Continued from Part 1...
Just as she felt like she was getting back to "regular" (read: not depressed) life, she got some sad, sad news. Her grandpa died, rather suddenly and unexpectedly, although thankfully her dad and uncle were there with him when he passed; this comforted her greatly. So she flew right across the country, home to Oregon, for his funeral.
And she took photos, because sometimes it is easier for her to have something else to focus on besides just the sad sad sadness. [She sometimes feels like a sponge that soaks up the emotions of the people around her and becomes overwhelmed with it all.]
She smiled and cried and laughed when she learned this was the hymn to be sung at the memorial service, because her grandpa loved and lived flowers. His entire backyard was a big flower garden, and he'd deliver bouquets of dahlias (pictured blurily in the background) all over town.
As sad as she was, though, she couldn't dwell too much on her sadness, because her nieces were also there and they are kind of live-in-the-moment, stay-on-your-toes-Aunty girls. So she helped them pick raspberries from their grandma's bushes in the backyard for their breakfast,
and she watched them play in the sprinkler in the afternoon.
Because she so rarely gets to be with her sister, her brother-in-law, and her own husband all at the same time (it had been years), her parents volunteered to hang out with the lovely kiddos the whole following day so the four of them could have adult siblings+spouses time in Portland.
It just so happened the the male members of this foursome really appreciate good beer, and Portland, Oregon, has really good beers on offer. So they headed out on a Beer Quest.
They drove all over town and tried a bunch of different beers.
She killed time while the boys shopped in beer stores the way she shops in art supply stores.
She found a very cool backwards painting on the wall of a bathroom, which appears the proper direction when seen in the mirror, and she fell even more in love with this brewery for having it.
And she laughed, a lot. She needed that, a lot.
She drove around with her husband, and appreciated the gorgeousness and "I am home"-ness of Oregon, from the views and the soft sunshine
to the flowers planted in her parents' front yard
and her aunt and uncles' garden.
She watched her aunt show her nieces how to dig potatoes, and remembered her grandma teaching her the same things oh so many years ago.
She really enjoyed the many bounties of Oregon in the summer and it made her heart glad.
Including, yes, her very favorite Pacific Northwest fresh, local, sustainable "fast food" place. [She might have eaten here for many meals.]
She hung out with family a lot. Her cousin invited them over for a pool party, which her nieces loved.
She visited her grandma, grandpa, and aunt, and finally got an (albeit very silly) photo of the four redheads in the family. :)
Aunt, Sister, Grandma, her.
Her unexpected trip home to Oregon happened to coincide with a bridal shower for her best friend, so she got to attend it and fulfill some Bridesmaid duty.
She sipped on yummy pretty drinks (and ate yummy food), and wrote down who gave which gifts, and took a photo of her bestie with her mom and grandma... three generations of the ass-kickin'est ladies you ever met.
[Since she didn't know she'd be able to attend this shower she had already made and sent a gift, pictured below.]
She soaked up all the time with her nieces that she could, including going to the park (the same park she used to play so many years ago, although the play structures are much cooler now)...
... and going to Enchanted Forest with them. It was still as much fun as she remembered from when she was a kid (and it hadn't changed nearly as much as the park had).
She ran through the Crooked House with them,
but she let them go into the Rabbit Hole on their own.
And then, just like that, her trip was over, and she had to say her sad goodbyes and fly home.
[For like a minute.]
To be continued....