Slipping Away

Summer is slipping away, but it has been wonderful.

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Kellen driving my old RC-10T and keeping it mostly on the track

Both of our sons with their families visited us this summer.  We made good memories and I took pictures.  This is the second year my grandson, Kellen, has been driving radio control cars.  At age three, he’s improved quite a bit.  My two year old granddaughter, Sauvie, began her RC driving lessons during her visit this summer.

Click here to see Lincoln City with Robin & family (check out the sunsets).

At Brandon’s request, I sold both of his old Chevrolet’s this summer.  His ’62 Corvair was here for about 10 years, and his ’63 Nova for 15.

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The previous line up of collector cars in our shop

 

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He’s never cranked a car window?

The Corvair sold first, a father and son team bought it.  The son is 14, and hopes to be driving it when he gets his license.  He tried on the driver seat and steering wheel as he scanned the dashboard and interior.  Spotting the window crank on the open driver’s door, he pointed at it and asked, “What’s that?”

That sale created an empty space in the shop, but like digging a hole in wet sand; it began filling in right away.  The Nova sold about a month later, and with two empty bays, it may actually take a few weeks for the shop’s gravitational pull to fill those spaces.

2017 09 08_9884bMy brother, Loren, rode his new Street Glide to Newberg for our Dressel Family Reunion.  I put red lights on the garage floor – not so much as a guide to the landing/parking area, but as a Welcome.

He brought his new electric RC Truck.  We were running two lap races on my back yard dirt track Sunday morning before church; I had the home field advantage, but – he beat me five races in a row!

2017-09-09_9826bWe also got to run our cars on the indoor AstroTurf track in Salem, RC Plus.  That was fun, and while there I drove for the first time, my new Losi 3.0 buggy (thanks, Jason).  I have two bodies for it, and the one I like best features my granddaughter’s likeness.  When I told her dad how quick that car can get around the track, he indicated that was fitting – quick like Sauvie.  He asked if it also jumps a lot.  Actually the car does jump a lot, how did he know that?

I may have taken some of my best pictures this summer.  The years of pictures I have taken of my kids and the pictures I am taking of my grandkids will always be my most treasured.  Other than family, my favorite photo opportunity is an event called “I Dragged The Gut (in downtown McMinnville),” or sometimes called “Dragging The Gut Festival.”  I love taking pictures there, and I have developed a style I call Dream Shots (that’s easier to say than low light exposure with slow shutter blurring that makes a still picture indicate motion).  Click here to see more.

2017-IDTG_9249bAlso from this year, possibly my best car show pictures, and I was very happy with these fireworks pictures (some in this album taken earlier).

I saw the heart doctor to follow up on the EKG and stress test.  He found nothing serious, and suggested I improve my diet, lose weight, get into better shape, and come back later for another look.

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Boot & Brace

I saw the foot doctor.  I don’t know why it hurt, but I waited weeks for the tendon above my heel to get better, but it got worse, so – doctor – foot doctor – x-rays – MRI – Achilles Tendinitis – special boot and physical therapy.  It’s getting better.

I saw the belly doctor.  My sticking out belly button was getting worse.  It seemed I was constantly holding or pushing it back in, and sometimes it didn’t want to go back in, and one time after a reluctant push-in, there appeared red spots near it.  So – doctor – belly doctor – Ultrasound – bowel in the button – surgery (scheduled for October)!

The air boot helps if you don’t mind clunking around wearing one extra large ski boot, and the Lumbar lower back brace support belt frees up the hand that would be pressing the hernia.

I saw the Oncologist, three terrific months had passed since my last visit, so – visit friends with needles (who draw blood) – tests – and my favorite test results: no change.  I can live with that.  I remain daily thankful to God.

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The Grudge Race

I took my Radio Controlled car, a Losi Short Course Buggy, when I visited my brother at the coast.  He has a Traxxas four wheel drive R/C gas truck.  I love the big fat tires on it.  At the beach, I was quickly putting parking lot dirt and debris in the air with the wheels of my little car while my brother was working at getting his gas motor started.  When he got it running, we had a lot of fun speeding and skidding out on the sand.  I challenged him to a straight line race from way over here to way over there.  It was a clean start, neck and neck as I slowly began pulling ahead, but by the ¾ mark, he caught and passed me.  I could feel it in my battery, I should have recharged between the parking lot and the beach.

I suggested a rematch, but he would savor his win for a year.  When I got home, I ordered another battery, one with extra punch.  Next year I would be ready…..   And there would be no burning up half the pack before the race!

With my next annual visit, the grudge race was on.  I had a C100 fully charged, and I resisted (most of) the temptation to speed up and down the sand until after my impending victory.  My brother had his truck making smoke in his garage before we headed out, and shortly it was running again at the beach.  Soon we were back on our imaginary starting line and he yelled Go!  With the kindness and humility of a loving big-brother, I won’t go on about how badly I beat him.  We’ll just say that it was my turn to savor the win.

RC Cars on the Beach

The race was over and I still had a couple battery packs to burn up, and that wide open sand was enticing.  We were Cat & Mouse chasing, drifting, fishtailing, and purely enjoying radio controlled fun.

Before long, I packed some sand against a baseball bat sized piece of driftwood for a jump.  My brother had to restart his truck several times, and ended up replacing three glow plugs that day.  Finally, it would not start, so I invited him to drive my SCB while I took pictures of it flying off the jump.  He liked it enough to consider going electric.  I can’t wait for the race next year!

 

This month I had my follow up appointment with my heart doctor’s associate.  Going in, my question and reason for seeing the doctor was, “Why do I get so easily out of breath?”  Does it have to do with the cancers, the treatments, or am I just getting old and out of shape?  The diagnosis and official answer: My stress test showed the possibility of a minor abnormality, but before further investigation, they suggest I lose weight, exercise more (get into better shape), and come back in three months for more tests.

I also had my three month appointment with my oncologist.  She used my favorite medical term (concerning the protein they test for because it’s a real good indicator of what the cancer is doing), “undetectable.”  I can live with that.

 

Three Months At A Time

Thursday, I had my 6 month visit with my Pulmonologist (my sleep doctor).  I repeated my complaint, “I’m so tired of being tired,” and answered yes when he asked if the pills were helping. He quickly instructed, “Up the dosage.”  I think he likes to practice a little psycho analysis with the Pulmonology.  We talked a bit about poor sleep quality, joining my mind in progress when I wake, work, retirement, stress, decisions…  I suppose its all sleep related.  I saw my Oncologist the next day for my three month tests.  After reporting to that office so often for the last two years, I feel like I’m visiting friends now, except for that one dangerous colleague who always sticks a needle in me.  The doctor said the tests indicate no change, and no change is good, especially considering I’m three years into the 3 ½ year average benefit enjoyed by stem cell transplant patients.

We haven’t had a garage sale in several years; that American tradition where you display on folding tables the remnants of your treasured memories, souvenirs of your children’s mileposts, and items that could be family heirlooms (if only someone would take a closer look).  You set them out on display to be judged by all, and the verdict after just a moment’s deliberation?  “Will you take a dollar?”

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Diane said it was time we had another garage sale.  I was determined to be brave and participate by putting some things out to sell instead of trying to keep everything forever.  I know that makes sense, but selling a favorite shirt that has to be pulled tight now to button is publicly admitting I will never lose enough weight to fit it again.  It means confessing that those odd items I have accumulated and held because certainly they must be rare and/or odd enough to be of some monetary value, aren’t worth $2 to anyone willing to walk up our driveway and have a look.  It means that after a week of preparations and a two day sale, we can probably go out to dinner on our financial gains.  But consider this, once you identify an item you might be willing to part with (especially with the hope of a handsome profit due to its appreciation since being in your custody), you take it out, dust it off, place it on the folding table and watch it for two days only to realize that its value is exclusively in your eyes .  You must then decide if you will put it back where you had it, or move to the next level and DISPOSE OF IT.  Maybe that’s been the hidden agenda behind these garage sales all along!

Since Jason and I built the dirt track for Radio Controlled cars in my back yard, I’ve been meaning to invite long time RC racing friends, Don and Diane, to come out from Portland and try it out.  With summer circling the drain, and after several, “we’ll have to get together sometimes,” we finally chose a day, ran the cars on the track, had a real nice

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visit, and wrapped it up by driving the ’57 Chevy to lunch.   During our visit, we reminisced about the good times we had racing in the “Yamhill County RC Car Club” in McMinnville, and marveled that it really was 20 years ago.  The thought of a car club reunion had previously been mentioned a time or two, but that day we committed to looking into it.  I suggested that if we found at least 10 of our fellow racers we haven’t seen in years, it would be a fun gathering, so we’ve started with a Face book Group Page.

Cliff Hanger?

My last low dose chemo shot was New Years Eve 2015. My Oncologist said to come back in three months for testing. Three months have passed. I went for tests on April 4th and anxiously waited for the results. I also saw my Urologist that same day, my five year and final appointment with him. His office called later to say my PSA (Prostate cancer indicator) was undetectable. I love that word. My three month test results for Multiple Myeloma, although reported mostly in Medical Greek, were finally posted to a web site I access.

This message was included with the report: “The serum protein electrophoresis exhibits a possible monoclonal immunoglobulin band in the gamma region. Serum immunofixation (IFE) for further identification of this band has been reflex ordered.” And this: “A reflex test is a laboratory test performed (and charged for) subsequent to an initially ordered and resulted test. Reflex testing occurs when an initial test result meets pre-determined criteria (e.g., positive or outside normal parameters), and the primary test result is inconclusive without the reflex or follow-up test. It is performed automatically without the intervention of the ordering physician.” That alone does not mean bad news, but it seems a step in that direction. My Oncologist said she would call me if there was anything we need to discuss; so far, no call.

In the meantime, there’s much to do as I remain among the living.  I finally connected the computer to the stereo, I continue organizing photos, and I actually think I spotted retirement way out there on the horizon.

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This is my second new Radio Control car, a Losi 22T with one of my favorite racing bodies from the old days.  For now, this is an indoor turf track only car .

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It’s fun to run it with friends at the RC Plus track in Salem, Oregon.

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My two year old grandson, Kellen, is learning to drive RC cars with an old RC10T.  He’s got tight circles pretty well figured out, and is very familiar with the transmitter’s on/off switch (it’s just fascinating!).

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I recently had another great visit with my brother, Loren, in Brookings, Oregon.

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The winter project on the Chevy this year was replacing the rear main seal.  Check that off the list!

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I’m not sure how this will play out, but my scalp has become consumed with “Revenge Of Chemo Hair.”

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I meant to include this picture, “taking time to smell the flowers,” with Kellen.