There is one unhappy thing to report:
One of my extended family's pets passed away this week. He was Norm, a mutt my Aunt Pat and Uncle Bill adopted in 1991. On Friday they e-mailed us to let us know he'd been put down. I knew this when preparing to head to White Salmon today, where Pat and Bill live and where several of our family members were visiting.
Yes, I road-tripped. And I was in the mood to do it, which isn't usual, but I'm glad I heeded the Call of the Road TM
and filled up the gas tank. I left this morning and made good time up the Gorge, and found Pat and Bill's home with more cars outside than I'd ever seen before. Uncle Bill was outside. "Hey," I yelled out the window, "you've got more cars than people."
The guest of honor at the house was Eloisa, Steph and Paul's six-month-old. Steph and Paul were preparing to attend a wedding up on Mt. Hood, and were leaving Eloisa that night in the capable hands of Pat and Bill, my mom, Aunt Nancy from Guam, and Steph's younger sister and daycare center veteran Alison. Paul was already on the mountain; Steph was in White Salmon preparing for the overnight visit. (The wedding was held today in a building above Timberline Lodge
; you need a SnowCat to reach it. Either that, or you take a ski lift to higher up on the mountain and ski down, but no one was going to do that in wedding clothes!) I visited with my family members for a few hours, and had fun with Eloisa. Alison gave her some neat toys, like a glove where each finger is a different animal (with a tiny book of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" sewn onto the front), various plush toys including a butterfly, and stacking blocks. I got down on the floor when she was put onto a blanket, and I let her grab at my face. She's such a likeable, easy-going kid. I hope she keeps that up!
I also made sure to pay my respects to Norm. (This is why I warned you at the start.) He'd been buried near a pine tree, next to where they'd buried their nice poodle Tess a few years back. They were both such good dogs; I was good friends with both of them. I like to think Norm is a good model for the dog I'd like to have eventually (really, I'll say that I'd like a "Norm-sized dog," and only I have to know what that means). I'd probably name the dog Brodie, but of course I'd have to see once I actually have one and see the dog's personality; does he seem like a Brodie? But until then, I can add Norm to my Good Dogs list (like Tess, and Sophie, and Char).
Still in the mood to road-trip (if that wasn't a verb, it is now), I didn't head straight home via I-84 and the Gorge but instead headed south towards Mt. Hood; I wanted to head up the mountain, which I last did in 2001 (the weekend after 9/11, in fact). I had an early dinner at the Timberline Lodge bar: a meatloaf sandwich, an Italian Vegetable soup, hot cider and ice water. Once I finished off both my food and my most recent roll of film, I headed home.
Oh, finally tonight, a car thing I didn't know until today: If you've turned off your car but the engine is still thumping and not stopping, try turning the key back to the On position. (Quickly: I had a headlight out, I stopped at a lube place to replace both of them, I pulled out of the oil change bay, decided to stop the car to check something, and the engine didn't want to stop even after I'd pulled out the key. Some of the lube place employees walked to my car. One of them told me to stick the key back in and turn it to On. I did, and the engine ran smoothly again, and more importantly stopped
smoothly when I turned it off after all that. Good to know, and good to try if it happens again to my old car...)