From the Blog

Family Visit: Kicking Our Own Asses

So a quick pop in to just tell you about the weekend we had, and why I’m now a week behind for NaNoWriMo. It was Dave’s 40th 29th birthday AND my cutie pie sister came for a visit this weekend. So, jam packed, crazy weekend.

I left earlyish on Wednesday, and drove from Astoria to Portland to pick up my sister. It was cold. It was the first day I saw real, actual frost. As I climbed the hills of the coast range, the valleys and meadows were glittering with frost. And as the sun peeked through the mountains, fog steamed up the low lying areas and coiled around tree tops. It was one of those solitary and blissful moments that made me thankful, again, to live in such a beautiful place. Even on the coldest day we’ve had so far.

Her flight was late, but I amused myself in the big box stores near the airport. I now shop so infrequently at those giant stores, I sort of forgot what city I was in. I shopped at Ikea a lot when I first moved to Portland, but I was introduced to Ikea in Los Angeles. And somehow, with my sister flying in from California, I had a few disorienting moments where it slipped my mind what state I was in. (I once saw a lady trying to shoplift in Ikea in Burbank, California. It was bizarre.)

When her flight finally came in, I scooped her up and took her to lunch at Franks Noodle House on NE Broadway. Have you been? Go. Go now. Hand pulled noodles! They’re fricken good!

On the drive back from Portland to Astoria, the weather socked in and it started to rain. Over the course of just a few miles, we lost the sun and the rain started to dump on route 30. My sister goes for months without seeing rain in southern California, so this was a novelty for her.

While in Astoria, we took her to Coffee Girl and walked along the river.

There are colonies of kitties that live along the river walk. Sometimes they don’t run away.

We saw these noisy guys, too.

We only had a day in Astoria to show my sister around, so we did a quick circuit through town with stops at Lunar Boy, Cargo, Vintage Hardware and Fort George. Plus, we walked about three miles, which we needed, because our diet went into “vacation mode” the moment she arrived.

After two days in Astoria, we drove to Portland for the weekend. But first! We finally, finally, finally got to stop at Camp 18 for breakfast. We’ve been living in Astoria for almost half a year and we had yet to go to Camp 18. Having my sister in town was the perfect opportunity.

You see that log holding up the roof? The tree was 25 tons when they cut it down.

We had a lovely breakfast then walked around the grounds. Dave was keen on discovering the mythical elephant he heard lives in these woods.

I have a fondness for wood sculptures. I do not know whence it came.

Thar be the elephant. I know nothing more about it, besides that it lives in the woods and it is mystical. Like the Sasquatch and the unicorns.

I was happy to go for a walk in the woods, especially after the enormous food we had eaten, and especially to see the last of the colorful leaves. I even liked that it was chilly out and we could almost see our breath. And I liked that it always smells so good in the woods. It smells like home.

We walked through the rusting graveyard of logging equipment.

And then onward to the Rose City. We checked into our hotel and relaxed for a bit. Then headed off to a favorite bar for a five hour session for Dave’s birthday. We were there when it opened, and we were there when it closed.

The rest of the weekend was a blur. A lovely long brunch at Trader Vic’s. A quick stop downtown for a winter hat and a new pair of jeans. I don’t know if you know this, but there are no Macy’s in Astoria, Oregon. We popped into Hall of Records and had a nice long beer with our friends Justin and Katie. Then another birthday party and then broom ball.

Broom ball?

Ice, helmets, street shoes. You have to sign a waiver in order to play.

We watched and cheered our friends on from the safety of the sidelines. They had plenty of players and we had plenty of reasons not to play. My sister is pregnant, I’m not athletic, and Dave has a $5000 health insurance deductible. But it was super fun to watch. I told my sister people do stuff like this all the time in Portland. I think she believed me.

On Sunday, on the way to the airport, and for the final Portland experience, we got Meredith Voodoo Doughnuts. She told us she hadn’t had a doughnut since 2004. But now she’s pregnant and can eat whatever the hell she wants. So we got bacon maple bars and other monstrosities.

I’d say Meredith got a well-rounded Portland experience. And I had my first Maple Bacon Bar.

I like meat on my doughnuts.

So now we’re wiped out, I caught a cold, I have a pile of client work, and I’m behind for NaNoWriMo. So I’ll see you later.



  1. Wow. Can I pretend that I’m from out of town and get taken around?



    • Dave has been thinking about offering custom itineraries for people visiting Portland. Or for people who live here, but have visitors coming. It’s easy to go to the “usual” places, but if you wanted an “off-the-beaten-path” visit, Dave could create a custom itinerary based on your interests. Bikes, beer, booze, food, wine, crafts, coffee, etc. I think it’s a great idea.

  2. You are officially ahead of me on NaNoWriMo, if that makes you feel any better. My word count is 358.

  3. I had lots of fun! So much that a sore throat came home with me. I love your wood sculpture pictures. The sasquatch looks like you interrupted him in something devilish. I checked yesterday, I gained 7 pounds from this trip.

  4. Aunty Laurie says

    I Smiled all the way through reading this!!! And Meredith after seeing those doughnuts, I’m not surprised you gained 7 lbs.!!!

  5. He Who Can Not Be Named a.k.a. Aaron says

    I think the custom itinerary sounds like a great idea!
    Super stoked you found the elephant too!

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