Black Friday with the family

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Erik & Nerissa had come up to Portland to spend Thanksgiving with my parents, so T & I thought it would be nice to drive down and hang out with everyone. Unfortunately for us, my mom had an Oregon Coast road trip on the agenda, so it was going to be a lot of time in the car for us. But we got up at the ungodly hour of 5:40 to hit the road and made it to Portland around 9:30 to drop the boys off at their dog boarding/vacation paradise. Then it was a quick trip to my parents house to drop our stuff off and get into the van for round two.

First stop on the agenda was a place called Camp 18, which is a former lumber mill turned restaurant.

There were tons of carved wooden sculptures outside, including this cute bear:

Erik posed with his long lost twin:

(He’s the one on the left… ;-P) And here’s one of my parents posing with some wooden friends:

Inside, there were more fun decorative touches:

And more fun things in the back:

After a hefty brunch, it was back into the car to go to Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach. Sadly, it had clouded up on the coast (we’d left Portland under a pretty blue sky.) but I think that the Oregon Coast is pretty in the fog.

The tide was out, so we could walk quite close to the big rock formations:

There were some tide pools in the rocks at the base, but I lacked the footwear and the inclination to hike out to them. It was fun taking Hipstamatic pics of the coast however:

And pictures of various family members. Here’s Nerissa:

I love this picture of my mom and I:

Me and the boy:

Then it was back into the car for a long drive home. All told, T & I spent about eight hours in the car. (Ugh.) The rest of the evening was spent in a battle of the iPads between my brother and mom in a Words With Friends battle royale:

As always with family gatherings, it was a complicated weekend. At times, I felt like an intrusion, getting in the way of my mom’s time with Erik. Other times, it was fine. I think it’s just the nature of being around family. The dynamics have developed over so many years and are layered and complex. I know we’re hardly unique in this, all families have their issues. Ours has been dealt some pretty major blows, so I suppose I should be happy we’re still speaking at all. But there are times when I wish we were closer to that mythical ideal we all long for this time of year.

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