Sunday’s Theme Music

Sunday arrived like a Monday morning, on time and as expected. Cool and smoky.

Today is August 29, 2021. This is it. If you vowed to do things during August — clean cupboards, fly to the moon, bake a cake for a friend, write a novel — you better find the go button.

Sunrise settled its glowing blanket over our dried out brown and green valley at 6:33 AM. Sunset will be 7:49 PM. Our high temperature will be in the mid nineties.

We have a few warnings for you today for Jackson County, Oregon, including Ashland. Excessive heat warning, so don’t go outside. COVID-19 is still raging out here, climbing to levels that bring the national news services to the area to write stories about how bad it is in hospitals, so don’t go anywhere without your mask. Also, the air is rated unhealthy to extremely unhealthy so don’t go outside unless you must. Masking is suggested. Also, don’t exert yourself too much while you’re out there. A red flag warning has been issued for fires, so you know, be careful and don’t use power tools outside. Finally, there’s a drought still underway, so don’t waste water. Other than these stipulations and limitations, feel free to go nuts.

My mind started the morning with pieces of dreams. Most of them evaporated, leaving me to look at fragments and wonder what was going on there, sort of like we do when ancient ruins or old family photographs are found. Then, I thought about “Friends”. Have you heard about this? It was a television show about a gang of people – a brother and sister, and, well, their friends and room mates, and work and relationship entanglements presented in a humorous way. I believe it’s called a ‘sitcom’. On NBC in the states for a while. It’s also been on reruns sometimes after it went out of production. Anyway, I was thinking about the friends’ parents. Liked how the parents were written into their lives and relationships, and the actors who played the parents, but I was thinking mostly about Chandler’s father, played by Kathleen Turner.

Whew. Got that out of my system. I then checked out the landscape, thought about the situation, and concluded, Jesus, get me out of here. That prompted the Gospel song turned rock hit, “Jesus Is Just Alright” to kick off in the morning’s mental music stream. After re-acquainting myself with the DC Talk version and the Byrd’s version, I went back to the Doobie Brothers and pulled a recording of a live version off the net. The song doesn’t have many words. You can learn them quickly, I think. So feel free to sing along.

Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask as necessary, get the vax, and be careful out there. Here’s the music. You listen while I go get my starter fluid, aka, coffee. Also need to turn on the air purifier because it smells like smoke in here. Cheers

Modern Complaints

Time for a rant. It’s been a while, right? I like to think of myself as Old Faithful, bursting forth with new complaints on a predictable schedule.

I studied my to-do list this morning.

Call Dad.

Schedule Mazda for service.

File income taxes.

Get coronavirus vaccine.

Buy condolence card.

I’d filed the income taxes so I marked that off. The condolence card needed to wait until I went out later.

Dad was back in the hospital. I decided to put that off to do other things that required less exertion.

I haven’t had our Mazda serviced in a year. Putting it in context, though, in the period between March 2020 and March 2021, we put about twelve hundred miles on the odometer. No warning lights are illuminated. I figured that as long as the car had oil and was functioning, I wasn’t going to rest taking it to a dealership or service station for routine stuff. This is also my philosophy for my body.

Then an email arrived from Mazda.

LET US TREAT YOUR MAZDA.We warmly invite you to enjoy complimentary Mazda service. Our factory-trained technicians are looking forward to providing the Full Circle Service and unmatched experience you deserve.Take advantage of this special, limited-time offer, available until April 30th, 2021. Contact us for details about this exclusive offer and schedule your appointment today.
THIS COMPLIMENTARY MAZDA SERVICE OFFER1 INCLUDES:Oil change & tire rotationEnhanced vehicle cleaning service*Take the wheel of a complimentary loaner Mazda while we perform maintenance on your vehicleFull Circle Inspection and vehicle health report card1 Service up to a $75 value. Offer valid for redemption by qualifying VINs at participating Dealers. Not transferable. Limit one (1) complimentary service offer. No cash value. Offer period is March 1, 2021 – April 30, 2021. Contact participating dealer for complete details.

That’s a pretty good deal. As I had things on the schedule (or so I told myself), I tagged the email for later action.

Right now, I felt the COVID-19 vaccination was a higher priority. I’m 64 and lack the underlying conditions that render me a higher priority. That means I’m not eligible for the vaccination yet. I’m retired military member, sometimes called ‘a vet’. The Military Times just had an article informing us that all vets could get the vaccine at local VA facilities. Cool beans, right? That was followed up by a local television channel with a story telling us the same thing. Okay, I would call and request an appointment at my local VA facility in White City.

I’d bookmarked the news article and brought it up now.

“Even veterans who are not currently enrolled, we want you to call that number and we will do our best to get you enrolled so you can have access to the vaccine.” Christina Cellura who is the Chief of Staff for White City SORCC said. 

To make an appointment, call 541-826-2111 extension 4440.’

I called the number and waited for the moment they told me to enter an extension. It didn’t come.

After listening to a laborious list of options, I selected 6 for COVID-19 information. Thus began a long, breathless recording about what I can and could do and how the VA would help. About two thirds of the way through, it said, ‘To make an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccination, call 541-826-2111 extension 4440.’

I looked at the number I’d dialed, confirming, that’s the number I dialed. Hanging up, I repeated the entire process, verifying that the number I’d dialed was telling me to call the number I’d dialed to make an appointment.

It seemed like either a cruel joke or terrible, circular logic.

Disppointed with that, I went to the Mazda email. I clicked on the link provided, as directed. I have an account there — I always take my car there, like a good soldier — so all my information was populated. I kept waiting for them to tell me about the deal, or to inform me that I wasn’t eligible.

They didn’t mention the deal.

Dismayed, I confirmed the appointment. Maybe they’d mention the deal in the confirming email.


I sighed.

Next on the list would be to call Dad.

The way things were going, I wasn’t ready to take the chance.

The Night Of

Nine PM was approaching. My wife and I were focused on a German television show, “The Nordic Murders”, depending on the captioning to understand the language. An entertaining show, we were commenting on the clothing and differences from American television while guessing motives. Two of the house’s three cats slumbered on the floor.

A sudden hard thumping from under the house drew our attention. Grabbing the remote, I froze the screen. “Under the house,” I said. “The skunk.”

We rushed the window and drew up the blinds. The night was dark. Two lights with sensors had been installed outside for events like these. They remained unlit.

The room fell silent. I moved toward the room’s doorway and began speaking, looking back as I did. Behind my wife, on the room’s other side, I saw the outside lights go on. Pointing, I called, “Lights, lights,” and strode toward the window.

My wife leaned over and looked out. “Something ran out. It headed toward the front door.”

I pivoted, hurrying toward the front. “Come on.” As I went, I detoured left. “Flashlight, wait.” My wife kept on to the door. As I joined her, I flicked on the outside light. She unlocked the door and opened it, saying as she did, “It must have been two skunks because I don’t — “

Skunk smell slammed me in the face. Back-pedaling, I shouted, “Skunk, skunk, close the door, close the door.” My wife whipped it close.

We stood there, staring at one another as the skunk’s spray wafted around us. “Get the air purifier,” my wife ordered. “Hurry, hurry.”

As I returned with the air purifier from the other room, she turned on the bathroom fan. “Do you think the purifier will help? Should we turn on the furnace fan?”

The smell was rising and engulfing us. “No, let’s just use the room exhaust fans and the purifier.” I went around turning them on.

A few tense hours were endured as the scent rose and fell. The purifier labored through the night. Morning brought relatively skunk-free air.

Outside, I put the board back in place. It’s there mostly to make noise when the skunk goes in and out to alert us about her activity. We speculated from what we’ve read and learned that something had gone under the house and threatened the skunk. She retaliated. But what really happened that night, we’ll never know.

Blue Jeans

Wrangler, Lee,

Lucky Brands,

and more than I can say

they’ve wrestled with my waist,

swathing my legs in new



Bell-bottomed, flared legged,

low-riders, relaxed fit.

Button up, zip down,



Straight legs and boot cut,

now they try to move me new ways

with stretchable materials

and flattering stays.

What would I be without my jeans

defining my blue ass

and stretching tight

at the seams?



Two Beefs

I know these are probably just me, but it’s a Monday and I feel the need to spleen.

Rant #1.

People are in line buying something, somewhere, and then wait until the cashier tells them the final before finding their wallet/billfold, money, whatev, to pay. Yes, I am an impatient person, but, really? Are you just doing that to annoy me? If I was a more paranoid person, say at the Donald J. Trump level, I’d suspect that there’s a secret society out there that are doing it just to frustrate me.

Rant #2.

Speaking of being impatient, I’m the second, third, fourth car in line, whatev, when we’re stopped at a red light. The signal changes to green but one of the preceding cars recognizes the light change so slowly, and then accelerates at a rate that would make molasses oozing out of a tree in winter look fast, that the light changes again before I can enter the intersection. Makes me want to shake my fist and shout, “Damn you.” Yeah, I know, it’s completely irrational, adding about ninety seconds to my commute. Hey, it’s a rant, you know?

What ’bout the rest of you? Any rants that you’d like to share? And don’t rant about the guy ranting on a blog post. I’ve read that one before.

Low Priority

Snark time.

We receive our credit card statement by old-fashioned (in this era – it was modern in another time, I swear) snail mail. A personal check is written to cover our charges, and then it’s mailed back, with a stamp. Each month, the credit card company then sends me an email, verifying that the payment has been received and the bill is paid. They also tell me, “Next time, quickly and easily pay your bill using any checking, money market, or savings account – at home or on the go – ”

Yes, because one BIG priority in my life is to PAY MY CREDIT CARD BILL MORE QUICKLY. Because that benefits me…how?

I think we know who benefits from paying my bill by an e-process or app more quickly, and it ain’t me and my wife.

The Perverse Inverse Law of Hurrying

Have you ever noticed..?

You’re trying to hurry. You’re eager to get started or — shudder — you’re running late. Perhaps you overslept or ignored the alarm clock, or kept playing with your pet (and that’s not a euphemism). Maybe you can blame it on your computer – “Did you see today’s headlines?” – “I was this close to a new high score.” 

Whatever the reason, cause, or excuse, do you see how it seems to cause everything to automatically go against your efforts to be quick? Lines form, traffic jams, the computer takes it time applying a gajillion updates, and the people ahead of you can’t find their credit card — debit card — cash — checkbook.

Your mind gets in on it. Suddenly you remember, Damn it, I forgot my list,” and you need to retrace your steps, or you can’t find your keys/glasses/shoes —

Or the toilet stops up, and the water rises —

Or a car’s blocking your vehicle in.

It’s enough to make one scream.

The Disconnect

He walked through the neighborhoods of circa 1940 and 1950 bungalows and craftsman houses. The newer neighborhoods were ranches built in the 1960s and 1970s, larger houses with smaller yards.

Throughout were large oak, sycamore, and maple trees, along with cars and RVs filled with belongings parked up against the curbs. Some cars had people sleeping inside. Others had windows or doors open with people lounging by their vehicles, smoking cigarettes, talking to others, listening to music, or reading books.

Churches occupied every third block, churches with an acre or more of vast asphalt for parking with signs stating, “Church Use Only. All Others Will Be Towed.” 

Somehow, seeing those cars and RVs of homeless parked on the streets and the vast empty church parking lots, he thought there was a disconnect, but he just couldn’t connect it.

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