Monday, July 16, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 07/15/18: Goodby and Thinking Back, Family Salad Bar, Prog Rock on KRVM

1. Vickie and Alan packed up and were on their way back to West Seattle mid-morning and so our weekend of outings and gabbin' and good cheer came to an end. I thought back to other times we've spent together: on a handful of occasions the Deke and I drove up to West Seattle from Eugene and one time we drove over from Kellogg on our way back to Eugene after a visit with Mom. Vickie and Alan came to our house in Eugene several times. Once, I remember, they were at our house when Keith Greeninger played a house concert in our back yard in Eugene and we decided afterwards that we wouldn't be hosting concerts any longer. Vickie and Alan visited Molly and the Deke and me in Portland back in 2004 when Molly was being treated for burns after her camping accident. We met up with Vickie and Alan in Bethesda back in 2015 and, in 2017, Vickie traveled by herself to Maryland and stayed with us a few nights and we had a fun day at Union Market and Atlas Brewing. Vickie and Alan also came to the Babes with Axes show in Eugene a year ago.   It was fun having Vickie and Alan visit us and to remember back to all that we've done and how we've all been together at some of the memorable times in the Deke's and my life together.

2. We hosted family dinner tonight. Neither the Deke nor I wanted to heat up the kitchen much, so the only use we made of the stove was when the Deke fried pieces of chicken breast for the salad bar she assembled. As the sun went down and the outdoor air cooled off, we had a very pleasant time eating on the deck. Christy walked over for dinner. She requested a third icing for the day after she had made the walk and after sitting at the dinner table without her leg being straight or elevated. It was encouraging that she was able to make it over. Every day she makes more progress in her healing.

3. After dinner and after helping ice Christy's knee, I retired to our TV room (TV still to be set up) and used Alexa to listen to KRVM-FM from Eugene. The Soundscape show was on. It focuses on progressive rock and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to tunes by Yes, King Crimson, Emerson & Lake, & Palmer, Renaissance, The Strawbs, Jethro Tull, and Rick Wakeman. I got a little nostalgic for what I think used to be called Album Oriented Rock FM radio and the looser days before corporate playlists and the emergence of Classic Rock stations. I was happy that I can tune in to KRVM every Sunday evening at 9 o'clock and have a couple hours of the "no static at all" experience of FM radio forty years ago.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 07/14/18: Ancient Cedar Grove, Lunch in Prichard, Tall Tales at the Lounge

1. After a morning of coffee, Kansas City bacon, and scrambled eggs, the Deke, Vickie, Alan, and I piled into Alan and Vickie's SUV and headed up the North Fork of the CdA River and deep into the Idaho Panhandle Forest up Eagle Creek for a visit to the Settler's Grove of Ancient Cedars. A wildfire had swept through this area about three years ago and it was impressive to see how the giant cedars had survived, even as the charred remains of lesser trees surrounded them. The conditions on the trail reminded me of the capacity of trees, especially ancient ones like these, to keep the forest from becoming scorching hot. Even though the temperatures outside the grove were climbing into the 80s, inside the grove the air ranged between cool and warm and was very comfortable.

2. After some time in the forest, we pulled into the parking lot at the Prichard Tavern. It's a rustic place, clean, and comfortable. I enjoyed my elk burger and fries. I'm getting more and more accustomed to some aspects of life in North Idaho that I am experiencing again, but that were not a part of my life either in Eugene or in Maryland. The stuffed heads of several wild animals decorated the walls. A guy at the bar wore a holstered gun, unconcealed. Country music from the 80s and 90s  played at a low volume through the house's cable or satellite television service. Everywhere I've lived, I've enjoyed the differences between places and this is true being back in North Idaho again. I'm feeling more and more a part of things here after my long absence.

3. Vickie, Alan, the Deke, and I sat at our table on the deck and enjoyed the pork chops I fried and the salad the Deke made. Toward the end of dinner, Ed texted me wondering if I were uptown, at the Lounge. I said I wasn't, but I could be and so we decided to go see Cas and Tracy. The Deke, Vickie, and Alan were comfortable in the cool evening air of the deck, were planning on having some ice cream and raspberries, and had wine sipping plans. So they stayed put while I went up to the Inland Lounge. Tonight Cas schooled me regarding the deep flaws in the abilities of former Pittsburgh Pirate Dick "Dr. Strangeglove" Stuart and how a buddy of ours might have made it to the majors had he not idolized Dick "Stone Fingers" Stuart and emulated "Iron Glove"'s habit of running the bases with his head down, oblivious to the location of struck balls and the base running signals of base coaches. Ed was doing pretty well after a fairly restful day and he and Cas swapped some great work stories.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 07/13/18: Christy's Excellent Progress, The Vacuum Cleaner Works!, Touring Kellogg with Longtime Friends

1.  I am happy to report that Christy continues to make steady progress as she heals from her knee replacement surgery. This morning at 8 a.m., she drove up to our house, picked up the Deke, and the two of them joined Carol for coffee at the Bean. Christy drove uptown for an appointment. She had slept through the night without pain -- she has discovered the right timing for when to take her pain medicine (which I thought she was off of -- but, she's still taking some before bed at night) and the pain relief is helping her get much needed healing sleep. Today, Christy went out into her gardens and took pictures -- if you are her Facebook friend, you can see the pictures -- and just had a solid day of rest, activity, and healing. She's very grateful for how helpful the ice therapy machine has turned out to be and has learned that she does best with her leg elevated, so that having Mom's medical chair in her possession is a great help.

2. So, earlier in the week, I bought this light weight Shark vacuum cleaner and hoped it would be the right machine for vacuuming our hardwood floors and area rugs. Today, I found out it was a great purchase. By alternating between different attachments, I vacuumed the floor, four area rugs, the ridges of the baseboards in different rooms, and got dog hair off the love seat, chair, and ottoman. I also was able to make the vacuum cleaner really short and this made vacuuming the steps going upstairs very easy. The only downside of this machine? Like every vacuum cleaner ever invented, this one drives Maggie and Charly crazy. I have to have the Deke take the dogs in the basement so that I can vacuum without having them scream bark, panic, and attack the vacuum cleaner. With the dogs in the basement, vacuuming the house with our new machine was a very pleasant experience.

3. Our friends Vickie and Alan arrived mid-afternoon from West Seattle and we sat around the Beer Club table in the kitchen and ate snacks, drank cold beverages, and launched into some solid yakkin'. We went to the Hill St. Depot for an enjoyable dinner and capped off our evening out in the beer garden area at Radio Brewing. It was fun starting to show Vickie and Alan around Kellogg a bit. Upon returning home, I hit the wall -- I'd been up since 5:30 -- and retired to bed and I'm not sure how long the Deke and Vickie and Alan stayed up.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 07/12/18: Sube's A/C Needs Fixing, Lunch with Byrdman, Preparing for Company

1. I roared out of Kellogg this morning and headed to the Subaru shop I do business with in Hayden to try and get answers once and for all about the Sube's air conditioning unit which has been on the blink, functioning erratically, for a couple of years. The a/c needs expensive repair work and we don't want a car with no a/c and we know the car is in otherwise good shape and we don't want to buy another car right now.  We'll get the a/c fixed.

2. After I was done at the shop, I swung by Byrdman's house and we headed up Government Way to Paragon, an excellent pub with a solid taplist. We each had their superb All-American burger and shoestring fries and enjoyed a pint of Tricksters' Citra Smash Ale. I hadn't see Byrdman for a while and he had lots of news about his last jam-packed month and we got in some great yakkin' with Kerry, a co-owner of Paragon, and got the latest news as to when Paragon hopes to break ground for their on-site brewery.

3. Back home, the Deke and I worked on getting the top floor of the house ready for our company this weekend. Earlier in the week, we had bought a new vacuum cleaner and I put it together and put it to good use upstairs and also got the window fans set up so that it will be cool upstairs for Vickie and Alan's comfort. This is another step forward in our ongoing efforts to finally get settled into our house and rearrange it after moving in last September and having two remodeling jobs done. Slowly and surely.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 07/11/18: Christy's Breakthrough Day, Late Afternoon with Shawn, Online Registration

1. Christy had quite a breakthrough day today. She awoke after a painless night, so she had a much better night's sleep. She ran out of her stronger pain medication and is not requesting a refill.  This allows her to drive short distances. So, for the first time in over two weeks, Christy drove today and it was uptown to her physical therapy session. After her session, for the first time in over two weeks, Christy walked over to our house. She wisely uses the aid of her cane to walk up and down hers and our porch steps, but made the stroll to our house without the cane. So, for the first time in over two weeks, Christy sat at our dining table and yakked with the Deke, Shawn, and me for a while, but went back home when she needed to return home and elevate her leg.

2. Shawn was at our house to help assemble shelving that will sit on our floor in the television room and upon which the television will sit. Once he and the Deke finished this, we broke out some beer I had bought in Eugene. One of the bottles had gone bad, so we dumped it down the drain, but there was nothing bad about the peppery spiciness and sweet bourbon finish of Breakside's bourbon barrel-aged Aztec Ale. Knowing Shawn is batching it this week, we invited him to stay for dinner and the Deke and I teamed up to make a fried salmon, mashed cauliflower, and green salad dinner. The lettuce, basil, and cilantro in the salad were from our garden and it was not only fresh, but full of a variety of flavors.

3.  The Deke and I bought these kind of fancy screen protectors for our new cell phones just over a couple weeks ago and they have a warranty they requires online registration. Registering the screen protectors required that I scan the receipt of our purchase and upload it, no problem, and required me to find our phones' IMEI numbers. I didn't think our phone boxes would be of help because we bought two phones, so I did some searching on the World Wide Web and learned how to find the number by going to the right menu on our phones. I enjoyed learning that, but it turned out to be unnecessary because I later checked our phone boxes and, wouldn't you know it?, the rep we worked with, Jade, had made it clear which box belonged to which phone. All's well that ends well, you know, and I got the screen protectors registered and learned a little more about accessing information about our phones by using the phones themselves. I liked that.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 07/10/18: Christy's Recovery Progresses, Arrangements, Steak Dinner on the Deck

1. Christy had a good session at the clinic with physical therapy on Monday and today she got around the house and did some light house cleaning -- took care of dishes, swept floors, that kind of thing. When I slide the ice therapy machine bladder under her knee, she's not having any problem lifting her leg. These are all very encouraging markers as her recovery moves forward. She has not wavered in her commitment to physical therapy, even in the face of recurring pain and imperfect nights of sleep.

2. The Deke and I have now made the essential arrangements for our trip to New Jersey and New York, starting August 21. After today, we have our flights reserved to and back from Newark, a rental car reserved, dog care reserved at Carol and Paul's, and an Airbnb reserved in Nyack. I am more happy and relieved than maybe a well-balanced person should be that we did not wait until the last minute to do any of this.

3. It didn't take long and it was simple, but I experienced a burst of euphoria this evening in the kitchen. I cut a yellow onion into rings and melted quite a bit of butter on our gas range's grill and caramelized the onions. In the meantime, I chopped up mushrooms and added them to the onions. We thawed out some sirloin tips about three days ago and got sidetracked and didn't cook them, until tonight. Figuring these steaks might be a little old and a little tough, I decided I'd try to overcome this potential deficiency by piling on the flavor. I generously covered the steaks with garlic powder, Montreal seasoning, and salt and fried them in bacon grease in a cast iron pan at a very high temperature.  It worked. Yes, the steaks were a little tough, but they were very tasty and paired perfectly with the cucumber and mixed peppers and walnut salad the Deke prepared.

It had been a pleasantly mild day today. The temperature never got above 80 degrees and we enjoyed our meal on the deck, marveling at our good fortune that it was so comfortable outside.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 07/09/18: Passport, Shopping Spree, Samsung Chat

1.  The Deke and I climbed in the Sube and motored over to CdA. The Deke had a passport appointment and her paperwork was in order and her passport and passport card will be arriving soon. If/when we go to Canada, we'll be prepared.

2. After we both got a haircut at Supercuts, we dashed to Costco to further furnish our remodeled house. For the first time in fourteen years, we bought a television. We bought a Blu-ray player. We bought a vacuum cleaner. We purchased an immersion blender. We stopped at Fred Meyer and the Deke bought a six-cubed thing to put the television on and to put odds and ends in. I'm not much of an assembler and the Deke ran into a glitch assembling the six-cube thing so we haven't taken the television out of the box yet. But, Tuesday is another day and the Deke is hoping the assembly difficulty looks less imposing after a good night's sleep, but as a backup, if needed, Shawn can come by and look at it on Wednesday.

3. Charles at Samsung was able to immediately provide me with a link to an online instruction manual to our Blu-ray player via chat. I wanted a manual with more extensive instructions than the small booklet that came in the box, and when I had difficulty finding the manual online via the Samsung website, I requested a chat online with a Samsung support team member and before I knew it, I had the link and I downloaded what I wanted. I do so much better chatting online than I do on the phone and am grateful for every company, from Symantec to Samsung, that provides this feature.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 07/08/18: Taking it Easy in Worley, Christy's Progress, Summit at City Limits

1. Ed swung by around 8:30 and we hit the road for the CdA Casino. We had a lot to yak about on the way down and back, but neither of us presumed to think we got all the world's problems solved. We gave it a go, though. Things were easy at the casino. It wasn't crowded. My money held up well.  Ed had had a demanding and often very hot week at work and getting away from it all did him a lot of good.

2. Christy continued to stay right on task with exercising and icing today. She is having difficulty with pain at night, which is not unusual, but difficult to endure. She's not at a point where she should get around a lot just yet, but, when she does, she's moving around pretty well and continues to make the occasional visit to her gardens. On Monday, July 9th, Christy will begin physical therapy at the clinic uptown, so her two weeks of in-home care have ended.

3. The Deke and I organized a summit at the City Limits Pub in Wallace to discuss our August travel plans to New York, to talk about making some further additions to the furnishing of our house, and to decide what we needed to do to prepare for friends making a visit this coming weekend. We enjoyed our meal and nailed down a few decisions about the weeks that lie ahead.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 07/07/18: Listening to Eugene Radio, Rockin' the Lounge, Baseball Research

1. I spent an inordinate amount of time in the room we used to call the front bedroom listening to radio stations from Eugene. I had a great time listening to Jivin' Johnny, The Beatles Hour, The Magical Mystery Tour, and Acoustic Junction on KRVM-FM and wish I'd had more time to listen to Dead Air on KLCC-FM, but I did catch about 45 minutes of it. The highlight of my hours with KRVM-FM was hearing the Grateful Dead's China Sunflower Cat>I Know You Rider from the 8-27-1972 show at the Old Renaissance Faire Grounds in Veneta, OR. I must take some time soon and listen to this entire show.

2. Not long after a delicious taco salad at home, the Deke and I head up to the Inland Lounge. We'd been at the Lounge for over an hour when the place cleared out and the Deke and I were the only customers. Cas played an epic series of tunes on the Lounge's digital jukebox, some of them accompanied by videos. We listened to Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Joe Walsh, Tom Petty, The Allman Brothers, Bob Dylan, Jeff Beck, Disturbed, Pink Floyd, among other artists. It was an awesome party.

3. In preparation for our visit to the Lounge, I spent another inordinate chunk of time poring over the baseball stats of Manny Mota, Matty Alou, and Felipe Alou, and I read several articles about which players have hit home runs all the way out of Dodger Stadium. This feat was achieved by Willie Stargell twice and once by Mike Piazza, Mark McGwire, and Giancarlo Stanton.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 07/06/18: Morning Visit to the Lounge, July Birthdays Taco Feed, V.I.P. Bar at the Lounge

1. After breakfast at Sam's, Ed had to go to CdA for a blood draw and I had told him the week before that I'd like to ride with him. We had a little time to kill before leaving Kellogg and Ed wanted to go uptown and see how work was coming along on the street/sewer project. When we drove by the Inland Lounge, Cas's pickup was parked in front and the front door was open. Ed flipped a U-y, parked, and we piled out of his pickup and shot the breeze with Cas while he meticulously worked on preparing the Lounge for another weekend of quenching the thirst and meeting the social needs of the Greater Kellogg Metropolitan Area.

2. The Deke and had some meticulous prep work to do ourselves. The big day had arrived for the celebration of those having July birthdays in our family: Carol, Everett, and Zoe. Christy and Carol had hatched a plan to have a taco bar and I volunteered our deck as the assembly line site. The Deke and I got the table set up and I made some trips to the store and the Deke fixed the taco meat, guacamole, and did other dinner preparations. Carol and Christy also made contributions, so our taco dinner was a team effort. Next door neighbor Jane provided dessert and knocked it out of the park with Haagen Dazs ice cream, raspberries and sliced cherries, finely grated chocolate, and three liqueurs to choose from -- I poured Bailey's Salted Caramel over my vanilla ice cream topped with raspberries and the chocolate.

The party was a success. Everyone made themselves a taco or a taco salad and carried their plate through the gate over to Christy and Everett's back yard where tables and chairs were set up. It was especially good to see Christy strolling around the yard, giving her nieces a tour of the garden she created as a memorial to Mom, and spending a couple of hours outside.  She's been cooped up in the house quite a bit, but as she continues to recover so well from her surgery, she is able, with the help of her cane, to get around. She even cut some flowers and put them in vases for each of the tables.

3. After dinner, dessert, some cleaning up, and an ice therapy session with Christy, the Deke and I headed uptown to join in the good times at the Inland Lounge. To our delight, Diane Trecker, three of her kids, Kelly, Jennifer, and Matt, and Kelly's husband and Matt's wife, were having a party at the Lounge's V.I.P. bar. The Deke and I joined in and had a blast. I hadn't seen Diane for a while -- my own damn fault -- and she filled me in on all her latest projects around her house, her future plans for the place, other plans she has, her travels, and how things are going with her dad. At one point, Cas took a break from the nearly unrelenting demands of providing Blue Ribbon service to his many customers and told me more about his and Tracy's trip to Los Angeles and Santa Monica to see the Pirates play the Dodgers.  The Deke and I stuck around for a while after the Trecker party moved to Dirty Ernie's and yakked more with Cas, left, and we piled in the Sube and traveled the dark and vacant streets of Kellogg back home.