My annual trek back to the Pacific Northwest was a wee bit more exciting than usual this year, as my cat Faraday joined me! I bought a kitty ticket, got sedatives from the vet, stuffed the nine-month-old kitten into his carrier and under the seat in front of me. He was NOT thrilled. I spent most of the flight hunched over my seat, petting him to quiet him. But we survived!
My family has two cats--Ashley, who is 13, and Scout, who was four months old--and a golden retriever, Maddie. Faraday hasn't been around other animals since he was a baby in foster care. We kept him in my sister Amy's room for the first couple of days, while the cats got used to each other:
We graduated to Faraday on a leash:
And by the end, all animals lived in harmony...mostly.
It was a fairly relaxing trip, with lots of good family time. We took sibling trips to the mall and Sherlock Holmes, I saw Avatar with an old UW friend, Nama, Papa, and the aunties joined us for a beautiful Christmas day, and we had a reunion dinner with four main childhood-friend families and their various new little families (that was scary: there were nine kids under the age of six! In one house!). I enjoyed running around my childhood neighborhood (my training schedule was nearing the end: I was in taper mode, and had to run between 4 and 12 miles a few times). One day, Mom drove me to the local highschool track--where I would've gone, had I not been homeschooled! :D We baked and baked and ate and ate. Dad and I talked about physics and our African travels. Amy discussed her impending move to Morocco for the year. David made me play a game of ping-pong, and we had fun being geeks together. Jenny regaled me with stories of her first quarter of college. The family also shopped in Seattle one fine day--we mostly drank a lot of coffee, looked at pretty things, and had dinner at Spaghetti Factory. :) I got to eat lunch with Madeline and Alex (UW swing friends), too!
Mom's beautiful Christmas dinner:
My entire family and another family walked on a lovely nature trail in Sequium one cold, cold day, too.
Dad and Mom:
Amy and David:
Our family's annual New Year's Eve bash was even MORE intense and entertaining than usual! Mom found a murder mystery party plot online, and gave each of the SEVENTY guests a role to play. It had a cruise ship theme, so guests were crew (Jenny was the Cruise Director and David a sailor), passengers (I was a recent highschool graduate on a cruise with my father), chaplains (Dad was Chaplain Love), or Ambassadress of the Seas competitors (Amy). We had personalized partial plot notes for pre-murder, and received new notes post-murder, which directed us to ask certain people certain questions. They helped us compose a convoluted view of the motivations of a really terrible set of people. Ha! No one actually guessed whodunit correctly, but we had a fabulous time trying. :)
Jenny looks all official:
Anna (who turned out to be the culprit) and Tim (the bartender) pose by portholes:
We even had the victim (Consuelo) scream and fall over during a house-wide blackout and balloon-popping explosion. Then the officer (Doug) outlined her sprawl for posterity:
We were amused by ourselves. :)
My other big event was a trip up to Bellingham to spend the night with Bethy JO! We ate Thai food, drank some wine, enjoyed her cat (Nellie), watched an episode of Pushing Daisies, visited with her friend Jonathon, toured her office and met coworkers, and drank LOTS of coffee. Then we spent a couple of hours in Seattle, eating cupcakes and getting our eyebrows waxed on a whim. Love. Bethany.
That evening in Seattle, I (take a deep breath) had coffee with Levi and David (UW Swing dance buddies), appetizers with Beth and Catherine (UW roommates), and dinner with Bethany (Seattle swing dance/church/knitting buddy). Whew.
All too soon, Muffin (Faraday [the cat]) and I had to fly home. Sigh. Next year. :)
Many more Christmas pictures can be found here.