First of all, I am sorry I didn't call everyone in Seattle. Wait, scratch that, I'm not really sorry, because I had a good time with the people I did see, and any more may have done me in.
Which is to say, I just got home from a week-long road trip to the Pacific Northwest with Kevin and his dad. We made it to Seaside just before sunset last Saturday. The next day, my mom and I headed to Olympia to visit Becky and her mom while Kevin and his dad took a scenic, coastal route up to Seattle to visit Kevin's sister and her baby daughter.
My mom and I got into Olympia mid-afternoon and headed straight to Becky's mom's house. We spent a comfortable evening and morning in their company (and that of the nice big dog and Becky's cat), eating spaghetti for dinner and looking at photos from Europe. Becky's mom had some shots from Paris that were hilarious (such as the B.M. Pressing sign). Becky also gave me a Mayan abdominal massage, which was really interesting, informative, and good. I would definitely seek this out in the future.
In the morning, we got coffee, thrifted at Value Village, got lunch and more coffee, then headed to North Bend to visit my aunt, her son, and his wife at their new “family compound.” We helped out with some unpacking and grocery shopping for them and enjoyed the tranquil surroundings. Their backyards look out onto grassy acreage, trees, and Mount Si. You can barely see any neighbors. It's completely ridiculous.
The next afternoon, my mom took me into Seattle to spend time with Kevin and his family. I was looking forward to meeting his 7-month-old niece, Zoe, and I'm glad I did: she has the most piercing blue eyes, a beautiful smile, and is a completely adorable baby. I am not really into babies, but I liked Zoe instantly. Kevin was happy to see me and I ended up staying over at their house.
I also heard from the few Seattle friends I had bothered to try to contact, so I got to see people on the 4th of July. First I walked around Green Lake with Christine. In jeans. In 85 degree heat. Smart! Then I walked another mile to Chris's house and met his new girlfriend and had lunch at Chile Pepper in Wallingford, which I always passed by and somehow never tried. I missed out: the cheese enchilada with mole sauce was delightful. Kevin met up with us and talked to Chris and Sara for awhile before joining me at the low-key (but completely jammin', by which I mean they were drunk-ish and making raspberry jam) holiday get-together at Lauren's house, co-hosted by Josie. Lauren finally made good on her threats to raise chickens (three non-roosters per household being allowed within city limits), one of which she named Jonathan Franz-hen after the owner of her house. Kevin had to leave suddenly when my mom, who was in the neighborhood to find some grub and pick me up, noticed a cop and some tow trucks near what she soon realized was Kevin's car and called me to make sure it didn't get towed away. (The no parking signs were put up after we checked, for the record.)
Mom wanted to get out of town before the post-fireworks traffic frenzy, so we did just that. We headed back to Olympia, thinking about maybe seeing a movie, but the times weren't right, so we drove by an old friend's house and stopped in to say hello. It was a nice visit with someone I haven't seen in a long time, someone I looked up to when I was in high school. Then we crashed at Becky's mom's house again, so I got to hang out with Becky some more and talk to her mom in the morning.
Thursday afternoon we drove to Portland and picked up my 6-year-old niece, Kahnya, and took her to see Ratatouille. I enjoyed the movie, and though I think a lot of it went over her head, she enjoyed enough of it that she wanted to help us cook dinner afterwards. After dinner, I took her and her little sister to the neighborhood park. In the morning, we read books in the backyard and waited for Kevin and his dad to appear. Yes, I have been dating the same guy for almost five years and this was the first time he met my Cambodian family. They warmed to him after awhile, once he crawled inside the playhouse with them and let them lay cards on his legs and arms (a strange game I cannot really explain).
I said goodbye to my brother and his wife and kids, as well as my mom, and headed south with Kevin and his dad. We grabbed lunch at a Whole Foods just south of Portland, then stopped only once to pee before making it to Mr. Shasta for the night. Kevin drove like a man on a mission: a mission to get home with one day of weekend left to spare. Kevin's dad loves Mt. Shasta and already knew where he wanted to eat and stay. We took it easy in the morning, taking time to check out the 4th of July street fair on the main drag before driving five hours straight home, stopping for lunch/dinner at Habibi in Fremont. I was so hungry I damn near licked my plate clean, and had dessert, too, but in my defense, it was pretty much the only meal I had yesterday.
Once home, Kevin helped me set up my new bed frame, which is pretty and gets me up off the floor a little more than I anticipated. It's very comfortable. This morning I made it back to my farmers' market and found plenty of goodies to get me through the next few days before we get our CSA share again. By the way, does anyone know what to do with fresh black-eyed peas?