hasta la vista 2021

OK – I know. That’s a bad choice for bidding farewell to a year we will never see again. Sayonara would be more correct I believe.

Iregardless, or regardless if you prefer, it’s time to say goodbye to a year fraught with amazing and frightening events. I have no intention of reiterating the lengthy list of candidates as I’m pretty sure the big ones (newsworthy) are well known to all. Rattling around in my head, up near the top, are events that occurred on January 6th. I’m sure you all know that’s the day Epiphany is celebrated.

“Why,” you may ask, “does anyone celebrate the Capitol Riots?”

Pondering the question with my arms crossed, my head tilted a bit to the right, tapping my chin with my right forefinger, I respond, “Actually, though the Capitol Riots did indeed happen on that January 6th, it isn’t known for sure if that day for such activities was chosen for religious reasons or if it was purely coincidence. You see, January 6th is the 12th Day of Christmas.”

You might respond with a resounding, “Really!” or a “Now, you’re just yanking my chain, right?”

“Nope, not at all,” I reply. “January 6th is the day of Epiphany, marking the end of the Christmas season . Epiphany celebrates the baptism of the infant Jesus Christ by John the Baptist, and the visit of the Three Wise Men to Bethlehem, and the day all Christmas decorations must be removed from the exteriors of homes in areas where HOAs are very strict.” That last bit was only recently added.

Just so you know, the events that happened on January 6th, 2021 had nothing to do with Christmas whatsoever (I’ve always wanted to use that word in a meaningful way). According to many news networks, there may be another upheaval in 2024. I can only wonder if it, too, will transpire on January 6th.

COVID, in many forms, assaulted people throughout the year and caused lots of problems for the nurses and doctors who did their best to deal with it. The medical community will forever have my respect for what they are enduring. If only people would just suck it up and get vaccinated, perhaps they could help end this by not getting sick and overwhelming our hospitals and medical facilities. Who knows?

Enough of that.

How about a nice January 1st, 2022 sunrise?

This is the way 2022 started for me. Kinda pretty, don’t you think? In my mind, however, it conjures up an old nautical saying … Red sun at night, Sailor’s delight. Red sun in the morning, Sailor take warning.

I’ll admit that such a stunning display as this doesn’t really reveal that the rising sun is red. There’s a lot of reflected light on display just before the sun makes it’s appearance. Whenever I see such a display in the morning I wait to see what the sun will do. Not only because it’s very pretty, but because something woke me in time to see it and I need to watch it to the end. It doesn’t last very long so you can’t look away.

In this instance, the sun revealed itself like this …

It means the day will be good.

Hope your’s will be good, too. Like good all year.

Electric Cars

It’s been about a week or so since I discovered that authorities have intervened to prohibit one more electric car feature that had me right on the exciting verge of obtaining one of those vehicles. First it was the auto drive feature which really tweaked my interest from the start. I mean, how cool would it be to just set the vehicle to auto drive, then climb in the back seat for a nap while traversing the massively boring trip through LA. It’s normally a very slow trip so the danger of damage caused by a speeding, out of control vehicle is minimized. Still, I can see the potential for disastrous results if such technology fell into the hands of someone less responsible than my humble self.

It’s my understanding that the auto drive feature isn’t totally disabled. One can activate it but someone in the driver’s seat must keep both hands on the steering wheel. I’m actually OK with that because I think I could find a small child, who can’t reach the pedals, to sit in the driver’s seat and hang on to the steering wheel for me.

Now, after making the auto drive feature more difficult to use, they’ve taken away the games from the driver. I’m thinking, “Really! They allow us to install games on the iPad-like dashboard then make it illegal for the driver play them? What’s the point of that?” OK, they make it difficult for the driver to play because they will have to push a button to verify they aren’t driving. That makes sense, too.

I’m saying this with tongue in cheek because I’m not someone who plays games on my iPad. Therefore, in my electric car I would simply sit and watch while my passenger played. That makes sense, too, right? Quite a safety feature.

Now that I’ve got all that off my chest I’ll share that I think installing video games on a device that’s in a prominent position for both driver and passenger is about the most ignorant thing I’ve ever heard of. Making Tesla gaming available is like daring the driver to not play them while driving.

O, wait! People play on their phones all the time while driving so, perhaps, playing on a larger screen, installed in your dashboard, will make it easier to keep an eye on the road while playing since they won’t be looking down in their laps in an attempt to fool people into believing they aren’t playing with their phone. Until they run into someone. Then everyone knows.

The previous information is based on personal opinions of which I have many and, so far, opinions which I can share at will.

I’d continue but don’t have anything worthwhile to share. It would just be a continuation of the foregoing, wasting words for absolutely no reason.

Hope all is well with all of you.

My High School Sweetheart

She had another birthday today, just like she did last year, and the year before. It happens every year on this day, just like clockwork. Today’s birthday is her 75th and she’s blessed me by letting me share the last 53 of them with her. I hope it never ends.

My gift for her today was freedom to go with our daughter, Jennifer, on a shopping trip without worrying about returning at a specific time. Since she’s the main care giver for her Mom, she doesn’t get to do that often any more. It’s important that she does when given the chance.

They took little Jessie (Jessiah) with them and they were gone for nearly 7 hours. That’s not a complaint or a criticism, just a fact. Jessie is 5-months old and the mellow one of the two children Jennifer Foster’s. This is him in a bad mood after being strapped in a car seat or a stroller all that time:

While they were gone I kept watch over Diane’s Mom to ensure she was fed, watered, and not allowed to leave the house. The latter really isn’t isn’t a problem because although she’s still pretty mobile, when she gets up it’s usually to lock all the doors.

I was told the girls both had a good time, spreading lots of smiles in their wake as they rolled Jessie around Washington Square Mall in search of adequate bras for both of them. I suspect that was one of the reasons they were OK with me staying home.

Lunch was supposed to be at the Cheese Cake Factory, but with all the shoppers wanting to eat at the same time it would have been a 1.5 hour wait. So, they went to Subway and had a sandwich. Personally, that would have been my choice, and it’s one Diane and I used to visit fairly often.

This is my true love (the one on the right). I count my blessing every day that the cosmos aligned properly and allowed me to win her heart. I fear one day she’ll wake up and see the error of her ways and make me leave. So far, so good.

Happy Birthday Sweetheart.

DeJa’Vu All Over Again

I woke up this morning at 0545 thinking that it’s been a while since I shared something with all of you. This caused my brain to swirl (counterclockwise) with myriads of possibilities for topics to address. I lay there for a while, waiting for the swirling to stop, but it never did, so I extracted myself from bed and headed for the kitchen where I found a fairly fresh baked loaf of bread. This caused the swirling to stop and shift into a more immediate need for sustenance in the form of peanut butter toast. Since I’d not had any in a while, I toasted two slices of bread while I looked for the cat.

Yeah, I know. Looking for the cat really doesn’t have anything to do with toasting bread. It’s just that while toasting is going on there’s a period of idle time that required me to be doing something, so I looked for the cat. She had to eat, too. I didn’t find her right away, but had time to put some kitty bisque in her bowl with the optimistic belief that she would show up and, she did. Right on time.

By the time I go my toast buttered, and got settled in my chair, she was done eating and looking for a lap to nap in. Actually, it’s more like a lap to shed hair and lick herself all over. During these times it’s necessary to keep one hand on her to keep her away from my toast. She likes peanut butter. I give her a little lick once in a while by swiping some on one of the fingers of my cat hand, risking dozens of diseases, while I gobble my toast. By the time I’m done, so is she and she settles down for a short nap.

It’s a short nap because guilt creeps into my head as I think about Diane sitting alone with her mother. Now, sitting with Mom isn’t all that difficult, but she isn’t much of a lap person which makes me feel like I have the advantage. Cutting the cat nap short by standing, thereby removing the lap, I ready myself for the trip down the hill.

Another reason I scurry down the hill is because I know Diane has a pot of coffee brewing and I need some. It’s a horrible affliction but I read somewhere that coffee is good for the heart. Choosing to believe that, I imbibe every morning.

The weather here in the Pacific Northwest is very wet right now. And, it’s getting colder as winter sneaks up on us.

The foregoing words reflect pretty much every day now. It was started on December 6th and the only thing that’s changed is that I don’t often find fresh home baked bread and I don’t eat peanut butter toast every day – just once in a while.

Since Diane stays nights with her mom, I’m the designated cook for both of them. That’s really just a continuation of our arrangement before Diane changed home addresses and that’s OK. I like to cook and doing that, as I’m sure I’ve reported previously, means I don’t have to clean up the mess I make. Still, I’m careful not to make it too messy

Today is Thursday, December 16th, the day some of us fellows from church meet for coffee at the Kozy Korner Cafe. Regarding that, I’m curious to know why it isn’t the Kozy Korner Kafe. Makes more sense and doing so would allow me to shorten the name to K3. As it is it’s a more complicated K2C. Just a thought.

The Girls who wait on us at the Kozy, Kerry and Kerry are the best. They deliver coffee to us without us having to ask. We sit down and full coffee cups appear like magic. It’s kind of interesting that toward the end of summer I ran across one of the Kerry’s at Safeway and didn’t recognize her until she said “Kozy”. I knew I knew her, but the synapses weren’t firing correctly. She understood the look of confusion on my face as I struggled to say her name. Very odd. I’m sure that’s the kind of confusion people who have dementia suffer. Well, that’s me. Diane tells me I have dementia so it must be true. Instead of worrying about it I just embrace it even though it makes Diane cranky. It’s easier to ask than to remember.

She doesn’t like me asking her to repeat things to me that she’s shared in the past, and I know it’s true; but I also know that Diane remembers stuff and I don’t hesitate to ask.

Considering all off that, perhaps dementia should be spelled DeMen’Tia, kinda like DeJa’Vu. Or, just get rid of the word dementia and stick with DeJa’Vu since that’s pretty descriptive for the malady.

Looks like it’s time to stop this nonsense.

I hope everyone is well and looking forward to a blessed Christmas.

The Rest of the Story, kinda …

I just learned a new favorite quote that I’m going to plagiarize from a movie I’m watching with Jean, Diane’s Mom, while Diane goes to Walmart in her nightgown. Here’s the quote, then I’ll explain the rest of that in great detail.

A problem is an opportunity dressed in work clothes.”

The Movie is “A Taste if Christmas” and it’s on the Lifetime channel. A great quote.

Now, for the rest of the story …

First, Diane swore she wasn’t going to wear her nightgown to Walmart but I don’t know why. If I had a nightgown, and looked as good as she does in it, I’d do it. Honestly, she did leave Mom’s house in her nightgown to go home and tackle a chore while I look after Jean. That’s code for “make sure she doesn’t fall down,” “feed her,” and “watch whatever she wants to watch on TV.” The first two are simple because she doesn’t fall down any more, and I feed her when I’m hungry. The last one is more difficult because I’m never sure I’m on the correct channel at the correct time. During the week we progress through News, The Price is Right, News, Wheel of Fortune, News, Days of Our Lives, News, Lifetime, etc…

Today, however, is Saturday and, as I watch this movie I know there’s a college football game playing on at least 12 other channels but I’ve been directed to steer clear of those to spare Mom the agony of being forced to watch that kind of chaos. Sometimes I dial up those channels on my laptop so I can watch one of my favorite teams (Ducks & Beavers). I’ll be doing that later this afternoon when they are playing.

Sorry, but I got a bit distracted by all the keys on my laptop and it’s difficult to NOT touch at least most of them while I sit here. Sometimes things appear on my screen that actually make sense. All the other “stuff”I try to make it disappear. Once in a while something stupid slips by, so forgive me.

The reason Diane leaves Mom’s in her nightgown is because she spends her nights with Mom. After I get here, and have my coffee, she sneaks into the garage and gets in her car, before opening the big door, then drives home where she takes a shower before getting to work on one project or another. Our house is a little bit remote so there’s no danger of being seen in sleep wear up there. Or, there’s no danger of being seen improperly dressed at home because no one really cares up there.

About that … taking a shower, then going to work on something that’s bound to make one sweaty. I’ve always thought she did that in the wrong order. She should work first, then shower, right? But, she doesn’t and I’ve become accustom to her dyslexic approach to work and hygiene. On the upside, she always smells really great when she begins working. She also smells really good after she’s done working. So, having said that, it’s evident that I don’t really know what I’m talking about when it comes to taking a shower. Because of that, I’ve decided to just take a shower whenever she tells me to. One more decision I don’t have to worry about.

Oh! I went through the TV directory and discovered that there are 13 channels with football games on, not 12. Although I just guessed the 12, I’m sad that I was wrong because I’m so rarely that. Wrong, that is. Just ask Diane. She’ll tell you I’m almost always right.

Today Diane said she’s going to work on getting “things” out of the RV before the weather turns to bad. It’s not fun carrying a load of “stuff” from the RV to the house in the snow, or a torrential rain storm. Actually, doing it in the snow isn’t totally bad. I kinda like it that way. So, I’m not taking out my “stuff” until it snows. The way the weather is trending, I may not have to move my “stuff” at all.

I’m rambling so it must be time to stop.

Now, I think I’ll go take a shower, then watch some football.

Happy Veteran’s Day 2021

As most of you know, I spent a considerable amount of time on active duty as part of the US Navy. I retired in 1989 and still celebrate my association with the Navy and appreciate the many ‘Thank Yous’ I receive from those I meet. It was an honor to serve and I’m humbled when people take the time to thank me for that service.

What many folks do not consider is the sacrifice our spouses made over the course of those military careers. They did not have an easy job being left alone with all the household responsibilities. Many marriages cannot weather that storm and, sadly, ending in turmoil for the families.

I am blessed to still be married to my high school sweetheart who joined me in 1968 and was whisked away from sleepy Warren, Oregon to Okinawa, Japan on the other side of the Pacific Ocean . She experienced culture shock and endured this life-changing experience, supporting me, making us an unstoppable 2-person team throughout the remaining 20 years of ‘our’ career.

Yes, it was ‘our’ career, not just mine. She put in the time and dealt with just as many difficult times as I did, never faltering, always there for me and our children.

That’s what I think about every day, and especially on Veteran’s Day when we who served are put in the spotlight.

So, My Love, Thank You for Your Service.

Ozzie 2005 – 2021

Our little Buddy is gone. I’ve had to delay this news because he passed away in his sleep while we were away in Montana. He was 16 years old, but he acted like a little puppy most of the time. Toward the end he was blind and had an attitude to the point where his groomer wasn’t able to get him looking this handsome. Still, we loved the little guy to the end and miss him every day.

Ciao, Oz.

Assigned Gender?

  • I recently had to fill out a medical form at the VA and was surprised to see that the “Gender” block had been changed. Instead of having just “M” and “F” is shows “Gender Assigned at Birth – M of F”.

I understand that in today’s world, gender identification is almost a science of its own because many people who were assigned the “M” gender at birth don’t mentally or socially associate themselves with other “M” assignees. I get it. Same goes for those assigned the “F”. I’m sure this has been an issue for many many generations but it just wasn’t discussed so openly as it is now.

Complicating this further, gender pronouns are a hot button for many folks, so I did a little research and found this info provided by the Vassar LGBTQ Center.

QUOTE 

What is a gender pronoun?

  • A gender pronoun is a pronoun that a person chooses to use for themself. For example: If Xena’s gender pronouns are sheher, and hers, you could say “Xena ate her food because she was hungry.”

END QUOTE

OK, got it. People can choose their own gender pronouns to reflect how they feel about themselves. I respect that and do my best to comply with their wishes when I encounter the need.

I submit, however, that doing this does not mean that an assigned “M” is changing their gender simply by letting people know they prefer to be called “her” or “she”. It’s a preference based on how they view themselves. At the end of the day, an “M” is still an “M” and an “F” is still an “F” even for those who identify with the opposite assigned gender.

So, I think those medical forms that use “Gender Assigned at Birth” should get an additional line requesting to know “What Gender Pronoun do you Prefer – Him or Her?”.

It’s a complicated world we live in and navigating the hazards is becoming more difficult. It isn’t my desire to offend anyone but not knowing the rules places me in harms way. I suspect that’s true for some of you, too. Hopefully, sharing this information from Vassar will help clear things up for all of us.

I will not report on this issue in the future. It’s just one of those things that got into my head and the only way I can get it out of there is to write it down.

Thanks

Car Bibs

This is for my Jennie.

Somewhere in our travels Diane obtained a couple of car bibs for us. Since we eat in our car all the time (who doesn’t?) we use them all the time. I’ve threatened to take control of Diane’s sewing machine so I could take a shot at making a few of them, but that hasn’t happened, yet. Maybe soon.

While working toward that possibility, I’m sharing what I know with all of you knowing that many of you are crafty people who can fathom the intricate details required to make these a reality for yourselves.

.5First, you must obtain a piece of material that you won’t miss from the piles of scraps in one of your drawers. Actually, get two pieces. They can be any size, but the finished example is 14.25″ X 26″.

The scraps must be larger, of course, to allow you to stitch the pieces together, good sides facing each other. Once they are stitched together, you must devise a way to turn the material inside out. You already knew that, of course, and probably left a gap at the bottom, or side which can be closed with hot glue or wood glue, whatever is handy. You can also stitch it with the sewing machine.

I’m getting ahead of myself.

Once you have the material, you need to cut out a circle large enough to go around the neck of the person for whom you’re making the bib. Use the example as a guide.

Once you’re done stitching it all together, and figured out how to get the thing inside out, dig around in your sewing supplies and find the velcro you bought six years ago. It’s in there. You just have to find it. Attach opposing pieces of velcro to the little tabs on the pieces that go around the neck opening.

Easy Peazy, right?

Now that I’ve shared all that, ETSY provides an easier way but it’s not as much fun as making them yourselves.

Show us pictures of what you’ve done.

Montana Trip Finale.

The entries for this trip are disjointed, I know, and there are reasons, of course. I would share all those reasons but it would sound a lot like whining so I’ll just give you the main reason.

OK, I’ll give you a few of them.

First, my laptop is old and slow like molasses all the time. No amount of searching on the internet, when we had it, revealed a viable solution so I struggled with the long wait times. It reminded me of when I first got involved with computers (1989) when slow was the norm. Now, however, everything is supposed to be lighting fast, like when the laptop was new (2010, I think).

Then there was the internet problem. Most of the campgrounds had wifi, but in all cases it was a iffy connection to a slow service. Diane and I found that using our iPhones as a hot spot worked far better (when we had a cell signal).

Other reasons for scattered input involved laziness. I was on vacation and simply found it more relaxing to just zone out on the sofa, watching TV, until time for bed. That was one really good thing about all the camping sites – we had a good look at the southern sky that ensured contact with the Dish satellites. Just like being home, almost. I don’t like using that term because it conjures the question, “then why didn’t you just stay home?” So, I shy away from that one so forget I said that.

Also, most of our RV trips only last 4-5 days at a time but this one stretched to 18 days. I know that’s true because that’s how many pair of underwear I packed and I used every one of them. I also packed just enough pills to make it all the way to the end and ran out the day we got home. That was last Thursday, September 30th.

The last excuse I have for not keeping up with our travels is that we had to change our route because of forest fires and rumors that Highway 12 had been closed where it crosses into the Indian Reservation to stop the spread of COVID. Instead of verifying the latter, we just chose to head north back through Coeur d’Alene to Spokane. That one wore my head out even though I was not part of the planning process to find an alternate route. The ladies did all that.

From Drummond, Montana, the name that may not be correct, and the Ghost Town attraction, we headed west. That’s the direction both those arrows indicate, but we used I-90 instead of Drummond Frontage Road, which passes by the Bearmouth Chalet and RV park.

That’s Terry & Cliff resting.

When we got to Missoula, just a few miles west of Bearmouth, or Drummond (your choice), we stopped to take a peak at Fort Missoula which was not far off route. when we finally weaved our RVs through a seemingly endless number of full parking lots, we found some space in front of the Military Museum. As luck would have it, that was my main choice of places to look at.

While trying to avoid active sprinklers, I got to a dry sidewalk and saw this lashup which intrigued me.

The hose runs off to one of the sprinklers running in the area.

This apparently intrigued me so much that I either failed to take photos inside the museum, or I took ’em and lost ’em. We may never know. I just know I can’t find them, yet.

one of On the grounds outside the museum we discovered all manner of interesting things. This was my favorites ……..

There was also a steam engine that belongs to Willamette Iron & Steel Works in Portland, Oregon. That true. there was a label on it …

In an attempt to curb vandalism, they put a sign on it to dissuade climbers,

… but there’s one in every crowd, right?

Actually, I asked Terry to step up there so I could take his photo for this very purpose. He didn’t hesitate but he didn’t see the sign, either. It was OK, though, because no one was looking but us.

There was this enormous steam tractor, too, that was connected to a portable sawmill. Fascinating.

After the park and museum, we continued our journey west toward Spokane. Since we fiddled around a while at the fort, we made it a short day by stopping at the River’s Edge RV park in Alberton, Montana. It was handy, between I-90 and the Clark Fork River. I think Diane found it. It’s a nice park once you find the spot assigned. It was very confusing, but we worked it out and got parked OK. Supper was left overs from previous meals at table #5 on the river, about 50 feet from our parking spot.

Home

In Spokane we were going to stay at the Elks Lodge but upon arriving at the address we found on the internet we found that the entire building had been torn down. We found another address for it but couldn’t find it so we stayed at the Eagle’s Lodge instead. It was OK but it poured down rain in the night. That sounds like a complaint, but it isn’t. It was an observation.

From Spokane we drove south to Umatilla and stayed at a city park right on the river. It was Exit 1 after crossing the Columbia. Diane and I left the other two RV’s at Spokane because Terry was having transmission problems that needed attention and he didn’t want to take a chance of catastrophic failure on the freeway. Cliff an Susie stayed with him an Carolann to help. We went ahead because my pills ran out on Thursday and we had to be home before then. As it turned out, they acquired a workable solution that allowed them to follow about 3 hours behind us. They alerted us when they were 20 miles out so Diane and I took a walk round the park and found a bench to perch on so we could see them coming down the road.

And, there they were!

We all had good spots in the park, enjoyed the evening with a group dinner, then headed west on I-84 for The Dalles the following morning. We only made one stop along the way, not too far past Boardman.

In The Dalles we stayed at the Eagle’s Lodge parking lot (with hookups). For dinner we went to Cousin’s Restaurant. Turns out it wasn’t nearly as good as it used to be so we crossed it off out list for the near future. We took a little trip around town near our parking spots, and I found this street …

We didn’t linger here, but headed back to the ranch post haste.

Diane and I headed home the next morning but the other two couples wanted to stay another night because of the weather report. They didn’t want to get home and unpack in the rain that was forecast. So, Diane and I went on ahead.

The trip through the Columbia River Gorge was extremely windy (not uncommon) and it poured rain on us the entire way. So, the weather report Terry heard was correct.

We got home in time for me to take my last batch of pills so all is good.

As I finish this, we’ve been home just a week.