Still smiling

Hi everyone,

I had a fine day yesterday celebrating my birthday with Sandy, Robin, and Jeff. Thank you, Tim, for loaning us your wife, and thank you, Jennifer, for loaning us your husband. And thank you to everybody who took the time to send me birthday wishes. I did the best I could to keep up but if I missed thanking you, forgive me. I loved each and every one.

I’m Petey. What’s your name?

Hi everyone,

I met the new member of the family out in Oregon. He’s pretty charming for such a young fellow. He can speak for himself.

I’m Petey. What’s your name? They call me a Bichone. Right. I checked online and I’m actually a cross between Great Dane and St. Bernard.

I was born in a sofa. One day I just popped out. “They” say I came from Florida, but they are often mistaken and hard to train.

Here they are — my slaves. I got one of each kind. He’s big and strong and thinks he’s in charge. She’s pretty and has brown eyes and she thinks she’s in charge. Really? They keep forgetting who owns them. They’re forever wandering off to do silly thing, like taking their eyes off of me. See what I mean? The ocean bores me. I like grass better. But not to poop in though. They keep wanting me to go outside to poop in the grass. Do you have any idea what grass feels like on your butt? It’s all itchy and scratchy. And CATS pee in it!! Nope, I think I’ll hold it until I get back inside to the nice warm floor. It is my house after all.

You have no idea how long it took to train her to look where I want to look. I like her though. She teaches children. I haven’t made my mind up about children yet. I mean, what can they do for me?

Here’s another trick that took a while and tons of practice. When I say, “Reach down and pet me,” it’s her job to stop wherever we are and reach down and pet me. How hard is that?

Dealing with old people is a whole different matter. I was going to send this one home until I discovered wax in his ears. Now that’s pretty good stuff. Note to self: check to see if children have wax in their ears.

I know you enjoyed meeting me. But I’m through with you for now. You may leave. I’ll bark if I need anything.

Leaving Oregon

Hi everyone,

We returned home yesterday from a seven day trip to see Jeff and Jennifer in Portland and Cannon Beach, Oregon. I’ll tell you about all our wonderful visit later but this morning I’m sad for all the people in Oregon, California, Colorado, and everywhere else who are being devastated by the unending, high-wind driven fires.

At J&J’s house at Cannon Beach, they have a majestic view of the valley from their back deck. On Tuesday we could already see smoke drifting in over the hills.

Here’s the same view two days later as we were leaving for Portland. And here is all we could see of downtown Portland yesterday as we headed to the airport. By then Portland had been judged the worst air quality of any major city in the world. Fires have already caused 500,000 people to evacuate or be prepared to, and small hamlets have been entirely wiped out. So very sad.

From bounties of nature

Hi everyone,

With Jeff and Jennifer we took a three mile beach walk, starting on Cannon Beach at low tide and crossing over to Crescent Beach.

Along the way Jeff stopped at a boulder covered by mussels. He polled the group and found three takers to try some, so on our return we paused and Jeff pried off enough mussels to fill a sack.

Turns out that preparing those things for the table is a lot like work. Sitting on the back deck next evening, Jeff used two pairs of pliers and a wire brush and got the mussels ready for the pot.

Into the pan waiting on the stove went butter (tons of it), wine, chopped green onions, garlic, lemon, and a smidge of cilantro.

But wait. There was more. First course was Chinook salmon
with snap peas, bread, and a salad of sliced pears (from the tree in their front yard in Portland), blueberries the size of grapes, sliced almonds, and crumbled goat cheese over spinach leaves and seasoned with raspberry vinaigrette dressing. (Thank you for preparing, Sandy.) On a trail we took at Ecola State Park earlier that afternoon, Jeff and Jennifer filled a sack with wild blackberries growing along the way. So for desert Jennifer (our birthday girl prepared blackberry cobbler. All true.

And for added ambiance, our hosts arranged with the weather bureau for wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour to blow deck furniture around and knock out electricity in Cannon Beach. Therefore, we finished out banquet by candle light. Well done, J&J!

Me, talking to a machine

Hi everyone,

We got home last night from Las Vegas where we spent three nights playing with Jeff and Jennifer. We ate well, did a lot of walk-about, saw a couple of excellent shows, watched the fountain at the Belagio by day and by night, and ogled a few beauties strolling around advertising various burlesque shows. I even tried my luck on a slot. Lost all ten bucks, just like that! We were afraid our flight home to icy Springfield would be cancelled but we arrived on time and were in bed by 1:00 a.m. Yawn.

And so, to work.