Sunday, December 6, 2009


I'm getting a little disgusted with some members of Congress, especially the Democrats who are complaining about President Obama's decisions on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Where were they when George W Bush took us into wars in those places? They were all gung ho and ready to support King George II in his "war on terrorism". Few in either house voted against anything to do with the wars, and they certainly didn't demand an exit strategy! If they had read any of the reasoning against going into Baghdad and removing Saddam during the First Gulf War, they would have realized that invading Iraq was a fool's errand. And, indeed it was. The whole of the Middle East is destabilized and any major withdrawal from Iraq will probably mean an invasion by Iran and a Civil War. As far as Afghanistan is concerned, all we needed to do was look at the Soviet Union's debacle in the 80's. If we didn't want to be stuck in Afghanistan forever, we should have stayed out. The CIA could have taken out bin Laudin in a swift surgical strike. We never did get him and now we have helped destabilize Pakistan and are fighting the same folks the Soviets fought! The problems and enormous and can't be solved with simplistic actions. Wake up Congress! Become part of the solution and not part of the problem.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

More Football

Tonight the University of Oregon will play Oregon State University in the "Civil War" football game. For the first time in the 107 year history of the game the winner will be the PAC-10 Champion and play in the Rose Bowl. For years, college football in Oregon has been a step-child in the PAC-10, the state has far fewer people than California, or Arizona and, yes, an even smaller population than Washington. This, and the fact that both schools are in relatively small communities, puts them at a disadvantage in recruiting. However, in the past 10 to 15 years, new scholarship rules and some wealthy alumni have helped narrow that gap. The Oregon schools are now competitive and like the long suffering Chicago Cubs fans we supporters are having a good time knowing that our teams have a chance at a big time bowl game.

I am a University of Oregon fan, but I am reveling in the fact that winner of the "Civil War" will be playing in Pasadena on New Years. Go Ducks! Good luck Beavers.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I am a football fan, High School and College football that is. I love the Oregon Ducks as any alum should and I bleed Black and White for The Vale High School Vikings as anyone who taught there for 44 years should. Yesterday the Vikings played Rainer High School in a 3A State Championship Semi-final game. The game was played in Bend, 5 hours away and I was unable to attend, but I listened to the game on the radio. Vale played very well and after falling behind early, quickly came back to lead 7 - 6 in the first quarter. They led the rest of the game, up 21-6 at half time. Rainer came back and narrowed the score, but each time Vale answered with another score. Then, the unthinkable happened, with only seconds left in the game Rainer tied the score at 28 - 28 and the game went into overtime. The Vikings scored on their possession and went ahead 35 - 28. Then it was Rainer's turn to try to score from the 25 yard line. Vale held them for 3 downs and with 4th down and 2 Rainer went for a pass play and the defense stopped the quarterback and had him in their grasp when he threw the ball. It was caught in the end zone for a touchdown and Rainer went on to score a 2 point conversion. Rainer wins and advances to the Championship game against Amity. Jubilation for Rainer, heartbreak for Vale. That's football, and that's why I love it. Kudos for both teams, great football.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Winter Travel

We went to Canyon City this past Sunday for services at St. Thomas. We woke up to blowing and drifting snow and I knew we were in for a fun ride. Going up Highway 26 on any day is an adventure since it is so lightly traveled once you get past Brogan, 25 miles northwest of Vale. The main highway is US 20 that goes to Burns and then on to Bend and Eugene. It is the main east-west highway across the center of Oregon and gets lots of traffic. US 26 goes east to west as well but is not as good a road especially in the winter. When it snows on Sunday morning it takes a while for the crews to get to 26 because 20 is the priority. Consequently, early Sunday morning trips up US 26 can be an adventure. When we left town at 8 am there was an inch or two of snow on the road and as we went along it got deeper until it was 4 to 5 inches deep. Fortunately, it wasn't too slick for the studded snow tires, but I could see that Jean was getting a little nervous. Never fear, I told her, we'll get to plowed road pretty soon. Sure enough, we met the snowplow in Cow Valley (7 miles past Brogan). From there on, the roads were ok, still snow packed but well sanded and plowed. On the way back, 3 hours later, most of the snow had melted off and the roads were great. Winter travel in Eastern Oregon can be very interesting.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Water Heaters

Last night after we got home from shopping, Jean was doing the dishes when she discovered that we had no hot water. Since that is usually the signal for a flood in the guest room, I got up from my chair and went to the utility room to check. Sure enough, there was water on the floor of the utility room. On further investigation I discovered that the water came from a leak in the outflow pipe at the top of the water heater. Good news! the tank had not sprung a leak. I turned off the power to the heater and put some towels down to catch the water and went to bed. This morning I removed the leaking flex pipe and replaced it with a new one from Olson's Hardware, reset the breaker switch and turned on the power. Hot water! Huzzah! We dodged a bullet, instead of a $300+ water heater we only needed a $15 flex pipe.

I am beginning to understand better my neighbor Paul's frustration as he neared his last days. He had been a handyman all his life and near the end he was unable to do those simple repair jobs. The cost of hiring the job done is exorbitant and the loss of the ability to do it had to be painful. I found it harder to do this job because I have trouble holding on to the wrenches. When you have no feeling in your hands it's difficult to tell when you have a good grip on the tool and if it is aligned correctly. Had I been unable to do this job we would have been without hot water for at least a day or more. Getting a plumber to come to Vale is no easy task in itself and they charge $60/hr for travel time and there's no telling what the charge for the repair would have been. Thanks be to God that I can still do the fixing around here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Weather Report

It's snowing! While October snowfall is not unknown here in Eastern Oregon, it is uncommon and deserving of comment. It won't stick, the air temperature is 40 degrees and the ground isn't frozen. It is pretty, the snowflakes drifting down are always magical. The earliest snow that I remember was the year it snowed for the opening of Pheasant season in mid-October. We hunted in 3 inches of wet snow that year, and we have had a few snowy Halloweens as well. However, the usual pattern is for snow at Thanksgiving and it sticks. Sometimes we have snow on the ground from Thanksgiving until mid-March. Sometimes, especially lately, we have no snow at all. All of which brings up the idea of Global Warming. I read the other day that interest in Global Warming is waning, I'm not sure why. All of the evidence points towards cataclysmic results if Global Warming is not reversed, yet people are still disputing the reality. I'm sure that I'll hear some yo-yo use today's snowfall as evidence that Global Warming is a myth. They'll say something like, "so much for Global Warming". I'm not concerned for myself, but I am for my children and especially my grandchildren.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tamarack Colors

We went to Canyon City today for a service at St. Thomas. It was a great day for a drive, the Aspen trees are in their best fall colors and the Tamarack trees have turned as well. For those who aren't familiar with Tamarack or Western Larch, they are evergreen trees that lose their needles in the Fall. Like deciduous trees, they turn color, in this case a bright yellow gold, before their needles fall. In the spring the needles grow back in a light green and turn a darker green as the summer progresses. They are quite striking, so we took some pictures. I love digital cameras.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I got a GPS system for my birthday. Actually I saved a number of gift cards a bought a Magellan Maestro. I can't wait to use it. We aren't doing much traveling right now so I will have to try it out on my well known route to Canyon City. At least I will know if it is working right since I Already know where I'm going. It could come in handy next spring when we help Cathy and Pam move back to Oregon.

On another note, I see that some of the Dem Senators are balking on a government option on health care. We should do all in our power to defeat anyone who opposes meaning health care reform. If we could get them out of the drug companies and health care insurance companies pockets maybe we could get something going.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Nostalgia Again

This past weekend Jean and I attended our Diocesan Convention in Klamath Falls in South Central Oregon. Our trip to Klamath Falls took us through Christmas Valley in Northern Lake County which brought back a flood of memories. In August of 1951 my grand parents, my father, my brother Bruce and I took a Saturday drive into the High Desert east of Bend to scout for antelope. My grandfather had drawn a tag for antelope and he thought it would be a good idea to scout the desert to find a good place to hunt. We turned south off Highway 20 and went through the Lost Forest and continued south. We did spot some antelope and paced them at about 45 mph down the dirt track road we were on. That proved to be a mistake because as we bounced down that dusty desert road we hit a rock which punctured the oil pan of the car. Fortunately, Granddad noticed the loss of oil pressure and stopped before any damage was done to his nearly new Plymouth. However, we were stranded on the high desert of Eastern Oregon with little chance of rescue by a passerby. We had seen nobody on our travels after we turned off Highway 20. My Mom and my brother Emery knew we were on the desert, but had no idea of exactly where. The high desert of Eastern Oregon is all over 4500 feet in elevation and covers an area of over 1000 square miles. We assessed our situation and it didn't look good; we had eaten our lunch and little was left, the same was true for water. There was a windmill visible about 3 miles away so Bruce and I and Granddad decided to walk to it in hopes there was a ranch there. My Dad, who had only one leg, and Granny would stay with the car in case somebody came by. We hiked to the windmill and found only stock tanks filled with green smelly water which Granddad drank but Bruce and I refused. A sign labeled the spot as Buffalo Wells. On the same sign post was a sign pointing east saying "Wagontire 32 miles" and one pointing west saying "Silverlake 36 miles and beneath that one saying "Lake 7 miles". There were no fresh tire tracks on the dirt road, but we opted for Lake hoping there would be a service station available. As we trudged up the road every hill had us expecting a car or the town of Lake. We finally came to a sign pointing south saying "Matlack Ranch 1 mile" and decided that he ranch would be the best option. We got to the ranch and were greeted by the friendly ranchers who told us they had moved into the empty ranch the previous day! The water from the pitcher pump smelled just like the Buffalo Wells water, but it tasted wonderful. The ranchers took their truck out and towed the car into the ranch and fashioned a plug for the oil pan. They fed us, filled the car with oil, gave us 5 gallons of oil and sent us on our way. During dinner they told us it was good that we didn't go to Lake because is was just a dry lake bed, they were the only ranch in the area. Granddad drove us to Bend at a breakneck speed, pausing only long enough to put more oil in the car when the oil pressure went down. We made it home safely with no damage to the car much to the relief of all.

All those memories came rushing back as we drove through Christmas Valley, the town built on the dry lake bed once known as Lake. Now there is a real town with electricity, paved roads and a golf course. I stopped and took a picture of the power line that transformed the desert into an oasis. There's been a real change in the last 50 years.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Global Warming

Today is Blog Action Day and 1000's of bloggers are writing about Global Warming. Much like the Y2K crisis, Global Warming has been slow to pick up concern about the threat to life here on Earth. However, unlike Y2K, Global Warming is not a problem that can be solved with last minute action by dedicated workers working overtime to fix things. We must start now to do all that we can to slow global warming until a long term solution can be found. Despite the naysayers with their junk science and the "know nothings" who look at a cold winter and say the problem is non-existent, Global Warming is a fact and can only accelerate without intervention. One only has to look at the retreating glaciers and the melting polar ice caps to realize that Global Warming is real. The question should not be; "Is man the cause of Global Warming?" but rather; "What can we do to slow or reverse the trend?" I urge everyone to take up the crusade.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Diocesean Convention

The Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Oregon had its 39th annual convention this past weekend in Klamath Falls. K Falls is a 350 mile drive from home so it was really a flying trip for us especially with the time change. We left before noon on Friday and arrived in K Falls at 5 pm with only a stop for lunch in Burns. Skipped Eucharist on Sunday and left around 11 am. Arrived home at 6 pm. We spent a lot of time in the car for about 8 hours of convention time. Nonetheless, it was a great convention. In Jean's words, the energy has shifted 180 degrees. Our new Provisional Bishop, Nedi Rivera, is a wonderful addition for us. she hasn't formed a lot of plans for us, which is good after 7 years of a control freak for a bishop. I sense good things to come, I think she's ready to work with us in forming a vision of our reclaimed diocese. We might even go back to our vision before the train wreck of the past 7 years. I almost ran for Council, but my 70th birthday on Saturday convinced me to let some of the young turks have a go at it. At any rate, I think we're on the right track again.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Rural vs Urban Culture

We watched Oregon Field Guide on OPB this evening and they devoted the entire half hour to a program that puts middle school students from the Portland area on ranches in the John Day Valley. The program was started in response to the students' speaking out in favor of wolf re-introduction into Eastern Oregon. It seems that the ranchers in Eastern Oregon felt that the kids had been brainwashed by environmentalists and they wanted a chance to let the kids see their side of things. It was an interesting program, the kids spend a week living with a ranching family doing all the things done on a ranch in February. The kids worked right alongside the rancher, helping with feeding, calving, vaccinating, and all then 101 other things that go on at a working cattle ranch. The kids seemed to enjoy it and gain a better understanding of where their food comes from. The kids were pretty wise, pointing out that there was little or no recycling in the area, something one girl called, "a slap in mother nature's face". I'm sure that they could teach the folks in the John Day Valley a thing or two. After all, we're all in this thing together.

The one thing that I didn't see was any explanation of the ranchers' hatred of wolves. Wolf predation is an economic blow to the livestock grower, but The Department of Fish and Wildlife reimburses ranchers for losses to wolf predation. In Yellowstone Park the wolf population has helped make a stronger big game population mainly by reducing the number of sick and weak animals and forcing them to move around the area more. Biologists are finally beginning to see that a diverse wildlife population is necessary for a healthy ecology.

I did see my friend Dennis on the show. He spoke very intelligently (unlike some others on the show) about the need for understanding and working together. That always works better than screaming epithets at people who differ with you.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

National Parks

We have been watching The National Parks on PBS every night, what a great series. The photography is outstanding and the show is really informative. I have been especially interested in the work needed to protect the parks. It is really unbelievable how people cannot see the need to preserve these places of wonder. I can understand the emphasis on Yosemite although Grand Canyon is, in my opinion, the most spectacular place in the country. I don't have any Grand Canyon pictures on my computer, so you will have to put up with Yosemite.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Auto Repairs

I was sitting in my pickup in the Grocery Store parking lot yesterday waiting for incoming traffic to clear so I could pull out of the lot when I was unceremoniously hit by a much bigger pickup. He was still in his parking slot and I was behind him in the exit lane and unfortunately he did not look in his mirror when he choose to back out. He did not hit me very hard and at first I was inclined to let it go, but he insisted that he would make it right, so I contacted my insurance agent. She had me go to the local body shop and get a estimate so she could start the process. I knew that the repair costs would be much more than I anticipated, but I almost dropped my teeth when I got the estimate; $2300. The whole side of the bed will have to be replaced and it alone costs nearly $1000. We had considered changing our deductible amount but this little incident has convinced us that we should keep it at its present amount. Fortunately, the deductible does not apply in this case but any ding will probably cost $500 or more to repair. Now, if we can get the peeling clear coat fixed the PU will look good again.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


This is near Elgin, Oregon in NE Oregon.

This is just a short little blurb about the pictures I post. They are very small in the blog and hard to see, however, if you click on the picture with your mouse you will get the full sized picture. When I post pictures I always use the small image but I'm going to play with the sizing and you can play with the sizing on your end. This is sweet Sophia our cat.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


A friend of mine used to say; "a good lie, well told and stuck too, is better than the truth any day." Strangely, he is a conservative Republican. I think they must have secret schools where they teach that kind of crap. The more outrageous the lie the more they push it. (see Sara Palin and death councils) It is also a good idea to run out the race card, after all the non-whites are the cause of all the problems facing the US today. eg; the financial crisis was not caused by money hungry blood sucking banks, but by illegal immigrants taking all the jobs AND drawing Social Security and Welfare. Same with Health care, ...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Down Memory Lane

We went to Jean's 50th Class reunion this weekend and had a great time. All we did was eat and talk and then eat and talk some more. On the way home we went by way of Post, Paulina, Suplee, Izee and Canyon City. Suplee and Izee are true ghost towns, no trace remains of these two outposts from the 1900's. The second picture was taken between Post and Paulina. I worked on a cattle ranch near Paulina in my high school years and was curious to see how much civilization has changed Paulina in the intervening years. Paulina is the metropolis of the "upper country" between Prineville, Burns, and John Day in the center of Eastern Oregon with a population of around 30 souls. The General Store is unchanged since the '50s. The Paulina Rodeo is a well known amateur rodeo and the rodeo grounds have changed, they have bleachers. Back in the day you sat on the fence. I'm sorry I didn't get a picture of the rodeo grounds.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Health Care Reform

President Obama gave his address on Health Care Reform this evening and I got to thinking again about the "Moral Majority". Here we have a large group of people who revel in their "Christianity" often accusing those who don't agree with them of being unChristian or worse devil worshipers. However, these are the same people who are spreading lies about the proposed Health Care Reform and doing all in their power to derail any meaningful reform. Most often their resistance is tied to the cost factor, complaining about the debt the nation will incur if the legislation becomes law. I didn't hear any complaints about the cost of King George's war on Iraq. This brings me to my main point; how can a Christian refuse to aid those in need? Their refusal to cry out for assistance to those less fortunate than themselves puts a lie to their claims as Christians. I see Pharisees standing on the street corners boasting of their righteousness. I see those denounced by The Christ as hypocrites. I see a class of people determined to keep the lower class under their thumb by refusing them the most basic of needs, food, shelter, clothing and good health care. Remember it was the despised Samaritan rather than the Priests and Pharisees who cared for the stranger on the side of the road who needed health care.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Router Bits

I have been thinking about this for a few weeks now, and I finally did it. What is it? Several weeks ago I got an email offering to send me a set of carbide tipped router bits if I would put a link to their web site. I was concerned about the morality of letting commercialism enter into my "pure" blog. I checked around and Blogger, the service I use, has a Gadget to use to insert ads into your site, so here I am. In the interest of disclosure I am receiving renumeration for adding the link, but I checked out their site and they seem to have some good stuff. What I'm waiting for now is for Delta or Jet to offer me a free tablesaw for linking to their site. I'm afraid I wouldn't spend any time considering the offer, the link would be up as fast as I could type. Mea culpa, my feet are of clay.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Neat Gift

Jim Johnson is a parishoner at St. Thomas in Canyon City and he is a Flint Napper. For those who may not know what a Flint Napper is, Jim makes knives and arrow heads out of stone, usually Obsidian, a form of volcanic glass. He chips the edges of the stone until it is in the shape he desires and then attaches a handle for a knife or an arrow for an arrow head. He is a true artist and an avid outdoorsman. He told me that he has skinned many of the deer he has taken with his obsidian knives. He said that when the knife gets dull he just flakes off a few new chips and the knife is as good as ever. Sunday after church Jim gave me a knife he made for me, it is a wonderful gift. Here are some pictures of Jim's gracious gift.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wallowa Lake Chapel

Jean and I went to Enterprise this past weekend where I did a Eucharist for the people of St. Patrick's and then went on up to the Chapel at Wallowa Lake for a somewhat non-denominational Morning Prayer. We go up there each summer for services and it's a great place to re-create. The Wallowa Valley lies at the foot of the Wallowa Mountains which are called the Little Switzerland of Oregon. It is truly one of God's "thin places" even though there are lots of tourists and tourist traps at the Lake. The Chapel, maintained by St. Pat's, celebrated its 50th anniversary this summer. It is open from June through August and offers a place to worship for all the campers who throng to the Lake each summer. The Chapel is a rustic structure designed to keep the sun (and occasionally rain) off the worshippers who sit on half logs facing a swift running stream just feet from the cross and altar. Deer sometimes walk by with hardly a glance at the strange humans sitting on logs. The celebrant has to stand under the cover to be heard over the sound of the stream. Many different denominations are represented and many return year after year. This year was one of the best I've seen, we had 27 worship with us at the Chapel and 9 take communion at St. Pat's earlier in the morning. Although the building is considerably different, the Lake Chapel has a remarkably similar feeling to the Glass Chapel at Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

The picture is Joseph, Oregon an artists center at the end of Wallowa Lake. The town is filled with bronze statuary, there are a number of foundries in the village.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


I just got on Facebook this past week and it is somewhat interesting. The learning curve isn't very steep, but I'm not sure I get what makes Facebook such a big deal. Apparently the idea is to see how many friends you can get to write on your wall.

A few years ago I signed on to My Space as a way to be able to blog but that didn't work very well. I got a email from some girl? wanting to be my friend. As a senior on Medicare I was a little perplexed as to why an apparently young girl would want to be friends with an old fart like me. I figured it was some cop trying to catch pedophiles on the net. I refused her offer and got off My Space as fast as I could. So far the only friend requests on Facebook come from people I know. That's fine, but I'm not sure what to say to my friends who are 3000 miles away. I'll give it a shot, but I may lose interest fairly soon.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ashes to Ashes

We buried Paul's ashes yesterday next to the ashes of his wife of 60 years, Juanita. Both Paul and Juanita wanted to be cremated and the ashes scattered in the mountains of Northeastern Oregon, The children wanted to have a burial site that they could visit, so before Juanita died, she and Paul agreed to have their ashes buried in a little graveyard dating back to the earliest settlement of the area. Their oldest son, Gerry, bought a plot for his parents and him and his wife. The cemetery had been long neglected but folks in the area revitalized the grounds and fenced it to keep the deer and elk out of the hallowed ground.

I built a box to hold Paul's ashes and yesterday Jean and I and the family and friends made the 2 hour drive to the cemetery and held the burial service. It was a melancholy service, but also very spirit filled. When we arrived Paul's two sons dug the hole while the daughter held the box of ashes. I read the committal service from the Book of Common Prayer and at the close of the service each of us present sprinkled dirt on the box and recited "ashes to ashes, dust to dust" or a brief comment to Paul and Juanita. Then the sons filled in the grave. It was the best funeral service I have ever conducted.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


We went to see the trees today. It is a 1 hour drive to the turn off and then another 10 miles into the forest. Our forests are mostly Ponderosa Pine with some Tamarack (Western Larch) with White Fire in the higher elevations. We stopped at the first campground and had a picnic and just enjoyed the trees. You need to understand that where we live in Eastern Oregon, except for trees planted in town, there are NO trees. You can drive to the top of a hill south of town and see for at least 50 miles and not see 1 tree. We are in what is called The Great Basin High Desert, with an average rainfall of 12 inches, mostly in the form of snow.

After the picnic we drove up the road and, after driving for 3 hours, came to a ranching region called Drewsey after the hamlet of the same name. From there it was a quick 75 miles to home on one of the main highways that pass through our area. We put a little over 200 miles on the car during our Sunday drive. Check out some of the pictures we took.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

From one of my favorite nuns today (convent kept secret to pr... on Twitpic

Paul Fred Meyer -- RIP

Today was a bittersweet day. We held Paul's funeral today at Grace Lutheran Church. I officiated and Linda Meuller, Grace's Pastor, assisted. It was pretty well attended considering that the temperature was near 100 at the 2 PM starting time. Paul was ready to go, he has been lonely since his wife, Juanita, died two years ago. The end came mercifully soon, he had been hospitalized for 4 days and came home at 9:30 AM on Friday, July 10. He died 2 hours later. I went to see him as soon as they had him settled in his bed. He was semi-conscious when I went in but I held his hand and said, "Welcome Home," his eyes fluttered and he said "So long" and I talked a little more as he dropped into a deeper sleep. Connie called me into the house an hour later saying she thought her dad had died. I went in and his pulse was weak and thready and his respirations were fast and nearly non-existent. Connie and I both said that he could go and I left her to get my prayer book to give him Last Rites and when I returned he was gone.

I'm going to miss him, we've been buddies for 25 years. He was a great neighbor and an even better man. I think we gave him a good send off. So Long old buddy.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 4th in Vale, Oregon

Our little town has always done a lot of things for the 4th of July. This year has been no different. They have the Rodeo every year of course, it's held in the evening when it's cooler. We had a run at the crack of dawn along with the Lion's Club breakfast, later at 1 PM we had the parade and Oregon Trail Days in the City Park.
You can keep quite busy if you try to do all the activities available. This year we have kept our activities pretty low key, we watched the parade from our carport and that was it. The weather this year has been very good, temps in the low 90's during the day and cooling off to the high 50's/low 60's. A little thunder last night but no rain and little wind.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sign Me Up For Another 50

Well, Our 50th Wedding Anniversary has come and gone and I'm ready for another 50.
We didn't plan anything special, just a good time with our family and friends. Our
daughter and her family came from Massachusetts and our son and his family drove up from Arkansas. Our daughter had told us her plans, but our son said nothing and surprised us Thursday (June 18) evening arriving just a short time before our daughter drove in from the Eugene area after a brief check in with her partner's family. We got a nice e-note from Louis Crew and cards from our siblings. On Saturday we had a brunch with our friends and family and beamed through numerous toasts with sparkling grape juice. Later, we had dinner at a restaurant where our waiter surprised us with a beautiful rendition of Kenny Roger's "Through The Years" and Chocolate Cheesecake.

When we weren't eating we were talking and just having a good time. The earliest bed time was Sunday because they were all headed home today. We were all in bed by 11:30 and sleeping except the kids who finally dropped off at 2:30 AM after Grandma reminded them that they were going to be leaving at 7 AM. After all had left, Jean and I headed for our recliners and took a long nap. We were exhausted! I didn't envy them for their long trip home. Ken drove 1719 miles from Fort Smith, Arkansas in two days and planned to go home the same way. Cathy and her family were driving 360 miles back to Eugene so Pam could take care of her mother who was having surgery today. Cathy and Alex were flying out of Portland back to Massachusetts to get back to work All in all we had a great time, I can hardly wait for the next 50 to pass so we can do it again.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Wahoo! Finally

I finally finished the bathroom remodel! I can't believe that I started this job on May 22. It didn't take me that long to remodel the kitchen and that involved building all the cabinets from scratch. I'm glad that I'm done, now I can concentrate on getting ready for our daughter and her family who will be here on June 18. They are coming to help us celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary.

I can't believe that we have been married that long, Jean still looks just the same as she did on that night in Prineville at the Community Church. Our Grandparents on our father's side both made 50 but neither of our parents did. Auto accidents and cancer took care of that.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

KJS & Netie Rivera

Tuesday, June 9, clergy and wives were invited to a retreat in Bend at Trinity Church with Katherine Jefferts Shori and our newly elected Bishop, Bavi (Neti) Rivera. I have more or less been out of contact with the diocese for the past 2 or 3 years but I was impressed by Bishop Rivera at her installation at Cove in late May, so I thought it would be neat to see her and the Presiding Bishop of ECUSA. I went to Bend on Monday afternoon and stayed with my brother and his wife. It was good to see them especially since both are battling cancer and they are winning. I really enjoyed visiting with them, we don't see each other often enough. The retreat with Katherine and Neti was great! Those two ladies are really on the ball and their energy is infectious. I told Bishop Rivera that I was re-energized and would make an effort to become more involved. I can see that the Diocese will be in good hands for the first time in over 7 years. It may take a while to get her up to speed as to whom we are and what we are about, but I'm sure that she will "get" it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Remodel Progress

I took the week off from work with the idea of finishing the bathroom project. NOT! I did get all the tile down and the grouting done and the only thing Left is sealing the grout. I worked 9 hours Wednesday laying the tile. The only tiling I had done before was an open 12 x 20 room. Took me about 4 hours, so I figured I could do a 4 x 5 space in jig time. AGAIN NOT! It took me the entire afternoon from 1 PM to 9 PM to get it done. The problem was no space to maneuver and nothing to touch since the room had been freshly painted. My original plan was to lay the full tiles and then do the edges. Once again NOT! I finally got it done and the grouting done and it looks great and I am able to walk again an my housemaid's knees are healing. The rest will be a snap.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Remodeling Redux

Monday, Memorial Day, I rested from the weekend. I drove nearly 600 miles Saturday and Sunday, since I'm not a truck driver that nearly wore me out. Tuesday I got started and did the first coat of paint. It went so well that I got the second coat on the walls. Now all I need is some touch-up and do the tile and put everything back. At the rate I'm going I should have it finished by Christmas. I didn't really mean that, negative thoughts have a negative effect on your work. Oh yes, I found out yesterday that I got to work on Thursday and Friday, so no work today. I was quite warm today, nearly 100. That warm this early doesn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling. Actually the low as 50 and the high was 98. Makes for nice sleeping and, of course, its a dry heat.

We're going to do a neat thing for Pentecost at St Matthews. I will read a portion from the prayer book and Roger( who grew up min Central America) will read it in
Spanish. We will wear bright red shirts and our red stoles. Should be fun.

Friday, May 22, 2009


This past winter we decided to put ceramic tile in my bathroom. It's a small bathroom, just 4'6" x 5' of floor space. In a flurry of activity we got all the materials needed at the local Home Depot (Disneyland to us) and started picking out paint colors. The effort stalled when we both came down with some respiratory malfunction that put us out of commission for about 3 weeks. Monday was designated B-Day and I got to work clearing the room of everything but the shower. Everything went fine until I pulled up the vinyl flooring. The toilet had leaked clear water under the vinyl and then grew mold. The outer edges that hadn't gotten wet were well stuck to the floor. I took all Wednesday afternoon to get that stuff off the cement floor. Thursday I had plans to scrub the floor with TSP which is a fairly harsh chemical, but it kills mold. Then I was going to paint the walls the color we chose. That was not to be, I had to make a run to Ontario for the Company. That killed the day. Today I was going to do the stuff I had planned to do Thursday. Nope! Jean's computer started acting up and I got to spend and hour and a half with a nice young lady in The Philippines trying to diagnose the problems. Of course, that was after spending several hours trying to diagnose the problem by myself. I then got to go to Ontario and Fruitland to get the computer repaired and do banking for the Company. It is now 11 PM and I am still running virus scans on the computer. Tomorrow we get to go to Cove to take part in welcoming our new bishop, and that will take all day. I'm currently planning to restart the project Monday. Pray for me.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Watched Bill Moyers last Friday and he had a guy on who had written a book about global warming. It was a great discussion, but the thing of most interest to me was a web site that he talked about. It is called and if that link doesn't work just Google "good Guide" and it will come up. The site rates stuff on its carbon footprint and compares similar brands with its rating system. You can then decide if you want to buy something by looking at its rating. Moyers said that this was the first time he saw a reason for the internet, each of us can tell our friends about Good Guide and we will all do our part to fight Global Warming. So, I'm doing my part. Check out Good Guide.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Keeping at it

My posts have become really sporadic despite my best intentions to keep at it. I just don't find enough to write about. I don't know how those folks who seem to read all the blogs on their list every day do it. Then they write numerous articles for us all to read. Maybe they have nothing else to do, because keeping at it daily takes a lot of time. Now that I'm retired I have even less time to do all that I want to do. I normally get on the web around 10 PM MDT and have an hour or so until I hit the bed. I type rather slowly, more so now that I have neuropathy, I can't feel the keys and often double strike without knowing it. I would be lost without spell check. I will keep at it, but I will not start twitter. Reminds me of an old joke about a nervous titter, but I want to keep a pg-13 rating.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I Spoke Too Soon

Here it is Tuesday and my crud is still with me, not so bad, but still there. This is the first cold I've had that makes my diaphragm hurt. The hypochondriac in me vacillates between pneumonia and now, swine flu. The realist in me says you've milked this about as far as you can, now pull up your big boy shorts and get busy. I really do have a yard out of control, the squirrels are getting lost in the tall grass. If it is really something dire, Jean can have my gravestone engraved, "I told you I was sick". Actually, she has been super, as she always is.

Got to go check out "Mad Priest" he missed out on a super job and he's really bummed. Can't blame him though, I can remember being sure I was going to be Arnie's replacement as head wrestling coach, only to be aced out by the new English teacher. I had put in 10 years as Arnie's assistant, several of them unpaid, and Arnie had recommended me, I just knew I had the job. Took me some time to get over that, eventually returned as an assistant, but there was still resentment. They finally gave me the job 10 years later when the head coach got into some trouble and had to leave. I took the job, but the thrill was gone, it was ten years too late.

When it came time for me to retire I rigged it so my assistant was sure to get the job. He was like I had been 30 years before, gung ho! He found it wasn't as easy as he had thought and quit head coaching and went back to assisting. He had his shot though and didn't have to spend 10 years wishing he had gotten the job, knowing that he would have been a great head coach.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

For Better or Worse

I have spent the past three days battling a cold that really laid me out. I was beginning to think I had Pneumonia because it hurt my lungs to cough. Coughing was counterproductive because it hurt so much to cough and I was unable to do anything in the way of breaking up the congestion. This is the first time that I have been so sick in 15 years or so. Other times, if I had a cold I took some decongestant and blew my nose a lot, but I really didn't feel bad. Jean has been Florence Nightingale, she has waited on me hand and foot. It is nice being pampered when you feel lousy. Today is the first time I have been at the computer since last Thursday. It's nice being back to feeling good.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hate Mongers

I just got an email from an aquaintance about the US Government giving
China the right of Eminant Domain if the US defaults on the debt owed to China. I checked it out on and found it was completely false. I then went to the site quoted by my friend with the thought of pointing out that the statement was false. It turned out to be the blog of a Hal Turner which was filled with inflammatory rhetoric. There were a lot of comments so I read down them to see if anybody had already pointed out the falsity of the blog. What I read were some of the sickest racist comments ever. There were a few comments stating that the facts given were, indeed, false. They were promptly rebuked by the followers of Hal Turner with some of the most vile stuff, including death threats, to those opposed to the Hal Turner set.

I knew there were racists and haters in our country. but I was not ready to what I encountered. I know that we must protect freedom of speech, but this Turner guy is ;ile someone yelling fire in a crowed theater. I guess what startled me was how easily his followers swallowed his line, no questions asked. I hope the FBI is following this site, there were some pretty explicit threats against President Obama's life. Please don't check this site it is pure evil.

Friday, April 17, 2009

New Picture for Title

Those of you who have been following my pitiful attempts to be a big time blogger may have noticed that I have changed the picture under the title. It was a picture of Bridal Veil Falls taken from the South Tunnel Entrance of Yosemite National Park. As I looked at it this evening I noticed that the falls were nowhere to be seen. Blogger somehow shrunk the photo by cutting off the right (waterfall) side. I decided to put a picture taken a little closer to home. This photo is Kieger Gorge in the Steens Mountains about 40 miles south of Burns Oregon and about 150 miles southwest of our home in Eastern Oregon. The heavily glaciated canyon is typical of all the canyons in the Steens which are an uplifted fault block. The eastern rim of the mountain overlooks a steep drop to the White Horse Desert over 5000 feet below. The western side rises gently from the Playa Lakes, Malheur Lake and Harney Lake. There is a good graveled road up the western slope all the way to the summit. A beautiful unspoiled part of Oregon.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

More Musing

Do you get pissed off when a waitress calls you "hon" or "sweetheart"? It feels condescending to me like I'm a little doty and need someone to take care of me.
I have just gotten a new one: when I ask for my Senior Discount the little punk at the cash register says, "Can I see your ID". I want to punch him in the mouth and say do you want more of my ID?

Why are people too lazy to put their shopping carts back where they're supposed to be? You start to pull into a parking spot and there is a cart smack dab in the middle! So out of the car and move the cart out of the way.

What happened to the fifty cent piece? Did they stop making them? My pocket gets so full of change that I have to off load it and give the cashier exact change for a $2.42 item. That's 9 quarters, 3 nickels and 2 pennies. And I still have a pocket full of change.

Why do people get onto the freeway at 37 miles an hour, while heading straight onto the freeway like they have the right of way. It's especially tough in Idaho, as they come off the on ramp without looking right or left. On the same vein, why do people get into the fast lane and drive about 5 - 10 mph below the speed limit?

Feel free to add your own pet peeves. Lord knows there are lots of them.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Silver Threads Among the Gold

Does everybody wind up with slick fingers with no finger prints? I have a terrible time holding on to things, especially those huge soft drink cups you get as a medium size at fast food places. And look out when I try to pick up something with wet hands, it's headed to the floor.

Another question, does everything you eat give you gas? It seems as though whatever I eat soon gives rise to a huge gas bubble, generally when I'm in a crowded space. Of course, the problem is worst with the foods I like best.

If your mind goes blank when you begin to speak of a person you know well, is it an indicator of the onset of Alzheimer's disease? I'll be talking merrily along and all of a sudden -nada, nothing, a complete blank- and after mumbling around for a while it comes back.

When did bowel movements become so important? A good bowel movement becomes an event. When I was younger BM's were a regular part (no pun intended)of your daily routine, something you were hardly aware of, they just were. Now, you feel as though you should shout from the roof tops, man, you should see it.

When did doctors become specialists? I have a family doctor (now called a primary care physician), a nephrologist, a dermatologist, a neurologist, an orthopedist, actually, for a while I had separate knee doctors, one for the right knee and one for the left, and my opthamologist. I would have a dentist, but I have false teeth so there is not much of a need there.

When did music from the 60's and the 70's become golden oldies? Golden oldies should be from the 30's and 40's. And when did chanting some bad poetry to a beat become "Pop Music", I can't even tell what they are saying so I don't even know if they're shouting obscenities, but it sure doesn't sound like music to me.

When did bedtime become something you looked forward to instead of something you fought? "All nighters" now mean you made it through the entire night without having to get up and going to the bathroom. And we brag about it; "well, I only had to go to the John once last night." Speaking of bedtime, it is mine, so good night all.

Oh yeah, how many of you say, "bye bye" at the end of a telephone call?

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Today has been one of the first nice days we've had this year. It was a little chilly but a sweat shirt was enough to keep me warm. I would like to get my shorts out but it is a little too cool to show my great legs and draw attention away from my oversize belly. I have started wearing suspenders to hold my pants up because my gut is bigger than my butt and when I bend over I tend to show my plumber's crack. Not a very pleasing sight. I did a lot of bending over today because I replaced all of my rose bushes in front of the house. I removed the old bushes and then had to remove all of the Bermuda Grass from the flower beds. Bermuda Grass is a bane to me. I suspect that one of the previous owners planted some of the Zoizia grass plugs to get a drought resistant lawn. It is indeed drought resistant and every other thing resistant. Twenty years ago I tried to kill the Bermuda Grass completely from my lawn. I sprayed it with Roundup every week for two summers. I roto tilled it a number of times and dug up the roots each time. I got a pickup load of roots some were growing into the concrete foundation. The grass grows in long runners with an icepick like tip. After I did not see any new growth for a month of the third summer I planted Oregon Kentucky Bluegrass. The lawn looked great for 15 years until the Bermuda Grass began to rear its ugly head. I don't think I have the stamina to try to get rid of it. The kids will have to sell the house in the summer or winter when the yard looks pretty good. I swear that the stuff I have in my front yard drinks Roundup like Champagne. Oh yeah, this is not the small bladed stuff found on golf courses. This grass is broad bladed and sharp on the bare feet, an overall nasty stuff to have in your yard.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Right Way to do Business vs the Wrong Way

The trucking company that Jean and Char own has been involved over the years with what are called Factor Companies. One of the problems with a trucking company is cash flow. When a load is hauled an invoice is sent to the broker or shipper and if you are fortunate you will be paid within 45 days of the invoice. If you have a large reserve, this is not a problem, but for small struggling outfits it can mean the end of your company. So, a group of folks with a big pot of money will buy your receipts from you for a percentage discount. The amount varies, often in line with the gross amount that you factor. The first factoring company that the ladies signed up with, on their banker's recommendation, were out and out thieves. They screwed the trucking company out of $14,000 over a period of a couple of years. Not an awful lot, but for a struggling company it meant the difference between a profit and a loss.

About a year ago they moved to a different company and the difference was as different as night and day. The new company's factor fee was less and it was easier to get your funds and make funds available for fuel for the trucks. But, after a year or so, they became harder to work with and their fees were a hardship on the truckers and the trucking company. So some searching led to the discovery of a new factoring company in a neighboring community. When the old factor company heard that we were leaving they refused to let us go by refusing to sign a release form and cutting us out of the web site we used to get funds, both actions a clear violation for our contract with them. We had to threaten a lawsuit before they honored the contract.

Today Jean and I went to see our new factor company and to sell our first loads to them. We handed the the invoice and they said, "If you can wait a bit we will have your check for you. While you are waiting you can join us for lunch." So we had lunch and walked out with a check. Their percentage is lower and the fees they charge for various services are also lower. Plus the truckers can sent their paper work directly to the Factor company and they are funded within a couple of hours. The process they use is much simpler and quicker than the others, so we feel we have found the right factoring company. They know how to treat their customers.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Onion Skin Players

Yesterday evening we had an outing with Char and Chuck and Chuck's aunt Char. We started with dinner at a Chinese Restaurant and finished at the Star Theater in Weiser, Idaho. The production was a Melodrama presented by the Onion Skin Players entitled "Ruckus at Cowboy U or Who's Hugh". It was an old fashioned Melodrama with boos for the villain, hisses for his female accomplice and cheers for the hero and sighs for his lady. The Onion Skin Players are a group of amateurs who have been putting on shows for 23 years. The shows are written by cast members and feature old songs for all to sing although the lyrics have been tweaked to fit the show. We had a fantastic time leaving at the end of the show hoarse from booing, hissing, cheering, sighing and singing.
The theater is a long narrow former movie theater built in the late teens of the past century. Art Deco design is everywhere especially the lighting sconces. They are probably worth a lot of money from a designer or collector.
The cast wanders among the crowd as they find their seats. I was met by a buxom dance hall girl who could not resist my bald head so she planted a kiss on the shiny dome of my head. A grand time was had by all. Yes, I washed it off when we got home.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Paul (my next door neighbor) and I took a little drive yesterday. We went south of town on the Dry Creek Road. The country out there is typical High Desert, sage and grasses and in late May or early June, wildflowers. I was curious about the condition of the road, much of it is just dirt with no gravel. In rainy weather it can get really greasy and we had a fair (for Eastern Oregon) amount of rain last weekend, so I wanted to see how muddy it was. Surprise! There was only one wet spot and it was easy to go around. It had been muddy you could see and feel the ruts made by the mudders. That's my name for those guys who have four wheel drive and see how much mud they can get on their trucks. It really messes up the road and it will stay that way until it gets graded, probably next Fall.

The hills are already greening up following the rain. Even though it has been cold at night it warms up to the 50's during the day, and that's enough to get the grasses growing. That is a serious sign of Spring. dry roads and green grass. But, I bought some bare root rose bushes last weekend and I'm not ready to put them in the ground. I'll wait until the nights are a little warmer.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Health Care

This morning while working on my elliptical glider I got to thinking of the fantastic things that have been developed in my lifetime. Our world has completely changed in the past 50 years. One of the areas that has changed probably more than any other is the area of health care.

We often complain about the cost of health care, and it is high, but think of the lives that have been saved. I went to summer school in 1965 at North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND. We had a futurist speak about what changes we might see in health care. He predicted that organ donations would become commonplace. In fact he foresaw organ banks filled with all sorts of organs including skin and bones as well as the vital organs so that when a body part was needed for a transplant it would be available from the organ bank. I believe that organ banks are now feasible except the rate of donation lags far behind medicine's ability to use them.

I have been the recipient of some of the life giving wonders of medicine at least twice. The first was when a cancerous tumor was found on my kidney with an MRI.
A few years later a cancerous polyp was found and removed in my colon with a colonoscope. In 1968 my dad died of colon cancer that wasn't discovered until it had invaded other organs.

I have been thinking about my fight against kidney cancer since it was 10 years ago that I was told I only had six months left to live because the cancer had metastisized. Modern medicine missed on that one and I'm glad. I attribute my recovery to prayer and a positive outlook which can sometimes trump medicine.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bishop Elect Thew-Forrester

Kevin Thew-Forrester was elected the Bishop of Northern Michigan a week ago in a somewhat unusual manner. The search committee went through the process and narrowed the field to 5 finalists, 2 of whom had served together in the Diocese of Eastern Oregon. Both left the Diocese following the election of Bill Gregg as the new Bishop of Eastern Oregon. Both were active in what we called Mutual Ministry wherein the laity were enfranchised in worship teams using what were then called Canon 9 deacons and priests along with lay leaders in many of the positions formerly occupied by church rectors. This way of doing ministry was copied after Jim Kelsey's Green Country Ministry and his later work in Northern Michigan. The election of Bishop Gregg put a crimp in the ministry of all the baptized, partly I think, because he felt the lay people weren't well enough trained and especially so in the case of Canon 9 folks.

Kevin left soon after Bill's election and went to Northern Michigan to work with then Bishop Kelsey. To those of us who were familiar with both Jim and Kevin felt it was a match made in heaven. Bishop Kelsey's tragic death left a large void among those committed to Mutual Ministry and most of us felt that Kevin was the right person to fill that void. Consequently, it was no surprise that the Search Committee presented only one name for the election, Kevin Thew-Forrester. Those of us who followed the process thought the election was a normal, for Northern Michigan, thing to do.

We were surprised at the negative response to Kevin's election. I can only assume that folks outside the diocese felt that the election was rigged somehow by Kevin. In truth, the election was held to satisfy national canons. My impression is that the laity felt the election was done just the way they wanted and that Kevin was Jim's anointed one. The hew and cry has just about disappeared, so I'm hoping that the consent process will go smoothly.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Stimulus Package

I really don't know many details of the "stimulus package" signed into law by President Obama, but I do know what Congress and the President are hoping will happen. It took FDR somewhat longer to ease some of the pain of the Great Depression, but that one began at the end of 1929 and he took office in March of 1933. By that time the bottom had fallen out of everything. President Obama came into office less than 6 months after the mortgage houses self destructed. So the Government has acted swiftly in hopes of averting the complete failure of the world economy. We will hear from the President tonight and hopefully get more details. It saddens me though to hear some folks talk about the stimulus who know absolutely nothing about it. I had a fellow tell me that all the trouble began with the "damned FDIC" that took all the money and left nothing for the people. Some of the Idaho legislators have suggested not taking the stimulus funds because there are "too many strings attached" This from the same folks who just last month were complaining about the "bailout" of the banks not having enough strings. I pray that what is being done is enough to halt the slide of the economy, because it affects everybody in the country, Republicans and Democrats alike.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Shack

I just finished reading a fascinating book by William P. Young entitled The Shack. It is a work of fiction set in North Eastern Oregon about a man's encounter with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. The author uses a shack in the mountains near Joseph, Oregon to present his concept of God. When I first got the book I was afraid it was going to be one of those "This is the correct view of God" things with quotations from Leviticus, Judges and all the other Old Testament books. I'm leery of those kinds of books, I was almost "saved" a couple of times in my youth by born again Christians before the term was popular. I was pleasantly surprised! This guy thinks like I do and he uses a tragedy to paint an amazing portrait of God in an engaging story. I suspect that many Christians will be quite upset by his views, but for me it is spot on. Read it.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Our New Religion

Over 100 million TV watchers will join 100,000 people to worship at the altar of the USA's largest faith. This group of worshipers is so large that only estimates can approximate the total number of worshipers world wide. This Sunday is the ultimate service and only the lucky (read wealthy) few can attend the service live. Those lucky enough to attend in person often pay exorbitant fees to get into the service venue. Once inside the will be asked to give even more to satisfy the needs of the worship leaders. Those who worship in their homes, often in large parties, are asked, over and over, by polished salesmen, to give to support the ministry. For those who are not familiar with the service, readers and observers explain what is happening at each point of the service. The observers call attention to little known facts about the worship leaders and their personal assistants. This Sunday is the culmination of many services held regionally across the nation every Sunday. The leaders of the service tomorrow have been picked on the basis of their performance in the regional events leading up to this one last final Service of the Church year which begins on August first.

Once more we will crown the top worship team in the nation and they will be rewarded with special rings and parades in their home towns. We will celebrate our favorites by wearing clothing emblazoned with the logos of their worship team. We will talk about this last event until the worship year begins again and we again follow the actions of our favorite worship leaders, hoping that this year they will make it the the Super Bowl.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inauguration Part Dos

We watched much of the Inauguration ceremony on C-Span last night. It was nice to watch the activities without the usual commentary. Basically, C-Span just let the cameras roll and let us make our own conclusions. I was blown away by the size of the crowd; I can't remember seeing that many people at an Inauguration. I was also really impressed by Obama's address. I'm ready to see the congress work with him on getting things going. He has an ambitious program to implement, and one that should produce positive results very soon. He has a lot of support right now and he needs to make the most of it. I honestly never thought I would see an American-African elected as President of the United States. And, certainly not with such an outpouring of support. Go Barak, go!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Inauguration Concert

I had forgotten about the Concert at the Lincoln Memorial today. We didn't do much today, just lay around and watched TV. Then this afternoon we went to Ontario to see the movie "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchet. What a wonderful film. I had seen the trailers on TV and I was intrigued, so we went over to see it. It was indeed a wonderful and wonder filled movie. I hope it does well because it is such a thought provoking picture. Go see it.

We got home a little after 7 pm and had a bite to eat. Then Jean went to take a shower and I watched the end of the Pittsburgh Baltimore football game. I was casting around for some thing else to watch when our daughter called from Massachusetts. The snow and ice are causing a lot of problems, especially for Cathy since she uses a walker. It's tough to push one of those things through the snow. Jean got out of the shower just as Cathy and I were ending our phone call, so I gave the phone to Jean and came in to check my e-mail. Now comes the part about the Inaugural Concert. I went to my home page at Google and they had photos and live feeds from Washington D.C. For the first time in many years I found myself being strongly moved by the words of our new President. I have a deep feeling of hope for our nation despite the many challenges it faces. I think we did it right this time, I think that we have someone who will bring us together rather than try to keep us in fear. I will keep President Obama in my prayers.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Maybe I Am Getting Older

This has been a real winter. We have had a lot of snow and ice. I got to use my snow blower every day for a week or more. It hasn't snowed much since New Years and the snow has started melting on the South side of buildings. There are a lot big piles of snow by parking lots that will be there for a long time. And then there is the ice. Under all of the snow there is a thick slab of ice. A couple of weeks ago I fell on my butt getting out of my pickup at R Big Burger. No body saw me fall, so I wasn't too embarrassed. But, I hit my shaved head on a chunk of ice and I bled quite a bit while waiting for my take out order, felt a little funny sitting there holding a wad of paper napkins to the back of my head to staunch the flow of blood. It stopped before my order came. I still have a scab back there. Then, yesterday, it was really slick, freezing fog on everything. So, of course, I slipped going out to the car. I didn't fall, but I did some pretty fancy footwork and twisted my knee. Hurt like hell, still does, but not so much. It's the right knee, the same one that sustained a tear of my medial collateral ligament on my last day as a wrestling coach. I hope that I didn't complete the tear. I have fallen on the ice a couple of other times, but with no damage to my body, so I don't count them. I think I'll start using the walking that Cathy gave me 6 or 7 years ago. Hopefully I won't have to start wearing chains for my shoes.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

It's Snowing!

Remember those childhood days when you would get out of bed, look out the window and shout "it's snowing!". Then you would be glued to the radio listening to the school closure announcements hoping your school would be among those listed. If school was closed, it was back to the bedroom to get dressed in your snow play outfit. Then, out the door with your sled headed for the sliding hill. If it was the first snow or very deep snow the first order of business was to pack the hill. All the kids would walk up the hill sideways, footprints side by side packing a trail for the steel runners of the sleds. If there was someone there with a toboggan or skis they made the first few runs and packed the snow without the sidesteps up and down the hill. Then it was sledding, sometimes without stopping for lunch, or more often a quick trip home for a sandwich and a cup of hot chocolate, then back to the hill. It seems strange today that such a simple thing would keep us occupied for the entire day. Climb the hill, slide down, then back up the hill and down again. For adventure we would go double or even triple belly flop down the hill. The person on top seldom made it to the bottom of the hill still connected to the sled. When we finally quit for the day our clothes would be soaked and we would be shivering with the cold, standing around the stove in our shorts and bathrobes getting warm. We would repeat this sledding day over and over, often into the night using the light of a fire at the base of the hill. I can remember days when I wore new Jeans sledding and my legs and underwear would be blue from the dye in the Jeans. The color would stay for several days until it wore off. I still get excited about seeing the snowfall, silently shouting "it's snowing."

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Quiet New Year's Eve

Well, we rang out the old and rang in the new last night. The climactic time came with Jean asleep on the love seat and me choosing music for my playlist. The evening started with a bang, we have a guy who lives here who is a pyrotechnics expert and each New Year's Eve he stages a fantastic fireworks display from Vale Butte. It was a great show lasting about 45 minutes. I hope the town continues to donate funds to support the fireworks. We should start working for next year right now while the great show is still fresh in our collective minds. I tried to take some pictures with my new camera, but our neighbor had her porch light on and all my pix were wiped out by the ambient light. I wanted to show the snow covered butte lit up by the fireworks, but no such luck. I would like to wish my readers, both of them, a blessed and prosperous New Year!