Thursday, November 30, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/29/17: Appliances, Bank, City Limits

1.  After a trip to the Bean for some coffee and to discuss our day, the Deke and I went to Watts Appliance and ordered a gas stove and a counter depth refrigerator and almost ordered an apartment size dishwasher, but we weren't quite ready to pick between the two available. Later in the day, we got everything straightened out with Shawn regarding our sink and now the last order we have to make is for a couple of ceiling fans. Some reading this might wonder -- well, how about the microwave? We gave in when Molly and Patrick were in high school and bought a microwave in Eugene. We gave it away when we moved to Maryland. We didn't have a microwave in Maryland and never once missed it. Mom had a microwave, but when we moved into this house, we gave it away. For whatever reasons, we enjoy life without a microwave and, while we're on the subject, without a television.

2. I made another trip to the bank and made a simple transaction that made it possible for me to pay Christy and Carol for their shares of the house. We have some formalities to wrap up at the attorney's office at some point, but, for now, things between my sisters and me regarding the estate are settled.

3. The Deke and I enjoy driving to Wallace and late this afternoon we went to the City Limits and sat at the bar. I enjoyed two short pours of Sunset Red and ate a patty melt for dinner. We had a relaxing time. All the activity going on in our house -- now it's painting and putting up trim and molding -- wears us out, even though we aren't doing the work. I think it's the fatigue that comes from being minorly displaced. After dinner, we went over to Christy and Everett's and visited for about and hour and returned home and couldn't get into bed quickly enough.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/28/17: Counter Top and Sink, Dispersal of Funds, Dinner Next Door

1. The Deke and I went to CdA today to pick out counters and to try to pick out a kitchen sink. We succeeded in finding a gray counter top we think we'll like, but we didn't find the right sink yet and are going to keep looking. It's not like we are particular, but we need a sink that meets certain specifications and the sheer volume of sinks available is dizzying. This evening, we might have found one online -- we'll see!

2. In my ongoing effort as the executor of Mom's estate, I went over to Carol's so we could do some math together regarding the dispersal of funds. We agreed on who would get what and I wrote checks from the estate to both of my sisters. On Wednesday, I'll be able to do what I need to do to pay them for their share of the house. This process is going very smoothly, without disputes. I'm very grateful for this and I know Christy and Carol are, too.

3. Today was the slowest and least productive day of the remodel project for reasons having to do with drywall mud not fully drying. The guys worked on some electrical stuff that is temporarily fouled up and we had a brief period of time without heat. Christy and Everett invited us over to their house for a great dinner: pork chops, tiny potatoes, gravy, salad, and bread. They are having their backyard shed upgraded with insulation and electricity, so much of our talk tonight was about paint colors, sinks, electricity, and the anticipation of these projects coming to a successful conclusion.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/27/17:Up and At 'Em, Good Progress, Dinner at Christy and Everett's

1. The Deke and I were up and at it this morning. Our trip to the clinic was a bust since the doctor was sick, but we had coffee at Kellogg's premier coffee house, The Bean; we returned to True Value and made a final decision on paint color for the living room; we got an orientation at the Wellness Center in Smelterville; we drove to Wallace for a coffee at Wallace's premier coffee house, The 6th and Cedar Espresso (a.k.a. The Wallace Coffee House). We returned to Kellogg where we ate a solid lunch at Best Shots and did a little banking.

2. The painting prep, the painting of the trim and molding, and the other jobs in the kitchen and living room are coming right along. It looks like the painting in the these rooms could be done on Friday and the cabinets have arrived and Shawn might be able to get them installed at the end of the week. We still have some selections to make regarding counters, sink, ceiling fans, and appliances, so I'm thinking Tuesday and Wednesday might be occupied with those decisions.

3. The Deke and I warmed up a lasagne from Costco over at Christy and Everett's and took over a salad and Christy contributed a great loaf of bread and the four of us had dinner together and talked about the eventful day. Christy had an eventful shift at the library, she and Everett have workers getting a project underway in their backyard shed, and, of course, we had a lively day in our house with our own project continuing. I had been up early this morning and hit the wall before 9:00 and again enjoyed crawling into our new and comfortable bed.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/26/17: Varnish Vapors, Return to Daft Badger, Dark Drive Home

1. An accident happened in our refrigerator that sits in the garage. Varnish leaked through the plastic wrap that a lamb's wool applicator was enclosed in and that had been in the freezer. The smell of varnish has been strong in our refrigerator. On Saturday, I asked Shawn to take the applicator home, thinking that would help with the smell and then, this morning, I discovered that even though the applicator was gone, there were small pools of varnish in the freezer. I got some rags out of the basement and cleaned out the freezer, a simple job. I checked different foods to make sure the smell hadn't seeped into any of them. I'll double check on Monday and I'll check to see if the refrigerator needs a more serious airing out -- but, I'm hopeful that cleaning up the small mess has resolved the problem of having varnish vapors emanate from the ice box and dominate the fridge.

2. This afternoon, the time came for Patrick to return to Portland, so the Deke, Patrick, and I piled into the Sube and headed in the dark and the rain to Spokane International Airport (GEG). Originally, we thought we'd stop in Spokane for a bite to eat, but changed our minds en route and ate at Daft Badger in CdA. For the first time, I didn't drink any beer or cider or wine at Daft Badger. I wanted to make sure, on this black, rainy night, that I had my full awareness on the road. So, I enjoyed Daft Badger's homemade root beer and, with the Deke's help,  ate an order of smoked mac and cheese, a rich and filling delight. The Deke and I also shared an arugula salad topped with clouds of Greek cheese.  It was awesome.

3. We said goodbye to Patrick at GEG and headed back to Kellogg. The road around Lake CdA was particularly dark. The misty rain was similar to driving in fog. At one point, a truck passed me and and threw what seemed like about a hundred gallons of water on our windshield, temporarily blinding me, but I regained my vision and recovered. For the whole trip, I drove at a slower than usual speed and we made it over the Fourth of July pass into the Silver Valley where it wasn't quite so dark. It was a tiring drive and the Deke and I decided to stop in at Radio Brewing where the Deke enjoyed a glass of wine and I had a short pour of ESB. We shook off the road trip, started to make plans for the upcoming week, and headed home and I went straight to bed.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/25/17: Hill Top Breakfast, Trip to CdA, Snacking and Yakking at the Daft Badger

1. Ed's son Darren came over the hill from CdA to have breakfast with his dad at the newly remodeled, newly owned Hill Top Cafe in Kingston. Ed invited me to join them and I happily accepted. The remodel is rustic, very handsome. Independent of one another, we all ordered a chicken fried steak with eggs and hash browns. I had a biscuit with mine. My steak was tender and the gravy on top of it was creamy and meaty. I was particularly happy with the golden biscuit. It was light, slightly crunchy -- which I liked -- and made me think that a biscuit and gravy order would be delicious at the Hill Top. Ed, Darren, and I yakked for nearly an hour. It was a fun time and it was heartening to see the Hill Top up and running again and to see a pretty good number of people come in.

2. Of course, with the work being done to our house, we don't have a living room or a kitchen. Patrick is here, and our only available room to host him is in the basement. The three of us decided this afternoon that we needed to get out of the house and so we took a drive to CdA. I took a slight detour and we drove along the shores of Beauty Bay on Lake CdA, observed photographers with camo coated telephoto lenses snapping eagle pictures, and then drove on into CdA proper.

We stopped at Fred Meyer and then went down to Independence Point where the Deke and Patrick took a walk and Patrick snapped at least one really good picture. I stayed in the car and worked online getting my library account updated and ordered a copy of The Iliad to be picked up at the Kellogg Public Library.

3. We ended our visit to CdA at the Daft Badger. I didn't want to drink any of my favorite beers at Daft Badger because their alcohol content is pretty high. Instead, I ordered a glass of Washington Gold Cider's Golden Delicious along with a very small sample of Josiah's Revenge, Daft Badger's superb Imperial Stout, to see how the cider and stout blended -- hmm, pretty good. Patrick, the Deke, and I had a good visit, enjoyed an order of bread and artichoke dip, and were back in Kellogg by about six o'clock.

I am finding that having our house partially disassembled makes me want to crawl into bed where things are orderly and comfortable. So, I did. I messed around online reading and playing around while the Deke and Patrick watched The King's Speech in the basement.

I felt secure in the little cave of our bedroom and in the comfort of our new bed and before long fell into a deep sleep.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/24/17: Breakfast at Sam's, *The Iliad* at Radio Brewing, Friday Night at the Lounge

1. I leapt out of bed early enough this morning to feed the dogs and spring into the Sube and jet down the street to Sam's where I met Ed, Buff, and Scott for breakfast at six. We talked for a while about kitchen remodels and I reported that ours was going along very well and that the Deke and I were dealing just fine with the inconveniences.

2. After Shawn finished up some work on the house and after he, the Deke, and I split a bottle of Arrogant Bastard Ale and polished off what was left of the bottle of Stein Rye Whiskey I brought home from Joseph, the Deke, Patrick, and I whisked up to Radio Brewing where we met up with Shawn, Teresa, Tony, Astrid, and Ronan.

At one point in our conversation, an old love came back for a visit. Ronan is reading The Iliad in high school and he asked me what I thought of that assignment. It's been a quite a while since anyone asked me a question about the work I used to do and it's been a while since I'd felt the trembling that happens inside me when my love for the liberal arts is roused from its deep sleep.

I had to ponder Ronan's question so I was silent for a bit. I tried to think how to articulate my hope that The Iliad wasn't merely a school assignment for Ronan, but that he was being encouraged to dive into Homer's profound excavations of the human soul, that The Iliad was helping him begin to see the mystery of human existence and the puzzle of why we, as humans, do what we do -- like fight wars.  I tried to say that it pains me that Homer and Shakespeare and other timeless writers  have been relegated to course syllabi rather than being part of the everyday conversation of our lives. I might have succeeded a little bit. Whether or not I made any sense -- well, I don't know.

I stopped myself from saying how pragmatic I think it is to read poetry, epics, novels, plays, essays, and other literature. But, any of you have read this blog over the years know I see things this way. I can think of few more useful and practical undertakings than self-examination, exploring the meaning of life, never finding answers, and continuing to question and be questioned.

For a few minutes at Radio Brewing today, I forgot how much my job as an English instructor involved the things I am very happy to no longer be a part of: meetings, participating in the bureaucracy of a college, paperwork, the absurd exchange of knowledge and insight for credits and grades rather than seeking knowledge and insight for its own sake, and so on.

For a few minutes, I felt animated by the joy it gave me to try to have helped students explore the mysteries of suffering, love, goodness, happiness, evil, forgiveness, power, self-destruction, healing, death, inward resurrection, longing, reconciliation, cruelty, compassion and all the other experiences we share as human beings -- and I hoped in his study of The Iliad, Rowan wasn't merely getting his assignments done and getting good grades on them and ticking another of the great works off the great works reading list in order to prepare for college, but that Homer's epic is deepening his understanding of what it means to be human.

That's what I think of a freshman at the CdA Charter Academy being assigned to read The Iliad.

3.  I probably just made what was maybe ten minutes of our conversation at Radio Brewing sound like it was an hour long seminar. In my head, I guess it was. Our conversations took many turns -- food, playing music, clothes, life in the Valley and much more. Our party broke up and the Deke and I headed down to the Inland Lounge where the room was filled with good cheer and good spirits. The Deke and I yakked with each other and with a host of other people who came in. Cas provided, as always, five star service, especially as the Deke made very specific requests as to just how she wanted her Manhattan mixed and served. My only regret as we left the Lounge around 8 o'clock was that I had been up since 5 a.m. and was too tired to continue the evening at Christy and Everett's to watch the Zags' epic battle with the Florida Gators. It must have been heart breaking that the Zags lost in double overtime.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/23/17: Thanksgiving at the Lounge, Family Dinner, Laughs and Desserts

1. After completing some morning routines, at about 11:45 I headed up to the Inland Lounge for some Thanksgiving Bloody Marys. I can't think of many other days during the year when I drink a Bloody Mary, but it's a drink that always seems to hit the spot on Thanksgiving Day. I went to the Inland Lounge for another reason. Cas is keeping a long tradition at the Lounge alive: a free Thanksgiving dinner. A guy named Jeff cooks turkey, ham, dressing, gravy, vegetables, and an assortment of other food and brings it all into the Lounge around noon. Cas put a board over the pool table and set up another couple of small tables and the food was laid out for anyone to eat as little or as much as they'd like. I had a tiny bit of smoked turkey and a small helping of dressing and gravy just to test the essentials, but as many as fifteen guys, many of them bachelors, helped themselves to this generous spread. I'm sure more came later. With a full day of feasting ahead of me, I neither wanted to drink very much or eat a lot, and, anyway, my services were needed with our family, so I left the Lounge around 1:30, very happy to have been a part of the festivities there and wishing I might return later.

That didn't happen.

2. Carol and Paul hosted Thanksgiving and we started off with a delicious brandy punch that Christy made and dove into a smattering of other finger food, including a warm brie cheese prepared especially for dipping apple slices into. Before long, it was time for dinner and we all sat at the family's copiously supplied table. Everything was very delicious: Carol's turkey, potatoes, and gravy, a vegetable plate made to look like a turkey, my dressing, the Deke's roasted sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts, Christy's awesome cranberries, Zoe's pumpkin buscuits, and probably more that I am not recalling.

I felt grateful on this Thanksgving Day to be living in Kellogg again where I am seeing old friends more often, making new friends, and can spend so much good time with Christy and Carol and their families. I'm grateful that the Deke is enjoying living here and that we are closer to Patrick, that he loves coming to Kellogg, and that he made the trip up to be with us this weekend.

3. After dinner we all got a bunch of good laughs playing "He Said, She Said". The Deke was in charge of teaching us how to play. We laughed through two good rounds and capped off the night with desserts and Brandy Alexanders for those who wanted them.

Patrick, the Deke, and I headed home after a very full day. It felt good to crawl into our new and comfortable bed shortly after 8 p.m. and retire into a refreshing night's sleep after such a full and satisfying day.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/22/17: Cornbread Dressing, Picking Paint, Pub Time

1. I jumped right on my Thanksgiving dinner duties this morning. I picked up a few items at Yoke's and came back to Carol and Paul's and baked a pan of cornbread, toasted it, fried up some pork sausage, sauteed onions and celery, chopped up some parsley, lightly beat an egg, and measured out some chicken broth and in a couple of hours, PRESTO! the best side dish of all, dressing, was cooked and ready to be warmed up for tomorrow. My original plan was to make oyster dressing, but I wanted to use fresh oysters which would have required more effort than I wanted to put out in the midst of all the chaos of being displaced from home while the remodel project is underway. Maybe next year...or maybe sometime in the next few months I'll give it a go.

2. After Shawn, the contractor, came over to Carol's to talk about this and that with the Deke and me, the two of us bolted out to True Value Hardware for further consultation with Robin. The Deke purchased a couple of quarts of paint as samples and I'm not sure what she thinks of them after she brushed them on the walls. We do know, however, that Shawn will have us look at the paint color on the walls after the first coat and if we want it changed, we'll change the paint before he applies future coats.

3. The Deke and I needed a break from the work site and all that comes with it, so we drove to Wallace and plopped ourselves down at the thinking table at the City Limits Brewery and Pub and enjoyed a couple short pours of beer. I enjoy their Sunset Red -- a fine red ale -- and the Deke was happy that one of her favorite styles, Black IPA, was on tap. After a while, we decided to eat so we split an order of fish and chips.  They hit the spot.  Mom always called the City Limits the Outer Limits -- not the Twilight Zone -- so the Deke and I do, too, and this afternoon we left the Outer Limits in a good mood, ready to move forward and eager to see Patrick upon his arrival from the Spokane Airport, thanks to a ride from Molly and Cosette.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/21/17: More Business, Relaxing Lunch and Nap, Dinner Party

1. I tended to more business today: cancel insurance here, make a deposit on another job on the house there; the Deke and I talked about appliances at Watts; talked with Robin about paint at True Value; worked with Debbie in CdA on our kitchen design and chose cabinets; returned to Watts for some more looking and conversation. It's all good -- a bit overwhelming, but good.

2. After we checked on things at the house, we made a move to relax. We grabbed a table at Hill Street Depot where I sipped on a couple of Captain Morgan and ginger beer with lime and enjoyed a grinder and a cup of chicken gumbo soup. This mid-afternoon lunch not only relaxed me, it helped me come back to Carol and Paul's and take a refreshing nap.

3. Carol and Paul hosted a dinner party tonight, in large part to host Cosette's friends Sidnee, with her boy friend, Benjamin, and Jazmin. Carol fixed a macaroni and cheese dinner with roasted vegetables that was really good, but I ate very little after my filling lunch. Lively conversation filled the house.  The dinner party ended when we watched that episode of Golden Girls when Rose and Dorothy repair plumbing and Blanche decides she can't marry a multi-millionaire.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/20/17: Jobs Done, Business, Hot Soup...and a Correction

1. Trevor and Justice, a couple of the guys who work for Shawn, had some time off today from the remodel project and so I hired them to move cabinets and a couple of sofas from our house to Paul and Carol's. Then, in raw windy and rainy conditions they emptied the soil out of  two galvanized horse troughs Mom had used as planters, hauled the dirt next door to Christy and Everett's, and moved the troughs there, too.

2. I spent much of the day taking care of business at the attorney's office, the insurance office, and at the bank. Now I have the deed to the house in hand, our car and home are insured, and things are taken care of with money.

3. Taking care of money, insurance, and legal business makes me a little nervous and tires me out. The Deke and I figured out the perfect way to relax afterward. We enjoyed a hot bowl of broccoli cheese soup with bread at Radio Brewing and I had short pour of Coffee Stout. Upon returning to Carol and Paul's, I relaxed and slept for the rest of the afternoon, evening, and on into the night, satisfied that we got so much done today.

Correction: By the way, yesterday I made an error. David Cassidy is still alive. I try to check out the news of celebrity deaths and this time I got tricked. Sigh. He's in very tough shape, but, as of now, he's hanging on.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/19/17: Calm Morning, Driving Kellogg and Wardner, Sunday at the Lounge, Bonus: Two More Pics

1. Today was a calmer day. No dog jailbreaks. The Deke and I settled into staying at Carol and Paul's. Carol fixed delicious cream cheese eggs for breakfast. I enjoyed coffee and getting some writing done.

2. While the Deke knitted with Liz and Paige at Radio Brewing this afternoon, I took a little driving tour of Kellogg. I drove down the Portland hill, buzzed around St. Rita's Church, and explored Wardner a little bit. I made my way down to Best Shots for a couple of cocktails and some french fries.

3. When the Deke finished knitting, we noticed the lights were on in the Inland Lounge. We are never sure if it will be open on Sundays. We strolled in and spent a couple of hours yakkin' with Cas. The Deke and I split combination plate from Wah Hing next door.  We mourned the passing of David Cassidy. Bob played "I Think I Love You" over the Lounge's Atmos Dolby sound system.  I'll always know where I was -- the Inland Lounge --  the day David Cassidy, and the music, died. Rest in Peace, David. You are gone, but Keith Partridge will live forever.

Here are pictures I took after the first coat of varnish dried on our floors. The top picture is the kitchen with the living room on the bottom:

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/18/17: Working Outside, Dog Break Out, Family Gatherings

1. Today Shawn and Justice, his helper, put the first coat of varnish on the floor. Below I've posted pictures of what the floors looked like before the varnish.)  The Deke and Maggie and Charly and I had to leave the house and we moved to Carol and Paul's for a few days. It was a mild November day and I took advantage of being banished and of having a dumpster in the driveway and cleared the exterior of our house and the front and back yards of all kinds of things: window boxes, planters, a corroding metal table, a clothesline, a piece of wooden furniture on the deck (requiring me to use Shawn's sledgehammer), old plastic chairs, and other things.

2. The Deke drove the dogs over to Carol and Paul's and immediately had to deal with two dogs escaping. The Deke lured Maggie back with food. But, hmmm, Archie was a different story. Archie is an athletic Catahoula (state dog of Louisiana, by the way). Carol and Paul are looking after him for a couple of months or so for a friend. Archie got out and wandered (ran) about a quarter of a mile (maybe) over to Yoke's grocery store and the Deke couldn't corral him until -- well, until Archie trotted into the store and got into a checkout line. There, the Deke leashed him and brought him back. I missed out on all of this because I was sledgehammering a wooden two seated pink outdoor deck chair. I walked to Carol and Paul's when I finished my tasks, sore, tired, but satisfied with a good day's work and happy that no dogs were run over by a car or anything.

3. With all dogs contained, the Deke thawed and warmed up one of those delicious Costco chicken pot pies and Christy and Everett came over over for dinner while all the Roberts were in Moscow for Senior Day at the Vandals' game. We had a great time together and an hour or so after they left to go watch the Zags defeat the Utah State Aggies, Zoe, Cosette, Molly, Travis, Paul, and Carol all piled into the house with grocery bags full of chips and dips and soda pop and other things and they tore into them for a late dinner of their own. It was Paul's birthday, and soon he opened some gifts. By the time he finished, I dragged my tired bones to bed to sleep off a full day of work, dog drama, and family conviviality.

Here are the pictures I took before Shawn and Justice began varnishing the floors:

The New Opening into the Kitchen

The Living Room and Dumpster in the Driveway

The Unearthed Kitchen Wood Floor

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/17/17: Temporarily Out of the House, Moving Day, Basement Social Hour(s)

1. It turned out that the discovery of the wood floors complicated things in our lives a bit: while Shawn varnishes the wood floors in the living room and kitchen, we can't be in our house. I assumed Carol and Paul didn't have room for us nor did I think Christy and Everett would. But, then, Carol reached me and explained how it could work for the Deke and me and the corgis to stay at their house. We accepted her offer and, Saturday morning, we will be moving in with the Roberts family until Tuesday.

2. The couches and cabinets that came out of our house need to be transported to Paul and Carol's house.  Monday is a varnishing day, but there is also a shipment of materials coming to the house and we need the garage cleared as much as possible. Since a couple of Shawn's guys won't be working on the interior of the house, we hired them to use Everett's truck and move these things for us. This seems like a small thing, but, like many small things in life, it's awesome.

3. Our basement is a little chilly, but late this afternoon and on into the early evening, it became a social gathering spot. When Shawn wrapped up his work, he broke out a bottle of Well's Banana Bread Ale, brewed in England, and the Deke, Shawn, and I split it. Drinking this beer awakened in me a forty-two year old love of how beers are brewed in England and, I suddenly realized that I thought this beer would pair really well with the rye whiskey I bought over the weekend at Stein Distillery in Joseph. So, I broke out the whiskey, we all had a nip or two, and I was right. Christy came over later and she and the Deke and I yakked in the basement, enjoyed another couple slugs of rye.

When Christy left, the Deke and I were kind of lost. Our kitchen and living room are empty. We can't cook anything. We could eat a few crackers! Luckily, we weren't feeling hungry. We each had a bowl of awesome bacon mushroom soup at Radio Brewing early in the afternoon and spit an order of parmesan-garlic fries. So, we went to bed and to sleep kind of early. I liked that.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/16/17: Demolition Day, Underneath the Layers of Glue, Out on the Town

1.  Not only did demolition in our house begin today, but Shawn and the three guys who work for him removed all the cabinets and appliances out of our kitchen and built the frame around and the beam above the new much wider opening between our living room and kitchen. It really opens things up in our little house.

2. Not only did they get the opening well on its way, but once the guys removed the linoleum  off the kitchen floor and once they scraped the years and years of glue underneath the flooring, they discovered that what we had hoped was true was indeed the case: our kitchen has a hardwood floor. It's going to be a big job to get all that black glue gunk off the floor, but Blaine made progress today and the Deke and I are very happy that there will be effortless continuity between our living room floor and the kitchen.

We've also decided to have less done in our kitchen by having it be L-shaped rather than U-shaped. We want to have as much unfilled space in the house as possible and by not putting any counters against the south wall of the kitchen, we will have opened things up in the house even more.

3.  The Deke and I debriefed for about forty-five minutes at the Hill Street Depot and then Christy and Everett joined us for some dinner. We yakked and yakked about a bunch of stuff and then headed over to Best Shots for a nightcap. After dinner and drinks, Christy and Everett came over to the house to look at all that Shawn and his boys accomplished today and shared our happiness with how things are going after one day.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/15/17: Measurements, Yakkin' with Darrell, Demolition Prep

1. Shawn came over this morning to do some detailed measuring of our kitchen and living room and we talked more about the upcoming project. The Deke fixed us a hearty potato and egg breakfast. Thursday begins the demolition.

2. After some project shopping, the Deke and I decided to talk things over at Daft Badger. Darrell Dlouhy, a co-founder and the obligated one at Daft Badger, was in the house and joined the Deke and me for a lively conversation about construction, cooking, beer, and host of other topics. Darrell and I go back forty-five years to our days as students at NIC and, as we sat there today, I couldn't help but think of all the experiences we had singing in the NIC choir, all the intersections that have taken place over the years between our lives, the great changes both of us have experienced since 1972, and all the mutual friends and acquaintances we've had and, in some cases, still have.  My two short pours of Scotchy Scotch Scotch Scotch Ale enhanced our time with Darrell. Its malty sweetness and scotch whiskey notes were in harmony with our table talk and were perfectly warming on what turned out to be a blustery and chilly November day. The Deke loved her beer, too:  Daft Badger's Blood Orange IPA.

3. Back home, the Deke and I enjoyed some delicious leftovers and moved most of  our kitchen to the basement and our living room into the front bedroom in preparation for Thursday's sledge hammers and crowbars.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/14/17: Organizing, Afternoon Dinner, Sweet Heat Snack

1. I've kept all the documents related to Mom's estate in a plastic basket of Mom's. I spent a couple of hours organizing that basket today. Instead of loose papers piled in the basket, now almost everything is filed in a folder. I will return to the basket on Wednesday and dig down under the file folders to retrieve a few more loose papers and file those.

2. Early this afternoon, the Deke and I decided to have dinner early in the afternoon. The Deke requested black beans and rice. I dug a familiar recipe from Pinterest and got out our Dutch oven and cooked up the beans. I used a little too much vinegar -- I had to sub apple cider vinegar and balsamic vinegar for the red wine vinegar and red wine the recipe called for -- but I liked the stronger vinegar taste and I always like the way the acid in this dish is balanced by the brown sugar and it's all made especially delicious by my generous splashes of Frank's Original Red Hot Sauce.

Eating this meal transported me back to evenings in our apartment home in Greenbelt. This dish really smells good and one of the nice things about living in a small house, much like when we lived in a small apartment, is the way the onions, garlic, cumin, oregano, brown sugar, vinegar, and pepper sauce blanket us with aromatic pleasures.

3.  I watched a few episodes of Chopped: After Hours this evening and suddenly wondered if I might combine sweet with heat and make the Deke and me a tasty snack. So, I got out a bunch of sesame rice crackers, put some cream cheese on each one, then topped each cracker with Mom's rhubarb strawberry jam from 2014 and a touch of Sambal Oelek ground fresh chili paste. The chefs on Chopped are always working to combine contrasting sensations and textures. I thought the crunchy cracker contrasted nicely with the cream cheese and that the jam and the chili paste also contrasted nicely with each other.  It worked. Each bite was crisp, creamy, sweet, and hot, giving the Deke and me pleasure and a bit of a surprise. The hotness of the chili paste snuck up on us so that what seemed like a sweet treat finished with some heat.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/13/17: Busy in CdA, Hannah at the Courthouse, Rip and Tear Soon

1. I drove to CdA this morning for more money talk. We got some things decided and I left with a better understanding of several different things.  On the way to CdA, my Check Engine light flashed on and I decided to have the codes read right away following my money appointment. After a quick search online while sitting in a parking lot, I went out to Reliable Auto and Truck in Hayden because I'm always looking for an independent repair shop and this one specializes in Subes.

The man working the front of the shop read and cleared the codes and the results were familiar to me and we talked about the tune up I'd had done just before leaving Greenbelt. He got under the hood and checked things out and he was impressed with the work Jens did in Greenbelt.  We decided to see if the light comes on again. If it does, I'll return. I've often wondered if I have a quirk in the Sube that turns on the Check Engine light kind of randomly and he wondered the same.  I've read of other people having this happen. So we'll see. He didn't charge me for reading and clearing the codes or digging around in my engine and I enjoyed our conversation a lot. I'll keep having my oil changed in Kellogg, but for stuff Silver Valley Tires can't do, I'll return to Reliable Auto and Truck.

2. I called the Shoshone County Motor Vehicle Department around 1:00 to make sure I had everything I needed to register the Sube in Idaho.  The sparkling and friendly voice over the phone informed me that she could do my VIN inspection on the spot. (I thought I'd have to go to the police station.)  This was great news. I could have everything taken care of in one stop at the courthouse. So, the Deke and I piled into the Sube and it turned out that that sparkling and friendly voice belonged to Hannah Etherton and that for the umphteenth time in my life I was having a most positive interaction with a member of the Etherton family. Everything was in order with the title and the VIN and, in a short amount of time, I was the proud owner of Idaho license plates with an Idaho title forthcoming.  (Did you read that Rich? I'll make sure I have your address so I can send you MD plates to add to your collection!)

3. The day got busier. The Deke and I accepted an invitation to see the contractor we are working with in his home so we could see the impressive work he's done on his house, talk more about our remodel, and agree to the terms of a contract. Ripping and tearing starts Thursday and we are the only job he and his crew will be working on, so things should move at a pretty good pace over the course of the next few weeks.

After we were at Shawn's, the Deke and I had some debriefing to do, so, after we dropped in to say hello to Christy at the library, we strolled around the corner and grabbed a stool at the thinking table at Radio Brewing for a couple short pours and some serious discussion, and we got in some good yakkin' with Paige.

We'd had a light lunch at the Broken Wheel and the guy who works there warmed up to us after a while.  It was fun drawing him out a bit. We returned home to the very delicious soup the Deke made from the remains of last night's chicken dinner, augmented with cheese tortellinis. It was warming, relaxing, and deeply satisfying. After a day of getting so much done, I hit the hay early.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/12/17: Heading Home, Back Home, Family Dinner

1. After a solid breakfast at the buffet, Mike, Terry, Ed, Jake, and I settled up our hotel bills and all hit the road, bringing a fun time together to an end. Ed and I piled into Jake's rig and we were off to Idaho with quick stop at Country Mercantile to gawk at the candy, try some samples, and buy some to bring home. I bought the Deke and me a few peanut clusters.

2. Back home in Kellogg, everything was in good order. The Deke had left to knit with the Sunday group at Radio Brewing and I got a few chores around the house done in preparation for Sunday Family Dinner.

3. The Deke cooked up chicken thighs in a delicious sauce and served rice, polenta, and a chopped salad to go along with it. Our conversation around the table was lively and fun. Among other things, we divided responsibilities for Thanksgiving dinner, so now we all know our assignments as to what to bring to Carol and Paul's to enhance our meal. We have an excellent dinner planned, a fine combination of traditional dishes and some new and different offerings.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/11/17: Breakfast Buffet, Distillery and Brewery Run, Steak Dinner

1. Mike, Ed, Terry, and I got off to a solid start this morning at the breakfast buffet with a full breakfast and some good yakking and laughing about all we had done the night before.

2. Terry and I jumped into his pickup and headed into the Willowa mountain country for a gorgeous drive to Joseph and Enterprise.  We had miles and miles of top notch conversation about all kinds of things, political and familial, including the situations we each faced with our now deceased mothers as they grew older and what is happening with Terry's over ninety year old mother-in-law.

At Joseph, we visited the Stein Distillery, a maker of fine whiskey, vodka, and cordials. I don't know the woman's name who hosted us and served us half ounce samples, but she was delightful and knowledgeable and generous. Terry and I loved Stein's moonshine, bourbon, rye whiskey, and vodka and I learned more about each. Both of us bought a bottle of 5 year aged rye whiskey and left warmed by both the spirits we consumed and the warmth of our host.

Next stop? Terminal Gravity Brewery and Pub in Enterprise. The pub is in a handsome older house, slightly similar to the High Street Pub in Eugene. I was a little bit fired up to see they had a strong ale and enjoyed my 9 oz pour a lot. I ordered chicken skewers and a cup of clam chowder, a perfect light lunch, and finished with a 9 oz pour of light and delicious golden ale, covering both ends of the beer strength spectrum.

3. Back at the casino, Ed, Mike, Terry, Jake, and I met at the Wildhorse's Plateau Steakhouse. I enjoyed a superb whiskey and ginger ale cocktail before diving into a juicy pepper-crusted Pendleton Whiskey Steak with rice pilaf and baby carrots. We had a great time yakkin about all kinds of stuff and our meal was deeply satisfying.

This great meal finished my night. I watched a little college football on television and, before long, fell into a relaxed and deep sleep.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/10/17: Off to Pendleton, Since 2001, Solid Yakkin'

1. I popped out of bed around five a.m. to pack my bag and prepare for a weekend trip to Pendleton, OR. I'd had a blissful night's sleep thanks to the comfort of our brand new firm queen bed and the fresh sheets and blankets the Deke made it with. I strolled down Cameron Avenue to Sam's and enjoyed a cup of coffee with Ed, Jerry, Buff, Scott, and Aaron and soon Ed and I piled into his pickup, swung by our house to pick up my bags, and we headed to his house in Kingston where Jake picked us up and we began our drive to Pendleton.

2. Back in November of 2001, right after Thanksgiving, a bunch of us guys from the Kellogg High School Class of 1972 traveled to Portland for a weekend together of just plain playing. In 2005, we gave it a try in Lincoln City, OR and for a couple or three years we got together in Coeur d'Alene. For the last five years or so, we've congregated at the Wildhorse Casino in Pendleton and today Jake, Ed, Terry, Mike, and I all arrived soon after noon and our weekend got underway. We started at the lobby bar and enjoyed a couple of beers, fanned out, and each did our thing.

3. Around 3:30 or so, Mike, Ed, and I got together in Ed's room for a drink and some serious yakkin' and, after I went to my room and watched some basketball, I joined Jake and Terry back at the bar to watch the Zags play. It turned out I didn't pay much attention to the game because we got into more serious yakkin' with a couple of truck drivers, one seated down by Jake and another seated by me. The guy next to me was in his mid-thirties, lived in rural Eastern Oregon, and was waiting for his dad to come to the Wild Horse.  He and Jake and I yakked about the world today, the Sunshine Mine Fire, all the jobs this guy has done over the years, and, before long, Jake returned to the card table and Josh's dad showed up and I met him, yakked a bit, and decided it was time to go to bed.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/09/17: Money, Passed the Test, Smoked Meat

1.  I've had some financial questions nagging at me over the last week and so I made an appointment to see a financial advisor at the bank.  The Deke and I had a great conversation with the advisor we met with and I have a follow up appointment scheduled for Monday and I am feeling much more relaxed about things.

2. I passed the test. I now have an Idaho driver's license. Ditto the Deke. I couldn't register the Sube  today, but I'll do it next week. We are chipping away. We are getting things done.

3. After the meeting at the bank and the grueling test to secure our licenses at the Sheriff's Office, the Deke and I relaxed over a beer and a sandwich at The Hill Street Depot. We got in some good yakkin' with Liz, our server, and I really enjoyed my Hawaiian smoked pulled pork sandwich primarily because I love the Depot's smoked meats.

One more great thing happened today. The Furniture Exchange delivered our new queen bed and frame to our house and set it up. The Deke and I agreed that the firmness of this bed and the comfort of the bedding we purchased made our bed a source of comfort.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/08/17: Business, Imagining the Kitchen, Food for the Freezer

1. I spent more hours today taking care of business related to our house: moved Mom's single bed upstairs after removing the headboard -- no now space is cleared for our queen bed to arrive on Thursday; more insurance business; bills paid; I learned about the Idaho homeowner's tax exemption. I imagine a time will come in 2018 when we are settled in and have all these things taken care of.  For now, keep a quiet mind and chip away, slow and steady.

2. The Deke and I went to Cd'A and looked mainly at counters, cabinets, flooring, and doors. We didn't make any decisions, but we have a little better idea of what's available. We split a Thai beef sandwich and each ate a cup of beer cheese soup and drank a couple of small pours at Daft Badger and sketched out different kitchen configurations.

3. The Deke went to a knitting get together at Knit Knit in downtown CdA and I went to Costco to shop for frozen foods that we can warm up at Christy and Everett's (and Carol and Paul's?) during the remodel when our kitchen will be out of commission.  The Celtics and Lakers were playing on a television at Costco and when I stopped to watch the game, a sales rep from Direct TV approached me. I told him we don't have a television and that I haven't subscribed to a television service for over thirty years.

He told me that was cool.

Then we talked for a while about basketball -- namely, the NBA, and, even though my NBA IQ is much reduced these days, I enjoyed our exchange a lot. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/07/17: House Business, Lost and Found, Meatloaf Dinner

1.  I keep chipping away at getting business done related to Mom's estate. I made a very important visit today to the attorney's office and signed a document transferring Mom's house into mine and the Deke's names. The document has to be processed by the county, but essentially it means that we are home owners again. Completing the settlement with my sisters is in the works. Things are getting done.  We aren't there yet, but slowly, surely we are getting there.

2. I returned home from the attorney's office and from recycling some cardboard and aluminum cans. I opened the mail and detected an error in a bill we received. I wanted to call the company immediately, but I couldn't find my phone. I knew I'd had my phone when I went uptown. Suddenly, a lightning bolt hit me. I jumped back in the Sube and drove to the cardboard recycling dumpster. The lid of the dumpster is high overhead. I wondered if when I reached up to throw in the cardboard, if -- well, sure enough, I drove up to the dumpster and there was my phone, lying on the ground, right by the dumpster, cold, lonely, and eager to show me I had notifications.

I sighed in gratitude that I hadn't run over it earlier and that this recycling station is not very busy so no one else found my phone before I returned. I will also make sure, in the future, that if I do anything that requires me to throw things higher than my head, that my phone is in a secure pocket -- or just leave it in the Sube.

3. The Deke had thawed the uncooked meatloaf we had left over from nearly two weeks ago and she added more egg and saltine crackers to it so it held together better. In a single Pyrex pan she cooked the meatloaf and roasted baby potatoes and squash chunks. The result was a very delicious and deeply warming dinner with the added bonus that we have some meatloaf left over for sandwiches on Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/06/17: Morning Walk, Numbers, Perfect Turkey Soup

1. The snow falling deterred the Deke and me from going out and doing a lot today, but we did take a walk down to Stein's.  I took a signed form to the insurance office next door to Stein's confirming the cancellation of Mom's auto insurance policy. We walked to the just to pick up some milk and the Deke very pleasantly surprised me when she purchased a couple of turkey legs. This could only mean one thing: turkey soup. But when?

2. The Deke went right to work simmering the turkey bone with onion and soon the mouth watering fragrance of turkey filled the house. In the middle of the afternoon, Shawn, the contractor, called.  He had a rough estimate ready to show us for remodeling the kitchen and doing other work. He dropped by a little later. We went over the numbers. No big surprises except we can get this project started sooner than we originally thought. The Deke and I have some talking to do. We have some figuring out to do. We should know more by the end of the week.

3. The turkey broth continued to simmer. Shawn left and suddenly the Deke decided tonight would be turkey soup night. She had to hustle to get the soup ready because she has her Beer Ed class at Radio Brewing on Monday nights. Suddenly, the Deke was not only chopping celery, but also a squash and she was boiling penne pasta. She dumped the meat back into the broth along with the celery and squash cubes and the boiled pasta and it all cooked for about twenty minutes in our new Dutch oven with the lid on.

The soup tasted even better than it smelled. I loved how the squash lightly sweetened the broth, making the soup both savory and oh so slightly sugary. Carrots might have performed similarly, but the squash gave the soup an even more delicious sweetness and I loved the squash's starchy and soft texture.

The best part of having the weather cool off is that the meals get warmer. Last night pot roast. Tonight turkey soup. Right now a meatloaf that's been in the freezer is thawed and ready for the oven. It will warm our Tuesday evening table.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/05/17: Wireless Sound, Matinee Show, Perfect Family Dinner

1.  The Deke and I are ready to experience the sound of streaming music into our home. This morning I read CNET reviews of different possibilities, focusing on Amazon's Echo products, different wireless speakers, and combining the two. I'm still contemplating -- everything sounds kind of fun. We'll see.

2. The Deke and I piled into the Sube around 1:30 for a drive to Wallace. We watched -- and sang along with -- Carol and Paul and the rest of their band at the Sixth Street Melodrama. They put on a musical production, Goin' for the Gold, Settlin' for the Silver.  It was a program of work, love, and Christian songs, with narrative material woven in as a tribute to the history of the Silver Valley. The work songs were particularly powerful for me and brought back great memories of teaching U. S. Working Class Literature with Margaret and, in particular, of the great songs in the movie, Harlan County, USA -- especially Merle Travis' masterpiece, "Dark as a Dungeon".  Team teaching that class with Margaret was a superb experience in my life as an instructor and I loved the class sessions when we focused on songs about work and labor and union organizing. It was uplifting to have those memories rush back to me during the program.

3. Our fun afternoon at the matinee performance just got more fun as the day darkened. A group of knitters meets at Radio Brewing on Sunday afternoons and the Deke joined in when we returned to Kellogg. She loved meeting new people, knitting with them, and getting in some serious yarn talk. I took a spot at the thinking table -- or the bar -- and enjoyed talking with the tasting room manager Meredith and, when she had customers to serve, reading recipes online.

After Radio Brewing, we went next door to Christy and Everett's for family dinner. Carol, Paul, Christy, Everett, the Deke, and I are trying to have dinner together on Sundays and, so far, as long as we are all in town, we are succeeding.

Christy made a delicious pitcher of pear and apple fall sangria for our cocktail half hour and for dinner we had a most delicious pot roast with potatoes and carrots, complemented by cornbread and a fresh apple salad. I asked Christy if the meat was a chuck roast because I was staggered by how moist and flavorful it was.

Now, I know the pot roast was so good because Christy worked her magic with the crock pot and with just the right seasonings, but I was staggered because the chuck roast brought back memories of some chuck roasts we had when we were kids that were kind of stringy and dry and required a lot of ketchup. I never minded the dry stringy chuck roast. Ha! I liked it.

Tonight's pot roast/chuck roast, however, was a revelation of just how good that cut of meat can be when slow cooked and seasoned right. The potatoes and carrots were also moist and perfectly prepared and absorbed some of the taste of the beef as they stewed in the broth created by the roast as it cooked.  What a perfect fall dinner to warm us up, especially as we experienced our first snowfall over the weekend, starting on Friday.

Christy made delicious bar cookies for dessert. They brought our meal and our lively conversations to a tasty conclusion.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/04/17: History Day, Zags Triumph, Inland Lounge Nightcap

1.  Spontaneously, today I got caught up in the life and tyranny of Joseph Stalin. Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, Stephen Kotkin's second of a three volume biography of Stalin is available and Keith Gessen of Columbia University reviewed it in the latest issue of The New Yorker. I took courses in both the History of Russia and Modern European History back at Whitworth, but that's been over forty years ago and so, as I read Gessen's review, I traveled the World Wide Web a bit, reading up on, among other things, Lenin, the periods of terror in 20th century Russia, the collectivist programs Stalin enforced, and the German invasion of Russia in 1941. I wish I could say that all this reading today was merely interesting or that it was fascinating, but most of it was horrifying. I'll leave it at that.

I don't know if this link works for non-subscribers to The New Yorker, but if you'd like to see if Gessen's review comes up for you, it is here.

2.  It wasn't much of a game. Zags 96, College of Idaho 67. It didn't count on either team's record nor will it factor into each team's statistics. It was an exhibition game. All the same, it was fun going next door to Christy and Everett's to watch much of the game and to begin to get a little bit familiar with the players on this year's Gonzaga squad.  Watching the Zags got me a little fired up in anticipation of their participation in the PK80 Tournament in Portland over Thanksgiving weekend.  It's a power packed tournament. If you haven't looked into it, and want to go here.

3. I watched the game while the Deke was at a French speakers' meet-up and supper here in Kellogg. When she finished, she picked me up and we went up to the Inland Lounge for a nightcap and, lo and behold, Allan, Peggy, Nancy, and Ed were at the table in front of the fireplace and we joined them for some cocktails and a whole lot of yakkin'. It was a really fun surprise to meet up with them.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/03/17: Breakfast Club, Lively Time at Wallace Brewing, More Fun at the Lounge

1. I sprang out of bed around 5 a.m. and about an hour later I bounded down Cameron Avenue to Sam's and enjoyed breakfast with Ed, Buff, Jerry, and Scott and listened to a bunch of stories about rollers and cutting asphalt and the cost of pickup trucks. It was a good time and I've got to keep rolling myself out of bed every Friday morning to join these guys for six o'clock breakfast.

2. Later in the morning, I took care of some business at the bank.  The snow started to fall in the afternoon, but, undeterred, the Deke and I piled into the Sube and drove along the river and through the valley to Wallace Brewing. Shawn, the contractor who visited us Thursday, had invited us to join him and his wife and Patti Hei and Rod Plank and others to listen to one of the owners of the brewery, Chase, do a Facebook Live interview with Astrid. I didn't  really listen to the interview. I had a great time yakkin' -- I especially enjoyed talking with Patti. We are fellow Class of '72 grads from Kellogg, so we go way back and I learned a lot about what she's been up to, what she's experienced over the years, and how she's doing now. I also enjoyed a great conversation with Chase who told me all about opening the brewery back in 2008, some of his beer travels around the country, and about their once a year oak-aged strong ale called Vito. It was a lively, sometimes exuberant afternoon enjoyed over great beers with really good people.

3. Earlier, the Deke and I had decided we'd stop in and say hello to Cas at the Inland Lounge when we returned to Kellogg. Patti and Rod decided to drop in for a while, too, so the four of us sat in front of the Inland Lounge fireplace and continued yakkin' and all got to know each other even better.  The Deke was especially happy with the Manhattans Cas mixed for her. I got in some solid baseball yakkin' with Cas. My deal was to recall Pittsburgh Pirate players from the deep past and remark that it was too bad the Dodgers didn't have past Pirates Vernon (The Deacon) Law or Al McBean or Manny Mota or Smokey Burgess or Don Clendenon on their 2017 squad or they might have gotten over the hump and defeated the Astros in the World Series. (I forgot to mention Bob Veale.) As a bonus, as we were about to leave the Lounge, in strolled Ashley and Fred, the owners of Radio Brewing, and we had fun jawin' with them for a little while before we headed home with a stop at Christy and Everett's to talk with them after their very eventful day.  Among other things, Riley got neutered.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/02/17: Eye Check Up, Finances, Remodeling Ideas and the Thinking Table

1. I started the day with a solid check up at the Kellogg Vision Center. On Wednesday, there had been a screw up regarding my insurance -- the provider made an error over the telephone -- and I had a good laugh with the woman at the front counter about it. My eyes haven't changed much, but Dr. Miller and I decided I'd get a new slightly strengthened prescription.

2. I spent time figuring out some more of the finances of Mom's estate and made a call to financial institution where we have some money invested to find out about moving some funds into the estate account here in Kellogg. I talked with a very friendly guy who sounded, well, to me, sounded a lot like Kai Rysdaal, the host of the radio show, Marketplace. The Kai Rysdaal sound alike guy explained my options very clearly to me and I now know I need to make a trip to the bank on Friday morning to see Cyndy to get this transaction underway. By the way, I kept waiting for the Kai Rysdaal sound alike guy to say, "Let's do the numbers".

3.  Later in the afternoon, Shawn, a local contractor came by and told us a little bit of his story as to how he and his wife decided to move to Kellogg early in 2017. Then he and the Deke talked a lot about ways we might remodel the main floor of our house. Right now, we are mainly interested in remodeling the kitchen, taking up the carpeting in the living room, painting, and improving the spatial relationship between the kitchen and the living room. Shawn had great ideas -- he has a lively and imaginative mind -- and we settled on a rough idea of what he and his crew might do and we will look for an estimate next week. 

After dealing with my eyes, money, and great conversation with Shawn, I was a little spent -- and so was the Deke -- so we decided to debrief over an order of fish and chips and some small glasses of beer at Radio Brewing.  I loved my glasses of ESB and the fish and chips at Radio Brewing please us deeply. What you might call the bar, we call the thinking table and we put the thinking table to great use this evening.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 11/01/17: Tasks Completed, Carol's Home, Christy's Home

1. Every day the Deke and I try to get at least one more task completed in our efforts to get settled in Kellogg. We accomplished a bit more than that today: we had an estimator come by to take a look at our gutters; I talked with a builder about coming to the house on Thursday to discuss painting -- and maybe other things; we went over to the Crall's house and looked at what it did to their living room and kitchen when they had a wall removed between the two rooms.  The Deke completed more paperwork in relation to medical stuff and insurance and I filled out paperwork related to my Thursday eye check up. I also got on the horn and straightened out a small mix up with my health insurance provider.

We also continued to take sample Idaho driver's license tests online.  I hope we'll feel ready to take the test soon!

I gave another task the old college try, but fell short: I tried cleaning the oven with soap and water -- I did a pretty good job, but, alas, I'll need some Easy Off to really get this task done.

2.  Carol dropped by to pick up a book and reported that she had an excellent trip to Portland. She was on her way to dress rehearsal for the show, "Goin' for Gold, Settlin' for Silver". It sounds to me like they are performing a bunch of songs related to local history in the Silver Valley. We will be attending this Sunday's matinee show.

3. Soon after Carol left, Christy came by. She had also been away for the last few days and reported that she and Everett and the dogs (Riley and Tucker) also had a splendid get away to Priest Lake and the surrounding area. We yakked with Christy for a while and then settled into an evening of cheese and crackers and hummus and crackers, setting aside our original plans to have a Marcella Hazan spaghetti dinner. We just had a little party instead.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 10/31/17: Bank Business, Trick or Treat, Photo Stroll Next Door

1.  I popped into the bank this morning and deposited the refund from Kindred into Mom's estate account and asked Cyndy to walk with me through the paperwork required to make my third of a claim on Mom's IRA. Cyndy only complaint was that her witch wig was making her head hot. I was very grateful when she assured me that I pretty much knew what I was doing, so I went to a cubicle next to hers, filled out the forms, and she sent them in.  I feel a little lighter with each task I complete in settling Mom's affairs.

2. Being back in Kellogg, I was a little more excited than usual for Halloween. I bought a bag each of Nestle's Crunch bars, Reese's peanut butter cups, Mars bars, and Twixes, all candy bars I would have wanted back in the heyday of trick or treating the generous families of Sunnyside here in Kellogg. I never went all out as far as dressing up, but I enjoyed how kind people were and, of course, enjoyed arriving home and spreading out my sugary riches to assess what our neighbors gave me. Tonight's turnout was solid and we have about a dozen candy treats left in case we ever get the urge for a little chocolaty snack.

3.  Before going uptown with the Deke for a couple of small beers before dinner and the trick or treaters, I wandered over to Christy and Everett's yard and took some pictures of plants and flowers.  I ended my session taking a couple of pictures out in a little garden plot by the front of our garage.  They are the last two of this set: