This Isn’t The News You’re Looking For

This is another photo from Missouri. I think in St. Louis near the museum but I’m not sure.

Book is done and to the editor. (This is the new romance. The short story collection is in the void at the moment.)

I know I keep saying this but: for real, by the first weekend in October I should have real news like a cover and a blurb and an overly optimistic release date.

On my way to CA to visit family.

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The Post You’ve Been Waiting For (Final)

Timbers Fan Appreciation Night

Here I am with Vytas who also complimented my earrings and gets a million gold stars. He just joined our team this summer and his full name has about 16 syllables and twice that many vowels. He’s from Lithuania and completely charming. When he arrived he’d never been to the US and every time they did an interview with him he was happily counting off all the things he’d done for the first time since he’d arrived. He is one of my new favorites. The other guy is Wade Hamilton who is the “c” goalkeeper.

Here I am with Zarek Valentin, Darren Mattocks, Fanendo Adi (swoon swoon!) and Taylor Peay. I love all these guys. I wrote Season of Us before Zarek was even on our team. But he used to have a surfer hair thing going and the first time I saw him I said: Zach!

And that concludes my coverage of fan appreciation night.

I had to get yet another crown — the tooth kind. I had the prep two weeks ago and ate half the temporary in less than 24 hours. So for the past two weeks every time I inhaled with my mouth open you had to scrape me off the ceiling because that tooth nubbin was sensitive. I got my tooth installed today and the dentist asked why I didn’t come back to get another one. If I’m going to break them that fast, it didn’t seem worth it. I love my new tooth and eating and drinking hot and cold things without screaming.

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The Post You Have Been Waiting For (part 2)

There’s probably a joke about “the post” in there somewhere but I can’t come up with it right now.

More photos from Timbers Fan Appreciation Night.

Here I am with Amobi Okugo and Nick Besler. Amobi complimented my earrings and gets a million gold stars.

Here’s a picture of me with the MLS Cup. I enjoyed this moment since I doubt I’ll be seeing it again anytime soon. We haven’t won a single away game this season.

If you’re having trouble computing, let me spell it out: the last time we won an away game we won this trophy.

I’ve actually never seen either of these players play. I think this is me with Ben Polk and Gbenga Arokoyo. They both have super cute smiles.

That’s what my seat looks from the field.

I am finalizing my manuscript this month plus I have to get the publicity train in motion so probably posting will about as scanty as usual. But not to worry, I have MORE Timbers fan appreciation night photos to come.

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The Post You All Have Been Waiting For (Part 1)

TIMBERS FAN APPRECIATION NIGHT

Here I am with Diego Valeri (Insert that emoji with the smiley face and heart eyes — can you do that in WP?) and Steven Taylor.

Here I am with Jack Jewsbury and Ben Zemanski who is only half smiling because I’ve had my photo taken with him before.

Here I am a JACK sandwich with Jack Barmby and Jack McInerney (more swooning).

There are tons more photos to come in the next couple of days so as they say in college when you’re in a sorority: get excited for the next few posts.

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Did You Enjoy Olympic Gymnastics?

Yeah, this little pitiful harvest is my tomato crop. There are still tomatoes out there and I might get another handful but this is the best my garden could do. I’m going to need to rethink the garden next year.

Everybody loves gymnastics during the Olympics and then forgets about it until next time.

I am here to make a pitch for NCAA gymnastics. You probably get at least some coverage if you have a decent cable package. My coverage has varied over the years but for the most part I can get SEC and every single team is really good. I also get Pac12 which also has many good teams but for some reason last year Pac12 divided into a bunch of little Pac12 stations which means for TV I generally only get the Oregon State meet.

Not to worry, you can catch a lot of stuff online but in that case you have to watch live and I am not always able to drop everything and watch gymnastics on a Friday afternoon. Or in the case of some of the Pac12 meets, Monday night. I’ve never had any luck getting Big 10. Maybe your cable has it.

NCAA is a different beast from elite (Olympics) and Balance Beam Situation does a good job of explaining why. Here’s my explanation: NCAA is all about the team. They’ll let you individual high scores but the real competition is the team.

NCAA still uses the 10 point scoring system. The routines are shorter and more precise which leads to really tight scoring. Every toe point and landing is critical. In elite the score is divided between difficulty and execution so Simone can have a major mistake and still win a medal.

The other thing fun about NCAA is there is more artistry and originality. And there are so many really great gymnasts. Mark your calendar. The season starts in January.

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A Variety of Updates

I never found the missing gift cards. I completely cleaned my desk at home and my desk at the office. In fact, I keep moving things around in case I missed something the first time. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that someone walked off with them, but it’s more likely that I used them as a quick bookmark or stuck them in with something that I carefully put away. I’m bummed because it’s not like me to be careless with things like that.

I thought the world was moving away from using the phone so much but I kid you not, there have been at least 9 phone calls back and forth to schedule someone to come over and clean our chimney. (Remember when we had squirrels?) They have some sort of internal failure and kept calling us to schedule even after we’d scheduled. They called again today to see if we wanted to have an appointment and I complained about all the calls. They also called to confirm the appointment – which is tomorrow. I’m sure they’ll call to let us know they’re on their way.

Since I’ve been home from vacation I’ve baked two bricks. I don’t know what happened but I have been failing bread baking. I’m going to try again this weekend. I made one pie this summer and it was crust as usual but the pie was yummy – peach, blueberry, blackberry and strawberry. We have a tiny piece left to share tonight and I’m hoping to make another this weekend.

I’m gearing up to start my revisions on romance #2 with the finish date the end of the month. I have one spec fiction story that has been floating out there but I think will finally be coming out soon. I’ll set off fireworks when that happens. I finished a new spec short story that needs a tiny tweak and it’s ready to go out into the world. I have notes on another but didn’t get to it yet. Oh — republishing the collection. Taking longer than I thought. Hopefully by next month.

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Final Kansas City Wrap Up

Let’s wrap this up before summer is over.

We took a bus to Independence to visit the Harry Truman Presidential Library which was phenomenal. I think I’ve confessed before that my U.S. history is weak mostly because I took history in summer school so I could do a special program my senior year where I only went to school half day and I had a job in the afternoon. Summer school history is remedial history. Safe to say I had no trouble passing. I think I was the only student who didn’t go smoke behind the autoshop at the break.

This means my knowledge of presidents is vague and when Bob signed me up for this adventure I didn’t understand what an incredible time period that Truman served in. WWII ending, post WWII and Korean War. This isn’t going to be a history lesson but the library covered Truman from a political and historical perspective as well as his biography. A lot to think about to look back at that time now.

Remember I mentioned we walked around Thomas Hart Benton’s house while we were waiting to get seated at BBQ? He painted the mural at the library. Sorry that’s not the greatest photo.

Bob made sure to point out the replica of the liberty bell at the library. I said: I saw the real liberty bell last year and I wasn’t impressed.

We also went to the Harry Truman historical courtroom. To be honest, we went in there to use the bathroom but then we went into the visitor center and they asked if we were there for the tour and we said yes. The regular tour guide wasn’t there so this other guy took us through and he was great. He had gotten married there and he had some good stories. There was a little art museum in there and I would love to tell you more because the featured artist had an interesting story but Internet Search Tool is failing me and I don’t have all day to write this.

Now that I’m trying to get links, I guess we went to two courthouses? We went to this one, which is called the historical courthouse.

This is what you get when you don’t take notes on vacation, kids.

If you are a history nerd and find yourself in a position to visit Independence, I recommend.

I also recommend taking the bus if you want an authentic experience. Bob and I don’t mind public transportation and this journey kept it real. For the trip home we were waiting to board the bus and the driver helped a clearly intoxicated man in a wheelchair deboard. The man insisted he hadn’t been anywhere near alcohol and the bus driver exits the bus carrying a half empty 40 that he sets down on the sidewalk. I guess I should say half full 40 because a kid that was waiting to board the bus picked it up and put it in his backpack.

The last place we visited before we went to the airport was the American Jazz Museum (of course, if you know Bob) and it was also super interesting. They have so much historical footage of early jazz acts plus lots of information on performers and jazz clubs.

I’ll take notes next time so I have better stories to tell.

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TWENTY YEARS

[UPDATE: OOPS. Someone on our staff scheduled a post and didn’t preview and had the photo dimensions reversed. The management at You’re Doing It Wrong apologizes for any inconvenience.]

Twenty years ago today we got married.

We are celebrating by returning to the scene of the crime for a nice dinner. In the evening there will be live music followed by a screening of Star Wars under the stars.

This afternoon I put something in the outdoor fridge. It looked like a pitcher of iced tea exploded out there. I got some sudsy water and baking soda and a sponge and took everything apart and scrubbed it clean.

Later, when Bob got home I casually asked him if there was an iced tea explosion in the outside fridge. He said he’d pulled the pitcher out too quickly but that he thought he’d cleaned it up.

I stood there with my mouth working open and closed but no sound coming out. I finally said, “I can’t imagine how you could think that was cleaned up.”

And we laughed. Twenty years ago that would have been a huge fight.

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Timbers Away, Kansas City Version

This is part 3 in our series of Timbers away adventures. When we were in KC someone asked if we were going to all the away games. I thought that was a crazy question but they met someone at the match who was doing that very thing. We try to do one away game a year. We’re limited on when we can go so it depends on how the schedule lines up. We’re still hoping to go to Chicago, New York and Toronto.

If any MLS fans or Timbers fans find this and are wondering about away matches, we had a great time in Philadelphia and Montreal and highly recommend.

We were told that the Timbers Army were invited to tailgate with the KC Cauldron but it was raining so that plan was scrapped and instead we were invited to hangout in their special clubhouse at the stadium. The stadium is in Kansas and is way the hell out there. You need a car to get out there. Bob found a bus that ran once an hour. I didn’t want to take a bus that runs once an hour.

The stadium is super nice. The KC fans were 99% super nice. We lost the match but we had a fantastic time.

After the match we walked over to Nebraska Furniture Mart which is gigantic (according to the website 450,000 sq ft) and has a See’s Candy inside. We just wanted to see what it was like. There’s a big outlet mall out there, too, and we walked around there. Then we had barbecue and custard and got a ride back to the hotel. That concludes the Timbers part of our trip.

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Kansas City Sports

The rest of my vacation coverage is going to be spotty since other than the giant plates of meat I ate, it’s already a blur.

This photo reminds me that during our time in MO I saw more empty parking spaces than I’ve ever seen in my life. Everywhere you looked there was some massive parking lot, often with zero cars in it. Or just a few. Or a fence around it because dang it, just because there are parking places doesn’t mean you can put your car there.

If only there were a way to export parking places.

My note about the title is that I would say 4 out of every 5 people you see are wearing some sort of Kansas City team attire. Those Missouri folks love their sports teams.

Our hotel was downtown and new with amazing service. The room was terrific except it was like a meat locker. Even Bob was cold. I turned the fan down. I turned the thermostat up. I was afraid to turn it off because that seemed like something that could backfire.

I hated to do it but I asked about it at the desk. They were super nice and they said they adjusted something but we eventually broke down and turned it off. Also the A/C unit had a bright blue light on it. I am relaxed about light sources when I sleep and even I was astonished that no one had put tape over it or carved it out of the unit. Since I already complained about the A/C and the staff was so attentive, I didn’t want to ask about the blue light.

Also, my tea was never hot enough. I didn’t have a decent cup of tea the entire trip. I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence or if it’s because it’s 1000 degrees there and they don’t like their hot drink truly hot.

Isn’t that great how I these are the details of the trip I remember?

Our first night we were ready to go check out the BBQ but couldn’t find anything within walking distance of the hotel. The desk clerk was kind enough to recommend a restaurant that was in walking distance but it was a chain and we have one in Portland and it’s one of those places that thinks it can disguise the fact that they have mediocre food by having a giant menu.

I wasn’t about to waste a vacation meal on that place so we broke down and tried a ride sharing app. The desk clerk understood our change of plans and was happy to help us figure out which bbq to try.

I forgot to mention earlier but we took the train from St. Louis to KC. It was a pleasant way to travel but it was a tad disappointing in terms of scenery. Most of the time the train is in its own little trench so we saw lots of green trees and only a few nice views. But mostly I read my book. I read 4 books on vacation.

Getting back to dinner, we’d been traveling all day so we were hangry by the time our ride dropped us off at Q39. It was 4:30 and the line was going out the door. We had to wait in line to put our names on the list. We never would have done it except we had no car so we put our names in and then went for a walk and found Thomas Hart Benson’s house (artist) which was closed but we could walk around it and the neighborhood was pretty.

The food ended up being amazing. Super amazing. We both ordered platters where you try different things and tried everything. It turns out I can eat a lot when I’m motivated.

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