Once, twice, three times…

Getting myself up and out of the house can be a challenge, but I am making a concerted effort to do more things, have more fun, and see more people. This week has really been a busy one!

Thursday: Blazer Game

David and I went to a Blazer game on Thursday night, which was particularly impressive since it was a work day. It was a celebration of sorts; my mammogram on Monday had been “abnormal,” and I had to have a retake Thursday morning. (I freaked out all Wednesday night, though I knew that, in all likelihood, it would be fine.) The follow-up mammogram was perfectly clear, so there is nothing to worry about, but it was certainly a relief! The Blazers beat the Phoenix Suns with an excellent fourth quarter effort, which was the icing on the cake.


Friday: Dinner with Friends

Friday was Ina’s dad’s birthday, so we donned our hats in true “Franz style” and went out to eat German food in his honor. I had Otto and Anita’s famous dill pickle soup and schnitzel with spaetzle, and David shared some of his maultaschen. We heard stories about Ina and Gerhard growing up, looked at photos of Bayern in a handy coffee-table book, and were all impressed by Ina’s ability to go from convincing tears to raucous laughter in a split second. An excellent time was had by all.

Saturday: PDX Night Out with Quinland

Tonight, I was nicely tucked in bed reading when Q crawled in beside me with the plea, “Can we do something? I want to do something.” I was unconvinced. He proposed a movie and piqued my interest with The Imitation Game, which stars my very-favorite Keira Knightley along with the ever-charming Benedict Cumberbatch. I started to waver. Then he used the big guns on me and threw in a trip to Salt & Straw, Portland’s home of amazing ice cream. The sweats came off, and we were out the door in about 10 minutes. (I tasted the Thai Peanut Butter Cup, but fell back on my current favorite, Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper. Yum.)

As it turned out, we never made it to the movie. SInce parking can be terribly hard to find, we parked at my office downtown and took the streetcar up to NW Portland. The Salt & Straw line was long, of course, so instead of racing to the theater, we decided on a more leisurely path. We walked through Northwest all the way to Powell’s, but because I am not buying books this year, we mostly window-shopped. We then took the streetcar back to my office and came home. It is such a treat to have a date night like that with my kiddo.

It’s hard to believe that this is the least busy weekend I am going to have in February. Next weekend I have to pick up all the troop’s cookies on Saturday and chaperone Quinland at a youth conference on Sunday; the weekend after that, I am going on a scrapbooking retreat, to a baby shower, and to a couple of cookie booths; and the following weekend we are headed out to a beach weekend with the Scouts. Whew! Wish me luck!

Meeting Junie B. Jones

I got to share one of my past adventures the other day; now, here’s a blast from the past for Q.

Junie B Jones Stupid Smelly Bus

In 2004, the summer before she turned six, Quinland visited David’s mom and sister in Arizona all on her own. That was the inaugural year of the June B. Jones Stupid Smelly Bus Tour, and for an almost-kindergartner like Quinland, meeting Junie B. was an exciting prospect.

Junie B Jones performance stage

The actress who played Junie B. gave a live theatrical performance and opened her Big Pink Trunk of Junk, showing the kids all sorts of recognizable things from her books, like her stuffed elephant and the floaty ball from the toilet.

June B Jones Pink Trunk

Afterwards, Quinland got an awesome T-shirt and a chance to meet the actress who played  Junie B. Jones herself.

Junie B Jones T-shirt

There was a long line to meet the actress who played Junie B., but Quinland waited patiently. (Far more patiently than she waited for John and Sherry from Young House Love when they came to Portland!)

Junie B Jones

Afterwards, the actress who played Junie B. pointed Q to where Barbara Park, the author, was signing autographs.

June B Jones with Q Junie B Jones author Barbara Park 

Then Q and Grammelie Groo cuddled up to read her new book.

Junie B Jones Q reading with Gramma

I love these pics of Quinland out by the bus. In the first one, she looks so excited, and in the second, she looks like one tough cookie. (That one is currently my desktop wallpaper at work.)

Junie B Jones Q with cheesy grin Junie B Jones Q by bus

As a sad footnote to the story, this was the T-shirt Quinland was wearing when she fell off a bunk bed a couple of months later and broke her arm horribly. She had no pulse in her arm, so she required immediate surgery… and they had to cut the shirt off of her. We did save a piece as a reminder of her fun day, but she was sooo disappointed!

The queen of summer

‘Cause we keep it together the better the weather,
We love it that way…

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Last summer, when we were in Europe, I realized how much I miss having summers off. Not (just) because of the whole not-working action, but because my family is off in the summer – and I love those guys.

For seventeen years, David and I had summers off together. Most of that time, it was because we were both either students or teachers or one of each. Occasionally, we were between jobs, between states, or between countries. Whatever the reason, we had that time together.

David is different in the summer. During the school year, he is so focused on school – and playing board games to alleviate the stress of school – that he rarely has time to just relax and be himself. In the summer, he is that person… and I really like that person.

Quinland marveled over this repeatedly in Europe. David was so friendly, so chatty with strangers, so energetic, so willing to do hikes and bike rides and sea kayaking, so eager to sightsee and go to museums, so FUN. (We took to calling this aspect of him “Euro Dad.”) But really and truly, I know that David from all the summers we spent together doing all those things. It was so incredible to get to have that experience again after almost 10 years without it.

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So, this year, I decided I was going to get at least a taste of it. We took a vacation – a real vacation – and went on a road trip down through Oregon, Northern California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado, stopping at National Parks and State Parks along the way. D and Q went for three weeks; I couldn’t get that much time off, but I went for two full weeks. Camping, driving, visiting friends and relatives, hiking, just hanging out – it was like having a summer again.

Oh, I can’t forget to add this: Crater Lake is beautiful. Why had I never managed to get there before?