Just pretend this was posted over a week ago when I started writing it, okay? K, thanks.
On Christmas Eve we flew to Portland for a few cold and damp and lovely days. Along the way I fell in love with the Chicago airport, and re-fell in love with my daughter who was, to our complete surprise, a very good traveler.
In our bag of toddler tricks were snacks galore, her magna-doodle, a new Richard Scarry book and a new coloring book and colored pencils, the tablet loaded up with Sesame Street and Muppets songs (she's been asking for this one a lot lately - "I watch mi mi?") and a few little snugglers. But what she really loved was free reign to a black pen and the skymall magazine. If you open the skymall magazine on your next flight and it looks like someone has added horns and glasses, blacked out teeth and drawn in fangs on all of the people, it is probably Gigi's handiwork.
Despite traveling on the official Worst Day of the Year to be up in the ozone and not on earth, we made it to Portland by dinner time and had a lovely Christmas Eve with my Auntie Katy, Uncle Don, cousin Jordan and cousin Sam. Why hello, flan with fresh blackberries...
On Christmas morning we attended church at the LDS chapel just a few blocks from our family's home in Portland, and it was an hour plus concert of beautiful renditions of the best Christmas carols. Then at home, the treat continued with our family celebration. Since we would all be traveling together to Hawaii, we decided not to do gifts this year, but rather, to do "gifts that can't be wrapped". Uncle Don and Cousin Sam did a number of beautiful songs as a French Horn/Cello duet, Marcos shared a slideshow he had made, I danced hula to "White Christmas", my cousin Jordan recited the intro to the Canterbury Tales in Middle English, Katy led us in group eurythmy exercises, and my mom led us in a discussion about the gifts we are blessed with, and how to serve each other through our talents. Gigi's gift that couldn't be wrapped was a nice long nap in the other room that allowed us to fully enjoy each other's company. It was a really great family afternoon.
I love Portland for a lot of reasons, and one of them is definitely having the chance to enjoy Katy and Don's great spaces. Here is the wintry version of their beautiful garden. Below, sisters: my Aunty Katy and my mom.
In the evening, our friends Julie and Kevin came over for a feast of a Christmas dinner, and after a walk around the neighborhood to admire the Christmas lights and move our bodies, we played a great game of Encore. It's a musical party game that is best played in bigger groups of people with expansive musical repertoires. I personally don't know anything but Beatles songs, but it was fun to volley back and forth late into the night singing songs. It was such a nice Christmas day...
And then suddenly there was only one day left before we packed up for Hawaii. After doing some errands (a Trader Joes run to buy omiyage for Hawaii friends), we spent the evening with Ember and her family - one of my very, very best childhood friends. We hadn't seen each other for way too many years, but judging by the way we completely forgot to take any photos of the evening, we apparently jumped back in to our friendship precisely where we left off. It was the sweetest of reunions! Ember and her family are Grade A, highest quality people, and I am so pleased that she was my friend and an example of thoughtfulness and kindness through a lot of formative years, when I really needed people like her around to show me how life could be well done. (Just for the record, I'm still in my formative years, and I appreciate all of you who have taken up the baton of the awesome example in these many years since high school).
That night we packed, and Katy and her family packed, and the following morning we were off to Hawaii...
Sounds so great. I loved Portland and now I want to live there at some point in my life.
It looks like a great trip to see wonderful people and do fun things. I'm happy for you. Dad
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