Friday, November 19, 2010

Blaming the Dems

Now, I have no love for most of the Democrat political people but I don't believe in blaming them for everything. This just happened.

A man came in and wanted to place an order to go. He wanted to take the menu back out to the car to study it. First off, I could tell that he really didn't like being around people so I gave him the menu and he started back out. Then he stopped and asked me, "I have a card for a free meal. If I don't use up the $10, do you give me the change.". My reply was simple, "No, it is for a free meal not $10". He shrugged and left and I stuck around as I figured that he might be a handful when he returned.

So, he returned and ordered a burger. Then he asked to have the burger done medium rare. "I am sorry sir, but I cannot cook the burger medium rare. I need to fully cook the burger.".

He looked at me and his eyes seem to change. Kind of 'fire in the eyes' look. I continued, "If I under cook your ground beef and you get sick from it, I am the person responsible. It has been determined that all ground beef needs to be cooked.".

"It's the damned Democrats in Congress doing it to us again.", He blurted out.

With a smile, I returned. "No, it is not the Democrats in congress. It is the Health Department in Bend.".

With that, I smiled and left. I will have to check with Trin who was the cashier to see if he had any more words of wisdom for her.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Wow, the day is only a week away. It seems this year is flying by. Our reservation list is nearly full but every hour still has a spot or two because of cancellations. I spent much of yesterday insuring that the larger reservations were indeed seniors and not just large families. Our goal with this event is to be the family for seniors who don't have family around. I think, for the most part, we are getting that message out.

Now, we are looking for shut ins. So, if you know anyone that might fit in that category or who cannot afford the meal, please let us know. We don't wish anyone to be left out.

I noticed while looking at the reservation list that one couple had paid for their delivery ahead of time. When I quizzed the cashier, he told me that the last time the were delivered to, the delivery man said that he was covering the cost and they wanted to beat him to it. That would be Al, from Exquisite Hardware Floors, who will once again be one of our delivery people. He decided that he was going to cover the cost of all of his deliveries as a special holiday treat from him.

This year, we have decided to donate our tips and extra money to the Family Access Network. This awesome organization helps out families that are struggling with the specific goal to keep the children of that family in school thus assisting them to make their future life better to where they can better fend for themselves and not need such assistance. So, it sort of handles two problems with one hit. We can help out the disadvantaged and help them to help themselves in the future. Our only request is that we want to know specifically where the money will go and not to just the general fund. I have been assured that will happen and since I know both Kristi Miller (the head of FAN) and Cynthia Jorgensen (The FAN advocate), I feel pretty confident that this will be the case.

We have added a new face to our list of entertainers this year also. Dave Reno is a singer songwriter who moved to the area from Alaska and sang to the Band of Brothers a couple of weeks ago. He is a very good man and I look forward to his interaction with the seniors. This year also, we have the return of the Singing Sosas who were our very first entertainers. I have changed one thing, however, in that the singers will stop at the half hour so that we can start to make ready for the next hour or next shift of seniors. In the past, when the entertainment has been very good, the seniors tend to stay longer (and who can blame them) thus making it harder to sit the next group.

This event while being the biggest and hardest to coordinate has become the most fulfilling and truly the biggest blessing of our year.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veterans Day

I recall in the earlier days of the truck stop that I worked every Veterans day. Kim used to have a standing joke about it. Veterans day was the day all of us vets worked so the guys who stayed home and got government jobs could take the day off.

The week started early Monday for me as I met up with the district rep for the Oregon Restaurant Association. We discussed quite a few things such as the minimum wage law and how it adversely affects the workers that it should be meant to help. Forcing restaurants to give wages to the tipped employees in the front of the house means we have to hold back on the wages deserved in the back of the house until we know how much the forced raises affect the business. It ends up giving raises to the highest paid employees forcing the restaurants to hold back on the others simply because they cannot raise their menu prices high enough to compensate for all.

Getting ready for the Band of Brothers was stressful. Veterans day week brings many events and I wanted to insure that all of them were addressed to the group. I put together a stack of notes to try and insure that I didn't miss anything. A singer songwriter out of Alaska named Dave Reno showed up to entertain the vets. He brought his own sound equipment that we decided to use instead of ours. Although the equipment worked well for him, it did not do so well for our voices and I think that allot of what was spoken was not heard by all.

Dave did a great job but some of the vets (maybe because of the sound equip?) did not listen and instead talked which frustrated others who wanted to listen. I apologised to Dave afterwards and he laughed and said that he was used to it. He had a great voice and had a very fitting song called 'Welcome Home'.

Cody Standiford from Greg Walden's office showed up and I let him address the group who had plenty of questions for him. I found out that Cody was the nephew of Brian Standiford who used to have a auto shop out on American Loop. I told him that I used to take all of my auto work out there to him as I knew his shop manager, John Price.

The announcements came and their were so many of them that I could not keep them all in balance and ended up missing two or three. The meeting finished up around 12:30 and I helped reset the room for our regular customers while sitting down for a bite to eat with Judy.

I tried to get a short rest in the afternoon but their were too many things going on and before I knew, it was time for poker. Richard and I had supper in the back room before hand and talked strategy on getting the float trailer ready for the parade on Thursday. Poker started and I really enjoyed the evening. I say that because I won! We stared off with around 22 players. I really enjoy the strategy of poker. Most of it is just sheer luck but there is a certain amount that becomes skill. Knowing where you are on the table, reading others, and deciding when to bet and when to fold. I ended up going home around 9PM.

Tuesday was an equally busy day with Jimmy and I donating a meal to Hospice House in the afternoon. Jimmy had fixed them Turkey and Dressing with Turkey gravy. It went over well and was well received.

I wanted to get Judy's car serviced before she goes over to the coast with Trin later in the week so I called Hyundai up and found to my surprise and delight that Brian Standiford now works there right in front of us. Brian shared with me that John was working for Smolich also just down the street.

We picked up her car and I took a quick rest before picking up Jay and taking him to try outs for the Summit High developmental basketball team. He played for Bend High last year but will be going to Summit and wanted to join with friends there. He had not done well on Monday and I wanted to help encourage him to make the cut that evening. He was the last name on the list at the end of the night so we knew he would have his work cut out for him on Wednesday to make the team.

Wednesday brought cold, snow, and preparations for the float trailer. One of the vets (Red) showed up to help Richard and myself. I brought out one of our dishwashers who is handy to help and while Richard and him put up the sides, Red and I decorated. We soon finished and went back inside to warm up.

A quick lunch and I was off to pick up Jay from school. Getting into Cascade can be such a chore. I could see Jay standing in front of the school so I decided to bypass the line as I had seen many others do and expected to quickly swoop in and pick him up and be gone before the rush. But, as I got passed the first group, I realized my idea was wrong. I could not get in as others were coming out and I was sticking out blocking them. I quickly turned around and then realized that the line was now way back two blocks or so. I turned off a side road and walked in. Jay and I walked back to the car and know I discovered yet another problem. The side road was the road the buses came out of and I was to be stuck behind a line of buses who were attempting to get out on the road that was blocked by cars just trying to leave. Fortunately, Jay knew that the road the other direction lead out through a sub division that later lead back to the road. It was quite a distance but as we ended up back close to the school, I noted that the buses were still trying to get out.

We picked up Jay's basketball shoes and went back to the house for a bit before his first Cascade basketball game. I worked on the car getting it ready for the parade while we waited for the game. I was suppose to help Jim deliver the cakes for the Marine Corp Birthday Ball but Jimmy called me and told me he could handle it himself which I was very grateful for. I got Jay to his game and we watched as his team seemed to handle the St Francis School team with Jay playing very well, scoring, blocking shots, and getting rebounds. We had to pull him right at the beginning of the fourth quarter so that he could get up to Summit for the final day of try outs there. I stayed behind to watch the rest of the game. Without Jay, the other team soon caught up but one of Jay's old buddies from first grade iced the game with two free throws at the end.

Trin and I grabbed a quick supper at Jakes and drove up to Summit to support Jay. He seemed to be doing well but I felt that the coaches pretty much had made most of their decisions and we were not sure if he would make the team or not. Carrie and Trin were very nervous as we waited for the list to be posted. Jay made the B teams list and all were relieved.

So, that brings us to today. The weather is suppose to be cold but clear. I get up in a couple of hours to help put out the flags on Wall Street. Then at nine, vets will muster down at Jakes and we will need to get them shuttled down to Harmen park for the parade that begins at 11. Most of the brothers will be all together in three or four groups. The marines will lead our particular part of the parade with WWII vets making ready for the honor flights to Washington followed by in order: Walking WWII vets, Dottie Dolan (wife of Mike Dolan who first marched down Wall st in 1999 with a flag when the city fathers would not allow a parade) driven by Trin, my car, the float pulled by Richard which will carry all the other Band of Brother members, and ending with Toys for Tots and more Marines.

I think it fitting that in this year of a major milestone for the Marine Corp that we let them have the point and the rear.

Later on in the day, we will feed COVO house which is a halfway house for homeless vets. All in all, it should be a very good day.

Happy Veterans Day!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Multnomah County

I find it very interesting to note that this county controls the entire state. So, how goes Multnomah County, so goes Oregon. Now, that should not be a problem, should it. The problem is the seemingly huge difference in how that county thinks to all of the rest of us.

Time after time, the voters of most of the state vote the opposite of the ones in this county. But, their sheer numbers alone cancel out all of our votes. It has happened in Presidential elections and earlier this year in two tax initiatives. Back in January, Prop 66 and 67 were carried by that county. If you took the combined votes of the rest of us, it would have been defeated.

No stark a contrast has their been in this issue than just this week. Former Gov Kitzhaber defeated Chris Dudley. But, if you look at the numbers outside of Multnomah, Mr. Dudley would have won by over 100,000 votes! Just check out the Oregonians website for the results. Kitzhaber won over all by around 13,ooo votes. But in Multnomah county, he won by over 116,000 thus cancelling out all the rest of the states votes.

Wikipedia has a web page that I find very interesting. Besides the fact that this county is by far the largest per capita in the state, it's political leanings started to change back in the 1980's. Now, it has always been a Democrat controlled county but something major changed back then and the numbers of the control of the Democrats have increased since then to where now, the Democrats outnumber the Republicans by nearly four fold.

Somehow, this needs to be addressed. Otherwise, the wide expanse of this great state will begin to get bitter. Oregonians, outside of this county are for the most part fiercely independent. As the political environment and the thoughts of how to best run our state (and our country for that matter) become more polarized, I wonder just how long it will be before the rest of the state begins to fight back.

Furthermore, now that this county and it's opposite thinking center realizes just how much control they have of us all, how soon will it be before they begin to control us all with their agendas. Or has this already happened. So goes Multomah County, so goes Oregon.

I fear we have lost our voice.