I haven't used Friendster very much, partly because I always feel like an outcast if I compare my friend count to Justin's:
Juliet: 3 Justin: 24
Okay, most of Justin's friends are single and probably use Friendster for whatever its intended purpose is, while most of my friends (from Seattle, anyway) are married and have kids and all the friends they need.
But now my friend count is 4, because I looked up one of my friends from Seattle whom I haven't seen in several years, and she Friendstered (!?) me back! Her name is Michele, and she is one of those beautiful people with fabulous taste in music and cats and books, one of those people who makes you say, "I don't just want to be friends with her--I want to be her!" Due to the limitations of physics and biology, and no doubt Justin's objections, I cannot actually be Michele. But now I can bask in the radiance of her coolness, which will enrich my life beyond words. (Especially when Justin is still in Denver. Waah.)
Almost forgot, there are some cute family pictures from our earlier trip to Seattle.
Anne, if you read this, you'll be glad to know that the Monster Bird From Hell is still kicking. He really wants to see you! He's just waiting for you to take a shower! Pretty bird bird bird bird....MEH HEH HEH HEH!
Ronel is a big seafood fan, and a purist. When we go out, he wants steamed clams or crab, with no embellishment. This was almost too much for him, although most of that's actually the steamer basket.
This is what Justin and I would look like if we had a baby, but we don't. We're just borrowing my step-niece Anna for a minute.
Four generations of Crawfords.
My dad and nephew, smartly and somberly dressed.
Almost time to bid farewell to my grandparents' house, but we still got to witness one more rainbow over the lake (two, actually!).
Our carless days are at an end, at least for now. We now own a Jeep. Well, technically it's just me who owns it, until we get it registered in California (very long story with the title transfer, but it always is).
What happened was this: My grandparents both stopped driving in a period of a few months, my grandmother because her eyesight declined, my grandfather because of his stroke. They each had cars, and nobody was in a hurry to do anything with them. This was nice for us, because we had something to drive when we visited Seattle. My grandmother eventually sold her car to my sister's boyfriend.
When we decided to drive to Peter's wedding at Lake Tahoe with Dad and Sidnee, we had to decide how to arrange transportation. It was a trip that had to be done in two cars, because it's hard to fit four people, a wheelchair, and baggage into Dad's car, and, well, road trips with Sidnee can be trying. The plan initially was to take both their cars. But then they'd have to drive separately back to Seattle, or have one or both of us go back with them and fly back to Berkeley, which would be rather inefficient seeing as Tahoe is only three hours from Berkeley.
And sometimes we think it would be really nice to have a car. Not to drive around here so much--even when it comes to buying groceries, carrying them home from Berkeley Bowl isn't nearly as unpleasant as trying to park there--but to get away. Go camping and stuff. Leave this crazy crowded place for huge open empty spaces.
So we bought Grandpa's Jeep. I, who have always hated SUVs, own an SUV.
I am trying to justify it to myself as follows:
It is a Jeep Cherokee Sport, the smallest of the Jeeps. It's still dwarfed by other SUVs in the drive-thru line at In-N-Out or parked next to Escalades at uber-yuppie University Village (where I could barely get back into my car, despite having parked properly. Damn Escalades).
It gets about 20 mpg on the highway. Not great, but not terrible.
We will Use It For Its Intended Purpose, i.e. on off-road adventures. Not that we're quite ready for that, as our desert blowout proved. But we have gotten it dirty, and will continue to do so.
We don't commute with it. (Good thing, since it overheats like crazy in traffic.)
It is not the sort of SUV that screams conspicuous consumerism. (That would certainly have been anathema to my thrifty Scotch grandfather, who after all kept it for more than a decade.)
And darn it, it's fun to drive. It doesn't feel big (in fact, I don't think it's much longer than my old Honda, since I've managed to parallel park it, and most of you know what an accomplishment that is), and it puts me just a little higher than I would be in a car but not so much I feel like I'm obnoxious, and it goes on dirt roads and stuff, and, and...it's neat.
It's been a busy summer. Here is what's happened since I last posted:
Justin and I went to Seattle for my grandfather's memorial service in July and spent our time there hanging out with my family. Ronel really likes having an uncle around.
While in Seattle, we bought Civilization III, which consumed our lives for the rest of the month. It's a great game. I don't know how people play it and have real jobs.
The first day of August, we flew to Seattle and spent about a week there. I got to see several friends, who come to think of it all read the blog occasionally: Anne, Deanna and Eric (and Alexandra, who's not so precocious that she's reading quite yet), and Heidi, Chris, and Madeline, who happened to be visiting Seattle at the same time. Grandma seemed to be doing a lot better.
We drove in a quasi-caravan in my grandfather's Jeep (that's another entry in itself) to Portland, where Justin finally got to experience Powell's! and onward through wine country (August Cellars, great Pinot Gris) to the coast. We spent the night at the Inn at Spanish Head in Lincoln City, where I took some great pictures. We spent the next night at Roseburg, then drove to Crater Lake (Justin and I just kind of buzzed by) and stayed two nights in Ashland for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, where we saw Love's Labor's Lost and Twelfth Night. I like the latter more as a play, but LLL was a superior production, I think. (We saw Twelfth Night at Ashland a few years ago, and that production was tough to beat.)
After that, we continued to Lake Tahoe for the festivities surrounding my cousin Peter's wedding. Unfortunately, we missed the kickoff barbecue, but we had a great time at the rehearsal dinner and wedding. I was six when Peter was born, and it's kind of weird my little cousin (tall little cousin!) is married. Though my reaction is not quite as strong as my sister's when she found out he had a girlfriend a couple of Christmases ago, and asked him all sorts of questions, including whether they'd had sex. In front of our grandmother. Oy.
Justin and I had planned another long western Americana trip...So the day after the wedding we drove to Reno and northwards around Pyramid Lake, eventually taking dirt roads in the near-desert of northwestern Nevada. On one such road, about ten miles from the nearest town of any sort, we had a dramatic tire blowout. Fortunately, we had a spare tire, a jack, and a copy of Auto Repair for Dummies to tell us how to use them, although we were saved a lot of time by two kind people who stopped for us (and we were fortunate that anyone at all was on that road). A retired archaeologist with a dog named Petroglyph lent us a spinner wrench for the lug nuts and coached Justin (who did his best to demonstrate his manliness; I mostly watched and fetched drinking water) in changing the tire, and another fellow in a pickup followed us back to the paved road. We had the choice of driving to the nearest town--Gerlach, if you've got a map handy--and probably paying the crazy gas attendant we'd already encountered through the nose for whatever tire was available, or driving very cautiously another 80 miles to Reno and hoping we'd make it on the little spare tire. We chose the latter, and survived. Now the Jeep has new tires (the remaining old ones were in okay condition but, well, old) and a full-sized spare, because now we know better.
We spent a full day in Reno at an absurdly inexpensive casino-hotel recovering from that adventure and eating lots of In-N-Out burgers. From there we decided to come home and perhaps limit our travels to northern California for the time being. There is a lot to do here, too.
Only now Justin is driving out to Denver to visit John again. Oh well. I miss him more than I did the last time he was gone--or I'm worried about him driving alone, although he just called from outside Cheyenne and he's fine--but the cats are glad to have me to themselves. Only they have to share me with Civ.