the positive side.

Here’s Lydia and Ceierra with that cute red-head in the white dress at Cathedral Park.

This is Gilligan and Abba resting with Ziva … in the very wet grass, that I haven’t been able to mow, because it’s so wet. Did I mention the grass is wet?

And, finally, here’s a rainbow Diane and I saw yesterday. We don’t often get rainbows where we can capture both ends. Quite festive.

Now it’s getting late and time for us to head to bed. I have ‘tasks’ tomorrow and need to be alert.

Bless you all.

My Lawn Mower

Just letting you all know that it was spring in our neighborhood yesterday so I mowed the lawn. All of it. Diane timed me and said it took me an hour and ten minutes. The mulching blades were still on from last summer so I could run flat-out pretty much the entire time. I did that partly because I had no idea how much gas was in the tank because the last time I filled it was in August last year, I think. So, I just cranked it up and figured when it sputtered to a halt I might be able to get another 5-6 feet of lawn mowed as it coasted to a stop. Yes, I could have gone out and got more gas but that would have made it a lot less exciting. As it turned out, there was plenty of gas.

The real upper for this evolution was the fact that the mower cranked right up without hesitation after sitting outside all winter.

I love my mower.

Winter Golf in Oregon

It was a beautiful day in the neighbor hood today. So good, in fact, that my friend JP deemed it worthy of losing a few balls on the golf course. That venture began right around 10 am. Here we are ready to tee off on #1. That’s JP on the left.

The first hole wasn’t too bad once we got past the first ditch. That’s where balls land and the ground is so saturated that the balls just bury themselves, never to be found again. Hole #2, below, is fairly flat and doesn’t drain well at all so this is what we had to contend with. Fortunately, the tee box is to the left of the little lakes and neither of us landed in the water.

Then, on #3, things got nasty. From here on to the end it was difficult to find firm ground for the cart and we wound up pushing it more than riding in it, I think.

So, we had the best of both worlds: golfing and 4-wheeling in the mud. I took home proof for Diane.

The end result was that we had a lot of fun because we didn’t seriously keep score. It’s hard to be serious when you actually make a good drive that lands in the fairway, but when you get to the spot, the ball just isn’t there. The only thing you get from searching for it is muddy shoes. Thank goodness they’re waterproof.

After leaving the golf course, I stopped to talk with Cousin Don for a while. I knew he was home because he had the shop door rolled up. He was sitting in the middle, eating his lunch, feet propped up on one of the many large tools he has in his shop. The tools are mostly related to the construction, upkeep, and resurrection of race cars. I pulled up a chair to rest my weary bones next to the absolutely prettiest engine I’ve ever seen. It’s brand new and doesn’t have a speck of dirt on it. Yet. Seems a shame to put it in a race car that’s more than likely to get smacked around. But, that’s what he’s done most of his life. I count my blessings whenever I get in a mechanical fix because Don has all the answers and replacement parts.

When I got home I found Diane hard at work cleaning the house. That’s what she does when I go out and play, probably because I’m not in the way. She stopped long enough for lunch (crab louies), then gat back at it while I went outside and started the old truck. I haven’t done that in a couple of months so was pleased when it started right up after cranking it and pumping the gas pedal for about thirty seconds. It’s a brute to start when the engine is cold, and runs like a top once it’s warmed up.

Satisfied that the engine still ran, I shut it down and got busy picking up debris from the front yard. Most of it was residue from one of the rhododendrons that Ziva had fun with when we had snow worth playing in. She loves to chase sticks and she especially likes rhododendrons because their branches snap in half really easy. Consequently, she shattered bits and pieces of it all over the place. It was work, made me sweaty, but I got it picked up and hauled to the burn pile.

Now it’s time for me to scrape the rest of the dirt from my torso so I can sit in a nice chair and get ready to watch Oregon tussle with Calf in one of the Pac-12 semi-final games. Should be a good game.

See you tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving !

Even though cramps, actually just ‘a’ cramp, forced me to my feet at 0345 this morning, it’s still a good day. Yessir, it is. It’s pouring down rain, nothing’s leaking, the furnace works, we still have power, Diane’s Aunt Carolyn is cooking dinner today and we’re invited, and the animals seem to be content. At least they aren’t arguing over food bowls but that can change in an instant even though we’ve had serious discussions about how inappropriate it is. They don’t get it. Both of them want to be in charge. Ozzie stays away from the arguments and the cat really doesn’t care.

Yesterday I worked in the flower & herb garden that Jewel and I constructed over the septic tank a few months ago. Pretty much everything is growing well, including lots of grass, so I took all the newspapers Diane had read and spread them around the plants and over the grass. Then I added more mulch so it covered all the paper. In all, it probably only took me a couple of hours, but that didn’t seem long enough so I continued by adding a bunch of tile that I purchased from the Restore Store here in town. Cheap tile. I just flung it all over the place. Basically, the objective was to surround each of the little, and big, plants that appeared alive to ensure no one would kill them with a hoe or shovel. The starburst thing in the middle is the septic pump port (SPP). Since I wasn’t too concerned with symmetry, it went quickly and I had even more time on my hands so I fiddled around with the rocks see if I could get them to balance on each other. Just getting rid of a little whimsy.


I also fixed the bathroom fan which was obviously not working correctly. Turns out the problem is common with fans using plastic fans – the hole, which is originally notched to fit a flat spot on the whirly thing, eventually wears out, making the hole round, allowing the motor shaft to spin relatively freely in the hole. Oh, the fan portion turns, but not as fast as the motor. It’s amazing how loud and annoying it is. So, I bought a replacement fan from Amazon. It’s metal and is held in place with an allen screw. No way is it ever going to fail. Ever.

A couple of days ago I repaired a lamp that Jewel tried to destroy. Actually, the little twisty thing that turned the light on and off twisted off in her right hand which is gaining strength every day, in case you’re wondering. Apparently it’s stong enough to wreck a lamp. I must clarify here that the lamp is an old one that Diane found either at a yard sale about 15 years ago, or at one of the many 2nd hand stores she likes. It was ready to break so it certainly wasn’t intentionally on Jewel’s part. I don’t think. Anyway, it turned out to be an easy fix. One that could have easily been accomplished without dismantling the switch mechanism, which I’d already done. I always go for the hard fix first. It’s always more fun.

Over the last couple of days I also fabricated a knife holder for Diane’s knife drawer. In the end it turned out to be a knife and wine stopper holder. Nifty. In case you’re wondering about the colors, it’s so I won’t get confused. Normally I’m only allowed to use the Orange one, but on certain days I can use one of the other knives for specific projects. Diane writes the color on our blackboard so I’ll know.


Now it’s time for me to go scrape things from my body in preparation to venture forth into the wild to visit Uncle Bill and Aunt Carolyn for Thanksgiving dinner. In attendance, we’re told, will be Julie, Duncan, Terri, and Lisa. Counting us there will be nine. Since there’s only room for 8 people at the table I suspect I’ll be close by with a TV tray. That’s OK.

Cheers everyone. Enjoy the day.

Happy November 1st, the sugar rush Teachers love

Yes, it’s November 1st already and I’m betting all the teachers will be glad when it’s over. I say that because Halloween was yesterday, on a school night, and there’s no doubt that most of the kids in their classes consumed way more sugar than normal last night. And, they probably brought some with them so they can taper off throughout the day. What fun, right?

Because of that I’m surprised our government hasn’t taken steps to move Halloween to the last Friday of October so the candy rush might wear off a little by Monday. After all, they changed a number of holidays to Monday so the work force could have more opportunities for three-day weekends, right? If I were president I’d make it a priority. Yes sir. I’d do that.

We didn’t have trick-or-treaters last night for two reasons: 1) We live on a dead-end street that doesn’t have street lights, and; 2) We ate all the candy so left the porch light off to ward off the adventurous tot’s. Does everyone realize that the word “tot” is actually an acronym for trick-or-treaters? It’s true. It’s a term for children that should only be used on Halloween.

You naysayers are no doubt thinking, “OK, why are there ‘tater tots’?” right? I’m with you on that. I think that’s a total misuse of the word and we should ignite a protest insisting that they be changed to ‘tater chunks’, ‘tater slugs’, ‘tater cubes’, or something equally more descriptive. Who’s with me on this?

It’s another lovely day here in River City and I may just have to mosey out to the burn pile and ruin it for anyone down wind by lighting up my burn pile. It won’t take long and it will give me an opportunity to take pictures of all those pretty flames. I’d wait until tomorrow, but Junior wants to go golfing and we don’t pass up those moments. Also, I need to work up an appetite for our late lunch because Diane is boiling eggs to put on our afternoon meal of Dungeness crab salad. My favorite thing in the entire world, right after Diane’s meatloaf and beef stew. Oh, and maybe homemade chicken and noodles. I guess it just depends on the day and what’s available. Food is good.

Now I must go to work.



The end result of an afternoon of burning is that about 1/5 of the pile is ashes and my right should is totally unusable.

But I’m still going golfing tomorrow. That should be fun.

As reported, Diane made me an epic crab louie this afternoon that had at least half a pound of fresh crab in it. Pretty tasty.

Now I’m done for the day, waiting to see if I’m going to have a bout of gout.

Day 21 – Maymont Park – Richmond, Virginia

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wandering through the Japanese Garden.

img_9896 img_9899 img_9900 img_9903

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

More out buildings with a really pretty fountain.


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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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



Football, Flowers, and Sprinklers

It’s Sunday. A fairly nice one. The thermometer reports it’s 72 outside and 71 inside. Frankly, I think it’s a bit warm in side and have seriously considered doffing my Sunday best (I went to church) and replacing them with shorts and a T-shirt. Or, perhaps, some summer jammies. But, no, we’re expecting company later in the day and I don’t want to embarrass anyone by being dressed inappropriately.

The company we expect live in Las Vegas, and are linked in a family manner to Jewel. One is her daughter, and there’s grand daughters, and grand dogs. They picked Jewel up this morning and carted her off to Seaside for a day at the coast. I suspect there will be a little shopping tossed in there since there are outlet stores in the vicinity. Since Jewel’s gained a whopping 5 lbs since coming to live with us she probably needs a whole new wardrobe. I’ll be curious to see what she brings home. That won’t be for a while.

Friday night was a highly promoted football game between St. Helens High School and Scappoose High School called the 7-Mile War. It’s a traditional rivalry that’s been going on forever, even back to when my much older brothers were in High School. That’s a long time. I don’t have any stats to share as to who normally wins the battle, but Friday night St. Helens put a country boy whoopin’ on Scappoose, beating them 41-21, or something like that. We went early because the crowd was expected to be big, and it was. The game wasn’t until 7:00 pm but we got there at 5:30 pm to some rock and roll music that sounded pretty darn good. Turned out to be Bart Hafeman and The Hit Machine. This is a well-known band here in the Great Northwest so it was special. Making it specialer is that Bart is a Scappoose Boy, a Local Boy, who made it good. Anyway, we found some seats three rows from the top of the stands right on the 50 yard line and there’s Bart and the Boys rockin’ out on the track in front of us. I’ve known about the band for years, and have seen Bart many times at different venues (like the Columbia County Fair), but have never heard them play. It was a treat because they play pretty much everything. Even stuff I like. Amazing. If given a chance, you should go see them.

Now, back to the game …

Scappoose and St. Helens are in different leagues but they play each other every year to keep the war alive. Just for fun. The stands on both sides of the field were filled and there were many more lining the fence surrounding the field. There were even people in lawn chairs sitting in their driveways across the street from the stadium area. What fun. Being near the top of the stands allowed us to enjoy the full benefit of the screams of joy when St. Helens did something good, which they did often. In my personal experience, the noise level was worse than that we’ve experienced at a Portland Trailblazer game and the Blazers are down by one, theres 2 seconds to go and Lillard hits a 3-pointer. That’s really loud. Friday night was louder. And really invigorating.

Complicating our presence at the game was the fact that both Diane and I graduated from Scappoose High School, but our children and grandchildren went to, and are going to, St. Helens schools. So, we sat amongst the St. Helenonites. I figured, yes, we graduated from SHS which entailed a 4-year obligation, but we’ve been associated with SHHS far longer, like since 1989. So, I was OK with betraying my old school. By doing so I wound up on the winning side.

Demonstrating the team spirit of both school, all the cheer leaders from both sides joined together in the field at halftime and did an obviously well rehearsed routine.

img_0504 It was a terrific gesture and made all of us proud. Then all of the youth program football teams and small versions of cheer leaders were introduced and filled the field. There’s a bunch of them so I suspect there won’t be any shortage of football players and cheer leaders for many years to come. There was also a tribute to all the public services when members of the sheriff’s, city police, paramedics, and firemen were introduced. In case you were wondering, everyone was standing, just as they did for the national anthem before the game started. That makes me proud, too.

This was today – another ho-hum Oregon sunrise.


Here’s Panzee displaying her newest trick. She flops around on the yard for a bit, then gets flat on her back and just stays there for the longest time, her impression of a raccoon that’s been laying beside the road for a few days in the hot sun. She must have seen it on TV because I don’t recall ever coming across one while she was in the car with us. Gonna have to start being careful what she watches.


Finally, I spent pretty much all day yesterday working on our in-ground sprinklers. They all worked, to some extent, but not quite as good as they should. So I decided to make them all work correctly. I have, after all, a large box of new replacement sprinkler heads that were left by the previous owner and it’s time to use some of them. I managed to replace the obviously broken units, then started trying out different sprinkler nozzles to see which ones give the best coverage without spraying into a bedroom or bathroom window that someone forgot to close before turning on the sprinklers. That happens. Fortunately, Diane’s side of the bed is the wet one when that happens.

Jewel has been instrumental in the resurrection and transformation of our adequate yard into one with lots of color provided by things deer don’t eat. She spends the better part of each day outside uncovering botanical treasures that we didn’t know we had, and adding more that we had no idea we needed. The result is wonderful and we know we’re going to enjoy her efforts for many years to come. But, what I’ll personally probably remember most, after her efforts in the fall and winter, is the sight of her tending her plants will be the sight of her like this …


She found it at Jilly’s Boutique in downtown St. Helens. She professes that she needed the hat to keep her ears warm on chilly days. The image on the front is a skull so I think it’s more a statement about a previous life style. Whatever the reason, it fits her personality and will, I’m sure, keep her ears warm.

Air Filters, Eboards, Haircuts, Soccer, and iPad Pro

Today I cleaned our furnace air cleaner filters, attended an American Legion Executive Board meeting, got a haircut, had a couple of naps, and watched a fun high school soccer game, in that order. Oh, and I got my new iPad Pro, too.

First, the filters. I have to do this every month because Diane puts it on the calendar. She knows that I check my calendar every day and am pretty good about doing things listed on the calendar, especially when they are preceded by my name. Like, “Jerrie – Cleans Filters”. The first time I saw that I wasn’t sure what filters I was supposed to clean so I didn’t do it. That, of course, resulted in punishment for Failure To Comply. I quickly learned what filters were involved and have faithfully complied ever since. Now, how I clean them is up to me. Sometimes I just vacuum them off, sometimes I use my air compressor and blow all the dirt in the neighbor’s yard. Or, out into the yard. Other times, like today, I hosed them all down and left them to dry in the hot afternoon sun. Everything dried except for the two big honeycomb things that go on the bottom of the stack. So, I left them in the yard, on a chair, facing the setting sun with a soft summer breeze blowing directly into the little damp holes. That was 8 hours ago and they’re still out there. In the cold damp, dark, night. Guess I won’t be putting them in until tomorrow morning some time. I’d go out and get them, but I don’t want to. I can only hope that some weirdo filter thief doesn’t show up and take them.

Our American Legion Executive Board meeting has historically been held at 10 which is just a little late for breakfast and a little early for lunch. Today it was at 11, making lunch more likely. I had breakfast. Now, calling this the Executive Board sounds a little elegant for our small group, but that’s technically what it is. I must attend because I’m the Sgt. At Arms, keeper of the peace. Yeah, I thought it was funny, too, when they voted me into that position. I actually volunteered to do it because I knew it didn’t involve a lot of manual labor or memory recall. That, and no one else wanted to do it. That was last year. No one else wanted to do it this year either, so I still have the little thing on my hat proclaiming my position. Maybe I’ll do it again next year if things stay calm. At the EBoard meetings everyone else conducts actual business. I just eat and vote when necessary. I voted 3 times today.

After the meeting I got home in time to participate in a haircut marathon involving Diane’s Mom, Jean, Diane, Jewel, and me. We were all in line for a touch-up from the Traveling Hair Dresser which is pretty handy, let me tell you. We just do a little Rock Paper Scissors to see who goes first, then the hair cutter gets right to work and hair starts flying all over the place. Logic says we’d do this outside, on the porch, but it actually takes place on the dining room carpet. Diane likes doing it there because she has this incredible vacuum cleaner that sucks up hair like crazy. We know because we pick up tons of dog hair every week and look at them in wonder, like “I wonder why the dogs aren’t bald?” They actually lose 3 dogs worth of hair every month. I don’t know how they do that. So, picking up a little bit of gray hair from some old people once every couple of months is no big deal.

I had the next to last haircut because Diane told me to get in the chair. I didn’t lose much because it was cut pretty short the last time I had a haircut. Like a buzz cut. Really short. After that I was really tired so stretched out on the sofa and took a few naps while waiting for the next event of the day. I had more than one nap because continuity was interrupted by the UPS lady who delivered my new iPad Pro, an email from Jimbo wanting to know when we were going to go golfing again, a phone call from John to arrange a golf date, and various other noises throughout the afternoon. The result of all the interruptions is that I’m obliged to go golfing three times next week. That’s unheard of for me because nine holes a week is usually my limit. Now I’m going to do 36. Should be interesting. Wonder if I’ll get better as the week goes on. I also wonder if I’ll be able to walk by the end of the week. We’ll see.

During some of my awake time I set up my new iPad. Diane said I needed a new one because the screen on the old one is cracked a little from an injury it received from a drop that I have no memory of. Interesting. One I make the transition to the new unit I’m going to set it up for Diane’s Mom, Jean so she can use it. She doesn’t know this yet and we already know it’s going to be a hard sell because she thinks things like the iPad are too complicated for her to use. We think once she sees what it can do she’ll have a changed of heart. She’ll be connected to the world and will be able to follow Diane and me during our travels, getting all the fancy photos we include sometimes. And Facebook! That will really yank her eyes open. Diane will set up a new Facebook page for Mom. She conquered the Comcast remote control so we’re confident she can handle an iPad and all the notifications one gets on Facebook. Should be fun.

In the evening, before the sun set, we headed for the St. Helens High School soccer field to watch our Lady Lions play against the Astoria Fishermen. Now, right away I saw a problem with the Astoria team name. I mean, this is a team of young ladies and they still call them Fishermen. Shouldn’t they be Fishergirls, Fisherladies, or a more generic Fisherpeople? That would certainly be the case if the ACLU ever hears about this. That’s an opinion, of course. The ACLU might not give a hoot. What’s happened with all the PC stuff about gender specific tags? Whatever … our girls played a great game, for the most part, and won 2-0. The score should have been more like 15-0 because our girls kicked the ball over the opposing net about 13 times. In the second half Lydia, our goalie, only got to touch the ball whenever one of her team mates kicked it to her. Oh, there were a couple of close calls, but Lyd fended them off with the help of her best defender, Ceiarra. Morgan, the first half goalie did a lot of standing around, too, and made some good stops to keep Astoria scoreless.

At the game we were blessed with the presence of the lovely Georgie and her lovely Mom Jacqui. I just learned that she reads this stuff so had to name her. Georgie graduated and we miss seeing her play. She’s very good. Just saying. Rumor has it that Georgie and family will be moving to England at some undisclosed future date where she will attend college and major in soccer. We believe this is possible for her because of the uncanny life-like British accent her Mom uses. And, more probably, because  her Mom is really British and they have lots of family still in the Old Country. We look forward to their move so we will have a place to stay when we visit England one day.

It’s almost Eleventy PM now and everyone else in the house is already in bed. I’m watching a recording of the Denver Broncos Carolina Panthers game. Looks like the Jags are going to take it home so I can probably just fast forward to the end of the game to see the final score and go to bed myself. After all, the dogs will undoubtedly wake me up in about 5 hours. Yes, they’ve been edging the time back closer to 4 am lately. I can hardly ignore them since Ozzie is on the bed and he fronts for the big dogs by licking whatever isn’t under the covers until I get up. Consequently, I’m careful about what I leave exposed when I close my eyes for the night, which is just what I’m going to do now.