Monday, September 24, 2007

9/23/07 Charlie & Naomi Ralph in Portland

It was good to see Charlie and Naomi. Charlie had a small stroke the year before, but aside from a slight time delay in conversations, he has maintained his personality and sense of humor. Naomi seemed much healthier than in previous visits, happier and much more content, even though their future seems now limited to life in Oregon since they can’t drive their rig anymore. Their daughter has moved to Oregon and is doing a great job of reverse-parenting.

Charlie and Naomi have added a cat named Elizabeth to their family. She brings them a lot of joy and laughter. Elizabeth played with Sarah zooming and pouncing, it was great fun to watch the two of them. Naomi spoiled us with two homecooked meals. Since I was still feeling puny from my drug reaction, her cooking was a welcomed break.

Charlie took us on a Portland tour beginning with a bakery. Everything was so yummy looking that it was hard to choose. While we sat eating our treats and milk/coffee Sarah and I got a lesson on cake decorating using curling ribbon. There was a special cake shaped like a pirate’s treasure chest.

Then we went into Portland crossing over these beautiful bridges. Later I saw a t-shirt with Portland’s 6-8 bridges, but it didn’t come in Dave’s size. I put in my hopeful future career suggestion for being an infrastructure civil engineer. Time will tell what path Dave and Sarah will choose – maybe bridge designing!

We then went to Powell’s bookstore. We started our book-buying trip in this bizarre parking garage. Thank goodness Mel was driving. The bookstore, famous for it’s size, multiple levels over a city block, was amazing. If anything, it was too big, I’ve never felt overwhelmed by a bookstore before. I bought Sarah a Hannukah present, Dave a series called “The Bartimaeus Trilogy” for his birthday and “The Way West” to go along with our Lewis and Clark/Oregon Trail studies.

Afterwards we went back to the RV for Sarah and and I to rest and Mel, Dave and Charlie went to lunch. Naomi came over and played Scrabble then went back to her RV to make Dave a birthday dinner including a Pineapple-Upside-Down Cake. We wrapped Dave’s books in green Powell bookstore bags. We all went to bed early – Sarah’s morning meltdown and subsequent fragileness took a toll on the whole family. We decided to leave a day early to start the trip with a fresh start.

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