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.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/20/19: Ye Olde Pancake House, Hiking Sweet Creek, Slow Beers and an Evening Meet Up

1. When I lived in Eugene, I used to figure out ways to have something approximating my Kellogg experience. Eugene has a reputation of being a counter cultural, tie-dyed town with a marijuana dispensary on every corner. There's truth in that. At the same time, Eugene has a long history as a logging town and west Eugene and northwest Eugene, in particular, are historically working class. That means that there are restaurants where I can feel like I'm back at Sam's. One of those is West 11th's Ye Olde Pancake House and I stopped in this morning for breakfast.

I really did feel like I'd walked into Sam's. Groups of men, looking very much like Jerry, Ed, Buff, Scott B, and me occupied booths throughout the place as did older people eating alone and a few moms and dads with kids. I recognized my friendly server. She's been working at Ye Olde for years -- uh, needless to say, she did not recognize me -- no reason to -- and, as I always used to, I smiled inside and out as she took great care of me.

I ordered off the senior menu, hoping that I wouldn't leave feeling too stuffed, but, as is the tradition at Ye Olde, even the senior plate of chicken fried steak, hash browns, two eggs, and toast was plentiful, and I left feeling full to the brim.

2.  I soared in the Sube west out of Eugene, with one of the best Grateful Dead shows I've ever listened to on the CD player*, and made my way to Sweet Creek in the Siuslaw River basin to take one of my favorite of all hikes. I used to love to bring my spaniel, Snug, out to this trail and once I had a really fun hike at Sweet Creek with Molly, Olivia, and David, and these and many other happy memories sprung to mind as I walked alongside the whitewater currents and little water falls on this mile and a half trail. l took about forty pictures, but I need to wait until I'm back in Kellogg to process them. I'm hoping they capture, in some small way, the majesty of Sweet Creek and the verdant kingdom of this trail.

3. Back in Eugene, I enjoyed some modest beer drinking. I enjoyed two four ounce pours at Sixteen Tons, Fort George's Skies of Wonder Double IPA and Georgetown's MEOWSA Double IPA. Both were surprisingly smooth and easy drinking, but I didn't give in to their mellowness. Their ABV was pretty high and I sipped very slowly on them. I then made my way over to Coldfire Brewing, a new place for me. I loved the six ounce pour of their Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout I ordered, called Bourbon Council. Once again, this was not a beer to drink casually and I savored its deep, boozy chocolate warmth and decadence.

Debbie and I met at the Paddock Saloon and Grill, the renovated version of what I knew for years as the Old Pad, and stayed long enough for me to eat some hot wings and drink a glass of water, but the Blazer/Warrior's game was featured on the Paddock's tv screens and sound system and we decided to go to the much quieter Tradewinds Cafe, which used to be the Jiffy Mart on S. Hillyard, and we split a hummus plate and I slow drank a glass of Pinot Gris.

Debbie and I haven't officially had an "everything's on the table" talk just yet, but tonight's conversation flirted with such a discussion. Slowly, easily, we are trying to figure out what the summer might look like with Debbie's return to Kellogg. Debbie had to get home and rest up for her day of work and I returned to Jeff's house for an invigorating discussion of the Grateful Dead, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, and other musicians until he had to return to his study to get ready for the class he teaches on Tuesday.

*The Dead show I listened to happened on February 26, 1977 at The Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino and is recorded on Volume 29 of Dave's Picks, a three-CD set.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/19/19: Brunch with Patrick and Meagan, Kenton Street Fair, Back in Eugene

1. After a relaxing morning lounging and yakking and and watching some golf in the Turner home, I fired up the Sube and catapulted north to North Portland's Kenton neighborhood and met up with Patrick and Meagan. They had just arrived from Seattle, but within minutes we bolted out the door of their handsome apartment and strolled to Swift and Union, a, as they advertise, true neighborhood restaurant.

We settled into a table without a wait.  I started with a horseradish-y and spicy Bloody Mary and soon plunged into an order of salmon cakes egg benedict, served a top a freshly baked biscuit, accompanied with home fried potatoes.

I thoroughly enjoyed yakking with Patrick and Meagan about a bunch of things and experienced a jolt being in the company of their youth, aspirations, and energy.

2. We finished eating and took a spin through the Annual Kenton Neighborhood Street Fair and surveyed the vendors lining both sides of the street and listened, for a while, to a very accomplished teen age thrash metal band, another jolt for me. We made our way back to the apartment, I hydrated, we yakked some more, and soon I was back on the road, rocketing down I-5, headed to Eugene.

3. I arrived at Jeff's house. We embraced, he took me to my quarters, we had a quick and meaty conversation, and I bolted south to Cornucopia where I wandered to the outdoor seating in the back and met up with Debbie. I ordered a pint of Ninkasi's Prismatic Juicy IPA and my first sip arrested me -- the beer was so beautifully hopped and helped secure the reality that I wasn't dreaming -- I was back in Eugene after nearly eight months away, drinking a splendid Oregon beer, and sitting across from Debbie and falling into easy conversation. We talked for nearly two hours. I slowly enjoyed another pint of Prismatic and we shared a hummus plate.

It was a splendid evening at Cornucopia, punctuated by another jolt of youthful energy when Debbie and I had an extended conversation with our second server, a woman working to earn money in preparation to begin grad school late in the summer at Pacific University, entering the same program Debbie completed over ten years ago.

Back at Jeff's, we yakked for an hour or so in his study. We have a lot of catching up to do.

I retired for the night very happy to have had such a fantastic day filled with superb conversation and peerless company.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/18/19: Driving to Portland, Slaughterhouse India Red Ale, Dinner at the Stillhouse

1. My drive to Portland was easy. The traffic was light, the skies were gray, and visibility was terrific. I didn't think I could enjoy Pink Floyd's Wishing You Were Here more than I have in the past, but I experienced a higher love for that album today. Likewise, Tom Petty's Wildflowers. It was especially fun to listen to Wildflowers after I had listened to Malcolm Gladwell's podcast episode discussing the album on his show, Broken Records.  It's right here. I settled down after a burger at C & D Drive-In and listened to the Emerson String Quartet play Beethoven.

2. Upon arrival at the Turner's home in Gladstone, Terry offered me a Slaughterhouse an India Red Ale from Payette Brewing, a superbly balanced beer with a strong malt backbone that helped smooth out its hop content and slightly higher alcohol content. I always enjoy red ales and this one was superb.

3. After relaxing for a while, Terry, Nancy, and I headed over to Oregon City for dinner at the Highland Stillhouse, one of my favorite spots anywhere. I didn't want to drink much, so I ordered a half pint of one of my favorite beers, England's premium bitter, Old Speckled Hen. This beer triggers some of my favorite memories, especially going to the now shuttered ChipShop on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, once with Scott Shirk, and enjoying this beer and their heavenly fish and chips. I also had another great experience with Old Speckled Hen at the West 11th location of the Bier Stein back in September of 2012 when a gentile British bloke heard me order the beer and said to me, "I see you're a man who knows his beer" and gave me a quick lecture on the differences between English and Pacific Northwest hops.  I wrote about this encounter, here.

I savored my half pint of Old Speckled Hen and dove into my half order of fish and chips. They were superb. I loved being back at the Stillhouse.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/17/19: Getting Ready, Sunday Brunch, Happy Charly

1. With the rain falling steadily all day, I was content to stay indoors and prepare for my trip. I got all my laundry done, changed the sheets on my bed, cleaned the kitchen, including the inside of the refrigerator,  packed my suitcase, vacuumed, and made a list of things to be sure to remember to take with me.  I will return to a clean house. I like that.

2. I also finalized plans to meet Patrick and Meagan for brunch Sunday morning.

3. I took Charly over to Carol and Paul's house. Charly loves it there. She and Sadie are both older and little dogs and enjoy each other's company. Charly is really happy sleeping in the crate and enjoys hanging out in it. Carol and Paul enjoy working outside in their spacious back yard and Charly loves it out there. This evening, when we arrived at the Roberts' home, Charly was pulling hard on her leash, imploring me to step it up. She was eager to be in Paul and Carol's house. Charly is not only a happy house guest, she's easy. This is all a relief to me.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/16/19: Cancer Cells Killed Off: Goose Update, Sibling Gardening, Unexpected Bicycle Work Out

1.  Late in the afternoon, Janice sent me a text with the following update about Goose:

We got the news about Kirk's 2nd bone marrow biopsy. The cancer cells have been killed off, but we're waiting for the bone marrow to wake up and start working. Once the bone marrow starts to work making cells, he will have another 5 day chemo session. Then after that we will start the process of getting someone who is compatible to donate to him. Then he will have a long recovery period, and hopefully things will be on the up and up. He'll probably be hard to keep up with as he will be golfing, fishing, hunting, and probably anything else he can. Things are going the way the doctors had hoped.

Carol Lee and Jake paid Kirk a visit today (Thursday). Kirk was very sleepy, but woke up long enough to say hi. Carol Lee and Jake only got to see him for a couple of minutes because the doctor arrived to talk with the family -- Janice's report above summarizes what the family learned. 

2.  Christy and Carol came over to my place late this morning and did some planting and planning, focusing on the lone raised bed in the back yard. They did some planting over at Christy's and then came over to my yard.  Christy and Carol completed their work before the rain arrived. With storms in the forecast, Christy and Carol held off on putting plants in the ground -- I think Christy will come over and put them in while I'm away this coming week.

3. With storms forecast, I jumped on my bicycle while the weather was still good and before gardening, and pedaled to The Bean for a bagel and a latte. Nourished, I hit the Trail of the CdAs and whizzed to the outer edge of Smelterville, deluding myself that I was gliding along the trail so effortlessly because I was getting in better shape.

I got my comeuppance when I turned around to bike back to Kellogg. I suddenly became intimately acquainted with the wind that had been at my back pedaling west, but that was now pushing against me pedaling east. I'm not in good shape. My ride back to Kellogg was slow and difficult, as if I were pedaling uphill. I grunted my way to the Silver Mountain trail head and dropped onto a bench and began my recovery.  I got my breath back and my heart rate settled down and I biked on home where I rested for another half an hour or so before launching into today's modest gardening project. I have to say, though, that even though it was embarrassing to struggle so much biking to Kellogg, it really felt good to have put out the effort to work out my ill-conditioned body.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/15/19: Olivia Hussey and JW Booth, *Playing Shakespeare*, Ben Kingsley and Liev Schreiber

1. I just can't get enough of the podcast Shakespeare Unlimited. Today, I listened to two episodes I enjoyed a lot and that I think would be of general interest. I think of those of us in the 9th grade who went to Spokane to see Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet -- or anyone who joined the world wide love of this movie. Well, the actor who played Juliet, Olivia Hussey, is now sixty-eight years old and has lived a full life beyond the one role that made her so famous. If you'd like to hear some stories about the making of Romeo and Juliet and what is on Olivia Hussey's mind these days, just go here.

In addition, it's fascinating to learn more about the connection between the world of theater and Shakespeare and the life of John Wilkes Booth. Moreover, it's fascinating to learn more about how the complicated family dynamics of the Booth family contributed to John Wilkes Booth's assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The Booth family story of sibling rivalry and tragedy itself is Shakespearean and you can hear all about it, right here.

2. Later on, I returned to the DVD series Playing Shakespeare and watched John Barton and Royal Shakespeare Company actors from the 1980s explore how to play irony and ambiguity and how to strike a balance between coolness and passion in playing Shakespeare's more emotional speeches and scenes. Not only do I enjoy watching these actors work things out, it's great fun seeing them play scenes and speeches from across the canon, often from plays that, over the years, I haven't paid as much attention to -- plays like King John or Coriolanus or the Henry VI series. It's also fun to see actors like Lisa Harlow, Ben Kingsley, Patrick Stewart, Judi Dench, and others as young adults, seeing how they were working things out about thirty-five years ago.

3. Through the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast, I learned about a series entitled, How Shakespeare Changed My Life, available on YouTube, here. Each episode is about fifteen minutes long. This evening Iistened to Ben Kingsley and Liev Schreiber. Both took very different approaches to discussing Shakespeare's impact on them. Both have been deeply affected by the many dimensions of Shakespeare's genius. If you go to the link I posted in this paragraph, just scroll down and you'll find these and many other interviews.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/14/19: Visiting Goose, Debrief, Blazers' Hangover

1.  Shortly after eight this morning, Cas, Stu, Byrdman, and I piled into Cas' rig and rocketed to Missoula to visit Goose.  Kirk was alert. He knows what's going on with his condition and his treatment. We were in his room for just over an hour. He tracked our conversations and contributed a lot. Kirk can't really speak above a whisper. He looked tired, drawn, and weak. We might have overstayed a bit and left when we did because Kirk was fading and needed to get back to sleep.

Kirk had a bone marrow biopsy performed last week and, as I write this, I haven't received any news about the results. As soon as Janice relays that news to me, I will get it out.

2.  The ride over to Missoula and back was fun. The four of us had plenty of tales to tell along with discussing our concerns about Goose and our hopes for him. When we left the hospital, we bulleted straight to Five Guys and debriefed over our fine burgers. Because Goose's voice is so faint right now, we helped each other piece together different things he had to say, making sure we all heard him the same and helping one another fill in blanks when any one of us hadn't been able to hear him at all. 

3. Back in Kellogg, I brought Charly back home. She had a very good day at Carol's, much of it out in the yard while Carol gardened. Once home, I invented a meal and, while I prepared it, connected my tablet to my smart speaker, put on the Blazer game via the ESPN app, and watched and listened to the Warriors dismantle Portland with sharp shooting and a harassing defense. The Blazers might have been sluggish in the aftermath of their epic game 7 win against Denver on Sunday -- known of as a hangover --, so I hope they will get refreshed and play better on Thursday.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/13/19: Breakfast with Cas, Patricia Arquette, All Woman Shakespeare

1. Cas swung by at 7:30 and we ate breakfast at the Goose 'n the Tree Fresh Baked Cafe in Pinehurst and enjoyed a splendid breakfast. The last three times I've been to the Goose 'n the Tree, I've ordered food that included Derrick's chili verde sauce and did so again this morning -- I had the LookOut, an egg scramble with chorizo, onions, peppers, and shredded corn toritillas covered with chili verde sauce. I loved it. Cas and I yakked about a lot of stuff and got a special kick out of how poorly my Kellogg Johnniez performed on Sunday in Fantasy Baseball. Cas couldn't remember a fantasy team performing so badly on a day featuring a full slate of games.

I could not have been prouder of my squad's futility. Sometimes there's something as impressive about staggering others with nearly bottomless mediocrity and with achieving greatness. For one day, at least, the Kellogg Johnniez were the lovable Mets of 1962, the unforgettable losers of 120 games, the most in major league history.  Within myself, I wailed Casey Stengel's famous line in 1962: "Can't anybody here play this game?"

2.  I put the podcast Fresh Air on my smart speaker and listened to one episode after another. I especially enjoyed listening to Patricia Arquette talk about roles she has played over the last four or five years. If you'd like to hear what she had to say, just go here.

3. Later in the day, I returned to listening to more Shakespeare Unlimited podcasts and especially enjoyed listening to Dame Harriet Walter talk about her career, especially her work as Brutus in an all woman production of Julius Caesar. It's here.  Walter's work in Julius Caesar was part of a trilogy of all woman productions (Julius Caesar, Henry IV -- a condensation of the two Henry IV plays --, and The Tempest) directed by Phyllida Lloyd. I also listened to Phyllida Lloyd, in a separate episode, discussing the all woman Shakespeare project. It's thrilling and it's here.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/12/19: Easter Continues, Touring, Family Dinner

1.  I hopped in the Sube this morning and drove to Coeur d'Alene to join worshipers at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in continuing to celebrate Easter.  In her homily, The Rev. Holladay Sanderson looked squarely at the deaths of the two students who were killed trying to stop shootings in their schools and at the loss of Christian writer, Rachel Held Evans. She also looked squarely at the continuation of their lives in the memory of their courage and in the admiration and inspiration that will continue long after their deaths.

2. I returned home and assured myself that Charly was doing just fine, and blasted out to Ed's house in Kingston. We piled into his pickup and drove out to Jake and Carol Lee's house to check out the work they are doing on their property. Things looked good there and we made a visit nearby to Garren and Nancy and then took a drive along the CdA River and looked at what things look like at the old Dudley Landing, once a very busy logging staging area.

3. For the first time this year, we ate family dinner outside. Christy prepared a stellar dinner. We started with a rum cocktail that was part Mimosa, part Dark and Stormy and ate pickled green beans as an appetizer. Before long, dinner appeared: crab deviled eggs, zucchini boats, baked lemony chicken, and a spinach/strawberry/Cougar gold cheese salad. Dazzling. Christy also prepared a very tasty blackberry crisp, Keto style.

Carol and Paul had just returned from Meridian where they helped put on Burt Roberts' memorial service and reported that it was a beautiful service, very well attended, and a very fitting way to say good by to Burt. So we talked about that and moved on to a variety of other subjects. It was a lovely evening.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/11/19: *Shakespeare Unlimited* in the Kitchen, Marathon Baseball, Walking Uptown

1. It's how I have fun. I fix myself some oatmeal, wash down cupboards and other kitchen surfaces, put clean dishes away, and load the dishwasher while listening to episodes from the podcast Shakespeare Unlimited. First, I listened to Columbia University professor, James Shapiro, discuss his book, The Year of Lear. Shakespeare wrote King Lear, along with Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra, all in 1606 and it was a tumultuous year for King James I, a year in which a terrorist plot to blow up the parliament buildings was thwarted. The podcast episode is right here.

Back in my graduate school days and the years that I taught Shakespeare, I never took much interest in how the editions of Shakespeare's plays we read today were edited. It's a bit over my head. This morning, however, I listened to an episode of Shakespeare Unlimited that covered this very subject and it piqued my interest in the conundrums of editing his plays. For starters, the two interviewees, Suzanne Gossett and Paul Werstine were congenial, pleasant to listen to, and humble in the face of the difficulties presented by the task of editing Shakespeare. They explained clearly the history of editing the plays and clarified why new editions of the plays continue to be published.

Recently, I purchased the fairly newly minted 3rd edition of the Norton Shakespeare. As with most Shakespeare collections, scholars introduce each play with an essay, including an explanation of the history of the different texts that were published while Shakespeare was alive and not long after he died, entitled "Textual Introduction".  I've never paid very close attention to the textual introduction of the plays, but, after listening to this podcast episode, I read the textual introduction to Othello with more understanding than I've ever had and confronted the question as to whether, after Othello told Desdemona the tales of his adventures as a warrior, she covered him with "sighs" or with "kisses". 

If you'd like to enter into this aspect of studying Shakespeare and listen to this excellent episode, just click here.

2. I continued to putter around the house and switched from Shakespeare to baseball. In today's game between the Brewers and the Cubs, both starting pitchers are on my League 2 fantasy team, so I was very interested in how Zach Davies and Cole Hamels would perfor. Both pitched beautifully. Both earned me a nice bunch of fantasy points. Both pitchers were long gone, however, by game's end. The game went fifteen innings, lasting nearly five hours. I can't say that I listened closely to every pitch and every play, but I had the game on my smart speaker the whole time and just couldn't bring myself to turn it off. I loved having the sounds of Wrigley Field in the house and I was definitely curious how this marathon would end.

The Cubs won the game, 2-1, when Wilson Contreras slammed a walk off home run.

3. Listening to Shakespeare, listening to baseball, and doing this and that around the house meant that I hadn't exercised all day. I took care of that by walking uptown to the Inland Lounge, enjoying some Rolling Rock beer, and walking back home. I racked up nearly 4000 steps, nearly two miles, and knew that a good night's sleep lay ahead. I was right.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/10/19: Goose Update: Biopsy and Out of ICU, Bicycling to Big Creek, *Baseball Tonight* and Trivia

1.  Janice sent out two updates about Goose yesterday:

- Today is Friday (May 10th), and Kirk had his 2nd bone marrow biopsy. We won't know the results until early next week, but the doctor said things went well. Kirk seems to be doing pretty good today. Will keep you posted.

- Kirk got moved out of ICU and is now in Rm 537.

2. For now, each time I ride my bicycle, I am extending the length of my ride. Today, I rode down Mission Street and veered off onto Sunset and took a tour of Elder Street. I rode on Division to the Trail of the CdA's and pedaled to Big Creek and then back home. When I ride along the CdA River, even though it's 2019, my eyes think it's 1969. I expect to see the gray Lead Creek of my youth. I continue to be surprised by the clarity of the Cd'A River, by spots on the river with white rapids, and by the presence of water fowl. Honestly, I don't know how clean the water is in 2019, but just seeing the rocks on river's bottom is a stark contrast to the river I knew as a kid.

3. Before we moved, I listened to podcasts mostly through ear buds, whether via my cell phone, tablet, or laptop.  Last year, when I bought the smart speaker and the Echo, I could access podcasts through Alexa's TuneIn Radio option, but its search function is clumsy and inefficient, even discouraging. But, this week, when I made the effort to figure out how to use my smart speaker with my cell phone, it meant that I could access podcasts via the much more agile Podbean app.

It's been awesome. My podcast world has expanded again and I can fill the house with the sounds of stories about, among other things, Shakespeare, U. S. history, cooking, and, ah!, baseball.

When I bought a smart TV about a year ago, I discovered that ESPN television no longer telecasts its great nightly program, Baseball Tonight. This week, however, I finally figured out that Baseball Tonight is now a podcast and, so, once the latest episode appears (this is, by the way, unpredictable), I can fill the house with Buster Olney and his staff recounting what happened on the day before and, even better, listen to interviews.

For example, today Buster Olney interviewed the Chicago writer, Ron Rappaport. Rappaport recently published a biography of Ernie Banks, Let's Play Two, The Legend of Mr. Cub, The Life of Ernie Banks. In the course of the interview, Rappaport discussed how plagued Ernie Banks felt by never having played in a World Series. For several years, Banks was the only major league player elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility not to have played in a World Series.

If you enjoy baseball trivia, there are now four players who were elected on their first ballot, but never played in a World Series:

1. Ernie Banks
2. Rod Carew
3. Ken Griffey, Jr.
4. Frank Thomas

Friday, May 10, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/09/19: Goose's Better Day: An Update, Shakespeare and Baseball, Charly's Spa Day

1. This afternoon, on Thursday, May 8th, Janice sent the following update about Goose:

Kirk's having a much better day today. They have taken him off the medication, except they are still giving him blood products. He's sleeping a lot, and still doesn't have much of an appetite. But getting the sleep is the best thing for him.

2.  I cleaned up a few areas of dead plant material in the front and back yards and I turned on the sprinkler system and tested it, giving the yard that has begun to get dry a drink of water. While I worked on things around the house, moving paint to the basement, doing laundry, cleaning up the kitchen, and other things, I listen to more Shakespeare Unlimited podcast episodes and, before long, today's game between the Mariners and Yankees.

Later, I returned to reading Helen Vendler's The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets. Reading her work is deepening my experience with and my understanding of the sonnets, but her work is so dense and so beyond my own thinking that, at this point, I cannot convey what I'm learning. I don't have words for it and I'm hoping that, in time, I will become conversant with Vendler's work to such a degree that I can write or talk about it.

3.  Shortly after 11 this morning, the vet's office called to say that a grooming slot just opened up because of a no show. I immediately gathered up Charly and she got to spend about four hours at the spa getting her nails trimmed, her coat trimmed, and a fresh shampoo. She looks splendid and seemed very happy to get cleaned up.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/08/19: Deeper Shakespeare, Shakespeare's Sonnets, Baseball on the Radio

* I haven't received any further updates about Kirk, but as soon as I do, I'll get the word out.

1. I think what I wanted, when I retired, was to see if I could expand my experience with the plays and poems of William Shakespeare. In order to do that, I went through a period of shedding my role as a classroom teacher of Shakespeare, of thinking about Shakespeare's works primarily as a source of ideas or of meaning and thinking about how to make the plays and their ideas come alive in the classroom.  I had started this process many years ago when I no longer taught the Shakespeare course at LCC and when I became more involved in Shakespeare performances, playing roles in a handful of plays and helping to narrate the Shakespeare Showcase.

Recently, I've intensified my renewed experience with Shakespeare's works, have diversified my experience with Shakespeare's world. For example, this morning, for several hours, I put on episode after episode of the podcast Shakespeare Unlimited. I especially enjoyed listening to Derek Jacobi, in a two part episode, talk about playing the role of Hamlet (here), in particular, and acting Shakespeare in general (here). But it's not just the best actors who have fascinating stories about playing Shakespeare. I loved listening to an episode discussing the documentary movie, Still Dreaming, which tells the story of Fiasco Theater's Ben Steinfield and Noah Brody mounting a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Lillian Booth Actors Home, a nursing home populated by retired actors, musicians, dancers, and singers. This episode is here.

I listened to all kinds of other episodes focusing on such subjects as women acting Shakespeare (here), the lives of women in Tudor England (here), how racial tensions that we think of as current are very much alive in Shakespeare's plays (here), the history of Shakespeare in the Park in Central Park (here), and more.

You can view the entire list of Shakespeare Unlimited's episodes, here.

2.  Later in the day, I began to slowly read and absorb Helen Vendler's book, The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets. In her book's introduction, Vendler lays out her project which is to offer a close reading of all 154 sonnets with emphasis on how these sonnets work as lyric poetry. She closely examines how the architecture of the sonnet, its structure, brings to life the complications and complexities of the mind of the poems' speaker. Vendler examines the way lyric poetry is a word by word, line by line record of the fluidity of feelings, their depth and contradictions. More particularly, the sonnets, which are 154 different dives into the mind and the feelings of the poem's speaker, examine the nearly infinite variety of ways the speaker experiences love, ranging from feelings of the deepest admiration to the darkest jealousy and disillusion.

3. Today, not only did these Shakespeare Unlimited episodes come through my smart speaker, but today I discovered the app called Pro Baseball Radio. Now that I've figured out how to play what's on my cell phone through my smart speaker, I can now have a baseball game on while I do things around the house, or even while I read. This breakthrough makes me very happy. I love listening to radio broadcasts of baseball games. Today, I listened to parts of the game between the Padres and the Mets and to nearly the entire Yankees and Mariners game. I wasn't so much interested in the outcomes of these games as I was pleased to have the sounds and rhythms of baseball in my house.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/07/19: Tough Goose Update and Much Support, Breakfast with the Turners, Road Trip to Kennewick and My Whitworth Past

1.  This evening, Janice sent me news that Kirk has suffered a set back. She wrote:

Kirk got moved back down to the ICU. He had a bad reaction coming off the chemo, and not having an immune system to off the infection really played havoc on his system. After getting him heavily medicated and settled down, they took a look at his vitals from yesterday and compared them to today. The docs have told us that he tested positive for two blood bacteria, his heart is only working at 20% and they're worried about his kidneys. We're all hoping that he'll bounce back. We still need lots of prayers. Thanks.
Many of Kirk's friends have sent me messages pledging their support and prayers. Along with  Janice, let me ask all of you reading this blog to join in praying for him and Janice, to extend your support to them in what ever fashion works best for you.

2. Terry and Nancy Turner and I strolled down to Sam's this morning and enjoyed breakfast together. It was great fun having them visit overnight and getting to talk about so many different things together.

3. Around noon, I headed off to the WalMart parking lot at State Line to meet Stu and we piled into his pickup and headed to Southridge High School in Kennewick, WA to watch the Southridge Suns and the Shadle Park Highlanders of Spokane square off in a loser out district tournament baseball game.

I was acquainted with Shadle Park's coach, Ron Brooks, back in the lateish 1970s, when he played baseball and I worked at Whitworth College. Coach Brooks and Stu have been working together in the Spokane School District for many years. Stu invited me to join him to go down and watch this afternoon's game.

Upon arriving at the Southridge baseball field, Stu and I almost immediately sat down on a bench at field level with Shadle Park's athletic director, Bruce Hafferkamp, another guy who I knew at Whitworth from 1975-78. Bruce had news about many of the guys he and I were involved with at Whitworth in a weekly Bible study group for about two years or so. Some of the news was grievous, but much of it was very good. It was especially good to listen to Bruce talk about his family -- his brother, Brian, his wife and children, and his mother in Salem.

Because Bruce and I yakked so much, I didn't pay very close attention to the baseball game, but I know that Southridge won 3-2. The game winning hit came on the pitch following a borderline two strike pitch that the umpire called a ball, a pitch that would have struck out the hitter and ended the inning. But, alas, given new life, the Southridge batter came through, Shadle Park did not score in the top of the 7th, and the game ended.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/06/19: Morning of Podcasts, Bicycle Ride, The Turners Arrive

1. All morning long I listened to podcasts, no matter what I was doing -- writing, making and drinking coffee, putting dishes away, everything. A little while ago, Scott Shirk, knowing that I had listened to the Slow Burn podcast about Watergate, recommended that I listen to Bag Man, Rachel Maddow's long form multi-episode podcast about the fall of Spiro Agnew. You can find the episodes here. It's chilling and fascinating.  Then I discovered the podcast Shakespeare Unlimited, here, a project of the Folger Shakespeare Library, and listened to several fascinating episodes about subjects ranging from the growth of London in the 16th century to the Astor Place riot of 1849, in which over twenty people were killed while rioting over two productions of Macbeth to Shakespeare's exploration of how tyrants come into power.

2. I continued my efforts to increase my bicycle riding stamina and took a ride out to Elizabeth Park and back after I bicycled around Sunnyside a bit, covering very old and familiar ground, routes I used to follow as a kid riding my bicycle in Kellogg as many as fifty-seven years ago.

3. In the middle of the afternoon, Terry and Nancy Turner arrived. After yakking for a little while, Terry and I split a couple Imperial Stouts, the noble Waves of Silence from Ft. George and the deep and mysterious bourbon barrel-aged Super Nebula from Block 15. Debbie brought these beers, and many more, to Kellogg back in March. I do not enjoy drinking these beers alone. My friends who live in the Silver Valley don't enjoy these beers, so I was stoked to join Terry as a beer drinking partner and to relish these beers. By about 5:30, we headed up to Radio Brewing for dinner and returned home where Christy joined us for an eveningcap: Terry, Nancy, and I each slowly sipped a short pour of Glenlivet 12 single malt scotch and Christy enjoyed a gin and tonic made with Uncle Val's Botanical Gin.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/05/19: Coconut Milk Mushroom Soup, Preparing Sides, Podcasts and YouTube on the Bose

* I don't have any updates to share about Goose.

1.  Today, it was my turn to host family dinner. I wanted to make something flexible because, as the day started, I wasn't sure when Carol and Paul would return home from Meridian.

So, Saturday, I decided I'd thaw pork chops so that I could cook them in the crock-pot. I like pork chops with mushroom soup, but I didn't want to use sodium heavy canned condensed mushroom soup, so I wondered how it might work to make a soup from scratch and use it.

My first idea was to use coconut milk. It's thick and, I think, it's good for Carol and Paul, who do their best to follow a Keto diet plan.

My second idea was to give the soup a layer of ginger flavor.

So, I chopped up a plug of ginger, cooked it until fragrant, and added two chopped onions and several chopped stalks of celery. While I cooked these ingredients in olive oil, I sliced and chopped about a pound a half of crimini mushrooms. When the celery, onion, and ginger were tender, I removed them from the Dutch oven and cooked the mushrooms in two batches.

I returned the celery, onion, and ginger to the Dutch oven and added two cans of coconut milk. I thought it seemed a little too thick, so I thinned it out slightly with vegetable broth.

I let this soup cook for a while and took out the six thawed pork chops and seasoned them with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

In the crock pot, I combined the coconut milk mushroom soup and the pork chops and put the crock-pot on low.

2. I like to have rice salad on hand, so I cooked two cups of jasmine rice with three cups of water, let it cool, and mixed the rice with sliced/chopped cucumber, roasted almonds, chopped tomatoes, chopped fresh cilantro, basil, and mint, green olives stuffed with garlic, feta cheese, olive oil, rice vinegar, and olive brine.

I wasn't sure if everyone could eat rice on their diet plans, so I also prepared sliced tomatoes topped with olive oil, rice vinegar, fresh basil, and Parmesan cheese.

Lastly, Mike Stafford had brought some fresh asparagus from central Washington to Kellogg and this morning Ed brought me a bag of spears.

I heated up butter in a cast iron pan and fried the spears. Once tender, I topped them with Parmesan cheese. I had also prepared some ground almonds for the asparagus, but, alas, I put them in a bowl and knocked it off the counter while dancing around the kitchen to Santana's "Soul Sacrifice."

When Christy, Everett, Carol, and Paul arrived, I handed each of them a gin and tonic made from Uncle Val's Botanical Gin. Paul and Carol told us about the plans for Burt Roberts' memorial on Saturday, May 11th. From there, our conversations went a variety of directions and everyone enjoyed my pork chop experiment and the sides.

3. I've owned a wireless smart speaker for over a year. When Patrick comes to Kellogg, he always connects music on his cell phone to this speaker, but I hadn't tried to do it with my phone.

Today, I did.

So, through the magic of Bluetooth, I listened to podcast episodes from Serious Eats, Gravy, This American Life, TED Radio, and Broken Record I had loaded on my phone and then listened to a slew of some of my favorite YouTube videos, all through the smart speaker.

Finding podcasts through the Alexa app is possible, but it's a clumsy process. Using my cell phone with the smart phone means I can use my Podbean app and it's much more efficient, making finding episodes and playing them much easier. 

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/04/19: Goose is Out of ICU, Biking to Pinehurst, Goose Tales at the Lounge

1. Janice's excitement seemed to make my cell phone shake when this text came flying in this morning on Saturday, May 4th:

After the docs were here today, they have put an order in for Kirk to be moved out of ICU. This is great news. He will be going to the 5th floor. They're waiting for a bed. Right now, as we speak, there isn't one, but they're hoping by later in the day that one will become available.

Then, at around 3:30, this message came in:

They just moved Kirk to room 558. Yeh!!

So, to recap:  on Friday, the doctors took Goose off of dopamine, oxygen, the IV, and the chemo.  The doctors are happy with his progress and his oncologist said things are hopeful, that the treatment went just as he wanted it to. Goose will have another bone marrow biopsy in one week to see if his system is producing cells.

Kirk's out of ICU.

Kirk and Janice very much appreciate everyone's support. Please continue to hold them in your prayers and keep sending positive thoughts their way.

2.  I had planned on taking a morning bicycle ride, but Janice's news came in and I also exchanged text messages with Adrienne regarding the trip to Kellogg she, Josh, and Jack are planning at the end of August.

Shortly before 1:00, I mounted my Trek machine and pedaled on the Trail of the CdAs to a bench on the western edge of Smelterville, took a rest and drank some water, and then resumed my outing by pedaling to the Pinehurst Golf Course. Before long, Byrdman arrived and we enjoyed a couple of cans of Ten Barrel Brewing's very tasty mango margaritas and served ourselves at the taco bar.

Jake, Carol Lee, Bucky, and Debbie finished playing their round of golf and joined Byrdman and me on the patio for some good yakking and, when it came time to leave, I loaded my Trek into Jake's pickup and he and Carol Lee gave me a ride home.

3. I took care of Charly and then went uptown to meet up again with Carol Lee and Jake at the Lounge. Cas, Jake, Carol Lee and I had Goose on our minds. We were all encouraged that his news has been positive and soon some of the classic Goose stories began to fly, and, as Jake and Cas told them, we all marveled that everyone survived the goofy stuff Goose, Dogfoot, Jake, Louie, Hog, Schnotzy, Lars, and others used to do. I've heard these stories scores of times and they never get old. I missed out on all of these road trips, wrestling matches, January canoe trips, and other spur of the moment shenanigans, but I never tire hearing about them.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/03/19: Update: Good News About Goose, Paint Job Finished, Burgers at the Elks

1. On Friday, May 3rd, three different people provided me updates about Goose.

First, here's what Janice wrote to me:

He just finished with his chemo today (Friday) at 1:00. They have taken him off of the dopamine, oxygen, the IV, and the chemo. The doctors are very happy with his progress; and his oncologist said that things are very hopeful, and went just as he wanted them to. The plan right now is to move him up to the 5th floor (out of ICU) by Monday if all goes well with taking him off all the medications. He will have another bone marrow biopsy in one week to see if his system is producing cells. If not, we take another step, but for right now, we are all excited with his good news.

I asked Janet if Kirk is conversational.

Janice replied:

Yes, he is talking better, but with the chemo treatments his voice got real raspy and now you have to get real close to hear him.

Second, on Friday, May 3rd, on his way to see family in Dillon, Terry Turner visited Goose.

Terry reported much of what Janice did about the chemo, the oncologist's optimism, and Goose's bone marrow.

Terry also reported that during their visit, Goose was sitting up. He was in good spirits. Goose said he didn't feel that bad, but he was annoyed that his voice "was gone" and wished food tasted better.


I drank a beer at the Inland Lounge around six or so, and Allen "Bucky" Fulton invited me to sit at the table with him and his wife, Debbie.

Allen visited Goose on Thursday, May 2nd. When Allen came in the room, Kirk was asleep, but when he realized Bucky was in the room, his eyes got wide, he was excited, and the two of them had a good visit.

Goose was especially happy that so many of his friends from the Silver Valley have visited him.

I have let Kirk know, through Janice, the kinds of messages I've received from friends online and in person. I'll continue to do that.

The visits and the support boost Kirk's spirits a lot.

2.  It was not a disruptive job, but all the same, it just feels good to have the upstairs paint job finished and the steps going upstairs varnished.

3. Ed picked me up around 5:00 for burgers at the Elks. Lifelong resident Jim Miller, Sr. (KHS Class of 1944) joined us and regaled me with a string of great stories about his life in Kellogg and how he's doing these days.  Before long, Ed's son, Darren, joined us and so did Danny Waldo. Darren works on construction and installation jobs all over, like in Washington State, Utah, and Iowa. As a result, Ed doesn't see him often and Ed was very excited Darren could join us at the Elks and across the street afterward for a beer at the Inland Lounge.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/02/19: No Update, Yellow Curry Vegetable Soup, Maggie is Home

1. If I hear any news about Kirk, I'll get the word out, but I don't have any right now.

2. First, I cooked up a chopped onion, chopped celery, and a generous half finger or so of minced ginger.  Second, I acted as if I were making curry sauce: a plug of yellow curry paste, a can of coconut milk, fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, and a slug of peanut butter. But, I wasn't making sauce, I was making soup. I added chopped cauliflower and broccoli, let it simmer for a while and then I added a can of chicken broth and the juice of half a lime.  I simmered this thinned out mixture until the vegetables were tender.  I loved the result. The soup was both creamy and broth-y, the heat was powerful enough that I had to blow my nose a couple of times while eating. For balance, I got the saltiness and sweetness just about right and underneath it all were hints of peanut. I wish I'd remembered to buy cilantro. I imagined other ingredients like green beans, chicken, or shrimp that would have worked well, too. If I'd added rice, that also would have tasted good. It's fun and satisfying to experiment with Thai curry paste and the other ingredients and make stuff up without a recipe.

3.  Maggie is home, in an urn, placed where she can keep an eye on what's happening in the living room and out the window.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 05/01/18: Goose and Burt, Paint Job, Eddie Joe's and Yellow Curry

1. I didn't receive any updates on Kirk today.  As always, whenever I hear from Janice, I'll spread the news.

The memorial service for Burt Roberts will be given on Saturday, May 11, at 1:00, at Legacy Church in Meridian. The church is at 1507 N. Meridian Road.

2.  Shawn and Pablo made more progress on the painting job upstairs and Shawn touched up a few spots around the house and on the front porch.

3. Cas invited me to join him for a few beers at Eddie Joe's down the street. No dogs fought. No humans fought. Tracy joined us for a while before we all went home. Once home, I cooked an aggressive yellow curry sauce with broccoli and cauliflower and enjoyed its saltiness, sweetness, and heat over jasmine rice seasoned while it cooked with sesame oil.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 04/30/19: Goose Update, RIP Burt Roberts, *Thunderbolt and Lightfoot*

1.  Janice, Goose's wife,  sent me two updates about Goose this morning, Tuesday, April 30th.

First, she reported that Kirk was having a good day. Pudge had been in for a visit, and, as she wrote the update, Abby was visiting Kirk. Kirk kept talking about the guys from Kellogg coming over. On Tuesday, Kirk ate better than he has, a bowl of oatmeal and a protein shake. His color was good, but he's tired.

Second, Janice reported that she and the medical staff were putting Kirk on somewhat of a schedule. Visiting 9-10:30 and 2-4 daily.

The medical staff want Kirk to sleep as much as possible, but Janice urged people to still come and visit.

2. Carol's father-in-law, Paul's father, Burt Roberts died today in the middle of the afternoon, three weeks after he'd been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Burt had been moved from the hospital to his and Pat's home on April 22nd. In both places, Burt was never alone. He was also under hospice care. Burt's lived a life dedicated to serving God and serving others, especially the congregations he pastored and his family. Burt officiated Dad's funeral service and burial in June, 1996. To prepare for the service, he sat down with Mom, Christy, Carol (I think), and me and listened as we talked about Dad. Burt gave a beautiful eulogy that blended things we had to say with his own experiences with Dad. As Dad lay dying, Burt promised and assured him that he would take good care of Dad's (and Burt's) granddaughters, Molly, Zoe, and Cosette, a promise he kept many, many times over.

3. When Cas, Don, Byrdman, and I went over to Missoula on Monday, Don told me he had just watched the movie Thunderbolt and Lightfoot on Netflix. I saw this movie at the Wilma Theater in CdA back in the summer of 1974. I remember being with Byrdman, but I might be wrong about that. Today, I mostly enjoyed watching Jeff Bridges and thinking about his range as an actor. As Lightfoot, he's a cocky, wise-cracking, good looking drifter. I thought a lot about the role he played seven years later in the movie, Cutter's Way. In that role, he once again plays an untethered character, Richard Bone, but the extroversion of Lightfoot is all but gone and Richard Bone's detachment plays out in his fooling around as a gigolo and his reluctance to get involved in searching out a murderer. I enjoyed remembering how much more muted and hollowed out Richard Bone's character is than Lightfoot's, but in Lightfoot's moments of doubt and certainly in his last scenes, I saw hints of the deeper notes Jeff Bridges would strike in his work as he matured. I had also seen these deeper shades of acting in his work in The Last Picture Show.

Goose: Tuesday Morning Update #2

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

This morning, Janice wrote this second update:

We are going to put Kirk on somewhat of a schedule. Visiting 9-10:30 and 2-4 daily.

The reason is that they want him to sleep as much as possible.

But please still come on over to visit.