Monday, June 30, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 06/29/14: Breakfast with Darren, Rose Lake Visit, Throwback Dinner

1.  I drove Ed to Coeur d'Alene and we met Darren for breakfast at Susie's Home Kitchen.  After the Hall of Fame of Great Guys blow out Saturday night, the bacon, sunny side eggs, freshly boiled and grated hash browns, English muffin, coffee, and multiple glasses of water helped me recover and feel sort of human again.  Even more, I enjoyed jawing with Darren and Ed, finding out what LPs I gave him Darren was enjoying (Sex Pistols, Ramones, T Rex, Dire Straits, Elvis Costello, and more) and yakking about that fine new downtown CdA beer joint, Crafters.

2.  On the way back to the Silver Valley, Ed and I dropped in on Jake and Carol at their Rose Lake house.  They bought a dilapidated hoarders' property, filled multiple dumpsters with all the garbage the house was filled with, got a remodel underway, and transformed the hoarders' shack into a beautiful house.  I am blown away by the transformation.  I enjoyed seeing Carol's son, Mark's family, seeing Carol's new great-grandchild, and staying just long enough to see Jake and Carol's mothers, Bev and Maxine.  I've known them both for about as long as I've been alive.  Leaving Ron and Carol's, bumping along the 5 mph E. Park road, many memories of many fun times with tons of great family friends came rushing back.

3.  I don't think Mom knows about the World Wide Web's Throwback thing, but she fixed a Throwback Dinner tonight, a Mom Classic from when I was growing up:  fried pork chops, applesauce, boiled potatoes, white gravy, and cooked carrots.  I thought I'd just come home from basketball practice and needed to go to my room and study for tomorrow morning's test in Ray Faraca's biology class. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 06/28/14: Then and Now, Abby at Stein's, Hall of Fame of Great Guys Convenes

1.  Back in 1977, Christy, Carol, and I posed for a picture to give Mom and Dad for their 25th wedding anniversary.  At dinner the other night, the three of us posed so that the picture could be taken again, thirty-seven years later.  Christy posted the before and after this evening on Facebook:

2.  Figuring we might need some Kokanee Lager.  I thought we like to bring the mountains to us.  So I went to my former place of employment (1969-71), Stein's, to buy a 12 pack and Terry Absec was working and he was able to pull himself away from the stress and demands of his job and shoot the breeze with me for about twenty minutes.

3.  The Hall of Fame of Great Guys convened another meeting at Knott's Landing.  Byrdman brought the fish tacos and some grilled bits of rib eye.  He brought the condiments for tacos and along with Texas caviar.   Jake brought a 30 pack of Coors Lite and some Mike's Lemonade.  Ed brought a bottle of Black Velvet Roasted Caramel whiskey and Sprite.  Stu brought chips and bottles of Bud Lite and Lime.  Lars brought a nice sized jug of R & R Canadian Whiskey, chips, and dip. Abby brought a 12 pack of Oly.  My list of everyone's offerings is incomplete.  Don hooked up his DVD player to his patio television set so we could listen and drunk sing to cds by Three Dog Night, the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Bob Seger, Joe Cocker, Glen Campbell, and more.  We had a fire.  Add an endless string of stories, wise cracks, and general yakking to the food, drink, and music and you have a picture of what it looks like when the Hall of Fame of Great Guys gets together for an eight hour session.  We had a brief discussion of heaven and hell.  I told the HOFGG that this is heaven.  I got several fist bumps.  We know what we have.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 06/27/14: Living Room Jesus, Chillin' at Wal-Mart, Casino Therapy

 1. On a wall in her living room that is easy to see, Carol has had a picture of Jesus hanging for a long time.  In fact, I've always thought of it as the photo bombing Jesus because any photograph taken in that part of the living room would have Jesus barging into it.  Well.  Carol moved Jesus to what I thought was a more obscure spot on her living room wall.  I had to, yes, I had to interrogate Carol to find out if Jesus being moved was a statement of Carol's regard for Jesus.  Paul told me they pray more now to compensate for moving the picture < wink smile> and Carol and Paul were so free and generous in letting me have a couple of shipping boxes, that they convinced me that, while Jesus was less prominent in their living room, they're good with the Bethlehem Rock.

2.  I had some business at the Smelterville Wal-Mart today, and, after dumping a jar of change into the Coinstar machine, picking up some food items, visiting with Teresa Baillie, and spending about half the day looking for briquettes, I went to the check out stand.  I could have been like the guy I heard about at Yoke's the other day and started yelling at the cashier and throwing money at him.  Things were really slow.  Brandon was breaking in as a checker.   The shopper ahead of me was buying for two and made two separate payments.  When it came time for her to pay for her first batch of goods, she went on a deep sea dive into her purse and it took her about an hour to find her money.  While waiting, I recited Books 9-12 of The Odyssey to myself. Then, I became the hour long customer.  Mom gave me coupons to use from Fred Meyer and Albertson's and elsewhere and so I got to break Brandon into the whole Wal-Mart coupon match thing, so while I recited Book 13 of The Odyssey, he learned how to do overrides and what buttons to punch so that Mom could help Wal-Mart fulfill its commitment to providing low prices every day. 

 3.  Ed and I drove down to the Cd'A Casino and had a great talk on the way down and back and Ed, after a long and stressful week of work out on I-90, relieved himself of a ton of that stress watching those reels spin and keeping his bank in pretty good shape.  I could tell after playing for a while that luck was not on my side, so I quit playing a couple of hours before we left and had fun hanging out with Ed and trying to tell the machines what to do on Ed's behalf.  The machines rarely obeyed.  Ha!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 06/26/14: Farewell, Labyrinth, Stir Fry

1.  Sadly, Christy had to head back to Inchelium this morning, but we made plans to get together next week in Spokane.  Mom would like to have some bbq ribs, so Christy and I started doing intense online research to figure out a place to meet and please Mom.

2.  Looking for honey at Yoke's, I felt like the Minotaur in the Labyrinth and I thought I might spend eternity looping up and down the aisles of cake mixes, canned foods, and motor oil.  Mercy prevailed, however, when a Yokes employee saw my dazed and confused look and asked me if he could be of help, directed me to the honey, and released me from the Yoke's maze before I was slain by Theseus.

3.  I got to cook dinner tonight.  I stir fried cross cut steak bits with onion, yellow pepper, green pepper, mushrooms, and zucchini.  I served it with couscous and the Deke made a superb mess of green beans with bacon and diced yellow onion.  With the sale of our house and getting ready to move and being in Kellogg, it's been quite a while since I've cooked anything and I enjoyed myself thoroughly. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 06/25/14: Byrdman Beer Session at Crafted, Matinee Meal for Carol, Jane Alexander is the Best

1.  While the Deke was at a two hour workshop at a Coeur d'Alene knitting store, Byrdman and I bellied up to the bar at the newest and best taproom in the town:  Crafted Tap House + Kitchen.  If you love a wide range of beer styles or want to start loving them, Crafted is the place to go at 523 E. Sherman.  I started the Byrdman blowout with a Payette Pale Ale, my first taste of a Payette brew and it was solid.  So were the garlic fries I ordered.  Then, our session turned from solid to sublime when I ordered a bomber of Goose Island's Sofie for me and the Byrdman to split.  If you have read even a little bit about my love for beer, you know that Sofie is one of my favorite Farmhouse Ales/Saisons and splitting this bottle of beer bliss made me very happy.  Scanning the tens of tap handles, I noticed that Crafted was pouring Deschutes Fresh Squeezed, one of my very favorite IPAs.  Byrdman and I split a pint and then split another.  If I lived in CdA, I'd be at Crafted Tap House every day.  The beer selections were awesome, the service and atmosphere and food were double awesome, and it is a great place to sit and yak it up -- which Byrdman and I did a gold medal job of.  This was a righteous noon time beer session . . . and a great surprise.

Crafted's Facebook Picture

2.  As if quaffing great beer at a great tap room with Byrdman weren't enough, our family got together in Carol and Paul's backyard for the third day in a row to sort of celebrate Carol's July 3 birthday early.  It turns out there will be an official celebration later, but who cares?  It was a matinee meal, and Paul barbequed a turkey, the Deke, Paul, and Mom all brought salads and we had a splendid dinner, marked by tons of stories and wise cracks and tons and tons of laughter, especially when some family pictures were taken:

3.  What better way to wind down after a day of great yakking, stories, and laughter than to stay up until 1 a.m. watching about three or so consecutive hours of Law and Order?  And to have one of the episodes feature one of my very favorite actors ever:  Jane Alexander.  Wow!  She's incredible in the two-part episode entitled "Entitled", playing the mega-wealthy, regal, corrupt, manipulative matriarch Regina Mulroney. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 06/24/14: Father Behaving Badly, Pasties, Rizzoli and Isles

1. A shopper at Yoke's apologized for her father's behavior yesterday when he got impatient when a customer ahead of him couldn't remember his PIN number and so he started yelling and throwing money at the cashier.  The cashier said that it wasn't that bad.  She said once the father understood that the computer running the debit machine had crashed he settled right down and was really nice.

2.  Pasty feast at Carol's!

3.  Part of the rest and nap regimen when visiting Kellogg is to watch hours of crime shows and I've learned that I enjoy Rizzoli and Isles and was particularly taken by the episode I saw tonight about a pre-school teacher with amnesia and the death of Rizzoli's best friend and law enforcement partner. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 06/23/14: Hibernation Ending, HOFGG, KabobFest

1.   Quiet Kellogg, Idaho.  Great place to hibernate.  Great for rest and naps. I started to come out of hibernation today, starting to make contact with friends, making plans.

2.  It looks like the Hall of Fame of Great Guys will be meeting for some adult beverages and fish tacos at Knott's Landing this weekend.

3.  Paul fired up the Weber and served up some righteous kabob:  shrimp, steak, mushroom, red onion, tomato in his and Carol's backyard.  Mojito cocktails.  Limoncello to finish.  Lots of laughs on a cool Kellogg evening.  The first of at least three family dinners in the Roberts' backyard.  

Monday, June 23, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 06/22/14: Basement Water, Gardening, Family Guffaws

1.  Too bad I'm not a plumber.  I could give Mom some help with the water that bubbles out of the floor drain when Mom washes clothes.  I jammed a garden hose down the offending drain, following Mom's directions, but I don't know if it really helped.  I'm hoping Mom will relent and call a plumber.

2.  Mom and I got that little bed by the driveway weeded and I dug out the two dead roses and transplanted a perennial.  No one seems, just yet, to know what kind of flower it is.  When Mom told Christy that it's a blooming perennial, that didn't seem to narrow the field of possibilities all that much.

3.  The Creativity Retreat at Christy's is over.  Christy arrived at Mom's house.  Then Carol arrived at Mom's house -- with Paul, Zoe, Molly, and Cosette.  The living room rang with stories, explanations, smart remarks, and a ton of laughter.  Many family members will remember this evening as the one when I called Mom on her cell phone when we were both in the living room.  Really.  You had to be there.  It was really funny.   But -- honestly -- I can't explain it.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 06/21/14: Lunch with Kenton, Fog Lifting, Major Crimes -- Whoa!

1.  For over fifty years, Kenton Bird has been one of my best friends.  He was in Post Falls for some contra dancing this evening and he drove over the hill to Kellogg so he could visit Mom and the Deke before the two of us went out for a delicious lunch and some catching up at the Hill Street Depot. 

2.  I am ready for the fog in my head to lift, the fog of just being tired from all it took to leave Eugene, and Mom's house is a great place to be to let the fog lift while sitting or lying around in a daze.

3.  Mom had videotaped a couple recent episodes of Major Crimes.  Whoa.  The episode we watched about the murder of Dante after he'd been paroled from jail, doing time for a murder he never committed, had me, at key moments, think I was watching a Shakespeare play and made me think, yet again, that 21st century cable television would be the perfect medium for Shakespeare, were he telling stories today. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 06/20/14: Naps, Incredible Journey, Sixteen Tons at 516 W. Cameron

1.  I hardly knew what to do today:  no painters, no construction crews, no trips to Goodwill, no meetings with a realtor, no house showings, no sweeping, mopping, or cleaning up, no visits to the title company, no packing:  I didn't have to do one of the things that has so thoroughly occupied my life over the last two and a half months.  So I took naps.  About three or four of them. 

2.  The back door to Mom's garage was open.  So was the main garage door.  So, of course, Maggie took off and I walked hastily down Cameron Avenue looking for her and there she was on the front porch of the house where Buddy and Margaret used to live at the corner of Cameron and Oregon.  I turned my herding skills on Maggie the herding dog and she came back to Mom's, homeward bound, her incredible journey over.

3.  The Deke and I decided to pretend like Mom's deck was Sixteen Tons and I brought home a bomber of Yeti's massive, complex Oak-aged Imperial Stout from Yoke's and we sat in the cool Kellogg evening and had some good conversation and let a lot of time pass without saying a single thing. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 06/19/14: Movers, Loose Ends, Kellogg

1.  The movers took just under two hours to get our stuff properly cushioned and packed and loaded on their truck.  One of the men took apart the frame we are giving Thomas.  But, we weren't quite done.

2.  Two more trips to Goodwill.  A trip to Next Step.  I delivered Thomas' frame.  I checked in with Mona, the owner of what was once our house. The Deke had more work to do to pack up her room.  I did some sweeping and mopping.  Shortly after noon, we pulled out of the driveway, shipped a parcel, dropped off instruments at the Vertulfo residence, and then we hit the road, tired, but determined to drive to Kellogg with no overnight stops.

3.  We did it.  Shortly after 10 p.m., we rolled into the driveway at Mom's house in Kellogg, got our stuff out of the car, and collapsed.  We have completed the first leg of our trip.

Three Beautiful Things 06/18/14: Eucharist, Pizza Party, Teutonic with Thomas

1.  It was moving to be able to worship on more time at St. Mary's Episcopal Church.  I got to read from the Book of Wisdom as the lector for the service.  Father Bingham Powell invited to the front of the chapel and prayed over me with a beautiful prayer from The Book of Common Prayer.  I got to say good-bye to several people.  It was, for me, the perfect way to end my day-to-day involvement at St. Mary's.

2.  Kate and Andrea, parents of the Deke's student, Oliver, invited us over for pizza and wine.  Andrea converted his Weber gas bbq into a pizza oven and his pizzas were spectacular.  Charles brought an outrageously delicious salad and we all had a lot of fun gabbing.

3.  We gave our queen-sized futon to Thomas and delivered it after our pizza party.  Thomas had chilled a bottle of Teutonic Wine Company's Rose wine and it was sublime and we had a good visit together before dragging ourselves home to get some sleep to be ready for the 7 a.m. arrival of the movers in the morning. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 06/17/14: Errands, Bowls, Farewell Sixteen Tons

1.  Next Step donations.  Goodwill donations. USPS mailings. Trip to the shredding people.  Errands.

2.  The Deke and I used a gift card at Laughing Planet we found and enjoyed food served in bowls. Mine was Indian, built around brown rice and chicken.  The Deke's was comfort food,  built around mashed potatoes.

3.  Steve, Debbie, Loren, Jay, Sherri, Father Bingham Powell, Mark, and Alex dropped by Sixteen Tons for the impromptu get together.  Pliny, the Elder was superb. (Does Pliny, the Elder ever makes its way to the Atlantic?)  The conversation rocked.  Many good farewell hugs.  It was a good way to remember all the mirthful times we've had drinking beer and yakking with each other and friends at Sixteen Tons.  And, of course, Thomas was the consummate tap man. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 06/16/14: Rita Visits, Patsy GabFest, Mollie Got a Desk

1.  I was just getting ready to move and I heard a light knock on the door and it was RITA!  What a great surprise.  She came in and we had a wonderful conversation and said good-bye to each other, with an inner confidence that we will see each other again -- because we always do!

2.  I strolled down to 16 Tons for, second of all, some delicious Pliny, the Elder Imperial IPA, but, first of all, for some gab time with Patsy and we had a great session, swapping tales, agreeing with each other (because we are never wrong), and having a bunch of really good laughs.

3.  Mollie and Steven came over to take possession of the desk I've had for the last thirty-one years and my dresser and a lamp.  I loved seeing these two and was really glad to give these things to Mollie, who expressed deep gratitude.  It was perfect.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 06/15/14: St. Mary's Support, Carpeting Out, Relieving Some Stress BONUS Faceless Portraits

This is my 2700th post at kellogg bloggin'.  I'm happy to say that I've stuck with it.

1.  I enjoyed the support I felt from friends at church as they wished me well and we shared our farewells.  I asked Father Bingham if he would pray over me for safe travels and a successful move at the morning Eucharist on Wednesday.  He will.

2.  Patrick removed the old carpet off the concrete floor in the basement rooms, cut the carpet into manageable pieces, and stored them in garage, opening the way for me to haul them to the dump.

3.  The Deke is doing at least double duty as we get ready to leave, wrapping up the school year and sorting and packing her stuff.  It's stressful and it helped to get out of the house and relax at Sixteen Tons for a while.  I enjoyed a couple of  12 oz. Woodchuck Amber Ciders and then really enjoyed a half pint of Hopworks' Kentucky Christmas, a Strong Ale aged in freshly emptied Kentucky Bourbon barrels.  It's kind of sweet, has a hoppy bite, and I liked the little whiskey burn at the end.

BONUS:  I love taking faceless portraits and here a few that I posted on Facebook and tumblr today:

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 06/14/14: Sorting, Lunch and Pictures, Superb Party

1.  I sorted through our family papers and organized them.  I'm very happy that I can fit these papers and my camera equipment all in one tub that I can transport in the car when we make our move.

2.  Russell and I had a delicious lunch at Pure.  I enjoyed my spicy chicken teriyaki rice bowl and miso soup.  Russell and I haven't been able to get together for lunch and picture taking for too long, thanks largely to my busy life these past weekends, so it was great to have time to talk and then to venture over to the Saturday Market area and take some pictures.

3.  Thomas of Sixteen Tons envisioned and organized a Rose/Pinot Noir wine festival and put it on today on the patio of the Sixteen Tons Cafe.  It was one of the best parties I've ever been to.  The wine was exquisitely delicious.  It was fun hanging out with Jacob, Thomas, the Deke, Jay, Sherri, and Patrick and I got to see Gail and meet her daughter, the photographer, Nicole.  I also had a great moment with Tosha, a former student of mine, who expressed gratitude for my work as her instructor. I had forgotten that she was my student and after our talk the things that transpired between us nearly five years ago started to come back. Her gratitude and sincerity and openness moved me and I felt even more strongly than ever that the work teachers do is primarily about how we treat our students, about the relationships we forge. Course content matters, but the relationships matter more.  I learned this back in 1975 from Nick Faber in his course Growth and Learning and it stayed with me for the entirety of my years as a teacher.  I'm very grateful that Tosha seized the moment and told me what she did.  It made my night. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 06/13/14: Shredding the Past, Marla to the Rescue, Millennials and Boomers

1.  Papers from when I first bought the house.  Two divorce decrees.  The papers officially annulling my first marriage (so is it a marriage any longer?).  Re-fi papers from years ago.  Tax returns from as far back as twenty years.  They are going to the shredder and I can put in a small box the papers we will take with us to Virginia.  Our load keeps getting lighter.

2.  In spring, 2013, I bought a cheap used gas powered lawn mower.  It has run fine.  But, the shaking of the mower keeps rattling the handle, bolted to the mower's body, loose.  Marla came over today and bolted it all back together and less than half way through mowing the front, it all started to come apart again.  I texted Marla, offering to consider the mower a hopeless cause, but she wouldn't hear it.  She came back over, rebolted the handles onto the mower and then, NO REALLY, THIS IS TRUE, and then, she stuck around while I mowed so that if it came apart again she could help me out on the spot.  I was blown away by her thoughtfulness and generosity.  I got the lawn mowed.  It's good now for when the new owners take over the house on Thursday.  And, guess what?  Per an arrangement made several weeks ago, Marla will inherit the lawnmower!  I'll bet once it's in her very capable ownership, she'll fix that damn handle shaking off once and for all.

3.  The Deke came home from her field trip to Wildlife Safari and collapsed and slept for nearly two hours.  A camel ride will do that.  After she awakened, we decided it would be fun to have a pint at Sixteen Tons and we were right.  I enjoyed some refreshing hard apple cider and a 4 oz. splash of Boulevard Beer's Rye on Rye, a rye strong ale aged in charred oak rye whiskey casks.  It's a 12% ABV, so four ounces was all I wanted to drink.  So the drinks were good and so was our company.  About a half a dozen recently minted U of O BFA students sat at our table.  If you are a regular reader of 3BTs, you know that the Deke and I love talking with millennials, with twenty-somethings, and enjoying how the ones we talk with blow the stereotypes about "young people today" to smithereens.  We had a great time listening to Danielle, who told us about her photography (she specializes in large format film photography) and her thoughts about art and education and family.  It was fascinating.  Then friends our own age rolled in and we had a great time yakking with Sherri and Jay.  It was a great party at Sixteen Tons this evening.  We wound down afterwards with a very short brandy at home.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 06/12/14: Seeing Again, Farewell, Good-Bye

1.  It was a fairly expensive job, I thought, but I am really happy that the bulbs illuminating the fuel gauge, speedometer, and the rest of the panel behind the steering wheel of the Subaru are all replaced and working.  When the Deke and I came home after a beer at Sixteen Tons last night, we were nearly blinded by the new brightness inside our car.  I am relieved to know that if we are driving after dark just outside Mitchell, South Dakota that we'll be able to see, easily, how much gas is in the tank.

2.  I don't know how long Don and Cliff and Jeff and Dick and Elliot  have been meeting for beers at Sixteen Tons on Thursday afternoons, but one Thursday a few months ago the Deke and I strolled in to Sixteen Tons and Don invited me to join them on Thursdays.  So I did.  It's been great fun yakking about music and movies and language and hearing stories about stuff that happened in Pocatello, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Chile, England, Ohio, and other points around the world.  Unless I make it back to Eugene on a Thursday some day in the future, this was my last time meeting up with these guys.  I hope I can find other guys my age (Elliot is kind of an old soul) in the D. C. area to throw back a pint or two with and ramble on about stuff.   This has been a lot of fun.

3.  When it comes to Jeff and MB and Michael, I know they have been having coffee together since their days at the U of O in graduate school.  I started grad school before they did and wasn't around much when they started having coffee, but once MB was back in Eugene to teach at LCC, Jeff and Margaret invited me to join them.  For a while, Peter was with us, but he moved away, and Michael joined us when he moved back to Eugene.  So, I've been drinking coffee with these friends and fellow teachers on a regular basis for over twenty years.  I've known them for thirty years.  We had coffee today and I enjoyed doing what we always do:  we talked about movies and music and stuff we've been doing; we talked about students and little bit about basketball and about LaPush.

Until I return to Eugene to visit some day, this was our last coffee. We said good-bye.  Without ceremony.  Our friendships run too deep to act as if today was the end.  The river of our friendship is changing its course and we'll just work at keeping it going in a different way, without coffee.

MB and Jeff and Michael will continue to meet and gab  over coffee.  This summer they will meet with others to start making their way through James Joyce's Ulysses.  It might take them years.  This will be a great comfort to me, knowing that Michael and Jeff and MB will go on.

I will never know this kind of experience again.  In my new life, I will not have friends I've known for thirty years, friends with whom I've studied and taught, and more important, friends with whom I've shared in things that have gone really well for us and things that have been really difficult. 

Sometimes during our coffee today my mind drifted to all I've experienced with MB, Jeff, and Michael, individually and together:  team teaching, driving through Weyerhauser timber land checking gypsy moth traps, hearing Richard Thompson, hearing Bruce Cockburn, supporting each other in times of grief -- especially times of death, but also in times of illness, difficulties at home with kids, broken relationships, and other things -- going to Grateful Dead shows, student/faculty get togethers in Jeff's back yard, talking about everything from Shakespeare to Rumi to Van Morrison to Bob Dylan to the stories and poems of the working class to Grand Funk Railroad and Neil Diamond.

I don't expect these conversations to end.  Email and blogs make staying in touch and conversing, make closing the distance, so much easier. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 06/11/14: Movers, Money Matters, Cold Hard Cider

1.  I found out the details about having our modest amount of stuff moved to Virginia and am happy that we will have a company taking care of this stuff.

2.  I made some financial decisions and doing so was a relief.  So was the Deke's support.

3.  I enjoy a cold hard cider in the warm weather, and the pint and a half I quaffed at the Sixteen Tons Cafe was very pleasant -- as was conversation with the Deke, with Thomas, and with Don.  I relish these times of relaxation in the midst of all the things that need to be taken care of as we prepare to move.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 06/10/14: Done, Kelly, Drinkin' the Whit

1.  I graded about a half a dozen papers.  Several students came by to pick up their folders containing the writing they did this quarter.  Merry and Siskanna and Eileen and Jay came by to say farewell.  I submitted my grades.  I said good-bye to Linda and Susan.  I went to facilities and turned in my last four keys.  My twenty-five years of work at Lane Community College ended.

2.  I dropped the Deke off at the dentist and went to Trader Joe's to pick up some dinner food and hoped I'd see Kelly and I did.  We were able to do a little talking and we hope to have a beer on Sunday.  It was great to see her.

3.  The Troxstar and I wandered into the heart of the Whiteaker neighborhood for some beers.  We started with a beer on the front porch at Sam Bond's Garage, strolled over to Hop Valley for a beer (and saw Steven Gibson!), and returned to Sam Bond's Garage for another beer and the bluegrass jam which was awesome. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 06/09/14: Perennials, Good Walk, Excellent Tire Service

1.  Even though we no longer own this house, I still want the lawn and the flowers to be in decent shape when the owners take possession.  I love seeing the perennials I put in last summer thriving this spring and I hope I'll get to see some of the flowers about to bloom actually come into bloom before we leave.  (I can also see where the spots are that I had planned to improve this spring -- oh well...)

2.  I enjoyed a good walk to the OCCU building to meet with our financial adviser as we work to understand just where we are with money as we get ready to leave and as we make some decisions about this and that.

3.  I enjoy good service and the man in his twenties or thirties who came through AAA to take the flat tire off the Subaru and put on the spare was terrific:  quick, friendly, concerned, professional.  I enjoyed that a lot. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 06/08/14: So Long, Patrick's Digs, Home Again

1.  After a night of refreshing sleep, Ed, Scott, Bruce, and I piled into the car and went back to Diane's for some awesome breakfast and to help with the clean up.  Yeah, we were getting ready to scatter again after a fun-filled weekend, but we all know the separation won't be long.  I, for one, will be back in Kellogg around June 20th for a week or so and back out to Idaho in November.  We'll have other get togethers.  We work at it.  As I've written already, this is what I love.  We work at seeing each other.

2.  I got to see Patrick's digs today when I motored over to his joint to hand over some dishes and the Bose.  Now when I hear him talk about his roommates, I'll be able to see in my mind's eye who they are.  I also got to see Ellen for a minute and I enjoyed that.  It was a good, if short, visit.

3.  I dropped off a multi-purpose tool to Turner that he had left at Diane's, and them made my way back to Eugene.  The Deke was at a potluck in the rural reaches of Creswell, so I took a nap and awaited news that she was ready to hit the road and meet for a beer at Sixteen Tons -- where Jay and Sherri were having a beer and we joined them for some good conversation and the created the possibility of having dinner together before we leave town. 

Three Beautiful Things 06/07/14: Early Morning Trip, Few Filters, What I Love Most About KHS '72

1.  When my Kellogg High School, Class of '72 friends get together at Diane's in Vancouver, I really enjoy getting up as early as possible and going with Ed down to the Spirit Mountain casino so we can have some long conversation and try our luck on the machines.  Friday night/Saturday morning, I got to bed around 2:15 or so, but when Ed texted me a 6:00 a.m., I sprang into action. I got showered, went down to the first floor of the Phoenix Inn for some breakfast, and revved up the car so Ed and I could drive to Grande Ronde.  We had a great time.  I didn't lose too much money and the drive down and back was fantastic:  great scenery, easy traffic, and great conversation.

2.  Diane and her sister Donna, with the help from others, made a fantastic Greek dinner for our birthday party which officially kicked off at 2 p.m., but had really been going on for nearly twenty-four hours by then.  Diane's house has a lovely bar with a big television screen and a good many of us either bellied up to the bar or stood behind it and watched the Belmont Stakes, rooting hard for the failed attempt of California Chrome to win the Triple Crown.  We all loved the post-race interview with Steve Coburn:  he sounded like he was from Kellogg!  The alcohol was great, too:  Mike's Hard Lemonade, Crown Royal whiskey, Bushmill's Irish whiskey, ice cold bottles of Kokanee, and, in addition, thanks to Mr. Turner, I enjoyed a fine bottle of Widmer's Alchemy Ale.  Yeah.  Yeah.  Okay. I got a little drunk and went a little off the rails, got a little raunchy with my humor -- and I loved every moment of it.  If I can't make a KHS Class of '72 ass out of myself on occasion with my longest and best friends, who can I make an ass out of myself with?  Few filters. No harm.  Lots of laughs.  Ahhhh! Oh!  And here's a picture of me in the early evening, catching a few zzzz's and definitely getting my second wind. 

3.  Here's what I love the most about my friends from Kellogg High School:  we work hard to get together.  We have class reunions.  We celebrate birthdays.  We have come from all over the Pacific Northwest (and even Alaska) to get together over Presidents' Day.  One year it was Father's Day weekend. We get together to hear Ron and Carol's band play out at Rose Lake.  Don Knott hosts us in his back yard in Kellogg.  We get together in Pendleton over Veterans' Day weekend.  Sometimes just the guys get together.  Sometimes just the gals.  Sometimes a lot of people can make it and other times our gatherings are smaller.  I know I won't make it to Rose Lake in August, but I will come west for Veteran's Day.  But we work at it.  We love each other.  We love seeing each other.  We don't wait for something to happen.  We make it happen.  That's what I love most about my Kellogg High School, Class of '72 friends -- and the others from outside our class who have also joined in.  

Three Beautiful Thngs 06/06/14: Birthday Party, Laps at the Airport, Where's My Swimming Suit?

1.  Members of the Kellogg High School Class of '72 who could make it, got together at Diane's in Vancouver, WA for a Friday evening, all day Saturday, and Sunday morning celebration of all of us turning 60 years old. Of those who attended, I was the oldest, having been born 12-27-53.  It's a meaningless detail except for the fact that I expected to be treated with the respect due the party's elder.  Ha!

2.  I drove to the Portland International Airport to pick up Ed, Scott, Bruce, and Wanda.  It was a congested mess.  I couldn't find my friends to pick them up.  Through Scott, I found out that my friends were waiting to be picked up at the Alaska Airlines departure area on the upper level and I was looking to pick them up at the arrival area on the lower level.  I made four circuits into the arrival area, out again, around the airport,  and back to arrivals.  Because it was so congested and busy, security wouldn't let me sit and wait for my friends, so I drove laps and, finally, Scott and I figured it all out over the phone and my friends came down to the arrival area and I picked them up and drove us all to Diane's party.  It was an absurd evening at PDX -- and really funny.  I'm just glad it all worked out and that I didn't have to spend eternity driving laps to the arrival area, out, and back again.

3.   I tossed my swimming suit in the back seat of the car before I went to the airport so I could wear it in the hot tub at Diane's.  Then I couldn't find it, even after going back to the rental car and looking. So, when it came time to soak, I stripped down to my white briefs, to my classmates' delight, and eased myself into the tub.  They were delighted that I soaked in my skivvies.  Patty found it refreshing.  It gave us all a little more of a feeling of being family.  Later, while sitting in a patio chair in my undies next to Wanda, drying by the patio fire, she told me my swim suit was in the rental car, in the window sill behind the back seat.  She'd put my suit there when she got in the car at the airport.  Sigh. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 06/05/14: Paint Gone, Classroom Instruction Done, Great Social Life!

1.  One short trip to meet one easy appointment at the Household Hazards site at the Lane County dump and now the garage is free of all old paint, old Rustoleum, and other old such stuff -- I've been guilty of procrastination in getting this easy little job done.  Some of this stuff was sitting in the basement in June, 1993 when I first bought this house.  It's all gone now.

2.  Next week I will hold a two hour office hour on Tuesday to hand back papers.  Today was my last day in the classroom at LCC after twenty-five years at the school.  My class didn't actually meet.  Students strolled by, either handed in final papers or, because they finished early,  picked papers up. My career of classroom instruction came to a very uneventful and quiet end, more of a whimper than a bang.  

3.  Today was one of my best ever days for social occasions.  Let me explain:
  • I met up with Cliff and Jeff and Don and Richard at Sixteen Tons for our regular Thursday afternoon get together and, thanks to Cliff, we all shared a bottle of Logsdon's divinely delicious Cerasus Organic Kriek Brewed with Oregon Cherries.  THEN, in celebration of Eugene Beer Week, the Sixteen Tons Whiskey Barrel Beer Fest got underway and I really enjoyed a few sips of about five different beers that had been aged in whiskey barrels and it was awesome.
  • The Deke and I met up at Billy Mac's with Shay, Lynn, Pam, Michael, Kathleen, and Anne, friends we have met there with for years, and had an animated dinner together, with great conversation and surprise readings by Kathleen of a splendid Kay Ryan poem and by the Deke of some wonderful papers written by her students.  It was the last time the Deke and I can meet on Thursday at 5:30 with our friends before we move.  
  • After dinner, I met up with Carolyn and the Troxstar at the Bier Stein for a couple of witbiers and some wide-ranging conversation and a lot of good laughs.  More fun and a great way to cap a great afternoon and evening of seeing friends.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 06/04/14: Next Step, Herman at Dari Mart, Repair Reconciliation

1.  The best news at Next Step Recycling is that they will keep the cds Debbie recorded and didn't sell out of the waste stream.

2.  After donating many items from the garage at Goodwill and making a stop at the Post Office, I stopped in at Dari Mart on West 11th for some milk, a Coke, and potato chips, and, as I was leaving, there, in his wheelchair was my longtime friend, union man, and fellow bullshitter, HERMAN.  He turns 76 years old on Friday, he told me, and it's remarkable he's made it this far.  He's had all kinds of problems with his physical health, but not his mental.  We fell right back into some good b.s. together by the Slurpee machine, talking about people we know at LCC and other stuff and Herman did what he's always done:  he made me laugh.  A few months ago, I asked MB if Herman was still alive.  I hadn't seen him for a couple of years and, like me, he no longer comes out to the college regularly.  I learned he was alive and I had that fact verified yesterday when I saw Herman for no doubt, the last time and told him I loved him.  (He turned my sentiment into a joke...and so I got one last good laugh.)

3.  It turns out the repairs the buyers wanted done didn't cost quite as much as I paid for them, so I got to back to Western Title today and pick up another check, this one reconciling the contractor's final invoice and the amount I overpaid.  That was a nice surprise.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 06/03/14: Gone, Good-bye Steve, Tavern Talk

1.  That worn out living room rug is gone.  So is the drain pipe that once ran along the length of our front porch and that was supposed to keep water from coming in the basement twenty-one years ago, but didn't.  (Years later, we took care of the water in a real way.)  Gone is the old wood, the metal garden posts, the useless leftover glass.  Some of this stuff has been around our house or in the garage since we moved here, left behind by the previous owner -- and for all I know the previous owner inherited it from the owner before them.  It's gone now.  I made a satisfying trip to the dump this morning. 

2.  Steve McQuiddy, who teaches in Academic Learning Services, has been sending students my way for years.  For years, I have been grateful for his confidence in me as a teacher of writing.  Today, Steve came by the office to say good-bye and we had a great conversation, probably the last of many great conversations we've had over the years.  I have long and good memories of Steve, extending all the way back to when he was an undergraduate at the U of O in the early 80s, when he didn't know I knew who he was.  He was a part of a group of students who did what I'd call performance art around the Honors College and I watched them perform one evening back in 1982, a memorable night.  We've both done a lot since then and have a lot left to do.

3.  The Deke and I have used the tavern as the place to dream and discuss and make plans for our life together.  We don't do this as much at home.  We go out, nearly every day, to dream and talk and plan.  Often it's been at Cornucopia and at Billy Mac's.  Mostly it's been at Sixteen Tons.  And there we were again today, the Deke with a calendar sketched on the back of a tap list, making plans for our move.  We are nailing it down and it's only right that we are making our final plans for leaving at the same place where we first dared to speak about the possibility of one day leaving Eugene.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 06/02/14: House Sold, Rafters Cleared, Real Ale

1.  Our house is sold.  We are renters.  The papers have been signed and delivered.  Funds dispersed.  Now it's time to head down the home stretch of clearing out the house, doing a bit more packing, figuring out a mover, and getting ready to hit the road.

2.  There is a storage area in the rafters of the garage.  It's clear now.  Dump trip coming soon.  Until doing this work of clearing out the house and garage, I'd forgotten that the previous owner left a fair amount of stuff behind in 1993.  I can't remember if he told me he was doing that and I said, "No problem" or if he just neglected to take care of this and that.  I know one thing:  we aren't leaving anything behind for the new owners to clean up and clear out.  They'll have an empty house -- except for what they have bought from us.

3.   Ted, the proprietor of Brewer's Union in Oakridge, brought a cask of  Flummoxed Lummox English Red Ale to the Sixteen Tons Cafe.  For me, this meant a couple of pints of real ale, of hand pumped, cask conditioned English beer.  It was a delight to relax with these pints of real ale after one last visit to the title company and a quick stop at the bank, in short, with the closing of our house sale over. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 06/01/14: Last Time as Lector, One More Goodwill Run, Nez Perce Chainsaw

1.  At this morning's 11:00 service, I was the lector for the last time at St. Mary's Episcopal Church.  I thought back to when I began being a lector.  Back in the fall of 1987, I regularly attended the worship and dinner at the Episcopal Campus Ministry house.  On one Thursday, the Campus Ministry board came to worship and eat with us, to check things out, and for the service I was asked to read one of the lessons.  Afterward, Deacon Penny Berktold told me she liked how I read and asked if I'd be interested in being a lector at St. Mary's.  I accepted.  There were some years in there when I fell off, or, for health reasons, asked to be taken off,  the lector schedule, but, by and large, I was a lector for about twenty-seven years and it always meant a great deal to me that I had been asked to serve as a lector and I enjoyed the challenge of bringing the lessons to life every time my turn came around to read.  I'll miss it.

2.  Dog crates.  Sleeping bag. Bulletin board.  Pole lamp.  Clothes.  Other items from the basement and the Deke's room are now in the good hands of Goodwill Industries.  The garage is a little more cleared out.  So is the house.  We close tomorrow, June 2.  We move out on the 19th.  I think we'll make it.

3.  Thomas asked, looking across 13th at the Circle K parking lot, "What's that guy doing with a chainsaw?"  He was a shirtless guy.  He had his chainsaw out for no apparent reason.  Then he put the guard on the blade and put it in his back seat.  Then we saw he had a gas can.  Maybe he stopped at Circle K to fuel his chain saw.  I don't know.  He put the fuel can in the trunk, got in the car, on the driver's side, pushed back his seat, drank from a can, and appeared to be talking with the woman on the passenger side.  After a while, he revved up his car, started to pull out of the lot, and the Deke exclaimed, "He's from Idaho!"  I dashed to the 16 Tons front door for a clearer look at his license plate.  Indeed.  It was an Idaho plate, from Nez Perce county.  Did he come down to Eugene from Culdesac?  From Peck?  From Lapwai?  From Lewiston?  What was he doing?  Who knows?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 05/31/14: Clearing Out, Buyer Walk Through, Chez Herb and Francoise

1.  Up and down the basement stairs.  Up and down.  Carrying boxes of old paint cans and other products left over from when I bought this house in 1993.  Dealing with other things I've ignored for twenty-one years.  But, soon, this stuff will go into the back of the Subaru and be out of our house and out of our garage.  We aren't doing it at the last minute!  We are getting our house cleared out. 

2.  The buyers came over for a walk through to check on the work they requested as part of their offer to buy our house.  A couple of things need further attention, but nothing that stops the sale.  I'll be at the title company Monday morning to sign the papers and close this sale.

3.  Herb and Francoise invited us over for some drinks and grilled salmon and potatoes and German cucumber salad and macaroni salad and for an evening of lively conversation about everything from language and its uses to the Deke's future at Robert Goddard  to the wonder of the San Antonio Spurs.