This is my excuse for being so neglectful of my blog...
My big brother (in more ways than one) was in town for Thanksgiving from Aspen, Colorado! We had a blast showing him the sights around Portland, relaxing, feasting, playing music, and catching up with eachother's lives. He attended the Fukadu's big Thanksgiving bash with us and he even helped me make delicious apple and pumpkin pies for the big day. Afterall, that's the best part of the whole meal right? At least I think so.
Margaret, Baldrick and Peshewa had a blast vying for Austin's attentions. Peshewa preferred jumping on him at night, purring loudly and sticking her butt in his face (or so I heard, we hard remarkably peaceful cat-free nights). Baldrick tried to convince him to play every second of the day and Margaret warmed up to him pretty quickly over the first few days and even permitted him to hold her and read books to her. It was a wonderful visit overall.
We introduced him to Oregon scenery the first Saturday that he was here with a day trip to Ecola State Park on the coast. It ended up being a nice day for it and we came prepared for the long hike down to Crescent Beach. It was beautiful and gloriously empty. Baldrick even got to enjoy some rare off leash time and stuck with us pretty well even when we encountered another dog and owner. He provided us with a lot of entertainment (and some worry at the time) when he got stranded in a few incoming waves. He would panic as soon as the water reached him and freeze (in more ways than one), looking extremely scared, as the water rose up his to his neck. Fortunately the waves didn't get deep enough to fully submerge him, although we were all preparing to dive in after him if necessary. We enjoyed a nice picnic and walked along the beach, even finding a few jellyfish and sand dollars! Once again Baldrick provided us with entertainment at the end of the walk when he decided to show off his excellent digging prowess. His technique seemed to involve diving at the sand with both front paws and then use them to dig a line as he hopped backwards. He made some great shallow trenches across the beach but didn't make much progress with any holes. That day was ended with a visit to a local seafood restaurant and I think the whole day was one of our highlights during Austin's stay.
While Clay was at work we had quieter days, touring the Oregon Trail museum, reading, walking the dog, shopping at thrift stores, and taking the bus downtown. We also managed to play tunes together twice - once at church on a weekday morning and once on Thanksgiving. I wish I had a piano so we could've played more but I'm glad we had those two times at least. I really miss playing tunes with Austin, which makes me appreciate it all the more when we do get a chance. It's so great to have someone who's familiar with my fiddling flaws and able to work around them : ) We also made it to the Oregon Zoo one afternoon and that evening Austin accompanied me to my dressage riding lesson - which got cancelled last minute but I was still able to ride and practice my dressage moves for a while.
All in all we've highly enjoyed the past two weeks and hope it's not too long before we get to visit with Austin again. Maybe someday we'll be able to make it out for a camping trip to Aspen and attend the music festival. He also had a lot of people hopefully asking him to move to Portland =) I enjoyed a last nice conversation in the car on the way to the airport and then we both struggled to not cry like babies while saying good-bye. Austin made me laugh by blowing kisses through the security lines and I had to put on some festive music in the car to keep me from realizing how much I already missed my big brother.
We're enjoying celebrating the Advent season and have been doing a really nice daily devotional provided by the CREC pastors (click here for a copy). We have our very first family Christmas tree and I have been going crazy listening to the "Charlie Brown Christmas" CD by Vince Guaraldi. Now, where's all the snow?