Catching Up

I made a lunch date with my old girlfriend, my first love.  I always thought…  I always hoped that by chance or by plan, I would see her again one day.  I wanted to know how her life played out.  Did she ever forgive me?  Did she find happiness?  I wanted her to know (if she wanted to know) how my life has been.

It was 1965.  We were thirteen and in love, and it was awesome!  Emotions are so intense at that age!  And the music, what a powerful influence.  We were two neglected kids from two screwed up families.  In each other we found attention, kindness, affirmation, generosity, love and tenderness.  Our relationship was not hindered with the burdens of adult relationships.  We had no children to provide for, no house payments to make – no responsibilities of any kind which was good because we had no jobs, no cars, not even a high school education.  Although I considered myself mature beyond my years….  We were kids.  We had nothing to be concerned about except enjoying each other’s company as much as possible.  When the relationship ended after three years, it didn’t end well.  She attempted suicide, I felt responsible.  I was responsible.  That break up is on my list of things I would go back and do differently if I could, equipped now with the wisdom that comes with age.

While searching the Internet to contact a friend, I entered her name also.  It said she was deceased.  I’d waited too long, our reunion would never happen.  But, there were more with her name; I tried again and eventually made contact.

She agreed to meet, and suggested Denny’s at Jansen Beach.  I drove my old Toyota pickup into the crowded parking lot; maybe noon wasn’t the best choice.  I might have been a few minutes early, so I texted her that I was there.  She texted that she was inside, near the back.  I found her.  We hugged.  I looked into her face and was amazed.  Other than the evidence of time passing, she looked pretty much the same as the girl I remembered.  It’s been fifty years since I’ve seen her; FIFTY.  I realized immediately that I must look equally as old to her.

I’ve been working on a theory about love.  My theory concerns only love between people, not the kind of love you might have for anything else.  My theory is that once love is conceived it never dies.  When I consider people I loved who have died, I still love them, even though our relationship has ended.  When I think about people I loved who remain among the living, even though our relationship has changed, that love hasn’t died, but it has transformed from an active or romantic love to something else; maybe an appreciative, or respectful kind of love that I’m sure the Greeks have a name for.  The people who challenge my theory that true love never dies are divorced couples who appear to hate each other.

We sat in a booth and began to tell each other (the rest of) our stories.  She told how she kind of reluctantly married a guy who was in the Army – at her mother’s prodding to get on with her life after our break up.  She had been writing to him while he was in Vietnam.  After they married, he turned out to be very controlling, and eventually abusive.  She said he even controlled the food portions he allowed her to eat.  She did have some good things in her life; her son and daughter.  They gave her two grand kids and a great grandbaby on the way.  I asked if she had pictures, she said no.  She enjoyed her years working at Disneyland as a “costume controller,” but it sounded like her happiest years were living in Hawaii while her husband was a dive instructor for the Army.  Things started to fall apart when he was reassigned as a Drill Sargent and was eventually dishonorably discharged.  Sometime after they divorced, she married what sounded like a friend of a friend.  I don’t know how well she knew him, but after the wedding, he confessed how ill he was – and died about three years later.

She said she wanted to look me up, but couldn’t remember my last name.  I must have looked confused.  She continued, “You did have a few names.”  When I met her, I was known by my first step dad’s last name.  In the time we were together, my mom remarried and we kids assumed his last name.  Shortly before we broke up, I began using my legal name when I got my driver’s license.  So, maybe that made sense.

I was anxious to learn about her family, especially one brother, as we had been pretty good friends.  I hoped I might catch up with him soon, but I won’t.  He died because he burned out his lungs cooking meth, and also burnt down the old family house on Church Street (not in the same event).  He married, had two kids and divorced.  She told how he once jumped off a bridge in front of a moving train and survived.  When asked if it was a suicide attempt, he said no, he was trying to rescue a dog that was on the tracks.

I enjoyed countless laughs with another brother.  Today he would be “developmentally disabled,” but in our early teens, he was just kind of a crazy fun guy who sometimes exercised very poor judgement.  He choked to death on his own intestines.  She said it could have been related to his old, “getting hit by cars” game (imagine something like a ghetto version of Running With The Bulls).  She said she had a hysterectomy because of the same “intestinal looseness” issue – it might have been a family trait. When she listed her accumulated injuries, I asked if she worked as a stunt double.  She explained how she fell down a flight of stairs and broke both legs.  She fell while roller skating and broke both(?) arms, requiring screws and plates.  She slipped on spilled ice at the restaurant she managed, fell and broke her back.

One brother died from a bad liver.  I used to babysit for one of her sisters.  She died, I think she said cancer.  Another sister used to be our family babysitter.  I remember the dunce that was her first husband.  They used to take us with them to the drive-in.  After a second husband, she remains among the living, but the sisters are not on good terms – something to do with their mother’s estate.  Their alcoholic, ex-boxer step dad who I rarely remember seeing sober, sobered up long enough to buy a hotel and property in the middle of the California desert.  She still has his boxing robe, but he and her mom are both gone.

She told me that my best friend for many years became a good friend to her and helped ease her emotional pain.  They graduated together from Madison High School.  I told her the last time I saw him, we were preparing for an 8th grade class reunion, but he dropped out of the planning and didn’t attend the reunion.  He was driving a pickup with a dozen or so stuffed animals in the cab with him, which seemed odd to me for a grown man.  She confessed she was driving a car today which contained many stuffed animals, but said it was her daughter’s car.  I said, “Speaking of cars” as I pulled my calling card from my wallet and handed it to her.  It features a picture of my red, 57 Chevy Bel Air.  I explained that I printed those because often at car shows I will meet someone I want to exchange contact info with.  She giggled when she saw the car, shook her head and said, “I’m not surprised at all.”

She asked if I remembered, “Our corner.”  Sadly, I did not.  It was the street corner closest to her house.  We would just hang out there away from everyone, lean against the fire hydrant and pass the time.

She asked if I remember the jacket she bought me.  After my family moved to Newberg, I would ride the bus to Portland to see her on weekends.  She said I admired it in the window at Penny’s on Union and Killingsworth when she would walk me to the bus stop, so she bought it for me.  She said I wore it often (with my cut-offs).  I wish I remembered that.  I explained that whenever my memory fails me, I confess that I’ve had Chemo Therapy – it’s a perfect excuse which no one questions.

She asked, “Do you remember the box?”  She had it delivered to me at school after our breakup.  I was summoned to the principal’s office by two girls I did not know, saying there was a family emergency and I must leave with them.  I played along.  They took me to the parking lot and gave me a box containing a collection of memories – records, cards, letters, souvenirs, pictures, rings tied with a ribbon she used to wear in her hair; abundant evidence of a young girl’s broken heart.  They told me about her suicide attempt; her hospital bracelet was in the box.  Remember the song, “Traces of Love” (The Classics IV 1969)?  This box embodied that song, but with the added element of suicide.  I told her most of those things are in “my hoarder room” upstairs.


I told her I remember one day after receiving the box, I was sitting in the living room of our family home in Newberg when I felt compelled to get up and look out the window.  I did, just in time to see her and two young ladies drive by in a 1964 Chevy Impala.  I saw her, and she saw me.  I asked if she remembered that.  She did.  I walked out and stood by the street, if they circled the block we might talk.  They didn’t.

She confessed that she’s tried to end her life three more times.  I told her I was sure that seeing me now she would have to admit how foolish it would have been to have ended her young life over the loss of what turned out to be a fat, old man.  She just smiled and shook her head very slightly.

She said there will be no more suicide attempts, “That’s all over now,” and Jesus (“My Jesus”) is very important to her.  Although she doesn’t associate with any particular church, she’s a believer with strong faith and is a concert attending connoisseur of Christian music.  I told her the name of my favorite song, the one that will play at my funeral (if I have one), “I Can Only Imagine” (MercyMe 1999).  I told her about the Christ centered Bible teaching church we attend, Athey Creek Christian Fellowship.

“Do you remember the first time I saw you?” I asked.  Our regular babysitter (her sister) was not available one evening, so she was sent in stead.  When I got off my bicycle and opened the front door, there stood my new babysitter – a sexy, grown up young woman in makeup and nylons; and she was my age!  I ran (calmly) and hid in my room until I conjured up the courage to string enough words together to approach her with a sentence or two.  I didn’t see her again until months later when my family moved across the street from her.  We moved quite often while I was growing up.  I count 27 places (including JDH and two foster homes) before I graduated from high school, so maybe the odds of ending up across the street from her weren’t really that long.

She remembers, and I remembered, the last time we saw each other.  The day – months after we split up, I knocked on her door.   When she answered, I asked to see her brother, but she and I talked a little first.  She remembers immediately putting up a wall of defense, not rude, but understandably cold.  After we spoke briefly, I went downstairs to visit her brother.  I don’t remember what we talked about or exactly why I chose to see him then.  Maybe because he was a good friend I hadn’t seen in a while, or maybe the visit really was to see how she was doing; and she seemed to be doing okay.

I learned today that years later on his deathbed, her brother told her that I told him I came back that day to try to reunite with her.  Believing this meant trading her sadness from being the one abandoned for the sadness of forever disallowing (with her wall of defense) the possibility of reuniting.  I think she’s blamed herself for this and maybe for some unhappy paths her life has taken; paths that might have remained unknown if only she had allowed us to get back together.  Or, maybe I’m over analyzing.

I don’t remember telling her brother I wanted to reunite.  If that was my goal, I would have pursued her.  I don’t remember everything from those days, but I do remember the undeniable feeling before we broke up, that our relationship had become doomed.  The young love we enjoyed so much at age 13 – 14 – 15 was waning.  I felt guilty that I could feel it happening.  I felt guilty that I was letting it happen.  Emotions are very intense at that age, the good and the bad.  I’ve learned in this life that you can’t make someone love you.  I realize too that you can’t compel yourself to love someone.  For this, I am sorry.  Love can bring great joy.  Love can bring great pain.

As I listened to her talk, it seemed clear that her happiest memories were from long ago when we were together.  I’m pretty sure she remembered me at least a little better than reality.  After divorcing an abusive husband, she probably remembered me as being even better.  After her second husband died ending what sounded like another disappointing relationship – in her memory I might have been approaching some sort of legendary status.

I think true love stories are about couples who marry and make a life together.  Every day they practice putting the other ahead of themselves.  They remain faithful and committed for the duration.  They speak the words, “I love you,” and they know the joy of dedication and compromise that shows, “I love you.”  These are real love stories, and it’s the kind of love story to which I’ve continued daily adding pages for 45 years with my precious wife.  But they make boring movies.

The best love stories for movies and books are emotional dramas about the love relationship that could not be.  Budding lovers forever part because of a selfless, sacrificial decision; or they might be unwillingly parted, forbidding their promising relationship from ever developing to its obvious potential.  These tragic, “love lost” stories wrench your heart.  Why are they so much more powerful than the, “happily ever after” stories?

I unintentionally authored our unhappy ending, sentencing our story to that bitter sweet, “love lost” category, never knowing that she mistakenly reassigned that blame to herself.

A couple hours had passed and I’m sure we could both feel our visit winding down.  We continued talking as we walked to our cars.  Did she ever forgive me?  Would she ever forgive herself?  She’s glad I’m happy with my life.  I asked her to please give herself permission to be happy, as I had the very strong feeling she was not, and hasn’t been in a long time.



Writing About Writing

A handful of words will get a foot-hold in my mind, something someone said or something I saw.  It might be a deep memory coming up for air, a thought that becomes the birth of an idea.  Once it begins to form, I’ll pour it out in bulk and then re-write – edit – re-write – edit, back space like a machine gun, highlight and drag to move.  And the punctuation!  Will a comma do for the perfect hesitation, a colon; or should I go all out with……. repeating periods?  And then, does anyone even notice words in italics?  Maybe I should break that mile long freight train into two or three sentences.  Blatant repetition?  Open the thesaurus!  I love writing the construction zone phase (if the idea survives it).  Yeah, BOLD!  BOLD CAPS – OUTSTANDING!!  And what about those curved bracket parentheses (probably overused)?

And then there’s the circle, that elusive, sweet – satisfying, return.  I’m sure real writers have a term for it.  If the words I’m brewing are great enough in number, and if later on, I can circle back to a key element highlighted early on, that can create an especially delightful circle within the story.  I love it when that happens!

Better phrases will knock on my mind’s door when it’s trying to sleep (thinking they’re all that important).  The exact right words will push their way through to the front of the line while I’m driving.  I’m not creating a “Master Piece,” here, but still, I’d better write them down.  I’ll torture myself because I forgot that gem before getting home.  What’s amazing to me is that I can delicately, meticulously replace one little word with another I think conveys better, and impress myself amateurish self with what a critical, but subtle difference that word made.  I will read and re-read again until I can get all the way through without making any (many) changes; sleep on it and read it again.  If I can get to the end without revising, it might be finished.  So now what?  I wrote it for my own therapeutic entertainment, and/or for my personal library.  If I think someone else might enjoy reading it, I’ll probably make it available.  If you read it, you will never know how many words I discreetly pruned or plucked.  You’ll have no idea how many times I read what you’ll read just once.  The funny – “human nature” thing is……  If I’m successful at practicing the magic of written expression, you might come away with something resembling the idea I began with at the top of this page.




Arranging Deck Chairs?

I had a great idea and made coloring books for my grandkids, made up of pictures of them.  That led to similar coloring books for my two grown up sons, just for fun.  I wanted to make a book for my wife, but instead of a coloring book, I made the pictures look more like pen and colored pencil drawings.


I hope she enjoys paging through it as much as I enjoyed creating it.  It features a few pictures she has never seen, surrounded by good memories; some not roused in a while.


It was challenging to keep what I was doing a surprise for Valentine’s Day; working often while she slept or was not yet home.  I had it spiral bound and ready for Valentines Day with hours to spare.

I also had a Valentine’s Day date with an x-ray technician.  She gave me peaches, graham crackers, applesauce, bread, and a milky drink, all generously mixed with Barium.  These treats weren’t gifts for my nibbling pleasure like my wife gave me; these were so she could video x-ray me swallowing them.  After carefully explaining that she is not a doctor and can’t make a diagnosis, she told how the x-ray video showed the consumed food hesitated a notable moment in my lower esophagus before continuing into my stomach.  That’s not likely the cause of my constant throat clearing, but it could be a clue.  The Ear Nose Throat doctor’s office called the next day to repeat what the technician said (except the part about not being a doctor), and to add that my x-ray video audition bought me a ticket to see a Gastroenterologist, coming soon to a hospital near me.  I also went in for a “CT Scan of Face (CT Sinus WO Contrast).”  The results: There is no evidence of laryngeal penetration or aspiration identified.  Please see the detailed report rendered by speech pathology.  I haven’t seen the report yet.

It would be wonderful to finally solve this constant throat clearing mystery, but if the blood test in March shows my PSA numbers going up, all these other tests may end up being as productive as rearranging deck chairs on the titanic.

Do You Experience Facial Pain?

The Allergists spreadsheet test on my arms revealed no allergies, so he sent me for a blood draw and another allergy test.  With needle in hand and me in the draw chair, the young nurse was considering (PUN WARNING!!) her best shot .  I told her to poke where she would, but – as I pointed to the back of my right hand, I told her they usually end up here.  She politely dismissed my suggestion and began tapping the front of my left elbow, almost as if choosing a ripe watermelon.  The thump felt right to her, so that’s where she put the needle.  Sometimes I don’t even feel it.  Sometimes it stings a little and I flinch just to keep in practice.  It hurts the worst when they lift up on the syringe as they pull the needle out of my vein.  Sometimes they back the needle out just a bit and make a right or left turn as they push it back in.  That’s what she was doing.  She was getting only a dribble of blood, and after what seemed like an extended wait (hoping to vindicate her poor target choice for the draw) there wasn’t enough in the tube to test.  She sighed, removed the needle, apologized for not listening to me, and stuck a new needle in the top of my right hand.  That test also pronounced me allergic to nothing.

So, I saw the Ear – Nose – and Throat doctor.  Maybe he can discover the cause for my chronic throat clearing.  I had seen him previously for a persistent cough and again for a plugged ear.  I told him I was tired of this constant growling, vocal grinding, and throat clearing.  I told him it’s been going on a long time, and that I couldn’t remember when it started.  He said I was doing that when he saw me five years ago.  I hadn’t finished the questionnaire before being escorted to the waiting room, so the doctor was reading the list of yes or no questions to me: Does it ever…..?  “I answered, No.”  Have you ever…….?  “No.”  Did you ever…..?  “No.”  Do you ever… experience sinus or facial pain?  “No.  Wait a minute!  Did you just ask me if my face hurts?”  He glanced sideways from the clip board barely turning his head, and in a timid voice, as if unsure his words should be audible, he answered with that old punch line, “It’s killing me.”  We both laughed.  I told him we said that all the time when I was a kid – and it was funny every time!  He said me too!  He explained that he probably read this questionnaire ten times a day, and each time he comes to this question, he’s tempted to say what we always said (but i suppose that could make him appear to be irresponsible).  We enjoyed that good laugh, and he actually said, “Thank you.”

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Mt Hood (PUN WARNING STILL IN EFFECT!) looking cool 

I do Love Spreadsheets

My prostate surgery was almost seven years ago.  We’ve continued regular PSA testing since then and the results have always been, “undetectable.”  In reality, undetectable is actually detectable, but if the number is less than 0.1 ng/ml, it is considered undetectable. The voicemail with my December test results relayed a 0.15 score and a, “please call to make an appointment.”

I made the appointment and saw my Urologist.  He seemed quite concerned and commented a couple times that this never happens this far out from the surgery (almost 7 years).  He’d reviewed my file and seemed pleased that I already had a radiologist, because if today’s blood test verifies the last one, radiation may be prescribed.  Where to radiate would be the question (since there is no cancerous prostate).  He told me about a new technique that has just arrived in Portland, and is promising for that very issue.



I asked him; wouldn’t it be funny if the prostate cancer was positioning to play a big joke on the Multiple Myeloma cancer?  I wondered if they would ever fight it out to claim my demise.


IN THIS CORNER: Prostate cancer – off to a good start, but seemingly eradicated with surgery.  AND IN THE OTHER CORNER: THE INCURABLE Multiple Myeloma cancer – starting out determined, but then punched repeatedly with radiation, chemo, a stem cell transplant, and more chemo – it’s on the ropes, but still breathing.  Prostate cancer crawls by the fingernails, back to the center of the ring with just a spark of life and says to Myeloma, “Incurable?  I’ll show you incurable!”

A young lady who’s had two babies since she started taking my blood, took it once again.  It was tested and the results relayed by voicemail: 0.15 confirmed, please call and make an appointment for two months from now.

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A Beautiful Sunrise tempting me to be late for work recently

I can’t remember when I started daily, sometimes it seems constantly – clearing my throat.  It has to be a year, maybe two or three, but it is everyday.  I thought an allergist might identify the cause, so I made an appointment.  His assistant took a felt marker and produced a spreadsheet on both of my forearms, complete with columns and headers.  With a tray of pokers, she poked my skin in each cell with the corresponding poker and said she’d be back in 30 minutes.  I sat in that quiet place, with a pillow in my lap and my arms steady on the pillow, it was a perfect time to catch up on prayers.

The spreadsheet reported zero allergies, next stop – another blood test.

I really felt fortunate to catch this action shot – my immediate supervisor at work – going off the rock pile jump on his bicycle, sailing over the mote and fence (in his Grinch pajamas).  It’s a Public Works thing.

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Sticks and Stones may Break My Bones – but Needles…….

The van is due for an oil change.  It’ll wait.  I should dehaze the headlight lenses, but that can wait.  I really need to organize the video’s I’ve been transferring from VHS, but there’s no time for that now.  There are leaves to rake, gutters to clean, and power steering to find and install in the Toyota (and that rattling rear window is really wearing on me); but those things and more will have to wait.  I am making Christmas presents for my grandchildren, and for my sons.  They must be finished and mailed in time and, HURRAY!  I made it.

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I made coloring books


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Coloring books with pictures of them

I suppose now that I’ve dusted and organized the surface of my desk, I can no longer complain about not having enough time.  I did reach the point early on Christmas Eve when I’d checked-off enough lines on my to-do list that the ascending graph line of “this desk is an utter mess!” crossed the descending graph line of “time sensitive Christmas things that must be done.”  It will be nice to end and start the year with a clean desk, like that feeling of slipping into a bed of fresh sheets.

I sit here now in the afterglow of Christmas day.  Christmas was most always at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  We’ve only had one official family Christmas at our house, and that was the year Diane gave me a 57 Chevy; so when she announced we were having the family Christmas this year, I thought great!  Maybe I’m getting another car!  She shortly relieved that suspense explaining there would be no surprise car under the tree or in the driveway this year. But, among my gifts from her was a very nice office chair in which I am comfortably sitting now as I type, no longer needing a pillow to sit on to counter the seat cushion flattened by years of use (I’m passing on the opportunity to comment here on the weight or rigidity of any posterior frequenting the now previous chair).

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She even decorated the bird bath

Diane really enjoys decorating every room and every part of our house for Christmas.  And, she did a wonderful job this year of almost singlehandedly orchestrating Christmas day arrivals, snacks, seating, background music, cats banished, gifting order and balance, Christmas dinner (Breakfast), leftovers to go with goodbyes, and directing cleanup triage.

This Christmas was very nice, but last Christmas may have been the best ever.  Diane and I met Robin and family at Brandon & Emily’s home in Michigan for Christmas week.   It was a grand experiment, and everyone survived – hopefully leaving the door open to a future Christmas with all of us together again.  On the way to that family Christmas, our flight from Chicago to Marquette was cancelled due to snow.  We decided to rent a car and drive the 370 miles.  Brandon called ahead and reserved a car for us, I hopped on the rental car shuttle bus, and Diane began the 90 minute wait for our luggage.  There she met an old couple (older than us!) who also would have been on our cancelled flight to Marquette.  In a moment, Diane phoned me and said, “Get a bigger car – I’ll explain later.  What a joy it was to meet, travel, and visit with these wonderful people.  Isn’t it funny how God works?  They said we were a blessing, but really, they were the blessing for us.

I had surgery in October to repair my incisional hernia, also referred to as an umbilical hernia (also referred to as a sticking-out-belly button).  It is so very nice to no longer have that little door knob on my stomach.  I’m glad I didn’t get the eyeball tattoo that was so tempting.  I also had the regularly scheduled quarterly cancer tests for my oncologist in December, along with a PSA test for my urologist, and a cholesterol test for my general doctor, and another test for my heart doctor.  I thought it would certainly be efficient to get enough blood for all this with one needle, but when the “draw” was finished that day, I had four little “badges of courage” on my arms and hands.

For more than six years, my PSA numbers have been rated as undetectable.  The urologist’s office called me the day after Christmas.  My latest test showed an increase in the PSA.  He wants to see me.  I suspect more needles.

I remain thankful to God for a life overflowing with blessings.

Slipping Away

Summer is slipping away, but it has been wonderful.


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


1962 Corvair-38b

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.


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.