Saturday, July 31, 2010


It was 4:43 this morning...I looked at the clock...when I was rousted from my early morning slumber by one of the loudest claps of thunder that I have experienced in the 10 years that we have lived year. It reminded me of days long ago in Wisconsin, when the positively charged flashes, the ones that are really loud, would pound us in the late night and early morning hours. Most lightning strikes carry negative charge from the cloud to the ground, but as many as 10% are the opposite. These generally carry more energy and are hotter, making for more intense thunder. These are the ones that cause you to have to peel yourself off of the ceiling. A few of the bolts were less than a half mile away, as the time between the flash and the boom was only a second or two. There were a few more bolts and booms this afternoon, but not much rain for us. The heavier rain fell to our west.

Tomorrow will very likely be a much quieter day, in terms of the decibel level and the amount of clouds and rain. It looks to me that the Spokane area will be mostly if not completely dry. There will probably be some thunderstorms that pop up over the more mountainous areas in the afternoon and evening. Temperatures should rise into the low to mid 80s.

If you have nothing better to do, and there really is nothing better that you can do, why not stop by St. John's Lutheran Church for our service at 9:30am. I'm going to be talking about retirement...not necessarily mine, but retirement in general. I think that just about everyone is going to be surprised by the direction that I am going in. We'll see about that!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Is Everybody Happy?

I just got back from playing tennis with the posse, and I must say that each and every one us must have had our shorts on correctly this morning. The play was spirited and, at times, quite impressive. Some of the guys who are normally "Happy" were even "Happier" than normal! The best things about it was nobody got hurt! Over the course of the month of August our tennis routine is going to be rather higgledy piggledy as we all go our separate ways for little R & R, and other such nonsense...I mean...the other 3 guys are all retired. What do they need R & R for?

We had a little rain earlier this morning, but things have dried up for now. There is the chance that a thunderstorm might pop up and drift through this evening, but for now it looks like it is time to pick the raspberries and mow the lawn...we have a bumper crop of berries and grass.

One final note on the tennis experience this morning. As I arrived I noticed a whitetail buck sporting an emerging 10 point rack, still looking rather velvety, grazing under a tree near the edge of the parking lot. He didn't seem to mind me being there, and it certainly wasn't bothering me for him to be present. After seeing a deer chewing on the grass above the outdoor court we were playing on Monday it got me thinking; if you gotta be a deer, this ain't a bad place to be one. There is plenty to eat...the people are friendly...and the traffic on the nearby roads and streets moves at a relatively slow speed...most of the time.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rain On Me!

Here it is, late on a Wednesday evening, and I am typing to the sound of raindrops falling on my...lilac bushes. The window above the sink is open and I can hear the drip...drip...drip...on the vegetation. Earlier this evening there were some pretty good thunderstorms to our south and west, but none of that made it to Spokane, just a little rain. Earlier today the heat was on again, after the cooler cloudier weather of yesterday. Today the official high was 91 degrees, and in the middle of the city it was in the middle 90s. The sunshine was abundant until late afternoon.

Today was the final day of the Gonzaga University basketball camp and tournament...the 3rd one of the summer, and the last one. Today was the BIGGEST day for the kids and coaches as they had a single elimination tournament...lose one and you go home...literally. That plus the fact that the kids and coaches have been doing this for 5 days, since Saturday, had everyone one edge. I officiated 3 games today, after 6 yesterday, and I don't know what caused me to lose the most weight, all the running up and down the court, or getting my butt constantly chewed by the participants. There is now a large cavern where my posterior cheeks were formerly located. wasn't that bad...only one coach crossed the line that divides acceptable whining and outright abuse. He got thrown out of not only the gym, but the entire event, so I don't think that I'll stress too much over his conniption.

Looking ahead to the rest of the week I will be back into the regular routine. That means tomorrow will be mostly sermon prep for Sunday, and getting the PowerPoint presentation ready for the service. I smell a stewardship sermon coming on, but please...don't tell any of the church members or no one will show up to hear it. As far as the weather goes for the next few days it is going to be back to the sunny and toasty stuff again. We may see some of these isolated showers and thunderstorms around the area later in the day Saturday into Sunday, but until then it looks dry with afternoon temperatures into the 90s.

One final note...regarding tennis...I sure hope that I won't have to deal with as much grumpiness on Friday morning as I did today. One of the members of my posse...and you know who you are...must have had his shorts on backwards. It better not happen again!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Let's Go For 100!

All throughout April, May and June we were all whining about how miserable the weather was. A steady steam of chilly, gray and wet days came our way. Now things have turned by 180 degrees. On Saturday we were around 90 (official high: 89). Yesterday it was the mid 90s, with the airport temperature topping off at 93 degrees. Today will be even hotter. Many parts of the Spokane metro area will hit the century mark, although I think the airport's official thermometer will come up a degree or two short. In light of the fact that the spring was so rotten I don't want to hear anyone complaining! This heat wave will continue into the middle of the week, with tomorrow being just like today, and then we will cool down just a bit by Thursday and Friday...back down closer to 90 rather than 100 degrees. In the transition we may get a little lightning and thunder Tuesday night and Wednesday, along with a few splots, splats, spits and sprinkles of rain.

Due to the heat of today my posse and I are going to be hitting the tennis court a bit earlier this morning, at 8 rather than 9:30am. That is probably a good least in terms of the short-term health of the group, and for me due to the fact that I have a couple of basketball games to officiate this afternoon. Gonzaga University is holding another high school boys basketball camp and tournament through Wednesday, so I will have a few games each day...not as many as the marathon of the tournament a month ago though. That is definitely a plus since it is going to be "stinkin" hot in that gym this afternoon.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Are You Feelin' Hot, Hot, Hot?

It was a toasty warm day today, and this just the start of things. Today we were near 90...tomorrow the low to mid 90s, and Monday the mid to upper 90s! Its about time that we got a little summer weather around here. I didn't have a lot to do today. Beth was home from her job at Lutherhaven, so instead of taking yesterday (Friday) off...which I usually do...I took today off. The fact that she didn't rise up out of bed until after 10am allowed me to get the yard mowed...which most likely caused her to rise up out of bed. The rest of the day consisted of a trip to WalMart...always an adventure, and then a couple of family games this afternoon. I won both of them. (YES!) On the way back to Lutherhaven this evening we stopped off at Outback Steakhouse for dinner. We had $60 dollars worth of gift cards to burn through. We did just that...burning through $60 worth of gift cards...on a rather forgettable meal. It wasn't bad, but it really wasn't all that good! The problem is that we do such a good job of cooking at home that often times a restaurant is a bit disappointing, unless of course it is a really good restaurant.

Tomorrow morning, Sunday, we will of course be off to church at an early hour. I am a bit nervous since I wasn't there today, so I am not feeling quite as prepared as I usually would. There should be enough time tomorrow before the service, but I am just feeling a little bit anxious. Tomorrow also features our monthly contemporary service in the evening. The festivities get underway at 6:00pm. I really think that it is going to be a good one, with good songs and a meaningful message, but I fear that no one is going to show up. We have a lot of folks who are out of town this weekend, and in general the congregation doesn't seem all that enthused about the idea of contemporary worship. We shall always, I hope that I am wrong. In reality, I am usually wrong so WHATEVER!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Oh Happy Day!

This evening we were invited to join our tennis groupies for a social hour of drinks and pupu. According to our host John a pupu is some sort of appetizer...most likely of Hawaiian origin. My simple request for a porterhouse steak went unheeded, so it was pupu for me! There is something that you need to know about John...he's the guy in the picture at the top right. Note the expression on his face. He is always Happy! For 80 years he has been Happy, and he will be Happy for the rest of his life. Doesn't he look Happy? You are always Happy when your last name is Happy. What a way to go through life...a Happy childhood, a Happy teenage life...a Happy marriage...a Happy retirement...and of course...Happy times whenever we all get together to play tennis. Thanks to the Happys, the Pettibones, the Sefraneks and the Clarks for making it such a nice evening...We'll see you all in court...or should I say...on the the morning!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Midweek Blues

Wednesday is just about in the books, and it was another day of bright beautiful blue skies. It was warm, but not all that hot. Today's high of 87 degrees was just a couple of degrees above average. Statistically we are now in the hottest part of the year. The normal high temperature from now through the first week of August will stand at 84 degrees, and then start to slowly receded again as we move through the second half of the season of summer. This is also the time when the hottest temperatures, the all-time records have been established. The hottest that it has ever been in Spokane is 108 degrees, which was recorded twice, July 26th of 1928 and August 4th in 1961. The longest period of daylight, and the highest midday sun angles occur in late June, with the summer solstice, but there is about a month lag time in terms of the highest average temperatures and the all-time record heat for most parts of the country.

True to form, the weather will be heating up this weekend. We will see sunny skies and temperatures reaching into the mid 80s tomorrow and Friday. Beginning Saturday we should be into the low 90s, and then the mid 90s Sunday and Monday. All of this will be under continued daytime sunshine, followed by clear and mild nights. So far this summer we have not had to turn on the air conditioner, and we hope to keep it that way for the rest of the season...we shall see!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Just Rollin' Along!

The weather isn't doing anything, it has been just plain beautiful. Our weekend was quiet, as just about the entire neighborhood was off camping or at THE lake, whatever lake that might be. We managed to get all of the aggregate sealer on the sidewalks, patio and porch Sunday...two coats...and for now it looks wet. How long that will last is anyone guess. I hope it lasts as long as it took to earn the $100 that the 5 gallon bucket cost!

My buddy Brady came home, with his family, from his weekend camping trip yesterday. He came over for a brief chat on the porch in the evening, but didn't stay long. I looked pretty pooped out from all of the fun from the weekend. Perhaps we will see more of him tonight. That might be difficult for me though as I have a School Board meeting at 6:00pm. There is a lot of stuff to take care of, and one item in particular could get a bit heated, so we shall see when I can get home. I hope and pray that everything falls into place and the meeting lasts only 4 and a half minutes...God still provides miracles!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Dead Quiet!

Man, its hard to come up with something to write about. The weather has been just about perfect for the past several days, today the high temperature was 84 under a bright sunny sky. The neighborhood is way too peaceful, as most everyone, including my buddy Brady, is off having fun at one of the area lakes. We've been enlisted to protect the area from ruffians and make sure that everyone's garbage cans get out to the street tomorrow night for our early Monday morning pick-up. Yes, ours is an important job, and we are faithfully out on the porch each evening fulfilling our duties!

This being Saturday night, that means that tomorrow morning is church. The subject of my sermon is my feet. I have amazing feet! They are most likely the ugliest feet on the planet, and perhaps many other planets. What's more, since my feet are soooo big, that makes this even that much bigger of an issue. The subject of tomorrow's message is the Gospel lesson, from Luke chapter 10, about Mary and Martha. If you want to know how I get from there to my ugly feet you will just have to show up! We get started at 9:30am.

Beth blew through for about a 24 hour visit. Actually it was 22 hours, 51 minutes and 16 seconds. She spent the past week in Yakima, better known as "Crack-ima", helping out at a church vacation Bible school. I picked her up, along with her friend Kristin at 8 on Friday evening, and we left to return to Camp Lutherhaven just before 7 this evening. Unlike the last time that Beth brought a friend home from camp there were no bouts of appendicitis, or emergency appendectomies. Everyone managed to remain reasonably healthy!

Tomorrow after church we are going to be applying aggregate sealer to our back patio, sidewalks and front porch. It basically amounts to paying 100 bucks for a 5 gallon bucket of goo the consistency of Karo Syrup, pouring it out on these over expensive concrete slabs, and rubbing it in with a paint roller. The end result is that makes the sidewalk and porch look like its wet. That all lasts for about 2 and a half weeks, before the sun burns it all up and you have to do the whole thing over again. It should be a very nice day to apply aggregate sealer, as it will be sunny and about 85 degrees. In fact, we are looking at a whole week of nice days to apply aggregate sealer. The forecast all the way through next weekend calls for sunny days with highs in the 80s.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Beautiful Day...As Expected

NICE! That's the best way to describe the day. We have enjoyed a beautiful blue sky, and temperatures, after starting off crisp and cool, have worked their way into the mid to upper 70s this afternoon. The official high out at the airport...once again, where nobody actually lives...has been 76 degrees so far. Tomorrow and Friday it is going to be heating up a bit, into the mid to upper 80s, and then drop back a few degrees on the weekend...just a few. We should see mostly sunny day and mostly clear nights. I don't see any impending heat waves through next week, so it should stay rather pleasant.

It has not been so nice in Wisconsin this evening. I just took a peek at the radar there and there is a pretty good "bow echo" showing up. That is where a line of thunderstorms bulges forward in the middle, which is a sign of very strong straight line winds. The strong winds in the center section of the line cause it to move faster than the ends, so the whole thing starts to bow, hence the term "bow echo." Typically the winds will gust to more than 60 miles per hour, and can reach 100 miles per hour in some spots.

Shortly I will be headed out onto the tennis court for a leisurely time of rallying with my lovely wife Kay. Earlier this morning I was out there (actually, I should have said in there, as we played inside) with my regular posse. My performance, while not stellar, was somewhat above the abysmal effort of Monday. We'll see what Friday morning brings. We'll be playing on a clay court, so if things don't go well I can kick some dirt in their eyes.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Blown Over!

The story of the day today was the wind. Spokane recorded a peak gust of 48 miles per hour, and I am sure that it was stronger in many other places other than the airport. There was a lot of dust and dirt in the air most of the day. That wind made for a rather interesting morning on the tennis court. We were outside...all of I can't use that as an excuse. To make a long story short, I STUNK! I couldn't do much of anything right. Actually... I played pretty well for someone who had never played tennis before...the problem is, I have been playing for 3 years.

The wind has died down now and the temperatures are cooling down. It actually feels quite refreshing. We are headed for the mid to upper 40s by morning, and the afternoon high tomorrow will only be in the low 70s. It should be a mainly sunny day with much less wind. On Wednesday we will be back up near 80 degrees, and into the mid 80s from Thursday through the weekend. The sun will be abundant so we are in for some nice weather.

For the sake of more punishment, I will be out on the tennis court again at 9 in the morning. This time I will only be getting my butt kicked by one guy...we are playing singles.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Brady the Builder!

It was about 5 this afternoon that the front door blew open and my buddy Brady blew in. I was in the midst of getting dinner started...starting the grill to make a "beer-butt chicken". If you don't know what that is just ask and I will let you in on the secret. It is some of the best chicken that you will ever eat! Anyway, since I was tied up igniting the grill, and Kay was face down in a stitchery project that she is starting, Brady headed up the stairs to see what toys he might find in the playroom. He brought down the Lego blocks and we spent the next three hours building houses, trucks and airplanes. That's the nice thing about beer-butt will sit on the grill very patiently and happily until you are ready to eat it.

You can probably tell from the picture that the weather was quite warm today. The official high at the airport, where absolutely nobody lives, was 91 degrees. In town it was in the middle 90s. There is a cold front that will swing through tomorrow morning, and that will drop the temperatures by about 10 degrees. It will also stir up a lot of wind by afternoon, which will stir up some dust, so it may not be all that pleasant for the second half of the day. The wind will die down some by Tuesday, and the temperatures will continue to cool...down to the mid 70s. From there it will be back into the 80s with sunny and dry weather for the rest of the week, so after tomorrow it will be quite nice.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Latah Market

This weekend marks the annual Latah (pronouced Lay-tah) Market that is held in the parking lot of the Trading Company supermarket about a half mile north of where our church is. Up until this year this even has been held in early June, and it has turned out to be cool windy and wet. Being that it is July that is not a problem. We usually don't get rain from about the fourth of July until late September. It was pretty toasty today, near 90 degrees, and the breeze only kicked up on a few occasions. Each year St. John's has a very large booth where we have a bake sale and give out information about our church and school. The baked goods are made and donated by the members of the church, and as per usual we had more than enough to feed the Russian army, the Polish army, the Bulgarian army, the Romanian army and the Rhode Island army (there aren't a whole lot of them, so they are pretty easy to feed!). Tomorrow is day two, so we will see if we can sell it all...the proceeds are going to fund our Vacation Bible School and the youth group.

For tomorrow morning's church service the theme is "The Parable of the Good Samaritan. That is what the sermon will be based on. I have a little different take on the whole thing, and I am going to take the opportunity to bag on lawyers. Actually, I am only going to bag on one particular lawyer. After church we are going to have a tutorial session on our new sprinkler system in the backyard, and then it will be off to the Latah Market again. The even wraps up at 4:00pm tomorrow, and then it will be back home to cook a "beer-butt chicken" and have a beer or two.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Summer Has Finally Set In!

After wondering if it would ever get here, summer has finally arrived. The official high temperature today we 92 degrees, but in the middle of the city it was about 95! I am a little bit crunchy tonight as I spent most of the day out in the sun and the heat, cleaning up from a sprinkler installation in the back yard. The trenches had to be filled and leveled, and few plants had to be moved. I went through 4 shirts today, mainly because at my age and girth there is now reason that anyone should ever have to see me with my shirt off!

Looking ahead to the weekend the warm and sunny weather will continue. It probably won't be quite as hot on Saturday and Sunday, but still warm enough to be called summer weather. We should be near 90 tomorrow, and in the upper 80s on Sunday. Things will cool down again as we head through next week, probably back down into the 70s by Tuesday and Wednesday. As is typical of July...there is no rain in sight.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Oh, By The Way, I'm Having a Hip Replaced Tomorrow

I am posting pictures of Monday evening's drum and bugle corps contest in Pasco. The Blue Knights, who won, are on the top, there is one shot of the Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets (who were quite good and won the lower class part of the show), and the Troopers are at the bottom. Still photos don't do it justice, since the corps are very seldom still.
A quick note on the weather today...the official high temperature was 84 degrees, above normal for the first time in 1,274,403 years, while it reached 88 degrees downtown. Tomorrow we will be in the low to mid 90s, and the mid to upper 90s on Friday...YES! The weekend won't be AS hot, but still nice and warm, so summer is finally here. Kay and I were driving home from the tennis club this evening, after a very unspirited practice session, Kay's brother John called to let her know that he had appointed Kay to make life decisions for him, and that tomorrow he was going in for hip replacement surgery. His doctor said that he had a pretty good hip for an 80 year old, but the problem is that he is only 47! We are expecting a call tomorrow to update us on his condition. Kay has already hinted that her inclination is to have the machines turned off. Oh the love of a sister and brother!
Note: I noticed today that I have 33 followers. I started this blog almost a year ago, and never dreamed that anyone would ever read it! Thank you for validating my inept life!

Summertime, and the Livin' Is Easy!

It finally appears to be summer...yeah...its about #&*$ time! Today the sky is a beautiful blue and the temperatures are in the middle 80s. We will be into the low 90s tomorrow and Friday, and then the upper 80s to near 90 degrees on the weekend...NICE!

On Sunday night I reported that we would be going to the drum and bugle corps competition in the Tri-Cities on Monday afternoon and evening. We left Spokane at 3:00pm in the midst of quite a little thunderstorm, heavy rain and lots of wind. That dropped the temperature to 57 degrees. Two hours later we were in Pasco, just out front of the Edgar E. Brown Memorial Stadium, where it was a lovely 82 degrees with sunshine and gentle breeze. The Tri-Cities are always about 8 to 10 degrees warmer than Spokane due to their much lower elevation. We packed a picnic for a tailgate before the contest, and it all turned out to be very nice. There were 6 corps in the competition, in order of appearance: The Spokane Thunder, The Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets, The Oregon Crusaders, The Seattle Cascades, the Troopers and the Blue Knights of Denver. The Blue Knights were very good (very large but not as loud as you would think). They won the contest with a 79.9, the Troopers were second with 72.6. It was great to see them again, but I really wanted them to do at least one thing that was "Trooper" from yesteryear...oh well. The Cascades as usual took so much stuff out on the field with them it resembled a junkyard, and they amplified there pit so much that you couldn't hear much else. They ended up with a 65 or 66 If memory serves me correctly. We got back to Spokane at about 11:30, and the temperature was warmer than when we left.

Yesterday and today have been work days, if you want to call what I do work! I did play a little tennis both yesterday morning and this morning, just to make sure that my feet keep hurting. Kay and I will be back out on the court this evening for a little light hearted practice. I need to work on serves, as Revolutionary War cannon balls were more accurate than my serves have been lately.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

4th of July

As Independence Days go...this one was not the norm. It turned out rather cool and cloudy, although it was at least dry. In Spokane weather history there has never been a 4th of July where the temperature has reached 100 degrees, and this one fell 29 degrees short as the afternoon high reached a balmy 71. What started out to be a sunny morning quickly turned cloudy, and it stayed that way until evening. Since Kay and I moved to Spokane 10 years ago we have gone down to Riverfront Park to watch the fireworks every year except one. Well, make that 2 since we stayed home to grill a steak and watch the fireworks from NY City on TV. All things considered, I do believe that we made a wise choice. The steak was delicious and the weather has turned quite windy and chilly this evening.

Earlier today we had a good turnout at church, considering that this is a long holiday weekend. The service was well received by those who were there, and even though the sermon was a little longer than it needed to be no one least not to my face. The afternoon was highlighted by a short nap...SWEET...and then Kay and I went out to the driveway to wash and detail the "Family Truckster". I'll have to post pictures soon.

The day has wound down to almost its close, but tomorrow is going to be something to look forward to. In the afternoon we are driving down to the Tri-Cities, about 2 hours southwest of Spokane, to take in a drum and bugle corps competition. Long long a place far, far way...I did 9 years of drum and bugle corps from the age of 13 to 21. If you are not familiar with it, drum corp is like marching band on steroids! If you have ever seen a competition you will be a fan for life. If you have never seen it you just won't understand. Anyway...we are looking forward to a very nice and exciting trip to Pasco tomorrow afternoon.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Marmot Mania!

Today as I was heating up my lunch (leftovers) in the microwave at the church I noticed this guy, one of our local marmot herd, sunning himself on the ladder that is leaning against the fence behind the kitchen. It lives there...the ladder that is...since the heating and air conditioning units for the church are up on the roof above the kitchen and can only be accessed by climbing. Mr. or Mrs Marmot must find the aluminium ladder to be a little warmer spot to take a siesta than the cool ground. You may notice from the picture that there isn't all that much sun. Today the sun has been playing tag with the clouds, shining about 50% of the time. It has been a cool day, we will only end up around 70 degrees this afternoon, and tomorrow should be better with sunny skies and middle 70s. Summer weather will be setting in next week with temperatures climbing through the 80s to near 90 degrees by the end of the week, and dry sunny weather throughout.
Tomorrow is Independence Day, the 4th of July. Stop by the church, St. John's Lutheran on US 195 in south Spokane, for our service at 9:30am. We will be mixing in some 4th of July themes, and some good ol' fashioned fire and brimstone preaching! We'll save a seat for you!!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lets Talk About the Weather

It appears as if we are going to be getting a little rain over the next 24 hours or so. It has been kind of a cloudy day today, although the sun has been shining through the thin spots in the overcast. It has been pleasantly cool too, reaching into the low 70s this afternoon. Later this evening some showers will be spreading over the area from the west, and scattered showers and a few isolated thunderstorms will be popping up tomorrow. The best chance for the lightning and thunder will be over the mountain areas. It will be cooler tomorrow with high temperatures only in the mid to upper 60s.

The weekend...the 4th of July holiday looking much better. On Saturday and Sunday we will be getting back to mostly sunny skies, and temperatures will be climbing back into the mid to upper 70s. We should be in the low to mid 80s on Monday and Tuesday, and by the middle of next week we could be flirting with, among other things, the low 90s. Maybe we will have a summer this year?