I'm back from my annual pilgrimage to beautiful Oregon! Which, as always, was beautiful, though hotter than normal. 100°F to begin with. We went up for Dear Old Dad's 75th birthday celebration on the 4th of July, which began with a Portland/DOD-specific scavenger hunt with 75 clues! My aunt and uncle drove myself, McDiva, and 7-year-old Nephew all over town looking for Voodoo Donut boxes, electric cars (that was a gimme), my sister's memorial bench, and "proof that Portland is keeping it weird". McDiva had refused to participate, but when she saw the clue list, she offered to be our official team photographer. Then the party got underway at a public park, under a large shady awning. My aunties brought lovely pies and cobblers made with home grown berries — including Aunt Nellie's Blackberry Pudding, an old family recipe famous for including the ingredient "butter the size of an egg". Nummy.
It was lovely seeing the whole extended family, and the party would have been practically perfect, except for the dead body. I mentioned the heat, right? An older fellow (my age, probably) who was also enjoying the park with his girlfriend had decided to take a nap in another shady area, and...didn't wake up. Some of the people at our gathering were unaware of all this, as it was discovered later in the afternoon. But the family doctor and his brother were in the thick of resuscitation attempts, and very shaken. Then Nephew, who had been playing hard all afternoon, and not necessarily keeping out of the sun, got a touch of heat exhaustion, though he rebounded within a few hours. Heat: I'm against it.
After all that, the rest of the week was more typical. We met up with friends and family. McDiva did a hefty amount of thrift shopping, her favorite activity. Many of the guys went for extended bike rides. We hiked up city hills and to Columbia River Gorge waterfalls. We ate amazing food, for which Portland is becoming justly famous. At one place, I ate my excellent broccoli rabe/pepper sandwich at a picnic table while being misted like the vegetable display at a fancy grocery. Oh, and she and MiAmor both got new computers. Even the PDX cuckoo clock has "tax free shopping" as one of the highlights of visiting Portland, along with craft beers, and funny beards.
McDiva took a train ride up to Olympia, Washington to visit one of her friends, and when she got back DOD took her and Nephew on a camping trip! I'm sorry to say, it was probably her first one, with tents and sleeping bags and all. We've done plenty of cabin stays, but not much in plein air.
Once I got back, my mind turned to thoughts of Europe:
I bought our plane tickets! It's happening! I was hoping to make London our first stop, but due to the vagaries of airfares, it was less expensive to go to Paris for a week to start. Whee! I'm taking McDiva, who has never been Over There, and then we will meet MiAmor and the rest of the family in Rome for the Wedding Week, and the 3rd week will be a combo of Venice and Florence, from which we will fly home. Whee: it bears repeating.
Do any of you have apartment recommendations for Paris, Rome, or Florence? I think we're all set in Venice, where the bride has booked a palazzo. *sighs dreamily*
Give me your tips! Like, for instance, would it be inadvisable to take the Chunnel to GB for a day (or two) trip? And let me know if you might be available to meet up at one of those points in October!
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