On Friday, my mom, my niece Aliza and I went to Leavenworth to pick up my aunt Lisa… we were going to a family reunion in Hillsboro, Oregon. My dad couldn’t go as he is Cashmere High’s girls basketball coach and his team had a tournament that weekend in Auburn. So it was a girl trip! The drive over was long, and complicated by the fact that my mom and aunt didn’t really know where we were going. We got lost twice (that I am aware of). Aliza was jibber jabbering away in her car seat next to me for most of the drive. When we were over halfway there, we stopped at a McDonald’s for a much needed bathroom and lunch break. Aliza got to play on the playland set. She didn’t really know how to go down the slide the proper way, so she would climb on the bottom and go up a ways and then slide back down to the bottom. There was a big smile on her face.
Aliza finally fell asleep when we got back in the car, for forty-five minutes or so. She woke up when we were driving around Hillsboro, trying to follow the directions we had to no avail. Finally, my mom called my Uncle Craig (it was his house we were trying to find) and I saw him waiting for us outside. YAY! I think we were in the car for at least 6 hours.
Papa was already there as well as Uncle Curt and his family. Due to their living in Cali, we haven’t seen Uncle Curt and Aunt Kelly Jo since my grandmother’s funeral in September 2009. Mersie (which means “grandmother” in french) was always the driving force of our family, and I am so glad someone (my beautiful cousin Maggie) bit the bullet and said, “HEY, WE NEED TO GET TOGETHER!” There was even an event created for it on Facebook. That is one way to get people to sit up and take notice. Kudos to you, Maggie. I love you soooo much!
We had spaghetti for dinner (one of my favorite foods ever!) and I started talking to my cousin Madeleine about books. She’s 14, about to start high school (Little Maddie!) and loves to read, draw, and write. She’s really talented. Her mom, Aunt Kelly Jo, told me that Maddie wants to write a book, like me. So I recommended some books and we ended up talking about “Untold Story” by Monica Ali. For those of you who don’t know, that book is about Princess Diana and it asks the questions, “What if the car accident had been averted? What if she had faked her death and stolen away to America where she could live in complete anonymity?” I had just finished that book two days before, and while I found it really creative, it is also really insane. The number one thing I had a problem with was that, in real life, Princess Di would never ever consider faking her own death and leaving her precious sons. What’s even more crazy is that Monica Ali is British. Hmmm. The controversy of this book is so great that I can hardly believe that Ali had the nerve to put it out there. Of course, she has creative license, all writers do, no matter what country they live in. Imagination is a fantastic thing. But this story? Just fiction. No way it can ever be anything more than that.
Other people had joined this conversation at this point. We talked about a few other books as well. My cousin Jordan is 20, and he wants to write as well. I told him about “The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold. I absolutely loved that book in high school. The first 2 lines had me hook, line, and sinker: “My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.” BOOM. Caught my interest! We also talked about “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” series. I told Maddie not to read them until she was 28, though. Originally, I said 21, but after I told Jordan a little bit about them, he suggested the age 28. LOL. Which is good. I don’t know if Maddie would want to read them anyway. The books are translated, and the language is a little tedious. On the cover of the 2nd one, it says, “A gripping, stay up all night read.” Yeah, right! These books have a lot of dark and twisted stuff in them. Shocking stuff. I really doubt I’ll even see the movies. I have zero interest in them.
Uncle Cary, Aunt Liz, and Carlyn arrived (and their schnauzer Edgar) and then Aunt Kelli and Brooke and Issac got there. My mom, Aliza, Aunt Lisa and I didn’t get to the hotel until after midnight. Aliza was so tired she was in tears. I slept in until 10, and woke up to Uncle Cary poking me and saying that Aliza had peed on him. She was wearing a diaper this time (which is much better than the time she peed on me 3 weeks ago – she was wearing panties that time). They were sitting at breakfast and my uncle was like, “She just peed on me.” And my mom said, “Those diapers are leak-proof!” But sure enough, when Uncle Cary lifted Aliza up, there was a wet spot on his pants. And he was like, “It’s so warm!”
After we all were ready, we went back to the house and I played with Aliza and my cousin Emma and my mom’s cousin’s little girl, Lexi, for a bit. Emma is 10, and she’s Uncle Curt’s little girl. She looks sooooo much like Mersie. I just love Emma to bits! Every time I wasn’t looking, Uncle Curt would put a beer can down next to me and act shocked that I was drinking so much. Haha, very funny.
Everyone soon left to play a softball game nearby. I stayed by myself at the house and watched tv and read… Yes, I was a party pooper… but I was more comfortable at the house. When Aunt Karen came back, she was like, “The old geezers won!” (It was old folks against youngsters.) And I said, “Maybe they let you win.” And she scoffed, laughing, and said, “Highly unlikely. There were tears.” But Maggie came in the house then and said I was right. And they didn’t cry. LOL. Later, I went with my mom and Aliza back to the hotel where the cousins hit up the pool (I can’t play softball or swim lol) and I watch Aliza splashing around in the pool with cousin Taylor and Taylor’s boyfriend Davy. I had brought my book (The Girl Who Played With Fire) but I was much more interested in watching the others.
When we got back to the house, we had a bbq and a patio jam session! My cousins Jordan, Maggie, and Cramer started us off with some Jason Mraz. Cramer is soooo talented! I can see him going to Hollywood and becoming a huge star. He’s got the looks, the talent, and the voice! He should be on Glee. Could replace Finn in the 4th season. LOL. Some other people got up and sang – Brooke and Carlyn did Adele. Uncle Cary and Carlyn sang “Don’t Stop Believin’.” And then, of course, there was a dance-off.
After that, we all moved our chairs closer to the patio fireplace and told stories. Some of us roasted marshmallows for s’mores. Aliza fell asleep in my mom’s lap, and was eventually carried indoors.
We didn’t go back to the hotel until after 1:30 am. Yesterday, we got up earlier because we had to check out. When I opened my eyes, I got two kisses in a row from Little Miss. It took my poor mom a while to pack up the room, so Aunt Lisa took Aliza to a nearby park to play and let out some energy. We went back to Uncle Craig’s house for a bit, to say goodbye to everyone.
It was so much fun. Hopefully we don’t let another 2 years pass before we get together again, and like Aunt Karen said, hopefully, it won’t even be a year. I love everybody dearly! The Chris Harlows weren’t even there. Definitely next time, guys! As Papa said Saturday night, “No one had more fun this weekend than Mersie.”