Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 06/17/19: Goose 'n the Tree Breakfast, Quick Trip to CdA, More Lewis Black

1. I decided to make a quick trip to Coeur d'Alene and stopped on my way at Goose 'n the Tree for breakfast. I ordered the Continental Divide. It features scrambled eggs, refried beans, sirloin tips, and mexi cheese served over two corn tortillas, all smothered in chili verde sauce. It comes with a side of hash browns. I loved the blend of flavors, especially the chili verde sauce, and the variety of textures. The breakfast sustained me for much of the rest of the day. All I had for dinner was a salad combining Romaine lettuce, jasmine rice, and black beans topped with the olive brine vinaigrette I've been experimenting with.

2.  My plan was to get in and out of Coeur d'Alene quickly. I got a hair cut and went to Pilgrim's and bought a couple bricks of tofu and a bag of bulk jasmine rice and drove straight back to Kellogg.

3. Back home, I felt sluggish. I napped, recovering from being up early to feed Charly. I found another Lewis Black comedy special on my list of television offerings and had a bunch of good laughs. The show I watched was taped just after Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton had both been nominated for the presidency, but before the general election. Lewis Black had a heyday. 

Monday, June 17, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 06/16/19: U. S. Open, Father's Day Family Dinner, Interviews

1. I spent much of the day watching the final round of the U. S. Open golf tournament today. As seems to be more and more the case as I age, I didn't favor any one of the leaders very strongly -- I enjoy them all -- and hoped to see these players play well. Over the years, in preparing courses for the U. S. Open, the United States Golf Association has tightened fairways, grown the rough thick and tall, and let the host course's surfaces get hard and fast, making it very difficult for the players to score. I have cringed watching some of these U. S. Opens. I prefer to watch players play in conditions that allow them to go after scores, but penalize poor shots; too many times, for my enjoyment, the players in the U.S. Open have played defensively and had to be tentative.

Sunday's conditions at the Pebble Beach Beach Golf Links seemed just about right. Pin placements looked challenging to me, but not impossible. The greens were not baked and crispy, but reasonably accepting of well struck shots. The rough was thick, the fescue high, and the Pacific Ocean, on the holes that ran along the the water, was gorgeous and intimidating. Repeatedly, I looked at what these players faced as they marched from hole to hole and wondered how they do it, how they can play so powerfully and delicately and shoot superb scores on this majestic and very difficult golf course.

The tournament winner, Gary Woodland, played a terrific final round. I think golf history will laud him for years to come for the courageous 3 wood he rocketed 263 yards on his second shot on the 14th hole to put himself in position to birdie the hole and pick up a stroke on his titanic challenger, Brooks Koepka, which he did; he also seized the moment at the 17th's hourglass green when he recovered from a mediocre first shot by clipping a delicate wedge from the fringe of the green, striking it perfectly over the ridge in the green's center, and rolling the shot very near the pin, saving his par.

2. My viewing of the U.S. Open was interrupted around 4:00 by a special Father's Day edition of family dinner at Carol and Paul's. My nieces, Cosette and Molly, joined us. Carol and Paul offered us grilled shrimp and a variety of other chopped ingredients and sauces so we could each fix ourselves soft-shelled shrimp tacos. Carol made a very tasty rhubarb crisp for dessert, served with Blue Ribbon French vanilla ice cream.

3. I returned back home in time to see the Gary Woodland play his last four holes and enjoyed the tension of his success at keeping his lead over Brooks Koepka. When Fox's coverage of the tournament ended, I flipped over to the Golf Channel. I listened to Woodland, Justin Rose, and Brooks Koepka answer questions from members of the media and was very impressed with their grace and sportsmanship. As much as anything, when I watch sporting events, I enjoy when competitors have earned one another's mutual respect.

Such was the case today. Several defeated players waited for Gary Woodland to leave the 18th green and greeted him with handshakes and embraces. More petulant players would have gone straight to the locker room, cleaned up, and left the premises as quickly as possible. I believed both Justin Rose and Brooks Koepka when they told  reporters that they were happy for Gary Woodland. (Justin Rose played the last two rounds with Woodland and when Woodland executed that marvelous chip shot on 17, Rose gave him a congratulatory fist bump. It was awesome.) In his post-tournament session with reporters, Gary Woodland was modest. He reviewed his key shots, described his mental state during the round, and answered a series of personal, Father's Day questions. He didn't gloat, but expressed gratitude for all those who helped him over the years to make his victory possible.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 06/15/19: U.S. Open's Third Round, Fun with Salad, Dave Chappelle and Lewis Black

1. Today I watched the third round of the U. S. Open golf tournament unfold. The Pebble Beach Golf Links confronted players with a daunting challenge. The course's surfaces grew more firm. Holding shots on Pebble Beach's small greens grew increasingly difficult, but not impossible. The rough was thick, appropriately penalizing wayward shots.  Over the years, I've seen much more severe course conditions in U. S. Open tournaments, conditions that, for me, drained the joy out of watching the tournament. I enjoyed watching what I saw today: it was possible for players to break par, but it took exceptional play. I'll just say that when I was young and played golf, I underestimated the importance of a golfer being able to recover from trouble on a course. Today's leaders in the U. S. Open recovered beautifully from errant shots that landed in sand traps, thick grass, tall stalks of fescue, patches of ice plants, and near trees. Sometimes it took deft chipping and putting; sometimes a well-placed explosion shot; frequently it meant converting a difficult putt, whether from long distance or from that purgatorial 3-7 foot range.

I won't even try to predict how this tournament will turn out. Gary Woodland leads by a stroke and has combined power and finesse to play superbly; Justin Rose is a stroke behind him after a scrambling round, punctuated by rolling in one knee knocking putt after another; two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka is only four strokes back and is playing with consistency and confidence; right there with him is another very solid player, Louis Oosthuizen along with journeyman and blazing putter, Chez Reavie. And, who knows? Rory McIlroy is five strokes back, but is capable of mounting a comeback, especially if he can manage to score under par on the par five holes.

2. I've been having fun making salads composed of Romaine lettuce, jasmine rice, garbanzo beans, garlic stuffed green olives, feta or Parmesan cheese, and cucumber. I made a dressing consisting of unmeasured amounts of olive oil, olive brine, vinegar, Dinon mustard, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. This dressing, like the salad, leaves a lot of room for experimentation with ingredients and I doubt I can replicate either the salad or the dressing. I'll keep playing around with both, having established some core ingredients and knowing that I love salads made of lettuce, rice, and beans.

3. I dropped myself into two worlds of profanity, coarseness, brilliant insight, irony, irreverence, and unfiltered observations this evening by listening to two hour long comedy shows by two performers, both raised in Silver Spring, MD: first, Dave Chappelle and then Lewis Black. They dizzied me. They made me laugh, too, but they both made my head spin. I'll leave it at that.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 06/14/19: Understanding the Sewer, Road Trip, Back Home with Charly

1. At breakfast, Buff explained to me what the City of Kellogg's concern is with damaged sewer lines coming out of residences into the main lines: soil or dirt. It is costly to treat sewage with dirt in it. So, when the City of Kellogg had main sewer lines repaired/replaced around town, it was a good time to see that lines, like mine, get repaired. I had speculated that the main concern was that sewage would be seeping into the soil; turns out, the main concern is soil coming through cracks and other brokenness in the 70 year old clay pipes into the sewage. I get it. I'm on board.

2. Ed can buy a roll of snoose at a pretty good discount at the Fightin' Creek Smoke Shop and Market not far from Worley, so we hopped in his newly purchased 2016 Camry and rocketed down. As long as we were in the neighborhood, we also bopped over to the Cd'A Casino. I spun some reels for a while and then went to the Red Tail Bar and Grill and enjoyed a bowl of chicken tortilla soup and a tall single shot (kind of weak, just like I wanted) gin and tonic. It was quiet in the bar. I could keep an eye on developments at the U. S. Open golf tournament. As always, Ed and I had a good drive down and back and got in some high quality yakkin' about all sorts of things. It was a good trip.

3. Back home, Charly had dragged herself to the back door where she greeted me, glad to see me back because she was ready to eat. Charly has been getting up around 4:30 or 5:00 (sometimes earlier) to eat in the morning, so her second meal of the day has been a little earlier than usual. I wish Charly's hips and hind legs could improve, but they continue to slowly deteriorate. Nonetheless, as always, she got herself down the back steps, out into the yard, enjoyed some sunshine and a little sniffing around and basking in the sun, and got herself back up the stairs and into the house.

When Charly and I are in the house together, Charly always situates herself near me. These days, she spends much of the day lying down and she enjoys being close to my feet, sometimes in contact with my ankles. That's exactly where she plopped herself in the Vizio room as I watched the golf coverage conclude and listened to the talking heads on today's episode of Around the Horn, which aired earlier, discuss the Raptors' win over the Warriors.

I had contemplated a trip uptown to the Inland Lounge, but, I opted for going to bed early where I discovered that my shoulder has healed to a point where I can sleep on either my left or right side with only minor discomfort. It's still getting better.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 06/13/19: Sewer Inspection, Rose on Fire, Raptors Win

1. As part of the City of Kellogg's Sewer & Roads Rehabilitation Project, homeowners in the area where I live were informed 3-4 years ago that they might be responsible for repair or replacement of the sewer line running from our houses into the main line, located in our back yards. The City notified me back in November, 2018, that their video inspection showed that I'd need to have work done on the line running from my house.

Today, a plumber/sewer guy came to the house, did his own video inspection, took some measurements, and explained what approach he thinks would work. Before long I should receive an estimate of the cost.

The City of Kellogg is requiring that this work be completed by the end of 2020 and I'm very happy that neighbor Kellee and I teamed up and had our properties and our sewer lines inspected today so that the work will be done way ahead of the deadline.

2. While and after the plumber/sewer guy performed his inspection, I went into the Vizio room and watched a few hours of the television coverage of the U.S. Open golf tournament. Around six o'clock, I changed stations in order watch Game 6 of the NBA Finals and so I missed Justin Rose's scorching birdie-birdie-birdie finish on the last three holes and missed him seizing the tournament's lead after one round.

3. I'm enjoying how my partisanship for sports teams has melted away as I've grown older. I flipped on tonight's NBA Finals' Game 6 hoping for good action between Golden State and Toronto. I love both of these teams and tonight they played a thrilling game. In fact, it was unbelievable watching the Warriors scrap desperately, a team already decimated by injuries who then lost Klay Thompson late in the third quarter when he landed awkwardly after Danny Green fouled him on a drive to the basket. Thompson tore his ACL. The Warriors' scrapping got even more desperate. They were, yes, an inferior team without Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, but they seemed more dangerous to me, playing with desperation and abandon. Unbelievably, the depleted Warriors had a chance to win this game in the closing seconds, but Steph Curry missed a three point shot and the Raptors hung on to win.

After the game, I had fun listening to Scott Van Pelt interview different players from the Raptors and I enjoyed Van Pelt's conversation with Tim Legler about this game and its many, many improbabilities.

I hate sports injuries. By that, I mean I hate players getting hurt. Golden State's injuries, I thought, changed them from a polished team of superb shooters and passers and skilled defenders into a ragtag team of fighters who challenged Toronto to the very limits of their talent. Desperate, undermanned teams often play with an almost reckless abandon that makes them unpredictable and, in the short run, very difficult to defeat. I admired how the Raptors rose to the occasion. Their run to the championship was scintillating and laudable.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 06/12/19: I Drove Today, Lilacs Reinvigorated, Baseball Tonight

1. During the day, when I'm moving around, my shoulder feels pretty good. I drove the Sube for the first time since Sunday and only experienced slight pain. I went shopping at Yoke's. On June 13th, I will ride my bike back to the park for the opening of the Silver Valley Community Market. I'll ride with vigilance.

I continue to ice my shoulder. At night, however, my shoulder suffers. I'm not moving around and it tightens up some. Charly has been wanting to eat between 4-4:30 a.m. and so after I feed her, I'm not going back to bed, but getting ice on my shoulder at that early hour and then it starts feeling better. As I wrote yesterday, there is a small area that where some pain persists and a small area in the arc of my arm's movement that hurts. But the majority of the pain is gone and I've gained a lot of function back when using my right arm.

2. Three guys with a good sized truck, a chain saw, and pruning shears worked on the lilacs in back.  Brian thought major work hadn't been done on them in 15-20 years. I wondered if a tree service crew had ever worked on them. I know, when Mom was alive, that a few times I cut some deadwood out of them. I know Everett has. I am pretty sure Mom put Paul to work back there. But we all did minor surgery. Today, this crew cut these lilacs way back, freeing them of three huge truck loads of dead material, giving them a chance, essentially, to start over again. Brian will return in the early spring and help train the new growth. The lilacs might not have blooms next year. In the long run, however, these lilacs should prosper from having nutrients going to living shoots. Things look very different in the back and, for now, a once tall and spreading green and dead branches screen is all but gone. In time, though, I trust healthier growth will sprout back there. Before long, I'll start thinking about what I might do with the new empty spaces along the back fence.

3. I've been listening almost every day to the ESPN podcast, Baseball Tonight, with host Buster Olney and I've taken an interest in the surge in home runs being struck this season. I've heard some say the baseballs are wound tighter and so have more juice. Others say that pitchers are, by and large, throwing faster pitches and hitters are, by and large, taking bigger all or nothing upward swings (strikeouts are also on the rise). One consequence of this current trend is that, on the whole, fewer baseballs are in play during a game. It means that we fans experience less action -- fewer base runners, fewer stolen bases, fewer time when one of my favorite baseball moments occurs and that is when a hitter smacks a line drive into the right or left field gap with the bases loaded and his double clears the bases.

With all this said, this evening I realized ESPN was broadcasting the Astros and the Brewers and that their game had gone into extra innings, fourteen innings to be precise. The Brewers won the game and, it almost goes without saying, that the Brewers' game winning hit was a mighty parabolic home run smashed by Mike Moustakas. Much of the Brewers' performance in this game was all or nothing. The team hit four home runs, three solo shots and Moustakas's two run blast. The Brewers also struck out twenty-four times.

Did I enjoy the innings I watched?

As a matter of fact, I did.

When I was a Little Leaguer, our defense used to chatter when a batter came up. One string of chatter went something like this: "Come on big babe, he can't hit, ay ay, ay ay -- Swing!" We peppered out chatter with "hun now"s (a variant of Roger Craig's "humm baby") and we used to encourage our pitchers to "rock and fire".

I don't know a lot about pitching mechanics and approaches to pitching in the major leagues, but, last night, the Astros ran a relief pitcher out for the last two innings named Cionel Perez and he could rock and fire. His windup was built on the concept of rocking back and little and then vaulting forward, slinging the pitch with the momentum gathered by the movement from rocking back a bit to lunging forward. I loved watching him.

Cionel Perez ended up being this game's losing pitcher. He surrendered Mike Moustakas's game winning rocket. But, he epitomized for me baseball's infinite variety. Rarely do two pitchers look the same on the mound; rarely do two hitters look the same at the plate. Baseball players come in a wide variety of sizes. I've always loved this about baseball and, as I watched the last innings of this game, I enjoyed each team's variety. Players are not only various in their size, but in their temperament, their nationalities, and their age.

Yes, I know baseball goes through trends. Right now, in large part because of what statistical analysis reveals, teams don't worry about batters striking out a lot because the statistical benefits of home runs offset the damage of strikeouts. It's kind of like the three pointer in basketball. The benefits of making some three point shots offsets the damage of missing a bunch of them, so teams keep jacking them up and major league hitters keep, as old broadcasters used to say, "swinging for the downs".

Within any trend in baseball, though, is each team's variety and that variety always keeps me intrigued and coming back for more.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 06/11/19: Icing, About Writing, Weed Eating

1. Icing my shoulder is working. Today my right arm's range of motion and my reach increased. Areas around my shoulder that had been painful previously, didn't hurt today. Once again, when I am still, no pain. My guess is that the one small area that is tender is going to take some time to heal, so I will continue to ice it and not put undue demands on how I use my right arm. The whole situation felt much better today than it did, say, on Sunday evening when I wrecked on my bicycle.

2. Scott Shirk wrote me an email asking how he might become a better writer. In responding today, I had fun revisiting the ways I think about writing in relation to Thich Nhat Hanh's exploration of being and non-being in his book Being Peace. Writing this letter reawakened what I cared the most about when I was a writing instructor.

I don't know if I was right or not, but, as an instructor, I always thought that good writing was inseparable from the cultivation of inward freedom -- the freedom to see things in multiple ways, to explore connections between seemingly unrelated things, to be awake to the world's variety, and to exercise the freedom to write by letting it rip, trying to forget about grades and performance. I knew then and I know now that this wasn't a very academic approach. I also knew as our composition program became more preoccupied with assessing its own success, that I didn't possess a single objective means of measuring whether students who came to enjoy writing, felt free to let it rip, and who explored the world and their writing by exploring the copious nature of concepts, ideas, and experiences actually met the officially stated objectives of the writing courses.

I don't think I ever surrendered to the idea that such assessment was possible.

Retired, I don't miss assessment. I don't miss course objectives. I don't miss trying to meet those objectives while simultaneously resisting them.

I miss the experience of trying to cultivate freedom. I miss the laughter, fun, and joy some students experienced when they became less preoccupied with achievement and grades and discovered they often wrote better, in my view, when they quite trying so damn hard to write better and let it rip.

3. In preparation for a small crew coming to the house on Wednesday, June 12th, and cutting back the lilacs, I hired a junior at KHS to come over and use his weed eater to cut back all the growth around the lilacs in the rear of the back yard and to take what he mowed down off the premises. He did just what I asked and earned himself a little more money toward the work he wants done on his truck. I asked him if he pulled weeds or did he just remove them with his machine. I had a sense he didn't pull weeds and I was right. If I ever decide, though, that I'd like more weed whacking done, I'll get back in touch with him again. I'm very happy that the tree guys are going to have much easier access to the lilacs thanks to the work this high schooler did back there today.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 06/10/19: Shoulder Update, Furnace and Washing Machine, Warriors Against All Odds

1. Today turned out to be a good day to rest and ice my shoulder as much as possible. Some good news about my shoulder, in answer to concerns different friends brought up: I can lift my arm as if I were raising my hand in school. The lifting is interrupted by some pain, but I can use my right arm to put things away up high. Even with my shoulder pain, I was able to unload the dishwasher, put the dishes away, clean off the counters, and wash the dishes by hand that needed to be. On Sunday night, after my wreck, I couldn't sleep on either my right or left side, but Monday night I could sleep on my left side. I like to sleep on one side or the other and this was a relief. Much of the initial pain I suffered is gone and now I can pinpoint where my shoulder is angry. I am the most inhibited when I reach down (not up).  Since shifting gears in the Sube requires reaching down, today I'll go out to the car and test my ability to shift and I'll play with the steering wheel and see how that feels. When I am sitting still or when I am working on my Chromebook, tablet, or phone, I don't feel any pain. That's both a relief and encouraging.

2. Late in the morning, Robert came by and tuned up the furnace. It's clean. It's running well. I'll have Robert return in the year 2021. Not long after that, Sherri and Brock pulled up in front of the house in the WattsMobile, removed the washing machine I'm replacing and moved the new one in, installed it, and ran it through its paces and declared it ready to go.

3. During the day, I read that the Warriors' Kevin Durant would return to the court tonight against the Raptors. Rehabilitating a calf injury and, possibly, a fragile Achilles tendon, he hadn't played since May 8th. He returned to action tonight. He played for twelve minutes. He knocked down his first three three point shots. Seeing him back in action was scintillating. But, early in the second quarter, he planted his right foot, about to create a shot for himself, and suddenly he fell to the floor. He sat, massaging his right Achilles heel. Staff, along with teammates Andre Iguodala and Stephen Curry, helped him off the floor and into the locker room. All evidence, minus an MRI scheduled for June 11th, points to Durant having suffered a torn Achilles tendon. If that's the case, Durant will most likely miss the entirety of the 2019-20 season.

For the Warriors, the joy of Durant's return turned into the grief of losing him.

By halftime, the Raptors had cut the Warriors' onetime fourteen point lead to six points. The Warriors went into their locker room at halftime and learned what they could about how bad Kevin Durant's injury was. I've heard reports from Doris Burke and Brian Windhorst about that halftime locker room. It was like a morgue.

I thought of Shakespeare's Henry V. The Warriors were akin to King Henry's troops at the Battle of Agincourt. The Warriors were depleted. Durant was out. Iguodala, Thompson, Cousins, and Looney were all playing with fresh injuries -- in fact, Looney would leave the game, his injury aggravated,  in the fourth quarter and not return. The Raptors had the Warriors outmanned. They looked physically stronger. Their bench is deep and reserves Serge Ibaka and Fred VanVleet were making strong contributions.

I knew that Warrior coach Steve Kerr did not give a rousing King Henry-like speech at half time, rousing his players by referring to them as "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers", but the post-game interviews I heard with Draymond Green, Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson were packed with references to Kevin Durant as their fallen brother and allusions to the crippled condition of their team. The Warriors did band together. Against nearly insurmountable odds, they rallied their weakened bodies and their mournful spirits and won this game.

Get this: in the last 20 years in the NBA playoffs, in 96 games, teams have entered the last three minutes of their games with a six point lead and won 93 of those games.

That's right. Teams trailing by six points with three minutes to go, before tonight, were 3-93.

Now it's 4-93 because the Warriors got three three pointers from Curry and Thompson, defended the Raptors fiercely on Toronto's last possession, overcame an offensive basket interference call, a goal tend, and a moving screen violation, all by DeMarcus Cousins, and miraculously won this game, 106-105.

As I've written before, I tend to think and write less about how teams lose games and more about how teams win games. The three treys that Thompson and Curry hit late in this game were as graceful of shots under duress as I've ever witnessed. I also thought, and Tim Legler's post-game analysis supported my thoughts, that the Warriors' defense in the last fifteen seconds confused Kawhi Leonard, especially when Iguodala left his man down low to come out high and double team Leonard along with Klay Thompson, forcing Leonard to pass to Fred VanVleet who passed to Kyle Lowry who was harassed by Draymond Green and missed the Raptors' final shot badly.

Looking ahead to Game 6 on Thursday, I once again think the Raptors have a decided physical advantage over the Warriors. It's hard to imagine the Warriors overcoming the hardships they are enduring and finding a way to win back in Oakland.

But, I think all of us who love to watch sports agree. In any given game, especially at the championship level, there is always the possibility that the unlikely, even the miraculous can happen. That's why we watch. If the Warriors find a way to win Game 6, I don't know that I'd consider it a miracle, but I would say that Golden State found a way to pull off the highly unlikely.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 06/09/19: *Crime Junkie* Podcast, Family Dinner, I Had a Bicycle Wreck

1. I hosted family dinner tonight, so I worked during the day in the kitchen getting things cleaned up and preparing food. Out of the blue, I put on a podcast I'd never heard of, let alone listened to, called Crime Junkie. I, by the way, am not a crime junkie, not by any definition of my own and not by the definition provided by this podcast's host, Ashley Flowers. But, I thought it might be interesting to listen to while I worked in the kitchen and I was right. It had an episode devoted to an awful serial murderer named Israel Keyes. Keyes' crimes had come to my attention several years ago because of a case in Alaska and at least one Alaskan Facebook friend was posting about it and about his suicide in 2012. Listening to this podcast, found here, brought the grisly story back to me. I probably won't return Crime Junkie anytime soon. I think after watching about four episodes of Forensic Files on Saturday and listening to a few of these podcast episodes today, I've encountered enough true crime stories for a while. If you'd like to check out the Crime Junkie webpage and look at the list of episodes and see pictures, interrogation videos, and other material related to each week's subject, just click here.

2.  Because a bluegrass group, the Ginstrings, were playing a free concert, sponsored by Radio Brewing, in the Kellogg City Park, we ate family dinner early tonight, around 4:30. During our cocktail time, Christy and Everett enjoyed a gin and tonic, Paul poured himself a glass of red wine, and Carol, much to my delight, dove into my craft beer stash. I suggested she might enjoy trying Block 15's chocolate, raspberry stout, Love Potion #9. She split the 16 oz can with me. If you've ever had one of those not overly sweet but semi-sweet chocolate-y truffles, one that has a touch of bitterness to complement its chocolate flavor and one that also has was made with a hint of raspberry, that's what this beer tasted like. It was just what I like in a chocolate-fruit stout. Later Carol popped open my bottle of Ex Novo's Nevermore barleywine, poured herself a moderate amount and put a stopper in the bottle and returned it to the fridge. I didn't try it -- I drank my stout too slowly -- but I'll give it a taste later on.

Dinner was simple. I made two hamburger steaks buried in mushrooms and onions and I made three or four steaks that combined hamburger and German sausage, also buried in mushrooms and onions. I steamed a head of cauliflower and grilled Romano lettuce on the stove top and seasoned it with Montreal Steak Seasoning and Parmesan cheese.

We all left the kitchen table and retired back to the living room and Paul raised some theological questions about the authority of the ordained and I enjoyed reflecting on this question and others as I understand them within the context of the Episcopal Church of the USA. The Episcopal churches where I have worshiped over the last thirty-five years or so have emphasized the interrogative over the declarative in wrestling with different questions related to a life of faith. Not every Episcopal church is fundamentally interrogative and in the worldwide Anglican Communion, many dioceses invest much more top down authority in the ordained bishops and priests than the dioceses I've been a part of in Oregon, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Spokane.

It's always fun to discuss these theological and church related questions. These discussions always make me grateful for the experience I had at Whitworth College and the many students and faculty I encountered and talked with whose Christian experience and ways of seeing a life of faith varied greatly (sometimes wildly) from one another.

3. I jumped on my bicycle and pedaled to the Kellogg City Park. Upon arrival, I steered between two of those low to the ground concrete slabs that mark parking spots and my left pedal hit one of them and I went flying off the bike and hit the grass pretty hard.  I gathered myself, checked out my bike, and joined Carol and Paul to listen to the Ginstrings play bluegrass music.

My right shoulder absorbed most of the impact of my fall and, as I listened to the music, I started to feel nauseous. I also concluded it would be smart to go back home and start icing the area of impact. So, I only heard the Ginstrings play about two tunes and bade Carol and Paul farewell.

I arrived home, parked my bicycle, and pulled a huge ice pack out of the freezer, got a towel and began icing my shoulder. The nausea subsided and I could feel the shock of the trauma to my right shoulder wearing off. I just wanted to go to bed.

I positioned myself in bed as comfortably as I could, but I couldn't sleep on my right side the way I like to and it took me a while to go to sleep, but I did. I had to, as always, get up two or three times to use the bathroom and it was a struggle to get out of bed, but I figured it out, returned, and went  right back to sleep. At about five o'clock, Charly wanted to eat and started whining and I know that once she starts the whining for morning food, she won't stop until she gets her way.

I figured out how to get out of bed, fed her, and got the ice pack back out, went back to bed, and positioned the ice pack so that half of it was icing the front of my shoulder and half of it the back. I fell right back to sleep, woke up about 90 minutes later and returned the ice pack to the freezer to prepare it for my next treatment.

I'm happy to say that I'm having no problems sitting here typing this blog post. In fact, as I sit here typing, I'm in a comfortable sitting position and I don't feel any pain. But, once I get up to do things, my right arm's mobility is limited.

Today, Monday, the furnace man comes to tune up the furnace and later this afternoon Watts will deliver the new washing machine. If, when these parts of my day are finished, my shoulder isn't feeling much better, I'll go have it checked out.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 06/08/19: The Lowe Post Show, *Forensic Files* Jag, Subway

1. If you follow sports at all, you know that from the broadcasting/talk show end of things, it's noisy. Lots of voices, lots of analysis, lots of opinions. It can be challenging in the midst of all this cacophony to decide whose voices to listen and whose to filter out. Although more than two voices exist that I never filter out, the two voices I pay the most attention to are Doris Burke and Zach Lowe.

I wish Doris Burke were working these NBA finals as a play by play analyst rather than doing what she's been assigned: buttonholing coaches between quarters for in-game interviews, interviewing a star of the game right after it, and chasing down injury updates in both teams' locker rooms ("Mike, they've stitched up the cut under VanVleet's eye and say he'll be back on the floor shortly" -- ABC doesn't need a mastermind like Doris Burke to do that kind of reporting.)

Over the years, Zach Lowe has written deep and detailed analysis of what happens in NBA games and has deftly supported his analysis with video footage of what he's explaining, whether it's how different teams defend the pick and roll, how Steph Curry gets himself open so often in the Warriors' offense, or what happens when the Warriors gang up to defend Kawhi Leonard and leave a shooter like Danny Green unguarded. Often his analysis of basketball, for me, is like reading the most intricate analysis of, say, Helen Vendler breaking down a Shakespeare sonnet. I don't understand all of it, but the 80-90 percent of what I do understand expands my understanding and helps me watch NBA games and read Shakespeare's poetry more insightfully.

Well, this is all to say that Zach Lowe also hosts a podcast, The Lowe Post, found here.

Look at the list of episodes, and you'll see the ones I've recently been enjoying:  his talk with Doris Burke, another with Jeff Van Gundy, yet another with Chris Herring, and his conversation with Richard Jefferson. Zach Lowe leavens his geeky basketball expertise with good humor, so every minute of these conversations is not nitty gritty technical talk, but is well-balanced with stories (as a kid in Manasquan, New Jersey, Doris Burke loved the Oakland Raiders!) and witty repartee.

Listening to The Lowe Post Show helped make cleaning the kitchen today much more enjoyable.

2. Every once in a while, I get on a jag watching Forensic Files on Netflix. Without commercial interruption, each episode lasts 22 minutes and it's fun to watch the forensic experts with their magnifying glasses, microscopes, infrared gizmos, computer hard drive readers, and other technological instruments bring (apparent) order and clarity to one messy case after another. I love how figuring out the case always hinges on some minute detail: a Reese's peanut butter cup wrapper, a thin wire buried in a pile of debris, the tip of a latex glove, a chip of paint, a carelessly discarded cigarette butt, or analysis of brain cells.

3. All those computers and other high tech instruments inspired me to jump on the Chromebook and order a 6 inch Italian B.M.T. at Subway with a little bag of potato chips. I walked down to the Gondolier and bought a pint of milk so I'd have milk for my morning coffee and strolled to Subway on my way home and picked up my dinner. 

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 06/07/19: New Washing Machine, Tasks Scheduled, Raptors Over the Warriors

1. I came home after breakfast and meditated on washing machines for a while and leapt into the Sube and buzzed out to Watts Appliance determined to make a final decision. I shop for appliances at Watts for several reasons. I like to shop local. They have a limited inventory, so fewer appliances to choose from.  Looking at multiple styles and varieties of any appliance gives me vertigo. Included in the price of the appliance is delivery, installation, and the removal of the old machine. Watts has an in house repairman. He services the appliances they sell and he's done great work in this house on things before -- when Mom was still alive and since.

I am a simple launderer. I don't do special soaks or special rinses. I don't need much capacity in the machine. The front loader in the shop was tempting, but I didn't want or need as much capacity as it has. So I bought a top loader that will do the job without a lot of decisions to make and has a capacity a little larger, but similar, to the old machine.  I could have had the machine delivered this afternoon, but I decided to wait until Monday afternoon. I like to go to the Lounge on Friday afternoons.

2.  Kellee messaged me that a guy is coming to both of our properties (her dad's house is behind Christy and Everett's) this coming Thursday to assess the sewer situation as required by the City of Kellogg. So, I've taken care of the washing machine. The furnace will be tuned up on Monday. The lilacs will get taken care of about Wednesday. The sewer guy comes on Thursday. I still might ask the electrician to come over to make some changes in the house, but I'm going to let these other things get done first.

3. I had a good time at the Lounge, sipping gin and tonic, yakkin' with Cas and Bird Legs and Gloria. I returned home in plenty of time to watch Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

I am enjoying not being all that partisan when it comes to the Warriors and the Raptors. Absent strong feelings about who wins, I am enjoying the high quality of play. As I see it, the Raptors are wearing the Warriors down, tiring them out, with their physical strength and their depth. Last night, when seasoned veteran Serge Ibaka came off the bench in relief, I think, of Marc Gasol, the Raptors didn't lose anything, but got stronger as Ibaka continued to play bruising defense, blocked shots, and scored, unexpectedly, from the outside. Kawhi Leonard continues to wear down the Warriors with his physical strength, controlled aggression, and deft shooting touch. It seems to me that with every game, Kyle Lowry grows more and more confident in his decisions as the team's point guard.

The Warriors, for good reason, look spent. Steph Curry tried to compensate for the loss of Klay Thompson in Game 3 and it looks to me like the increased playing time and responsibility is wearing him out. The Warriors sorely miss Kevin Durant. Klay Thompson played superbly last night, but, with Durant in the lineup, he and Curry don't have to score as much and can find spots to rest and recharge. Without Durant, the Warriors aren't getting many points from anyone other than Curry and Thompson. DeMarcus Cousins is struggling to play himself back into shape after being out for several weeks with a quad injury. He often looks a step slow, out of breath, and a bit clumsy. The Raptors, on the other hand, got excellent scoring last night from Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka in support of Leonard.

I can't put my finger on it, but there is something about the character of this Raptor team that reminds me of the San Antonio Spurs. Maybe it's just that Kawhi Leonard is now a Raptor after several years with the Spurs. Maybe it's the way Toronto is getting such solid play out of a player who went undrafted (Fred VanVleet), veterans who have revived their careers by coming to Toronto (Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Danny Green), an aging player like Kyle Lowry who is bringing his team so much savvy and leadership, or maybe it's the way the Raptors play with such patience, intelligence, and strength. Maybe they aren't similar to past Spurs teams at all! But, that's what I keep thinking I see.

I do know that in my somewhat impartial view, I'm finding it difficult to watch the Warriors play as a team weakened by injuries, a team, possibly, beginning to run on empty. At full strength, the Warriors play with snap, verve, daring, and even joy. This weakened Warriors squad just doesn't seem to have the energy (I think they have the will) to score points in waves and dazzle opponents with quick defense, sharp passes, dizzying fast breaks, and superb shooting.

Two more days off.

Travel to Toronto.

A little rest.

Maybe Kevin Durant will play some.

Monday could be an interesting night -- will the Warriors revive? Or will we see the Toronto Raptors win the franchise's first ever NBA crown?

I'll be tuned in to find out.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 06/06/19: Washer Shopping, *Aja* Again, *Luther* Quandary

1. I enjoyed my afternoon trip out to look at washing machines and am 97.93% certain I'll buy a new machine on Friday. Which one? I've got plenty of info in my head. Game time decision.

2.  One of my favorite 60 minutes of television is watching (repeatedly) the Steely Dan/Aja episode on the old VH1 show Classic Albums. I'll be bold. I think even the person who doesn't particularly like Steely Dan could find the intelligent discussion of music and album making by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen and other musicians fascinating. I watched it on Amazon Prime, but it's also on YouTube right here. (By the way, a small gin and tonic pairs well with Aja on Classic Albums.)

3. I watched the second episode of the first season of Luther. So far, I have a mixed response to this series. I admire Idris Elba's work, but I haven't decided what I think of the plotting of each episode. I'm going to watch another episode and see if the formula I've observed so far continues and decide whether I enjoy it. I also need to experience the Alice Morgan psycho subplot some more and decide if I find it an irritating distraction or a story line I genuinely care about.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 06/05/19: Hiking with Byrdman, Lilacs, John Luther and the Raptors

1. Byrdman's daily routine includes hiking Tubbs Hill. Today he texted me saying he wanted to change his routine and hike from Jacobs Gulch to Vergobbi (Italian) Gulch. I met him at the trail head of the Shoshone Medical Center's Health and Wellness Trail and, along with Byrdman's dogs, Sebi and Pip, we headed up the hill. The hike to the picnic table situated at the end of the Wellness Trail gave me much less trouble today than on Monday, but I was wise to take a break and enjoy the view of Kellogg and Wardner Peak and Haystack Peak across the valley.

I knew the trail steepened quite a bit heading up the hill from the picnic table. I gamely panted my way up the hill and reached a point where I had to stop. I was doubled over. My heart raced. I was confident that if I took some time to return to a normal breathing pattern and heart beat, I could make it to the top of the hill. I lay down. Byrdman scouted the area that lay ahead. He reported that soon the trail leveled off. My breathing and heart beat leveled off and, indeed, I made it to the top.

We enjoyed more views of Kellogg and the Silver Valley and before long discovered an undeveloped road and followed it. Eventually the road went downhill and we eased into Vergobbi Gulch.

I could tell that even though I failed to scale the hill on Monday, the effort strengthened me for today. Byrdman and I started this hike earlier than I did on my solo effort and I did much better in the slightly cooler conditions.

2. After Brian came over this afternoon, I committed to having a couple of his guys come over next week and work on the lilac trees/bushes. Brian wondered if I wanted them taken out. I didn't. I wanted the deadwood removed and wanted to revive the living parts of the lilacs. Soon, I'll talk with Debbie and see if we agree on this approach.

I took a day off regarding the washing machine. I'll be giving that quandary some attention on Thursday.

3. I watched some television today. First, I watched the first episode of the first season of the BBC series, Luther. Idris Elba plays the troubled and ingenious DCI John Luther brilliantly.  I really enjoyed seeing Saskia Reeves playing the role of DSU Rose Teller, Luther's immediate supervisor. Reeves caught my attention in Salting the Battlefield, the concluding part of the Johnny Worriker spy trilogy. This episode of Luther not only tells the story of John Luther returning to work on a creepy case after being cleared in an internal investigation of his behavior, but it also examines how his wife has, during a period of separation from John Luther, fallen in love with another man. I understand that this thread of the plot develops Luther's troublesome character more fully and I see how it becomes a part of the case Luther is investigating. Nonetheless, on the whole, I am almost never as interested in the marital/family/personal lives of detectives on tv shows as I am in their professional work. In this episode, I was always relieved when Luther's highly charged confrontations with his estranged wife ended and the story returned to his investigation of the creepy narcissist who murdered her dog and her parents.

Later, in the early evening, I watched the Toronto Raptors defeated the seriously injury riddled Golden State Warriors, 123-109. I enjoy both of these teams a lot. In particular, I am impressed with how the Raptors' management built this Toronto team. All game long, I thought, yeah, Toronto  built a title contender by trading for or signing some experienced players who had either been on NBA title winning teams elsewhere or had played deep into the playoffs and are veterans of the playoff experience.

Most notably and obviously, the best example of this is Kawhi Leonard, but so is another ex-Spur, Danny Green who, last night, played tenacious defense, buried six three point bombs, and didn't sulk when Coach Nick Nurse started Fred VanVleet in his place to open the second half. Two other experienced NBA players with deep playoff experience pop to mind: Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka. Toronto's Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet played superbly last night, too, but I enjoyed watching Leonard, Green, Gasol, and Ibaka not only make great plays, but I thought they were helping show their teammates how to make defensive plays and sharp passes and how to score in big moments.

With the Raptors maturing as a playoff team, it will be fascinating to see how Friday night's game unfolds, especially if Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson return to action for the Warriors.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 06/04/19: Hiring Help, Studying the Washing Machine, Curry Sausage Potato Soup

1. I gave my full attention today to things around the house that need attention. I contacted Kellee and she is going to make an appointment to have her dad's sewer line and mine inspected, in response to a letter from the the City of Kellogg. Soon a tree service guy who has worked for Carol and Paul will come over and estimate what it will cost to clean up the lilac trees/bushes out back.  I have a call in for an appointment to have our furnace tuned up.

2. I spent most of the day reading and watching videos about washing machines leaking. The washing machine in the basement is over twenty years old. For several weeks, when I've gone down to take clothes out, sometimes there has been a small trickle of water coming out of the bottom of the machine. Other times, it's been dry. Because the machine is a Frigidaire, Watts doesn't service it and Furniture Exchange told me they recommend customers to Fred's in CdA. Fred's won't come out for a week (which is fine), but if I could learn about someone in the Silver Valley who services washing machines, I'd have that person come over.

Paul came over and looked at the washer and we agreed the water is not from the input or output hose connections. After he left, I washed a load of clothes. I got out old pictures and looked through them while sitting in front of the machine, hoping to pinpoint when the trickle of water leaks out. Sure enough, it leaks out during the final spin. I read up some more on what this might mean, consulted with Travis in Moscow, and I think I can, at the very least, listen to the repair guy with some knowledge of what's going on and what might need fixing.

I'll just say that while looking into this on the World Wide Web, most people's stories involved leaks that left a lot of water on their floor. This is not the case with me. There is a floor drain right by the washer and there's not enough water coming out of the machine, right now, to reach the drain. Could it get worse? Well, I'd rather get it fixed than find out.

I also looked into buying a new washer. Replacing ours, built in 1997, is still on the table.

3. I browned some German sausage mixed with chopped onion and celery and mushrooms. I chopped up a few potatoes and cooked them until tender in chicken broth. I added the sausage mix to the potatoes and broth and added two cans of coconut milk to create a version of potato sausage soup that I made up. I tasted it and wanted something more in it, so I put a glob of green curry paste in a cast iron pan, heated it up until fragrant, and stirred the curry paste into the soup. Now the soup has a good kick to it and, for dinner tonight, I enjoyed a bowl of curry sausage potato soup. It's sweet, spicy, and creamy and it was fun to dream up and make.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 06/03/19: Hiking Project Underway, Getting Invigorated, Tuna Salad

1.  I have hiked the Shoshone Medical Center health and wellness trail several times and returned to it today. The hike challenges me. It's not a long hike, but, for me, it's steep enough that I need to rest along the way and catch my breath before moving on. About a half a mile up, there's a viewpoint and a picnic table with a sign explaining silva restoration in the Kellogg area.

Beyond this area, a trail continues, and, I've been told, it comes out in Vergobbi Gulch in Kellogg.

Until today, I'd never hiked beyond the picnic table. Today, I gave it a try. I thought the trail steepened significantly and I struggled hard to make my way to higher ground. After a while, I decided that this is going to have to be an effort best spread out over many days. I need to strengthen my legs and improve my cardio-vascular function to complete this trail.

So, I retreated, determined to return and try to climb farther up the hill next time I try -- like on Tuesday. I don't have any idea how long it's going to take me to climb this trail, but it's too much for me right now and I hope that, over time, I'll build the strength and stamina to make it.

2. The hike may not have been a total success as far as what I set out to do, but it was just the invigoration I needed. This morning, I continued to feel tired after all the activity and, really, the intensity of all that happened on Saturday with seeing so many people I've known for decades and joining with them to suffer the grief of Goose's death and celebrate the vitality of his life. Charly awakened me to eat around 5:00 this morning and I went back to sleep around 10:00 or so and took another short nap after my hike. These naps were restorative and I'm feeling my energy level rise again.

3. I imagined several fun things to make for dinner tonight, but decided to put some of them off until later in the week. I opted for a simple meal. I bought a bag of salad and poured tuna fish over it and added pepperoncinis, garlic stuffed green olives, and shredded cheese to the greens and topped it with a Greek salad dressing I bought last week.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 06/02/19: Fixing My Friends a Breakfast, Blissful Naps and Golf, Warriors Win

1. This morning I did one of my favorite things of all to do. Saturday night, as Ed left the Lounge to go home, he remarked that he had to work Sunday morning. I responded by saying I'd fix breakfast at 6:00 a.m. Terry agreed and Mike said he'd come -- all the way from Cd'A. So, at 5:00 a.m. I was up and cooking with gas, preparing a breakfast of coffee, German sausage, fried potatoes, eggs, and toast made from Dave's Honey Oats and Flax Killer Bread. I had one mild regret. I do all my cooking on the stove top with two cast iron pans and usually this works fine. This morning, however, I wish I'd had a third pan to use to fry the eggs. I took a swipe at cleaning out the pan I used to fry the sausage, but I did a lousy job and the fried eggs were kind of ugly. I think they tasted all right, but I would have liked them to look better.

2. It turned out that Saturday wiped me out so I'm glad I didn't have anything planned today. I wouldn't change a thing about Saturday, but the combination of hosting a party and being with so many people at Kirk's Celebration of Life and at the Lounge afterward left me spent. So, I took two or three long, blissful naps. I interrupted my sleepy day in the afternoon by watching the leaders of the Memorial golf tournament play the back nine and very much enjoyed Patrick Cantlay's stellar play as he bolted from four shots back to shoot a 64 and win the tournament. In the 44 years of this tournament, Cantlay's 64 was the best score in the final round ever shot by a winner.

3. Later in the early evening, I discovered that I could watch Game 2 of the Warriors/Raptors NBA Final series on my tablet via the ESPN app. I tuned in about half way through the second half and watched the Warriors overcome Steph Curry's illness (he played ill) and injuries to Kevon Looney and Klay Thompson to defeat Toronto 109-104, a victory clinched by an Andre Iguodala dagger in the final seconds.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 06-01-19: Party Prep, Great Party, Remembering Goose

1. My day started off with a few tasks. I went to Yokes for my second (and last) Shingrix vaccination and I shopped for snacks and drinks in preparation for a party at my house this afternoon. To prepare for the party, I vacuumed, cleaned the bathroom, and got things ready to serve whatever my guests wanted to drink.

2. The party at my house was a get together of at least eighteen people, mostly, but not exclusively, from the class of '72 before we went up to the Elks for Goose's memorial service. For about an hour and a half, my house roared with joyful talk, laughter, and good cheer as we had a mini-reunion of great KHS friends. Even though the occasion of our getting together was somber, we were all so happy to be with each other that we didn't even try to contain our excitement and gratitude that we were with each other and about to pay our respects to Kirk. This was the perfect way to begin our celebration of Kirk's life. I'm really happy that Stu had the idea to do this and that we got this many people together.

3. The room at the Elks was packed with people from the many areas of Kirk's life. I couldn't begin to say how many people attended his memorial, but I do know that a sizable number of people stood up during the service itself. Much like the party at my house, Kirk's Celebration of Life became a reunion for scores of people. I saw old friends like Craig King, Jack Dunn, and Steve Douglas for the first time in well over twenty or more years. Kirk's sister, Karen, graduated two years ahead of us and several of her friends attended.

It just seemed like what was happening in that room was a perfect tribute to Goose: people were going from one knot of people to another, talking, laughing, getting caught up, and telling stories, celebrating the love of one another that defined Kirk's life. Kirk loved his many, many Silver Valley friends and this afternoon an overwhelming number of them came to the Elks to remember and celebrate Kirk's full and colorful life.

At some point, the crowd settled down and the service began. Kirk's son Lee began things by expressing his deep appreciation for all the people who were in the house and for all those who visited and supported the family during Goose's illness. Next we viewed a slide show accompanied by the music of Credence Clearwater Revival and a little AC/DC. Goose's daughter, Tiffany took the floor next and delivered a loving and touching eulogy in honor of her father and invited anyone who wanted some time at the microphone to come forward and tell a Goose story. Several attendees did.

Kirk's son Lee closed the service with more thanks to all those in the room. People then made their way to the buffet, bought more drinks, and the talking, milling around, and laughing resumed.

After a while, many people headed across the street to the Inland Lounge and the reunions, the solid gold yakking and laughing, and the story telling continued.

Somehow, never avoiding or discounting the sadness that Kirk has passed away, the many people gathered at this memorial worked together naturally to make this an uplifting and inspiring way to say good-bye to Kirk and to do what I think Kirk would have wanted most: love and appreciate one another. I think we all felt a special calling today to cherish one another while we still have each other and this might be the best thing of all to result from the grievous loss of our good friend, Goose. 

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/31/19: Surprise Breakfast Pal, Preparing the Inn, Relaxing at the Lounge

1. It was fun being back at Sam's again for breakfast this morning with Ed, Buff, Scott B., and Jerry. We had a guest today! Mike Stafford is in town and he joined us. It was a great surprise and a most welcome one.

2. I'll be hosting friends at the house before Goose's memorial and Terry is spending the night here, so I began to prepare for both. I don't have much left to do on the ground level of the house and all three beds upstairs now have clean sheets on them and Terry can choose which one he'd like to sleep in. All I need to do Saturday is vacuum and spiff things up a bit and pick up a few things at the store.

3. I had fun yakking with Bird Legs, Ginger, Jake, Carol Lee, Eileen, DJ, Cas, and others at the Lounge late this afternoon. I left by six o'clock and, after a few bites to eat, went to bed early in order to rest up for what will be a full day on Saturday.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/30/19: Restful Day, Pictures Posted, NBA Finals

1. The previous twelve days have been full with lots of live music, visits with friends, time with Debbie, walking, and now getting settled back in. I took today off, so to speak. I stayed home. Got laundry done. Took a nap this afternoon. I enjoyed slowing things down, taking it easy.

2. Slowing things down gave me some time to go through the modest number of pictures I snapped while away. I enjoyed reliving my hike along Sweet Creek and if you'd like to see the three sets of six to seven pictures I posted, they are here, here, and here. I also enjoyed reliving my stroll through the Owen Rose Garden and you'll find about half a dozen pictures of it right here.

3. My internet tv service doesn't include ABC so I couldn't watch the Raptors play the Warriors this evening. I did, however, find the ESPN Radio broadcast and played it through my wireless speaker and had a lot of fun listening to the Raptors play superbly and defeat the Warriors 118-109. If nothing else, this opening game seemed to promise that this will be a competitive series. The Raptors sounded like a balanced team on offense and defense and the Warriors are always tough. As much as I enjoyed the game, even more I enjoyed the play by play work of Marc Kestecher and the analysis by the brilliant and insightful Hubie Brown.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Owen Rose Garden 05-25-19

On Saturday, May 25th, I walked down by the Willamette River, through the Whiteaker Neighborhood, into downtown Eugene, and back to the Whiteaker to join Debbie, Patrick, and Meagan at Tacovore. Almost every picture I snapped was in the Owen Rose Garden. Here is a selection of those photographs:

Sweet Creek 5-20-19 Set #3

On Monday, May 20th, I drove from Eugene to Sweet Creek, a vigorous waterway in the Siuslaw River basin, featuring a moderate, well-maintained hiking trail and a series of waterfalls. Not one of the waterfalls has the majesty of larger waterfalls in Oregon like Salt Creek Falls or Watson Falls or the falls at Silver Falls State Park. But, I love Sweet Creek's waterfalls and especially love the verdant canyon that hosts this creek. This set of pictures features the waterfall at the end of the Sweet Creek trail:

Sweet Creek, 05-20-19 Set #2

On Monday, May 20th, I drove from Eugene to Sweet Creek, a vigorous waterway in the Siuslaw River basin, featuring a moderate, well-maintained hiking trail and a series of waterfalls. Not one of the waterfalls has the majesty of larger waterfalls in Oregon like Salt Creek Falls or Watson Falls or the falls at Silver Falls State Park. But, I love Sweet Creek's waterfalls and especially love the verdant canyon that hosts his creek. Here is another set of pictures I snapped:

Sweet Creek, 05-20-19 Set #1

On Monday, May 20th, I drove from Eugene to Sweet Creek, a vigorous waterway in the Siuslaw River basin, featuring a moderate, well-maintained hiking trail and a series of waterfalls. Not one of the waterfalls has the majesty of larger waterfalls in Oregon like Salt Creek Falls or Watson Falls or the falls at Silver Falls State Park. But, I love Sweet Creek's waterfalls and especially love the verdant canyon that hosts this creek.  Here is one set of pictures I snapped:

Goose's Obituary

To read Kirk Lee Hoskins' obituary, click here.

Three Beautiful Things 05/29/19: Strolling the Golf Course, Tall Pine Lunch, Night Cap with Christy and Everett

1. Byrdman contacted me with a plan. Steve Grebil and his son, Adam, were picking him up in CdA this morning and driving to the Pinehurst Golf Course. The plan was for me to meet them and Byrdman and I would walk nine holes, not play, while Steve and Adam knocked the ball around. The plan worked perfectly. I not only got to have some great conversation with Grebe around the tee boxes and the greens, but I racked up over 5000 steps, nearly two and half miles.

I last played and walked the Pinehurst Golf Course with Kenton Bird in 1997 around the time of our 25th High School Class reunion. I first played and walked this course in the summer of 1967 when George White took me out and introduced me to the game of golf. I never played a great round of golf at Pinehurst Golf Course. I can't remember ever shooting better than an 88 out there and I know I never broke 40 on either the front or the back side. Today, I saw and remembered all the places and all the ways this course bedeviled me over thirty years of playing off and on: the creek, the places to go out of bounds, the tiny and often hard greens, and the unforgiving rough.

Psychologically, this course always had a hold on me. Great golfers put bad shots behind them. They concentrate on what's next, not on what happened in the past. I could never do this. It's odd to say, but I enjoyed playing at Pinehurst, whether playing with Dad or with my friends, but the place also haunted me because of bad shots, accumulating strokes, and holes like 5, 9, 10, 14, 15, 17, and 18 where I could never quite overcome the feeling that I didn't have a chance of playing these holes well. I remembered and even felt some of those old fears and disappointments today.

But, I remembered a few good shots I hit out there over the years.

And, to my great delight, I got to see that the pine tree planted in the area between the fifth green and eighth tee in memory of Dad has grown tall and straight and is aging well. The tree is unmarked. But, I know and Mac Pooler and the other guys who bought and planted it know that it's there in Dad's memory.

2. Back in late junior high and high school, especially, I would, on occasion, go with guys I golfed with to the Tall Pine Drive In near the golf course for a burger, fries, and a Coke after a round. Every time I walk in that place I can hear the song, "In the Year 2525" on the jukebox because Paul Richter used to love to play it while we ate. Today, Byrdman and I strolled over to the Tall Pine and got burgers and fries to go, took them back to the patio outside the pro shop, and ate our lunch while Grebe and Adam played a second nine. After a while, Jake joined us and so did Ed and we had a good session, yakking about a lot of things, including Goose's last hours and memories of him.

3. I fixed myself a green salad with feta cheese, rice, pepperoncinis, garlic stuffed green olives, lemon salmon, and some Greek dressing and, while savoring it, I watched two frantic periods of Stanley Cup hockey as the Bruins and Blues desperately tried to break a 2-2 tie. They failed to break the tie in regulation, but I didn't watch the overtime period.

Instead, I went next door and joined Christy and Everett out in their back yard for an evening cocktail and a bunch of catching up about things that had happened over the last week or so while I was away. Christy's life has been and will continue to be really full: gardening, PEO activities, Joy's last concert at the high school before retiring, the upcoming Tri-Delt reunion, library board, graduation party for niece Molly, a growing and very successful book club, and keeping track of some medical things. WOW! Her life is both busy and enriching.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/28/19: The Interstate, Naps and Lunch, Back Home and Time Frames

1. I bounded out Jeff's door shortly before 7 a.m., loaded up the Sube, gassed up, got some coffee and an almond croissant, and started up the Interstate, heading back to Kellogg. Driving conditions were ideal, traffic was excellent -- my only slow down was east of Spokane -- and Jeff helped significantly increase the pleasure of my trip by giving me cds of Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia performing Bob Dylan songs, and Drive-by Truckers.

2. I stopped for a couple of naps along the way, one under a tree in a parking lot in Arlington, OR and again at the rest area near Sprague, WA. I took a lunch break just north of the Tri-Cities at the Country Mercantile where I enjoyed a ham and cheese sandwich on wheat bread packed with lettuce, tomato slices, olives, pickles, and maybe more.

3. Back home, things looked undisturbed. I picked up Charly at Carol and Paul's. She seems to be her good old normal low-key self. I took care of a couple things in the house. I was happy I had done so much cleaning before I left. It was comforting to walk into a clean and tidy house.  Feeling pretty tired after a 10+ hour trip, I went to bed early, grateful that I had put clean sheets on my bed before I left.

It felt like my trip to Eugene happened outside of normal time. For the nine days I was away, I paid little or no attention to the news. I had entered into a blissful world of another time frame, a world of great friends, superb live music, great beer, satisfying conversations with Debbie, long walks, and mornings writing at Starbucks. Now I'm back in Kellogg and back into the way time is measured by bills to pay and household things to take care of and family life.  I'll ride my bike. I'll go to the Lounge.

I will join friends to mourn the death and celebrate and honor the life of Kirk "Goose" Hoskins on Saturday, June 1st at 5 o'clock at the Elks.

It's a good time frame to be in -- certainly more normal -- but I sure enjoyed, even thrived on, being in that other world of Eugene, OR.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/27/19: Breakfast with Debbie, Invigorating Music and Conversations, Dinner with Debbie

1. Carol approved. Jeff approved. I stayed another extra day in Eugene. Debbie and I met for breakfast at Brails on 5th Street after AAA rescued the Sube keys I locked in the car. My breakfast was perfect: two runny poached eggs dropped on top of a bowl of grits and cheese.

2. Back at Jeff's, we listened to a bunch of great music, including the Grateful Dead and later John Prine and we introduced ourselves to a bluegrass group playing out of Eugene, Caitlin Jemma and the Goodness. After listening and yakking for a while, Jeff went to visit a friend who is ill and I strolled down to the Tap and Growler and yakked with The Troxstar for an hour and a half or so. We kept an eye on the Boston Red Sox thumping Cleveland and had a really good time.

At 4:00, The Troxstar and I moseyed over to Perugino where I met up with Michael McDonald and said farewell to The Troxstar.  I haven't had a one to one conversation with Michael for quite a while and I was very happy that we could get together. We had the kind of talk we have launched into so often over the years -- we talked about retirement, the old days at LCC, music, Michael's robust creative life, our adult children, and one of our favorite subjects, the plays and sonnets of William Shakespeare. We both taught the Shakespeare course at LCC at different times and this conversation revived old talks we'd had and broke a lot of new ground. I have things on my mind these days about Shakespeare that were not on my mind when I was at LCC and it was invigorating to have such conversation with Michael today.

3. Michael dropped me off at Cornucopia where I met Debbie. We have a lot on our minds about wanting to spend time in Kellogg, Eugene, and the East Coast and are figuring out how we might make it work to spend time in all three places. We haven't nailed down anything specific yet, but we want to be with friends and family in all three places and are doing our best to figure out ways to do it.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/26/19: Memorial Service for Goose, St. Mary's and Patrick's Birthday, Beer and Irish Music and Whiskey

1. This afternoon, I received the following update from Janice:

We have set Saturday, June 1, at 5:00 (Idaho time) for Kirk's service. It will be held at the Elks Club in Kellogg. 

2.  The Troxstar and I met at St. Mary's Episcopal Church this morning for the 8:00 service. I hadn't participated in a Rite One Eucharist for several years and the poetry and rhythms of this liturgy were inspiring and enjoyable. I was particularly struck by a very old school way the 1928 Book of Common Prayer described the elements of communion as "thy gifts and creatures of bread and wine".  All day long, I contemplated that phrase "creatures of bread and wine" and came to realize, at a minimum, that the word "creatures" refers to the fact that the elements are created. I liked that phrase a lot.

After church, I walked about a mile to the 5th Street Public Market and joined Patrick (on his 35th birthday), Meagan, and Debbie for breakfast at Provisions. When I came to Eugene last Sunday, I was not expecting to see Patrick and Meagan three times, but I got to and I loved it.

3. I walked back to Jeff's, got some rest, and then hit the pavement again for some more walking and took kind of a circuitous route to Oakshire Brewing where Debbie and I met for a beer. She left to take the teenager she's helping out this weekend back home from her art class and I strolled some familiar territory through the Whiteaker neighborhood to Sam Bond's Garage.

Debbie and I met up again and listened to a collection of fiddlers, guitarists, flautists, harpists, penny whistlers, banjo players, and others play Irish music at the Sunday Irish Jam. Debbie hopped up a couple or three times and joined in on the piano. The jam also included Glenn Falkenberg, a master of the hammered dulicmer. I suddenly realized, to my astonishment, that I'm sure I first heard Glenn Falkenberg play when I moved to Eugene in 1979 -- meaning, of course, that I've listened to him for forty years now.

In the same vein, I was suddenly struck by my many memories of great times at Sam Bond's garage. It opened in 1995 and I thought back to all music I've enjoyed here, including, Babes with Axes and other configurations of the band, Laura Kemp, Bill Davie, Jim Page, many bluegrass and Irish jams, great jazz shows, Fiddlin' Big Sue, and many others. It's been open for twenty-four years now. My God.

Debbie and I decided, as the Irish jam was ending, that an evening cap at the Pint Pot would be fun, so we took seats at the bar and each enjoyed a whiskey. Before long, we were joined by two vibrant young people, Erica and Kyle, and we yakked for a while about their upcoming trip to D. C. and NY City and what they might expect. It was really fun.

Today was a great walking day again. I logged over 8000 steps and around four miles.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/25/19: Brails on 5th, 10,000+ Steps, Fiddlin' Big Sue Band

1. Jeff and I pulled on our walking shoes and went to Brails on 5th, housed in the building once occupied by the Keystone Cafe. The renovation of the Keystone was handsome, giving the cafe  warmth and fresh colors. I ordered a waffle with a couple of eggs on the side and helped Jeff eat his melt in your mouth grits with cheese and I had a very delicious bite of his rice omelette with gravy. It was awesome.

2. I kept my walking shoes on and grabbed my camera and set out on a five mile+/10,000+ step walk down by the Willamette River, into the Owen Rose Garden, on down to Grand St., through the Whiteaker West business area, and on to downtown Eugene -- a stop at Wells Fargo, a little music at Saturday Market, and a ginger ale at Kiva.

I got soaked on this walk, but I made my way to Tacovore and met Debbie, Patrick, and Meagan. I enjoyed a couple of margaritas and a couple of tacos, one with fried oysters and the other with pork. Our yakking was fun and lively. Meagan and Patrick had a full evening ahead of them with friends and Patrick's dad, so around six o'clock we went our separate ways.

3.  For Debbie and me, this meant heading up to the Viking Braggot Co. a brewery and restaurant with a music room. We got to hear the Fiddlin' Big Sue Band, one of our favorites, play. They knocked me out with music ranging from gypsy songs to Irish tunes to bluegrass to Leonard Cohen, and even played a touching version of "If I Only Had a Brain".

The band's mandolin, banjo, and guitar player, Tom Hunnel, has published a book about life on the road over the last three or four decades and the band held a giveaway of the book. I established that by having come all the way from Kellogg, Idaho to hear tonight's performance, I had come farther than anyone in the room, so I won the book. Another great surprise this evening was seeing longtime pal Patsy Raney and sharing an embrace or two, big smiles, and a little witty repartee.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/24/19: RIP Kirk (Goose) Hoskins, Eugene and Kellogg Friends, 16 Tons Blowout

1. Friday, May 24, 2019 was a day that divided me between joy and grief. I'll begin with the grief. In the morning, Janice sent me a message that Kirk (Goose) only had hours to live. His kidneys and liver had both stopped functioning. Stu, Ed, and Byrdman were on their way to see Goose when this news went out and before long they arrived in Missoula and talked with Kirk and the family and paid Kirk their last respects. In the early evening, I received a message from Kirk's sister, Kay. Kirk had died.

2. I carried the sadness of Kirk's last hours into the joy of my day in Eugene. The Troxstar and Father Bingham Powell and I met for breakfast and great yakking at Brails (the southern branch) and then I scooted to Market of Choice where I met with Lynn and Kathleen for some rousing conversation and a lot of catching up.

I then jetted north to Valley River Center and met up at BJ's with three men I've known for most of my life. Roger drove down from Salem. Terry drove down from Gladstone. Dale Bachman came over from Springfield and the four of us had an awesome couple of hours together talking about old basketball and softball days, our lives in our professions, and shared our grief about Kirk with one another. It meant the world to me to be with these guys on the day we were losing our friend. We've all known Goose for anywhere from 45-60 years and I found great strength in simply being in a booth, seated at a table with Roger, Terry, and Dale.

Soon after Roger, Terry, Dale and I said our farewells to one another, my trip back to south Eugene was halted when my phone rang. I pulled over into a parking spot on Willamette Street and answered, knowing it was Stu and he told me what he experienced when he talked with Goose at his bedside a few hours earlier. I believed Stu when he told me that he thought Goose could hear him as Stu shared his love for Kirk and expressed the love and concerns of all Goose's Kellogg friends. We will always know that as his life drew to an end, Stu made sure Goose knew his lifelong friends were with him, loved him, and would honor and celebrate his life upon his passing.

3. My day of seeing friends continued at both locations of 16 Tons. I met up with Don and Cliff at 16 Tons South where I enjoyed a pint and a half of Ft. George's Crysknife Hazy IPA and over ninety minutes of great yakking. I used to meet up with Don and Cliff and others on Thursdays (I think it was) for beers back when I lived in Eugene and I thoroughly enjoyed being back in their company again and talking about family, travel, beers, music, our health, and a host of other things.

Debbie, Jay, and Sherri were holding down a table at 16 Tons North and around 4:30 or so I joined them for more fun talking another half pint of Hazy IPA, this one from Georgetown Brewing called Matchless. Jay then treated me to a short pour of this year's 16 Tons 9th Anniversary Ale, a superb sour ale from de Garde called Neuvieme Premiere. Before long, Debbie left to go make music with Peter and Laura and I hung around and accidentally became a part of a beer sharing table when guys at that table brought beers they were sharing to our table to try out. I didn't catch the name of the couple of little testers I sampled, but they were superb sour ales, beers I loved and couldn't believe my good fortune that I was drinking.

Now I was hungry and I shot straight out West 11th for some stir fried noodles and bbq pork at my old favorite spot, Yi Shen.

I had thought I would drop by the Troxstar's house after I ate, but it had been a full day, an emotionally up and down day, and I texted him that I was done. It turned out he was, too. So, I returned to Jeff's and went to bed early, hoping to be refreshed and ready for another great day on Saturday.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/23/19: More Great Time with LCC Friends, Billy Mac's Before Hours, Neil Young

1. I arrived at Sparky's house around 9:21 this morning and she and Joe and I sat down to a terrific breakfast of eggs and link sausage. Sparky and I fell right into easy conversation about the theater, Sparky's many projects, people we know, and any number of other things. I hated to leave after two hours of solid gold yakking, but I had more great conversation in my immediate future.

I drove out to LCC. As much as I loved LCC for the twenty-five years I worked there, being back on the grounds and in the Center Building didn't stir me, but meeting up with Linda in the division office did. We embraced and quickly toured the transformed second floor before piling into the Sube and rocketed over the 30th Avenue hill and made a soft landing in the parking lot at Turtles. Dan Armstrong had secured a table for the three of us and we sat down to a solid lunch and nearly two hours of solid gold yakking.

2. I drove Linda back to LCC and bolted straight to Billy Mac's. Derrick had invited me to stop in before Billy Mac's opened so I could see Cathy and enjoy a refreshing adult beverage. It was awesome. Cathy took time away from her bookkeeping duties and Derrick did some impressive multi-tasking as he worked on getting the joint ready to open, and we yakked away, got caught up on things, and had some very satisfying belly laughs. Derrick fixed me a cucumber gin and tonic that was perfectly satisfying.

3. Shortly after six o'clock, Jeff and I jumped on bicycles and whizzed along the Willamette River to the University of Oregon campus, locked up the bikes, and entered the Matthew Knight Arena for tonight's Neil Young and Promise of the Real show.

It was absolutely awesome.

Kenyan singer J. S. Ondara opened the show with a soulful and beautifully written and sung set of acoustic songs.

Neil Young worked his way through a handful of acoustic songs, the first two on piano and the rest on guitar, and then Promise of the Real joined him and before long they and Neil Young played a sonic set featuring thrilling jams, with special attention to the growling and soaring majesty of Neil Young himself on the electric guitar. Jeff and I were both blown away by the strength and clarity of Neil Young's voice. I was electrified not only by his stamina, but by his enthusiasm as he got down and jammed and plod-danced all over the stage. If you've seen Neil Young or watched him rock live on YouTube, you know how he always turns to his fellow musicians, bends at the waist as he listens to them and jams, and how he loves to plod with heavy steps from one part of the stage to another.

I didn't know I could love watching and listening to Neil Young more than I had in the past. But, I'd never seen him live before and tonight my love for his work and my admiration for his versatility, playing, and singing absolutely swelled.

What a night.

If you'd like to see the setlist, it's right here.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/22/19: Walking Eugene, Lunch with Dan, Eat and Drink and Dream

1. I've just been driving around too much, so I parked the Sube on 10th between Madison and Monroe, around the corner and down the street from where I used to live, and walked about a mile and a half to the Bier Stein and, after lunch, walked back to the car. It was a peak experience, retracing all too familiar steps and enjoying the many things that have remained the same and the many changes on my route.

2. Dan Armstrong and I were hired full time on the same day and started teaching at LCC together in January of 1991 and have been great friends ever since, capped by the years our offices were next to each other and the many, many great conversations we had about movies, politics, teaching, basketball, and any number of other subjects. We picked up  that easy and stimulating conversation right away at the horseshoe bar at Bier Stein over Firestone Walker's easy drinking Mind Haze Hazy IPA and kept right on yakking for over two hours as we ventured on an epic tour of ideas, updates of old friends, grief over friends who've died, basketball teams in Oregon, movies, family, health, and a host of other subjects.  I loved my half a French dip sandwich with a cup of beer cheese soup and topped off my meal with a tasty and tangy 4 oz pour of  Razztafari lemongrass and raspberry sour ale from Bend Brewing.

Oh! I nearly forgot. I arrived at the Bier Stein a few minutes before Dan and could not resist a 4 oz pour of The Bruff, a Hazy Imperial  IPA from Revision Brewing in Sparks, NV.

Oh! One more thing. Both Kathleen Horton and John Gage strolled into the Bier Stein. I'll have coffee with Kathleen and Lynn on Friday. I hadn't seen John Gage for many, many years and it was great to shake hands, reminisce for a few minutes, and find out a bit about what he's up to these days. John Gage had a major impact on my life as a teacher and, when he walked up to Dan and me, I saw many great years at the University of Oregon over thirty years ago flash before my eyes.

3. Shortly after five, Debbie and I met at McMenamin's High Street pub for a light dinner. We were going to call it a night when we finished, but decided to throw caution to the wind and we went to the Pint Pot, an Irish pub on 17th behind Safeway. We each settled into a pour of whiskey -- I loved my Black Jameson -- and continued the conversations we'd been having at High Street, mostly about what the future might hold. Always, foremost on our minds, is possible travel back east to see Adrienne's family and Molly's. Nothing is set, but our wishes and dreams are legion.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Update on Kirk: 05/21/19

I received this message from Janice on Monday, May 21st:

Kirk has gotten good results of the bone marrow biopsy, but it hasn't started producing blood cells. In the meantime, his kidneys have stopped working and he is very lethargic. At the current time, things don't look very good. We have a meeting with doctors at around 10:00 and will keep you posted. 

I will post any updates that Janice sends me. 

Three Beautiful Things 05/21/19: Breakfast with Rita, Coffee and Billy Mac's, Oakshire and Sam Bond's Bluegrass Jam

1. I powered up the Sube and blasted south to Creswell to see Rita, my team teaching partner back in the 1990s and longtime friend. We scooted right over to the Creswell Bakery for a light and delicious smoked ham, egg, and swiss cheese breakfast sandwich on a brioche bun.  We talked about any number of things for about an hour and then went back to Rita's house and continued to discuss the ways of the world and different things in our lives. It was good to see Rita's mobility having improved since her knee replacement surgeries last summer and both of us were mightily impressed with how our grandchildren are growing up and looking so good.

Altogether, we spent about three hours together. I returned to Jeff's house, put a live Zero show on the cd player and took a refreshing nap, sleeping to the sounds of Martin Fierro's lyric saxophone, the blazing variety of Steve Kimock on guitar, and the always solid backbone of drummer Greg Anton and bass player Bobby Vega. I dreamed I was back in the WOW Hall for another three night run of live jams and dancing back in the mid-1990s, nights of live music ecstasy with Zero.

2. Invigorated by my little bit of sleep, I met up with MB, Michael, and Nate at Perugino, downtown Eugene's elegant coffee house. Jeff was busy with work and couldn't join us, but the four of us talked about any number of things, doing all we could in 90 minutes to catch each other up on how our lives have been since we last saw each other in September.

I then blasted up to 19th and Jefferson and returned to one of my favorite haunts, Billy Mac's, where I joined Pam, Michael, and a table of their friends. I loved seeing our server, Amber, again and, for the first time in many years, I saw Derrick, who had been on a hiatus from Billy Mac's when I last lived in Eugene. What a superb evening! I relished having a couple of Billy Mac's margaritas again, featuring Billy's homemade margarita mix, and I indulged in New York strip steak smothered in savory mushroom gravy. Table talk ranged far and wide as we discussed everything from our parents' hospice care to The Magnificent Ambersons to the U of O's women's basketball team. When everyone at our table headed home, I went to the bar and stuck around for one beer, one of my very favorite Oregon beers, Pelican Brewing's Kiwanda Cream Ale, and some quality yakking with Derrick.

3.  I had a little time to kill before the Sam Bond's Bluegrass Jam would get going around 9 or 9:30, so I stopped in at the Oakshire tasting room for a short pour of Hazy IPA. I sat in Oakshire's spacious and happy space and thought back to 2011 when I first visited Oakshire's tasting room. Back then, Oakshire's facility was tucked away in an obscure corner of northwest Eugene near the Trainsong neighborhood. Its hours were very limited. I think four beers were on tap. It was very humble. I marveled at what I saw tonight: a great crowd, multiple Oakshire beers on tap, and a great location in the Whiteaker neighborhood near a cluster of other neighborhood places to get together with people: a distillery, a cidery, coffeehouse, wine cellar and other spots.

Cheered by my visit to Oakshire, I parked near Sam Bond's, waited in line to order an Irish Red Ale, and talked with a young woman who, like me, has a good friend battling cancer. "I need a Pabst night" she told me. I told her I was in a similar mindset. She got her long necked bottle of PBR, we wished each other all the best, and I grabbed a table near the stage where I sat alone. Slowly and surely the musicians began to gather. A mandolin player was on the stage and one by one others joined him. There was a banjo guy, who was tonight's jam leader, a stand up bass player, and guys and a couple of women with other instruments: dobro, resonator guitar, acoustic guitars, flute, harmonica, even a trombone. I had to be a little patient. My short glass of Irish Red Ale made patience easy; in time, a terrific jam got underway. The players were having a great time. I enjoyed solo after solo and the leader's vocals. I don't know how long these players jammed, but by about midnight, I was fading and I returned to Jeff's and called this full and invigorating day to a close.