Sunday, December 16, 2012

Connecting with Friends and Family -- Sat., Dec. 15

Susan & Bob at Outlook Restaurant.
When we come home to Oregon, it is always a whirlwind of activity. We love to get together with close friends and family. Invariably some people get left out because we're not here long enough to see everybody, but we try.

Take today, for example. At 8:00 a.m., we met our good friend Rick and his partner, Leland, for breakfast at J & M Cafe in downtown Portland. It was our first time making Leland's acquantance. He's such an interesting man. He was a book editor and script writer for movies. Rick is in marketing and doing websites, currently he is working in the construction industry. For breakfast, I had what was recommended in reviews of the restaurant--pecan waffles with ginger butter. (It was really good!) Leland had to be at work in his current job managing an olive oil store by 9:30 a.m. Off they went. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo.

Bob and I had an hour before we would meet with my prior co-workers from AAA, Terry and Cathy. For an hour, Bob and I drove around southeast and downtown Portland looking at new buildings, reinvigorated neighborhoods, and driving past old haunts.

At 10:30 a.m., we met Terry and Cathy at Overlook Restaurant in North Portland.

Cathy and Terry.
Both friends highly recommended the chicken fried steak--which they ordered--but Bob and I weren't that hungry. I had scrambled eggs and hashed browns and Bob had a tuna melt with potato salad. We shot the breeze on topics such as gun ownership, Israel, travel, retirement, movies, and caught up on families and jobs.

We had to be back home by 1:00 p.m. because my brother, sister-in-law (S-I-L) and son were coming over. On the way home, we stopped at Costco (on a Saturday afternoon, no less) to pick up one item post-haste: a pumpkin pie for the pinochle party potluck tonight. The cashier and complete strangers remarked on us being brave to go into Costco for one item on a Saturday. It really didn't take that long...every checkstand was open.

We pulled into the driveway with five minutes to spare. Frank, Gina and Mike arrived shortly thereafter. We exchanged Christmas gifts and watched a video about the rainforests of Australia. Did you know that when you buy a DVD in another country it has a country code embedded in it? We could not watch the DVD on Mom's TV because her TV is set for U.S. DVDs (after she plays a certain number of them and apparently you can't change the country code after that).

Eventually, Bob put his laptop on the coffee table, popped in the DVD and we were able to run it on his laptop while we all sat around it in the living room. It was very hard to see and hear the DVD, but we did our best.

Around 4:30 p.m., Gail came over to ride with us to my sister's place where the pinochle party was being held. I rode over with my son, Mike. Bob drove Mom, Gail and Mom's friend, Jo, over to the party.

The party consists of 12 people (at three tables) playing cards. We also have a potluck and, because it's the Christmas season, a white elephant gift exchange.

Mike with Jake and my sister's tree.
This group has been playing pinochle together for about 25 years! Some people have come and gone, but the core group is still going. We have lots of fun.

Mike (son), Steve (friend), Jayne (friend), and Gina (S-I-L).
Jan (sis), Frank (brother), Cindy (friend), and Mom
Bob, Gail (friend), and Jo (friend)
My sister has two cats: Jake and Prince. They are wonderful kitties.

Jake is the outgoing character.
After we finished six rounds of pinochle, it was time for the white elephant gift exchange. We had a mild time of it tonight. The gifts were pretty good, but only a few got "stolen."

Time for white elephant gift exchange. Bob was first.
When we finished the white elephants, everyone headed for home...but we got a family photo first.

Mike, Gina, Mom, Frank, Bob, Jan, Susan.
My brother also took a whole group photo. See below.

The pinochle group. (Photo by my brother Frank)
Th-that's all folks!