Friday, September 28, 2012

Peer Pressure

Due to the constraints of time...I have to work for a living...I had suspended my blogging career.  The rigors of more than full-time employment, extended post-graduate education and my burgeoning tennis career just got to be too much to maintain a reasonable quota of blog posts.  Alas, due to the outcry of my fans...people who have no life of their own and have to rely on me to give them something to talk about...I am compelled to pick up the ball again and run with it.

Where shall I begin?  It's been a long time since mid July.  I guess I'll start with the family situation.  My Dad has recovered (somewhat) from his broken kneecap, but has still not been able to come home from the rehab (nursing) home.  This past week he has been hospitalized and it has been determined that he has prostate cancer.  No prostate cancer, so I'm told, is not that big a deal unless you yourself are a prostate gland.  He'll be treated with medication and life will continue on.  Over the next few weeks the saga will continue as my Mom tries to get him to come home.  I'll be going there to help again in a couple of weeks.

What really prompted this post is the tennis posse, and today's events.  The regular gang was together again...actually some of them might be a little irregular, at least that would account for their demeanor...John, Bill, Mark and I.  I got off to a good start teamed with Bill as we won 6 to 4.  It wasn't really that close.  The second set found John and I on the same side of the net, staring down Bill and Mark.  What resulted is what is called a "bagelling".  That's when the opponent comes up totally all aspects of the game...and loses 6-0.  That happens rather infrequently.  If it did happen more often I guess there would be more posts in this space.  The final set was cut short due to time constraints, with Mark and I in control at 4-1.  The posse will have to get along without me for a little more than a week as I will be off to Fort Wayne, Indiana on Sunday afternoon for my final week long segment of seminary training.  I am beginning my last year in the program.

There is a lot that is happening at the church, St. John's Lutheran, I suggest that you come down this Sunday morning at 10:00am for an update.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Old Folks At Home

I am spending the week in La Crosse, WI visiting my folks...been here since Sunday evening. Three weeks ago my 86 year old dad took a fall in the garage. His foot slid under the door of their van and his knee hit the underside of the frame, breaking the kneecap. He had surgery to repair it two weeks ago and is no in recovery and rehab at the Hillview Care Center, basically a nursing home. My dad had some serious mobility issues before the fall, and I would put the odds that he is able to walk again (with the aid of a walker) at 25% or less. He's losing strength and balance just sitting in a chair or lying in bed all day and night. he does go to physical therapy twice a day but I don't think that it's enough to build any strength. While Im here I am helping them to be more comfortable and happy with the current situation (he's going to be here at least another month) and will be trying to ready them for what's to come. Today there is going to be a conference with his care team so I hope that there will be a little more light shed on dad's current state and what is ahead. It has been hot here...100 degrees both Monday and Tuesday...and pretty humid too. I'm loving it! Last night there was a little lightning in the air to spice things up a bit. I'm hoping for storms this evening. I'll get some pictures and try to past them later.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Deer Hunter

Earlier I was lamenting the inactivity that has been characteristic of our cul-de-sac.  Well, I was out there again this evening, at the end of a beautiful day (more on that below), and the activity picked up considerably.

Just about sunset a young deer found her way into the neighborhood and was having a very difficult time finding her way out.  That provided about as much excitement as I could handle.

I mentioned the beauty of the day, and to add to that I can say "It's about *#$& time!  The official high at the airport today was 98 degrees, and since the airport is about the chilliest spot in the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene metro area most spots were no doubt up to 100.  Yes!!!  Things are looking just about as nice again tomorrow.  No if we could just have this kind of weather for 9 months out of the year, and the other 3 we would cool back to the 70s and 80s we'd be onto something great.  So much for pipe dreams!

Not A Creature is Stirring

Last evening, our first real nice warm evening of the summer season (I know, I know, some of you think that it was hot), we were parked on the porch to enjoy the world around us.  We sat out there for a couple of hours and the following is a list of all that happened.


That pretty well sums it up.  Not one person emerged other than from their house to garage to automobile to points unknown.  The only excitement was watching Junior the cat, across the street, wander out of from underneath the garage door and collapse in slumber on the driveway.  Seeing that the weather today will be even better...a handful of degrees warmer...I am sure that we will be out there again this afternoon waiting for more excitement.  I want to thank all of the people of the eastern 2/3s of the nation for finally sharing some of their heat with us.

Speaking of excitement, today we have our St. John's Church Picnic after our worship service.  Things will be getting underway picnic-wise at about 11:00am (worship is at 9:30).  There will be brats, burgers and dogs with all the trimmings, and whatever other wonders that the folks in the congregation pack in with them this morning.  Pot-Luck is always an a good way.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

St John Picnic Lunch

If you know me at all the title of this post seems to be something to yawn at. I spend at least 6 days a week at St. John's...Lutheran Church that what would be the big deal of having a picnic lunch there? Actually, the thought of it is kind of pathetic since today is a holiday and I was supposed to be taking the day off. That is just what I did. After an early (well, not that early) morning tennis romp...I played pretty well...I came home and my bride said, "Why don't we take a drive?" I suggested that we take picnic lunch to enjoy somewhere along the way, so the cooler was packed and off we went. The idea was to head south and west, to places that we never had been before. We turned off Hwy 195 a little before Spangle and wound our way across the northern Palouse. We hit Mauldin and Fall City, then St John. That's where lunch broke out. St John is a pretty little town with a little city park right in the middle. From there we headed farther south to Endicott, then over to Winona and Benge, finally heading back north toward Ritzville. A turn to the right had us headed for Lamont, which could only be accessed by about a 10 mile stretch of gravel road. What an adventure! We hit home a little after 4:00pm, and now it's just about time for a cocktail and the ignition of the Coleman Campfire Tripod Grill. Butterflied chicken with southwestern beans and salad is on the menu this evening.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Street People

This evening St. John's Lutheran Church, my congregation, had our second outing of the "summer" season as we ventured into some of the local neighborhoods.  We sent out 4 teams of 2 between 6:00 and 8:00pm.  I told each team to cease and desist by 8:00pm because after that point the little kids are heading to bed and let's face it, it's kind of creepy when a stranger rings your doorbell after 8:00pm.  So far we have visited about 350 homes and it seems to me to be about half and half the homes there is someone there to talk to and the other half there is nobody home.  In my experience this evening I was a big hit with the neighborhood dogs.  I was licked so much I may not have to bathe for a week.

This brings me to a close of another very busy week.  The Seminary class that I am currently enrolled in, "The Epistles of Paul" features about 4 hours of lectures this week and an even greater amount of reading.  The text that we are primarily using now has about the teeniest tiniest print that I have ever seen, and weighs in at over 600 pages...ouch!  We also had a funeral on Wednesday late in the morning.  We said good-bye to a long time member and friend who died at the age of 80.  In light of all of the people that have passed onto eternal glory in the past two months, that are connected to St. John's, if you are looking to get to heaven in a hurry you might want to start hanging around with me.

In the midst of all of this I am still able to find time to stroll out onto the tennis court.  Today was one of those interesting experiences in which you find that you have played fairly well but the results done end up in your favor.  I guess I'll just blame it on bad lighting.

HoopFest is the main event here in Spokane this weekend.  Unlike years past I will not be officially involved.  I had been a court monitor in charge of keeping early high school (incoming freshmen) boys from using guns during the games, and after for that matter.  This year I will be on the sidelines as a spectator, feeling empathy for all of the folks who are out there as court monitors and marshals trying to keep the peace.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Drying Out

I'm back from Portland. The weather there is pretty crummmy (54 degrees and steady rain when I left at noon) and pretty nice here. The Coleman Campfire Grill is about to catch fire. I had to make a speech before the convention this morning, and the issue that I was supporting passed. I must carry a lot of wieght...well, I guess that's rather obvious from the appearance of things.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Rip City

Well, here I sit early on a Friday morning just outside the Starbucks next to the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. I am actually here for a convention so that makes a bit of sense. The Friday morning session starts in about 45 minutes so I have a bit of time to kill. I wouldn't have gotten up so early but my bunkmate had to rise at 6:00am to make a flight back to Spokane. I think that he had quite a convention experience in that due to personal flight delays he didn't make it until last evening to enjoy the experience of a full hour and a half of the activities. The gathering here is the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synods Northwest District convention. It happens only once every three years. If the frequency were do increase it's likely that more pastors and lay delegates might die of boredom. There have been some interesting aspects since the gavel dropped yesterday...but the tedium is just beginning. We all get paroled tomorrow at noon. Man, the sacrifices that must be made to serve! I am missing my regular Friday morning session with the tennis posse, and with the weather yesterday in Spokane it would have been an evening gathered with my honey around the Coleman Campfire Grill. As it was dinner happened at the Burgerville, which is kind of a Portland tradition. The weather here yesterday was great, while today has dawned gray. Rain is headed in this direction. Some of the rain is headed your way least if you are reading this in the Spokane area.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Was I a Little Too Harsh?

Since yesterday's post I have been wondering if I was a little too hard on a couple of the members of my posse. No...not really! Today was a big day for the members of St. John's Lutheran Church, at least a few. A total of 9 of us hit the streets to knock on the doors and ring the doorbells in the neighborhoods around the church in order to meet and greet those who live in the area. We handed out information about the church and directed people to our website; to learn even more about us. We hit about 200 homes and were generally cordially received. It turned out to be a lot of fun. I only ran into one cranky dude that didn't want me on his doorstep. It's amazing how many folks remember me from my TV days, and even more amazing how many think I still am on the air. It's been over 3 years since my farewell broadcast. Oh, by the way, if you are wondering why there are no paragraph breaks in some of my posts it's because when I blog from the Ipad they just don't seem to want to show up.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Dynamic Deerwood Duo?

I know that I shouldn't be writing so much about my tennis posse, but they make such good fodder! Today two members of the group...who just so happen to live on the same street (Deerwood Lane, or Court, or Drive, or some such thing) in the geezer colony known as Rockwood...arrived at the racquet club incensed at the posting that I had made in this space on Wednesday, after they had experienced a beatdown. They claimed that today would be the day that their combined forces would put a whoopin' on me and and an innocent bystander (Bill). Since I played last evening and was a little on the tired side I figured, oh let the old men have their way so I don't have to listen to them whine. These two malcontents are named John (the Happiest man that I have ever met) and Mark. Sometimes they refer to themselves as the Deerwood Dragons. Not much fire comin' out of those nostrils! Once we hit the court it quickly became obvious that this would NOT be their day as they succumbed to Bill and I to the tune of 6-2. From there I won't bore you with the details of the rest of the morning, just that as we all left John was still the Happiest man that I have ever met, but the margin over others was quite a bit thinner! From there it was time to come home and do the yard work. I trimmed and mowed the yard and cleaned out all of the pine needles that had collected in the gutters and downspouts in the storms that we had on Tuesday night and Wednesday. It was a beautiful day and the sun did wonders for my tan. Now it's time to fire up the Coleman Campfire Grill for an evening of outdoor enjoyment and a dinner of grilled turkey, yams and corn on the cob.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Our week with Brady has come to an end.  The sadness associated with that fact is overwhelming!  Fortunately...we have pictures

Once again the cul-du-sac was all over the place.  Even the varmints came out to play
Large aircraft are still the order of the day!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Might I Be Dead?

Could this be heaven?  I mean how could things be better?  We've had thunderstorms two days in a row now!  Real thunderstorms, not just the wimpy kind that produce three or four flashes of lightning and a rumble or two of thunder.  These guys have packed some real rain and some pretty nice booms.  That plus the fact that today's came in the afternoon when I could glue my face to the window gave a touch of Florida to the day.  Ahh...Florida.  Actually, it's been a pretty good day all around today, at least so far.  I'm back to being able to join my posse for tennis again on Wednesday mornings, and things were sort of rolling my way.  In the first set I was teamed with Wild Bill Safranek, against Mark and John (the Happiest man that I have ever met).  Mark and John had concocted some sort of deal with the devil and were sure that they would come out victorious.  You gotta be careful when you deal with ol' Satan since he's been a liar and murderer from the beginning (you'll find that in John 8:44).  I guess the devil double-crossed them as Bill and I breezed to a 6-3 victory.  In the second set it was Mark and I (the youngsters) who went up against the much crustier pair of Bill and John.  Us kids made an incredible comeback from a 4-1 deficit to prevail in a tie-breaker.  In he final tie breaker (which was all we had time for) I added to John's Happiness as the two of us came out on top.  In the end I was not only big today, but also the "big winner".

For the first two days of the week...that would be Monday and Tuesday...we hosted my little buddy Brady during the day.  Kay was doing most of the hosting but I pitched in when I could.  Monday morning we did a little snake hunting and were somewhat successful putting to death a couple of hoses and an old tire.  Brady and I put in a little time on the tennis court too, where he beat me in straight sets.  We alter the rules a little bit but the game is basically the same.  We each carry a racquet and have to hit a tennis ball, but beyond that you might be hard pressed to figure out the details of the game.  Brady gets it, so that's all that matters.

We found out yesterday that one of our neighbors was burglarized late Monday night.  Someone got into their garage and took a few things, but there was no major loss and no damage to anything.  In response to that what did I do?  Well, I left our garage door open all night...forgot to close it when we came in during the evening.  As proof that we have absolutely nothing that anyone would want nothing was missing or disturbed.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Winning Ways!

Perhaps you noticed...earlier this morning...that the forecast for today from the National Weather Service featured mostly sunny skies. Some of that sunshine came dripping down on us this afternoon as we played softball...and even more of it has come pouring down just a short time ago. I'm sure glad I don't have the Coleman Campfire Grill going in the backyard. The steaks would be pretty soggy. Did I mention our softball adventures of the afternoon? Of course I did. That's why I have chosen to communicate with you this evening. Our team...the St. John's Geriatrics...hit the field to play two today. Because of all of the goings on at church this morning, which leaked into the afternoon, I was not able to attend the least not until the game had gotten away from us to the tune of about 28 to 5. I did make it in time for the nightcap (2:15pm) and took my place as the interim manager. There was one problem though. A shortage of male players caused me to have to insert myself in the lineup. I was stationed at first base, batting in the number 8 spot. In spite of my best efforts, we managed to stay competitive and eeked out a 12 to 11 victory. I can truthfully say that I had no fielding gaffes (even an assist on a throw to third base catching a runner trying to stretch a double into a triple) and at the dish I was 1 for 2 with a run scored. Watching me run the bases had to be a real treat. This Sunday evening I have a lot to look forward to. Tomorrow morning my little buddy Brady is going to be coming over for a visit. He's going to be spending a little time with us as he is now finished with school for the year, but dad still has another week to go. I have another doubleheader to start things off in the morning, playing tennis with one group of guys (I don't really want to say geezers) at 8:00am and with my regular geezers at 11:00. In between, from 9:30 to 11:00 I'll be entertaining Brady as Kay plays during that time period. I'll have to pack my sword in the tennis bag so that we can prowl the grounds of the tennis club hunting snakes...and whatever unwitting varmints that might happen to cross our path.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

All's Well That Ends Well

Apparently...the pot of gold is in our house!  This was the view as I drove in from my evening of Men's League tennis...which didn't go so well.  It wasn't a disaster, but it wasn't good.

Another thing that has taken place in the past few weeks was our discovery of the Mezzo Pazzo wine bar on 57th Avenue at Regal.  Mezzo Pazzoi is Italian for "half crazy", which is what the owners think of their idea to open a wine bar in a strip mall.  It is a wonderful place to kick back with a nice glass of wine and half some really good appetizers.  We highly recommend it!

One final note for the car is now fixed!  Was it broken you ask?  Well, yes.  A couple of weeks ago I got piled into in the Fred Meyer parking lot.  Totally not my fault!  The person at fault has paid to replace my bumper, which wasn't in great shape to start with (a 10 year old car) so my ride is looking stylish once again.

That's all you get tonight!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ready To Sell

Earlier in the week I took advantage of a brief window of good weather...very get the yard looking all spiffy for the impending summer.  I certainly hope there is an impending summer out there somewhere!  I have finally got all of the weeds pulled and thanks to a sale on bark chips at the local Ace Hardware the planting beds have a fresh clean look to them.  Out back the garden is looking good and I'm sure that things will be growing like gang busters once the ice melts off again.  It sure felt cold enough to snow today...40 degrees and a steady rain to start things off this morning and it never got much above 50 this afternoon.

There's been a lot going on in the past couple of weeks.  On Memorial Day weekend Kay and I made a trip over to Seattle for a couple of days.  We took off right after church on the Sunday of that weekend and stayed until Tuesday afternoon.  We had a blast.  We did bring back a souvenir...about a 15 pound chunk of halibut.  We got it at the City Fish Market in Pike Place, they had the best price.  We also found out that they now sell fresh fish at the Spokane Downtown Market on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  While in Seattle we did a lot of walking, which resulted in both of us buying new shoes.  We didn't actually wear ours out, but we did walk to Nordstrom Rack to make our purchases.  I got a new pair of tennis shoes...yes...for tennis, which I had a mind to return until earlier today.  More on that below.

Since we've returned it has turned out that being around me is not good for one's health and life expectancy.  There have been 4 deaths related to people from, or formerly from, St. John's Lutheran Church in the past couple of weeks.  I had a funeral this past Saturday and I will be attending...not officiating at...another on Friday and again next Thursday.  None of the deaths were truly unexpected, but then again when is death really unexpected?  The death rate in this world is still one per customer.

Other than our numbers decreasing rapidly everything at the church has been going pretty well.  We plan on hitting the neighborhood streets this Saturday to introduce ourselves to those who live around us and to hand out information on what our congregation has to offer.  The way things look right now it will probably snow on Saturday.

While we were in Seattle my tennis posse-mate Bill was out on a backpacking trip to the Olympic Peninsula.  Now keep in mind that Bill is 83 years old!  Obviously he has no idea of his advanced age.  Upon his return, and mine from Seattle, he went on an unprecedented winning streak.  Between last Wednesday and today he and whomever he was partnered with had not lost a set.  During that span I had only been partnered with him once, in a tie breaker as we were running out of time last Friday.  Other than coming out victorious in that endeavor I had been on the losing end of everything during the same stretch.  Now today, as Bill was the last of the posse to arrive, we conspired to put an end to his streak.  The plan was for me to be partnered with him from the getgo...which would surely result in a crushing defeat for our octogenarian outdoors-man.  Things went right according to plan early, as Bill and I quickly lost the first two games.  From there things went horribly wrong!  We reeled off wins in six straight games to claim the first set 6-2.  So much for a good plan.  In the second set I was paired with my good friend John...also on the downhill side of 80 and the Happiest man that I have ever met.  Once again we quickly puked up two games and trailed 0-2...mostly due to my ineptitude.  From there we made our move and ended up winning 6-4.  That was the end of Bill's winning streak.  I hope that he wasn't driving any heavy machinery today!  As time wound down Mark and I took a 2-0 decision from Bill and John making for a clean sweep.

Well that's all I have time for tonight...I'll probably have another update in about a month or so.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Winners and Whiners

Finally, after more than a week away (more on that below) and another week of trying to recover from all of the work that didn't get done during the more than a week away I have gotten to the point where I have a moment to spare.  That's all I read this very quickly!

I first want to bring you up to date on what has been going on in court around here...the tennis court.  I returned to the regular posse a week ago today, the results of which I can't for the life of me remember, and was there again this past Monday morning.  Actually I played a doubleheader on Monday, once again meeting with the really really old geezers at 8:00am and then the regular really old geezers at 9:30.  I do remember the happenings on Monday.  In my matches with the regular posse...John (the Happiest man I have ever met), Bill and Mark I found myself paired with John from the get-go.  We proceeded to put a butt whoopin on the others to the tune of a 6-0 shutout.  These types of things just don't happen very often, especially with me on the winning side.  From there my blood sugar levels, muscle tone and bowel control turned for the worse as fatigue, dehydration and a slight case of the rickets began to set in.  The bottom line is that I failed to come out on the winning side in either of the next two sets.  Consequently, John...the Happiest man that I know...was the big winner of the day.  I was again the biggest of the day, but he was the overall winner.  Now mind you, I don't play with the group on Wednesdays, as some of us have to work for a living, so I returned to action again this morning.  I was the first to arrive at the club as my lovely bride Kay could not answer the call for her group today as she was on the brink of death with a cold.  Shortly after the rest of the posse made its appearance.  I, of course, cordially greeted all, while John, who for whatever reason was not acting like the Happiest man I know, lit into me about not having reported in this space an account of the great tennis prowess that he had displayed in Monday, and as I am told, repeated Wednesday morning (in my absence).  seeing an 82 year old whimpering and whining so was almost more than I could stomach...and I have come to acquire quite a big stomach.  As the clock struck 9:30am we headed out onto the court to do battle.  Now I had informed them all that I had played well the previous night (Thursday) so I could very likely be expected to go in the tank this morning.  Competition began with Mark and I pitted against the whiner...I mean John...and Bill.  Keep in mind the whiner, 'er John, was on a hot streak.  Well Mark and I put an end to that in a hurry with a 6-2 win.  I vaguely remember some whining about line calls, but I don't remember from whom it came.  Anyway...end of a win streak.  In our second set of the morning I had the great pleasure of being teamed with the Happiest man on earth...John.  We lost the first two games then steamrolled our worthy opponents in the next 6!  Sweet...a 6-2 win again for yours truly, and the now Happier guy.  Then came set three...Bill and I were up against John and Mark.  Quickly we found ourselves down 2-0, then 3-1, but we battled back to tie at 4-4.  Time was running short so we were forced into a tie-breaker to make a final determination as to who would reign supreme.  As luck would have had to be luck...Bill and I quickly fell behind, but rallied for a 7-5 victory.  There, I was not only big, but the big winner of the day.  The moral of this story?  Winners never whine, and whiners never win!"

Now then, lets go back some more ancient history.  After my previous post Kay and I headed for Minnesota and Wisconsin in order to gain some culture.  We took in our daughter Beth's vocal which she performed magnificently.  We also attended a musical...Pippin...visited with my folks for a day, saw all of my brothers, headed to Milwaukee to take in Kay's brother John's choir concert, headed back to the Twin Cities and got to sit in on a concert of Beth's which she directed one of the pieces.  We flew from Spokane to the Cities and back, but still put more than a thousand miles on the rental vehicle.  Upon our return we discovered that my car didn't work.  It turns out that the battery needed replacing.  That's one of the few car repairs that I can handle myself.

Besides all that I have been somewhat overwhelmed with all things church and school.  We are coming to the end of the quarter in my latest seminary class, and I have a movie review and book report due in the next week, along with the final exam.  In telling you this I am not whining mind you...just making excuses for my lack of diligence in posting in this space.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Take Me Out To The Ballgame!

Can you hear it?  Listen closely!  That crunching sound is coming from the skin on my arms, legs, forehead and nose crackling and blistering due to over exposure to the hot sun of Spokane.  Actually, that might be a bit of an overstatement, but for the first time in about 7 or 8 years I now have a little bit of color.  The weather today was sunny and the temperature, for the first time it seems since the last ice age, reached 80 degrees.  Taking advantage of the situation our church softball team...the St. John's Lutheran Geriatrics...took to the field for a doubleheader.

Since our team manager was dispatched by our government this week to the fly the friendly skies over Afghanistan I found myself in the position of the interim coach.  That's a really good thing in that I now make out the lineups, so it is very easy for me to make sure that I don't have to play.  I just stand there and tell everybody what to do, which is the job that my wife Kay has had for about the past 30 years.  I kind of like it!  Our first game began at 1:30pm.  Game-time temperature was 76.934572 degrees.  We were pitted against Pilgrim Lutheran Church, new to the League this season, whom we had beaten in the season opening tournament a week ago.  Due to my incredible direction we found ourselves in the lead by 8 after the first inning, and by 17 (17-0) at the end of two.  In the top of the 3rd we gave up a run, crud! and then only managed 3 in the bottom half of the frame.  Holding our worthy opponents scoreless in the top of the 4th the game was called in accordance to the rules at 20 to 1 after three and a half innings.  I found myself undefeated as the manager of the team.

Due to the short duration of our first game I had ample time to compose the proper line-up for game two, in which we were to take on another first year team in the League...Redeemer Lutheran of Spokane Valley.  This was going to be a much bigger challenge as Redeemer has somewhere near a million members from which to build a team.  When they took the field they looked like giants!  After an inning we found ourselves down by three runs, and it was the negative side after two.  That was about the time that my managerial expertise kicked in once again.  It had to be that I put three players in the game that were 13 years of age or younger that inspired our team and totally confused our worthy opponents.  In the third and fourth innings we came up with 9 runs to take a 9-7 lead.  Redeemer got a couple of runs in the top of the fifth, but then we hung 6 more on them before the time limit on the game ran out to win 15-9.  Now my managerial record stands at 2-0.  That's where things are in the regular season, and for the year the St. John's Geriatrics now stand at 4 wins and just one loss...a .800 winning percentage!  Due to the success of our somewhat younger players...those we still have several years ahead of them before they'll have to shave...we may have to consider changing the team name.  Following our success on the field it was time for a little fellowship over hot wings and beer at the Swinging Doors bar and grill on the city's north side.  If you go there make sure that you have Roxanne wait on you.  She does a great job!  Leave her a nice healthy tip.

Upon returning home from our triumphant conquest it was time to hit the porch for the first time this spring...hopefully there will be many more occasions to come.  Now it's time to head for the pillow to prepare for another doubleheader.  This one involves a tennis racquet.  At 8:00am I will be playing against my really really old group, and then at 9:30 I will hit the court with the really old group, my regular posse.  I should have an advantage as they'll likely be blinded by my bright red glow!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Well It's About &%#$ Time!

It was last Tuesday afternoon...almost a week ago...that I bugged out of work early (if you can honestly call what I do work?) to power rake the lawn and get the fertilizer down with the per-emergent weed killer.  It was a decent day, about 65 with a little bit of sun and the "Feds" were predicting rain for later that night into Wednesday.  That would be perfect!  Get the Weed n' Feed down and then have it naturally watered in a bit.  I got MY work done quickly and efficiently, but the weather has been holding out on its end of the bargain, at least until today.  Finally, after almost a week, the rain started to fall this morning.  Out at the airport we officially got two tenths of an inch in the rain bucket...but my lawn is not at the airport.  Actually I got just about the same here on the "Snobby South Hill", an unofficial .21"  The front yard is already looking greener.

With the Easter holiday in the rear-view mirror yesterday meant the opening tournament of the Spokane Lutheran Softball Association.  At least this year it didn't snow...last year we weren't so lucky.  It was a chilly 55 degrees or so with just enough wind to make it feel like 40, and a couple of sprinkles from time to time.  This is the second year in the league for the St. John's "Geriatrics" and we came into the season expecting BIG things.  We do have a bigger team this year, about 20 people if we all show up.  In our inaugural season a year ago we won all of two games the entire year.  Are fans on the other hand, went undefeated.  We have great fans.  Our first game began at 12:45, so it meant that we all had to hustle from church to the ballpark on the city's northwest side.  If you don't come to church you don't play you know!  That first tilt pitted us against Pilgrim Lutheran, and this is their inaugural year in the league.  We managed 22 runs, to their 10, so we were undefeated after one game.  Immediately after we took on Beautiful Savior Lutheran of the "Snobby South Hill".  In a pitcher's duel we came out on top 7-4.  SWEET!  We're 2-0.  Then came a break, and I believe 5 pizzas.  After scarfing down all of that cheesy saucy goodness we hit the field and got smoked something like 193-6.  Well, maybe it might not have been that bad.  We weren't sure what church that the other team was from, and they didn't know either, but considering this is a coed league I am sure that their entire choir sings bass.  The bottom line is that we have now won twice as many games as we have lost, and our winning percentage is a robust .667!  After our final effort of the day it was off to the Swinging Doors Saloon to toast our incredible prowess.

This morning, as I mentioned, the rains finally came.  Fortunately our tennis extravaganza was set to played indoors.  I had a doubleheader scheduled.  At 8:00am I was asked to fill in with the really really old guys.  Most of them saw Jesus when He came out of the tomb.  I was pretty successful there.  At 9:30 it was time to meet up with the regular posse...the really old guys...John, Bill and Mark.  They always present more of a challenge.  In an hour and a half we didn't even make it through two sets.  That was mostly do to one of the members of the group...who shall remain unnamed but generally Happy...constantly complaining about the unsportsmanlike nature of my shots.

It's now evening and the meatloaf and mac-and-cheese is in the oven.  I think I'll make a salad to go with it to insure that we have a healthy meal.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Back In Business!

Okay...I'll admit it!  I have spent a lot of time and effort belly aching about the weather.  The reality is that up to now the spring has just plain stunk!  Up to now.  Today was totally different.  While the official temperature at the airport (who lives at the airport?) didn't reach 70 degrees...the thermometer in my car read the low 70s, and the electronic signs around our part of town registered the middle 70s.  It was just enough for us to deploy the Coleman Campfire Grill in order to produce the ultimate in supper experience.

We threw a pork shoulder roast out there for about an hour and a half, and the results were spectacular!  Since the wood pile was still a little damp...from its long winter nap...there was a bit of a challenge involved in getting the fire going, but in the end we were successful.  I have to give credit where credit is due.  Kay was the master fire builder of the evening.

In light of the favorable weather, I knocked off early from work (if that's what you call what I do) in order that I might come home and do some yard work.  I power raked the lawn, and then went to the hardware store to buy a reasonably sized bag of weed and feed for the grass.  After re-purposing the lawn mower to pick up all of the thatch I spread the fertilizer over the acreage and called it day.  At that point the beer began to flow and the grill was lit.  The grill is now out but the beer is still flowing!

Now that Easter has passed, and Lent is in the rear-view mirror, life should be getting a little bit more peaceful...the weeks should be a little more manageable!  we'll see how that works out.  There always seems to be more to do than there are hours in the day.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Trying To Keep A Positive Attitude

After my post of a week ago, I promised myself that I would not post again until I didn't have to complain about the weather anymore.  Well, It's been 7 days and the weather still stinks...but it's finally going to get better.  I can report some good news though, it didn't snow today, at least not that I saw.  Let me recount the last week.  Saturday it rained.  Sunday it snowed.  On Monday things weren't too bad.  Tuesday it snowed...about 2 inches.  Wednesday it snowed.  Thursday it snowed.  I already mentioned today.  Tomorrow and Sunday are going to be sunnier and least that's what the Feds say.  On Easter we might even see 60 degrees.  WooHoo!!!

It is Holy Week, and that means that there are a lot of things happening around the church.  Those of you who really need to show up for worship have again failed to do so...and you know who you are!  We had a nice service on Holy Thursday, and a drama for Good Friday earlier this evening.  Tomorrow starts with Men's Breakfast at the church at 8:30am and then there's the preparation and execution of our outreach strategy at the Eagle Ridge Easter Egg Hunt which takes place at 1:00pm.  Eagle Ridge is the huge housing development that is located just south of where we built our church.  The whole idea is to execute the Easter Bunny when he shows up, and before the little kiddies see him.  Being that we're Lutheran we will then offer coffee to everyone and pass around the collection plate.  It should be a fun day.

Since I'm not complaining about the weather I now have the opportunity to complain about my tennis group.  Due to a Gonzaga University tennis match with those wretched Mormons from BYU earlier today my posse and I were forced to rise in the pre-dawn darkness and play at 8:00am.  How inhuman!  I could barely keep my eyes open through the initial set.  In said set I was teamed with Bill" the Bohunk" Sefranek.  We quickly found ourselves down 5-0 and then proceeded to win 6 games in a row!  We gave one back to our opponents...John and Mark...and then went on to demolish them in the tie breaker.  Form that point on things got even better.  I ended up the "big winner" of the day.  I am always big, but seldom a winner.

Let see...what else is new?  The baseball season is underway and I think the Mariners may already be mathematically eliminated from post season contention.  Oh yeah...the our yard still needs to be made ready for spring.  The snow has finally melted again.  If any of you would like to come over and rake up the pine needles and dead grass, and pick up the dog bombs, consider yourselves very welcomed.  We might even feed you!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Freshly Shorn!

Very recently I came to the realization that I haven't had a haircut since January.  I was beginning to look like a Southern Baptist Televangelist!  Apart from some major theological differences and the ability to say "hell" rather than HAY-ell I guess there are a few similarities. are the results.
My forehead, my neck, my ears, nose and back are all visible again!  Now I shouldn't have to go under the clippers again until July.

In my last post I was bemoaning the snow that came down at the beginning of the week.  It's long gone, totally washed away.  Since the snow stopped all it has done is rain...all week long.  March has another day to go but Spokane has already shattered the record for the most precipitation in the month of March.  We are at about four and a third inches and still counting.  There's water everywhere, and around here anywhere there's water there's also ducks and geese, and anywhere there are ducks and there is...well, I think you get the picture.  The rain has even affected my tennis play.  I'll take any excuse I can get.  Actually, I think it makes me better.  With the other guys having to slog around in nearly hip deep water it makes it hard for them to get to my shots.  Being that my game is nearly stationary anyway I am not all that much affected.  I have been back with my regular group now for a couple weeks, and I still have yet to encounter my good friend...the Happy man...John.  He did show up today to watch for foot faults, but with my feet being so big and immovable that is seldom a problem for me.

Tomorrow morning the gang at the church, St. John's Lutheran of Spokane, will be gathering for our spring clean up day.  At this point this will most likely consist of scraping the moss off of the parking lot and the barnacles off of the church building.  Holy Week begins Sunday with Palm Sunday, and reaches it's climax on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  There will be plenty of opportunities for all of you to come and join us for worship over the course of the next week, so I expect you to be there!

Monday, March 26, 2012


Yesterday (Sunday) we finally enjoyed a little taste of spring, about 65 degrees and sunny.  To take full advantage the St. John's Lutheran Church softball team took to the field to practice.  For some unknown reason I was included.  I quickly came to realize that I am at least as bad as I was last year, and probably worse.  But it was nice to be outside in the sun.  Today...a different story.  After grilling a pork roast for dinner last evening in ideal conditions the rain moved in late last night.  I got up and out to go play tennis at about 7:30 and the rain was pouring down.  When I left the club at 11:00 it had turned to snow!  Sloppy, slushy, wet snow.  Up on the Hill there's about an inch on the ground.  If you haven't read the last post go ahead and take a look back...the idea of retirement is becoming even stronger.

Tennis this morning was an adventure.  I played with two different groups with two totally different results.  In my 8:00am group I could not be stopped.  At 9:30am I couldn't get started!  It must have been the snow outside even though at that time I had no idea that it was falling.  You gotta blame something other than yourself!

I guess I will spend the rest of the day inside, with the blinds in the office tightly shut.  I just don't want to see the %$#& that is coming down outside my window.  It's enough to ruin a perfectly good Monday, if there is such a thing.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Well let's see...spring officially got underway on Monday night.  All that it has done since is snow!  But you know that, at least if you are reading this from somewhere in eastern Washington or northern Idaho.  There was snow on the ground Monday morning, then hail in the afternoon.  It started snowing again yesterday and didn't stop until this morning, when 3 to 4 inches covered the ground.  As I look out my office window I see more snowflakes flittering down.  Is it legal to shoot snowflakes within the city limits?  That's just the reality of living in the Spokane area though.  Spring just plain stinks.  If it's not cold windy and's cold windy and wet.  While the rest of the country is getting suntans we're still wearing parkas and muck-lucks.  It will be this way until sometime in June...if we're lucky.  People often ask me "are you going to spend the rest of your life in Spokane?"  The answer is always, and has now been reinforced, $#%@ no!  We'll be heading back to Florida once retirement rolls around, and if anyone wants to fund that retirement we can be on our way today!

Since I am finished with my teaching duties for the quarter I have found my way back out onto the tennis court (indoors) with the ol' posse, at least those who aren't walking around dropping vertebrae out of their backs all over the city streets.  It seems that my guys are having a rash of back related issues that preclude them from playing.  I suspect that this is simply a ruse that has been concocted to keep them from having to face me again.  I've got my serve up over 6mph now!  We are scheduled to get back out there tomorrow morning, so I'll see who shows up.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pressure to Produce

In the past few days I have been feeling the heat from some of my former blog followers to "get back out there"!  It seems that there are too many people who desire to live vicariously through me...yeah...that's right...Mr. Excitement.  At the behest of my lovely wife of now nearly 30 years I am going to attempt to oblige.

This weekend marked a special time for me, as St. Patrick's Day always does, because it meant another birthday.  Yesterday I got one step closer to being 80 years old...only 26 more years to go.  80 is a milestone because by then I am hoping to be decent at playing tennis.  The guys that regularly kick my butt, and you know who you are, are generally octogenarians.  In the spirit of being an 80 year old I went to a funeral on my birthday.  As a matter of fact, I officiated at the funeral.  It was a lovely service.  You should have been there!

Today was more of the party day.  After church and Bible class members of the St. John's Lutheran Church softball team headed for the "Funspot" at Fairchild Air Force Base.  The idea was to use the indoor batting cages.  As the March weather isn't really conducive to holding outdoor practices it seemed like a splendid idea.  Due to the fact that they serve beer at the "Funspot" it turned out to be an even more splendid idea.  After taking our turns in the cages...there was a dozen of us...we headed for the bowling alley.  Seeing that it's my birthday one would think that everyone, especially my wife, would just let me win...but NO!  She had the audacity to throw a 176 in the 2nd game to take home the high score for the day.  If not for the gutter ball on her last toss she might have reached 186.

Now it's Sunday evening and I can smell the corned beef boiling on the stove.  It's time for me to get off the computer in order to begin cutting up the onions, carrots, potatoes and cabbage.  I guess it's up to me to cook the "birthday dinner".

Note to my disgruntled readers...I am going to post at least three times a week.