June 23, 2011

These Are Not Reunion Photos

But this is my reunion post.

I decided a while ago that I wouldn't post current photos on here of anyone other than my sister. (Well, I guess there's one of my great-grandmother, too, but as one of the two women this blog is supposed to be "about" (or at least inspired by) I think she can have a pass.) It's basically a privacy thing--just as you may have noticed that I typically only refer to people by their initials. Even though this is a very small blog, I don't want to infringe on anyone's privacy or cross boundaries of personal space. Maybe sometime in the future, this policy will change, but right now, I wouldn't want to have my own photograph (or even name) showing up in random places all over the internet, so I, in turn, won't be posting photos with other people in them, either. Which is too bad. Because those are usually the best ones.

That said, there are not a lot of eligible photos from my recent vacation/reunion thing. A narrative description probably isn't very interesting for anyone who wasn't there, but I'll outline it the best I can.

We started out spending Wednesday night in Eugene, where we got a new alternator and new tires (not part of the plan--there were some big vehicular issues. Like the engine dying in the middle of the freeway), had dinner with my cousin and his new fiancée (congratulations!), and walked all around the University of Oregon campus.

Mid-afternoon, we drove south, stopping in a tiny town along the way, where my parents picked up groceries and I ran across deserted streets to go down the twisty slide in the equally empty playground. It was fast.

Late evening, we arrived at our hotel outside Klamath Falls, which is about an hour from the coast in very Southern Oregon. I had never been further south than Eugene (where I'd been twice, both times long ago), so even the drive was kind of interesting for me. At the hotel, we had strawberry shortcake and celebrated my birthday (late, and again, for me--but the family likes to celebrate all the birthdays together, anyway). My parents and sisters brought an enormous assortment of "little" presents, including a large sack of fabric from a neighbor's estate sale, which feels slightly morbid to me (I mean, I knew her) but mostly, well, at least it's getting used.
The camera does not convey the true luridness of the neon blue and green floral fabric (second from the right) but I'm very excited about it, so I'll probably make something and let you see it soon. My mom suggested that our neighbor probably bought it in the 70s to make pedal pushers for one of her daughters, and (provided there's enough fabric) I really like that idea, but I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to wear such a garment. We'll see.

I also received two very colorful (but pleasantly, not luridly, so) bundles of fat quarters from my fake brother, L1. Obviously there are a great many things you can do with fat quarters, but I'm thinking lots of bias bindings and trims. (I so need a bias tape maker.) Any suggestions?

Moving on. Friday morning we got up early and backtracked a bit to Crater Lake (where none of us had ever been, despite the fact that all but Dad (who lived for maybe five years in other states) have lived in Oregon pretty much our entire lives). It was much warmer than we'd expected, despite the eight to twelve feet of still-unmelted snow. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, the elevation was too high for mosquitoes, and we got there early enough in the day that there were only a few isolated handfuls of people around. It was absolutely beautiful; the lake is perfectly reflective--I kept thinking the opposite shore was some sort of magical bridge with sky both above and below it.
As you can see if you squint at the photo, I brought the Argus with me, but it was my first time using it and I'm not sure I ran the first few frames correctly, so again, we'll see...

After Crater Lake, the five of us (yes--actually, I have two sisters) headed back south, to the home of one of Mom's many, many, many cousins, who lives on a beautiful 60-acre plot in the countryside outside Grant's Pass. As soon as we arrived, we all hiked halfway up a mountain to see the spring from which they get all their drinking water. The spring also feeds the pond/lake (I feel it's too big to be called a pond--18 feet deep in places--but too small to really be a lake) they created in their backyard, which some of the younger relatives enjoyed swimming and/or paddleboating in. I thought about it, put my feet in, decided not.

Anyway, there are two things I want to say about this reunion. One is that it was by far the smallest reunion I have ever been to--only 20 people. (My family is very extensive. I know there are numerous fairly close relatives I have never met, and probably even more I've never even heard of.) The other is that this was by far the most fun I have ever had at any extended family event (the size of the group, as well as the people there, were factors, I think--but the fact that I was actually, finally, in a position mentally to be able to enjoy it without neuroticizing everything was definitely huge, too, and I'm really proud of myself) and I absolutely adore my cousins (I had met them only once before, eight years ago) and I'm really sad that some of the only people around whom I now feel that comfortable live twelve hours away.

Annnnd that's way more than two things, but anyway, I had a really wonderful time. Thanks especially to F3 and D, for making me feel normal.

Um okay. Saturday, eighteen of us took a day trip to Jedediah Smith State Park, to see the Redwoods. I think that prior to leaving last week, this was the one thing I was most excited about. Well, seeing the Redwoods and the fact that they are in California. I had only been to California once before (Disneyland--eighth grade) so even the welcome sign on the highway was a big deal for me.
We were caravanning on the way down and couldn't stop, so Dad actually pulled over on the way back, where we discovered, around the bend, that the other car of non-California relatives had done the same thing, and then spent about ten minutes taking pictures of each other. Yeah, we are hick tourists, I guess, but at least I didn't feel silly until later. And the photos are great.

I took the Argus into the Redwoods, too, and there should be at least one or two frames that'll come out. little b forgot to bring her camera for that part of the trip and borrowed the Demi C (yeah--I actually brought four cameras, though I never used the regular 35mm), so whenever I finish off those rolls there may be something else to add here. My dad has a great photo of me doing the whole wrap-your-arms-as-far-as-you-can-around-the-giant-tree thing with a baby Redwood no bigger around than I am, but unfortunately his camera is not where I am. My actual favorite Redwood photos are not of me but of my youngest sister, Ratty (obviously not her real name, so I feel fine posting it), in two different places where a single tree fills the whole frame and she is just a speck that has to be pointed out, but a speck is still a speck, so this is all I have for sharing.
If you have never seen the Redwoods, they are fantastic, and they just keep getting bigger and bigger the further you go in. (Those in the photo are nowhere near the biggest.) Like Crater Lake--just wow.

Anyway, I'll wrap this up. After the Redwoods, we spent an hour or so on a very windy Southern Oregon beach (I was hoping it'd be warmer, but it was pretty much similar to every other Oregon beach I've visited) where my male cousins carried around and occasionally threw my sisters and enormous pieces of driftwood. (I declined to be lifted.) Back "home," we had homemade ice cream, my sisters and I beat the boys at Catchphrase (which I, despite being ultra-competitive, feel bad about--typically I'm really bad at Catchphrase, but I kept stealing their words after the buzzer rang) and--oh! I just remembered! My mom, who has probably never had more than a couple sips of beer in her entire life, played beer pong. Alright, she didn't play with actual beer, but the game is the same, whatever. I took lots of pictures (proof) and will probably remain forever incredulous, especially since she (and my dad, though he only sank two or three of their ten cups) won. Yes--my mother played beer pong at the family reunion and won.

It really doesn't get any better than this.

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