I've been back in California for three days now, with no clear schedule/agenda, and since I find myself in my room with nothing terribly pressing to do, I thought it was as good a time as any to update.
I flew up to Oregon on the 16th (after an hour of sitting in a hot plane, waiting for a mysterious "mechanical problem" to resolve itself), met with the family, and had a nostalgic dinner at Shari's. I was almost in a student-produced play about Shari's in high school. Almost. It was never actually performed. But that's another story.
Spent the first couple of days catching up, visiting at Grammy's, & grading papers. The first night we had the grand "weigh in" -- in which the whole family ends up on the scale, in order (I think) to reconcile our sense of everyone having changed since the last visit, by finding tangible, concrete numbers. Seriously, this isn't the first time. I'd lost weight while teaching PWR, and Mer gained some as she took a weight training class. Always hilarious. But Mer is still trying to steal my clothes.
Monday we headed into Portland for dinner at Old Town Pizza with Dad & Mer's friend, Charlie. Good beer, good pizza, and good conversation. Charlie and Dad got along... perfectly. We had quite a bit of time to kill after dinner, as a concert that Charlie was into didn't actually start till 10 pm. So we wandered around a shady park, window shopped, visited Powell's (yay Gissing novels!), and ate cake in the car (almost like tailgating). The concert, as Mer aptly describes it, was experimental -- Nintendo controllers were used. And a very smelly fog machine (boo).
Tuesday Mom, Mer, & I went hiking on Lookout Mt. Unfortunately Merrie made off with all the photos and is now in Africa, so I won't be able to post any visual evidence till Sept. But it was beautiful -- 360 degree view, easy to see the lay of the land and the mountains: Hood (of course), Adams, Rainier, Jefferson, St. Helen, the Three Sisters, etc... Bugs out in force, but not mosquitoes, luckily. After mountain goating it up to the peak, it was a pretty easy descent. Made it into town almost in time for Mer's appointment. I bought hiking/jogging shoes & comfy flip flops, finally. Then we were off to the DMV for new licenses: Mer because hers was horribly outdated (it still listed her weight as like, 75 pounds). And mine needed an update after expiring on my birthday while I was at Stanford -- so I'd been using the "Valid without photo" license that I requested, in conjunction with my older one. And which always gets me stopped at the airport, bars, etc. In fact, at the Someday Lounge on Monday night, the woman checking ID's disappeared with both my ID's for a full 5-10 minutes, after which I showed her my college ID, bank card, credit cards, etc., -- and her response? "I'll give you the benefit of the doubt." WTF?! Oh, and I'm now an organ donor. On the spot, I said yes. But just for the record: I'm fine with my organs going to others if they can be harvested, but *don't let them take the top layer of my skin, or my corneas* -- it's illogical, but I have an extreme aversion to thinking of my body being literally peeled (even if I can't feel it). So just in case it comes up, organs yes, skin/eyes, no.
Anyway, after the DMV experience, we got iced mochas at Dog River. Best things ever. Especially with whipped cream. Quick stop home for dinner, then cleaning with Mum & stopping at the Mid Valley Market for candy (old times).
Weds. we took a Lost Lake trip -- picnicked on sandwiches from The Good Deli lakeside, and Mum and I hiked up the I think Blueberry Ridge trail -- basically the connector between Lost Lake & the Pacific Crest Trail. Beautiful -- avalanche lilies everywhere. Made me want to do the Pacific Crest (at least parts of it). Mer started out with us, but turned back at some point.
Thursday was another town day -- last minute errands for Mer (including a health clinic stop at which I become increasingly frustrated: people are so wrapped up in their own red tape), and meeting up with Dad & Uncle Scott for a yummy dinner at The Crazy Pepper. They now have veggie tamales (yum), but Mer and I agreed that we should have gone for veggie burritos instead of cheese enchiladas: seriously, gross. Just tortillas, filled with tons of cheddar cheese, topped with sauce, and, you guessed it, MORE CHEESE.
Friday involved more hiking: this time exploring a trail off of Laurence Lake, that connects to the around the mountain trail. Forested, pretty, and still snowed in at points. Which is why we turned back before reaching the trail junction: cold, melting drifts of icy snow that made it difficult to pick up the trail. I was not dressed warmly enough. Ended up huddling on a log, eating sunflower seeds, prunes, and rhubarb pie.
Saturday: Mer & I took a walk along the ditch and ran into a nasty old pitbull mix. Someone had the bright idea to leave an aggressive, unneutered, violence-prone breed dog uncontained, unleashed, and with access to a trail frequented by local folks of all ages. Seriously, before it maims a child, someone needs to get said dog neutered, tethered, and trained. That experience more than anything else makes me want to start carrying a hunting knife or something.
One more trip into town, visit with Dad, last minute errands, and then home for dinner (venison pot roast: which was excellent) & cake. Lindsey visited, and I so loved catching up finally! Now I just need to get back in the habit of writing real letters.
Sunday was busy, with Mer packing, me taking a jog along the ditch for old time's sake, and Mum & I visiting the Punch Bowl briefly for one last dose of Oregon natural beauty (and quiet, and solitude -- things lacking here in the Bay Area). Then we were off to Portland, with a stop at the NY Sub place for dinner (favorite). Had fun at the hotel -- Mum & I swam, I hung out listening to music and eating cake, and Mer visited with Charlie. Unfortunately we didn't sleep well -- too many people in one room, with a noisy dog, and an out of control thermostat.
I had a nice flight home, despite getting up at 3:45 am. Above the clouds, Mt. Hood was peaking out, and I was able to see other neighboring mountains/lakes clearly along our route. Made it back without trouble... unpacked, napped, etc.
Since then, I've been catching up on cleaning, watching Degrassi (thanks to Mer lending me her DVDs of Season 4), and spending time with Andrew. Tuesday we went to Trivia Night at the Rose and Crown bar, and had the chance to catch up with Wisconsin folks who were in the area for a conference. Last night we had an Ikea/ Trader Joe's night -- I now have glass storage jars so that my bread/dough/biscuit creations will *stop* tasting like my cupboards.
That's the update --