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Monday, June 6, 2011

Party Time in Portland!

It was an entertainment edifice unlike any I’d ever seen. We basically had a four-lane bowling alley all to ourselves. The unusual facility was called Players and was located just a block away from the excellent Tigard West Motel 6 where Layne’s and my children were staying this past weekend. The family group included my son Damian, his vivacious friend Santina and her adorable baby girl Zaya, plus my lovable 13-year-old grandson Kai and their dog Achilles; then there was Layne’s son Jess and his family, amazing wife April, beautiful Sierra and precocious 10-year-old Orion.
Sierra and April 

Damian had discovered the place and found that it included a large video game arcade, shuffleboard, billiards, food, drink and the bowling alleys, all under one roof.  After a big extended family afternoon party at Layne’s sister Annie’s house on Saturday, Damian and Kai had wanted to check out Players and perhaps bowl awhile. Soon Jess and April joined them and when Layne and I arrived, the post-party party was in full swing - literally, as everyone took their turn swinging, rolling, throwing or guttering their balls down the lane. The younger kids, of course, found the game a challenge so when Kai stepped up for his turn and knocked down eight balls, leaving a split, he groaned in dismay at the odds of getting the spare. But he lined up carefully, made his approach and threw the ball, slicing the edge of the left pin just enough to flick it over and knock down the other one. A perfect spare! An even more unlikely occurrence came when Santina urged me to take her turn, just to see how I could do. So discarding my wedge heels in favor of bare feet, I picked up a couple of balls until I found a nice red one I thought I could handle. Now mind you, the only bowling I’ve done in some 30 years has been on our Wii game so it’s not like I expected to help Santina’s score much. But in a moment of Zen I threw the ball, and as we all watched with mouths agape, that red ball rolled straight and true and slid into the pocket for a strike! Nothing short of a miracle.
Grandma Kat & Kai - photo by Kai

Both our kid’s families are gone now, Damian and Kai headed back to San Francisco, Jess and April already back in Spokane, Santina and Zaya on a plane today going home to Spokane as well. But I’m sure all would agree that it was a fantastic weekend.

After Layne and I flew in late Wednesday night, the fun began on Thursday when he and I and Damian and Kai went out in a drizzling rain to play a round of golf at the nearby King City course. But by the sixth hole, Kai and I had had enough of such cold, wet “fun” so we headed back to the hotel to dry out and dog-sit Achilles. Meanwhile, hardcore golfers Layne and Damian continued on for the full 18 holes, preparing themselves for the more difficult course facing them on Friday.

Zaya graces us all with her smile
On Friday with Damian and Layne out on the golf course with Layne’s brother Ray, Kai and I spent the morning together, walking Achilles, playing video games (well, I watched) and having a leisurely breakfast -- from a grandma’s point of view, the perfect way to spend time! The golfers eventually returned, Ray having won as usual, and Damian headed to the airport to collect Santina and Zaya. That evening, we all went out for some excellent Thai food at Pacific Breeze near Annie’s house. Precious little Zaya kept us well entertained, bestowing her sweet smile on us from her purple throne perched up on the table. With the arrival of Jess and April and their children by car later that evening, the family flock was complete. We were up late that night drinking wine, laughing, talking and strumming a clever “backpacker” guitar Jess had brought along and gave to his dad.
Layne and his new guitar
But the highlight of the weekend had to be the Saturday afternoon gathering of the clan and long-time friends from all over the Portland area. From the youngest, Troy and Julie’s energetic twins Berik and Bowen, to the family matriarch Hazel, who proudly claims to be “98 and feeling great!” -- the backyard was brimming over with laughter and chatter, footballs and water pistols, good food and good cheer.

Friends & family:  Photo by Santina - thanks, Santina!
 Even the weather cooperated with a picture-perfect blue sky and a nice breeze. Layne and I got credit for bringing the good Costa Rican weather with us but perhaps the honor really belongs to the simple magic of a loving family. Pura Vida to all!!

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