And I’m BACK from a three-day trip to Bear Valley, CA, a Sierra village where we own a vacation home. It looks so very different in the summer – surprisingly, our house is a good five feet taller than it was half a year ago, because all the snow’s melted, revealing an extra staircase to our front door that is covered in the winter. It’s much hotter in the summer also. Whew.

So, on our vacation, we celebrated my grandma Claire’s birthday, and her 20th anniversary of marriage to her husband Alvin (Jeffrey’s Deep Dark Past: I’ve never met my grandpa on my mom’s side. My grandparents have been divorced for much longer than I’ve been alive). It wasn’t an ideal vacation – I mean, we went to all the right places, but having 3 generations of Fadens in one household, peacefully, is a big feat. Fortunately, my sister Lily and I stopped all impending arguments by hitting everyone with big sticks. So to speak.

Let’s see, here’s some other absurdity that went on during the trip –

  • I slept for 13 hours straight, a record. The high altitude probably got to me.
  • My step-grandpa is a Wall Street trader, so whenever anyone mentions anything having to do with numbers, he goes off on a seminar about the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
  • We stopped off at many a lake and creek. Each time we went to one, my sister, hesitant at first to jump into the melted snow, scrounged around the water looking for what she calls “gold.” My god, she’s a millionaire!
  • I saw Billy Elliot and Gladiator on the trip. Billy Elliot ended way too suddenly for my taste, and Gladiator KICCXXXXXXEDDDD AAARRSSSEEEEEEE (even though I’d seen it before).
  • We ate at a Mexican restaurant for my grandparents’ anniversary (ooh, high class!), and it took the guys there a few tries before they got my simple order right. Well, at least I got two free enchiladas.
  • The comic strip “Wee Pals” sucks.

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