Saturday, August 09, 2008

Pattersons take Manzanita Beach by storm

I don't have a ton of time, because I'm sitting in the tiny internet cafe in Manzanita Beach. No wireless internet here- and honestly, I could probably go all weekend without checking my email (I'm pretty much done with thesis, so what important could possibly come into my in box?), but I have horses in facebook horse racing and I have to feed them or they will die! So here I am. Lame, yes, but oh well.

I am having an absolutely fabulous time. Our last reunion was two years ago, and on the first morning I got a call from JJ Jackman, the admissions director at AFI, saying that I had gotten off the waiting list and they wanted me to come, if I could make it down to LA for the beginning of school five days later. He said I could take the weekend to think about it, and boy did I- I hardly remember half of the last reunion. I did a lot of going off by myself and walking around, reading emails at this very internet cafe, calling various wise friends of mine for advice, crying, and worrying about what would happen to Steve if I went to AFI. See, I was supposed to go to New Orleans with Steve to shoot his documentary on the school system there, and going to AFI would mean I would have to ditch him. He was the first one I called- he and Will were in New Orleans at the time, shooting some preliminary stuff- and it was only with his blessing that I felt ok about going to AFI. It was a hell of a weekend, though, and I really have to give my family credit: they did a great job of both leaving me alone and trying to help. I think at one point or another every single adult in the family took me aside and gave me a little heart to heart pep talk- they were all for me going to AFI, because in my family, education is king. A master's degree is just about the greatest thing you can possibly have. On the one hand, it really sucked having to spend my vacation thinking about giant life decisions, but on the other, I really don't think I could have been in a better place when it happened. There was a ridiculous amount of support lavished upon me, and I will never forget how awesome they were. Even Uncle Owen, gruff Uncle Owen who rarely admits to having feelings, acknowledged that I had a pretty crappy decison to make. And Jessica read tarot cards for me to help me decide. It was great. Obviously in the end I decided to go to AFI, and I am ridiculously glad I did- it's really hard to imagine what my life would be like right now if I hadn't. Think of all the people I wouldn't know- Bre and Richard and Jake and Chris and Chris and Letia and Veronica and Nausheen and oh so many others that I think it was definitely the right decision, even though now I am once again unsure about what to do with my life.

But man, it's nice to be here without such an albatross around my neck! I can just enjoy my totally nutso family. We are the biggest bunch of dorks you'll ever meet- for example, today we held our own Olympics out on the beach, with egg races and human knots and Simon Says and all sorts of stupid things. We are also just about the most untalented, uncoordinated group of people you could imagine... well, we have a couple great athletes, but the majority of us are pretty ridiculous. We have a great time just sitting around laughing at each other, so that's what we do most of the time, and it's often quite a shock for anyone who hasn't been around us for long (Jessica's story of the first time she came to Thanksgiving, and how Aunt Karen was the first person she met in the morning, is priceless). So I'm having a blast, and I'll be so sad to leave...

More specifics later =) With pictures! Lots of them!

P.S. Did you all SEE the Opening Ceremonies at the Olympics last night? It was spectacular. Absolutely, 100% incredibly stunning. Xhang Yimou (famous Chinese director who did Red Sorghum and Hero and others) designed it all and damned if it wasn't the best Opening Ceremonies in history...

Friday, August 08, 2008


Well, ok, I'm not actually in Manzanita Beach yet, but hello from Portland! I'm at my Aunt Kelsey's house, in the living room- Aunt Kris and Aunt Kelsey are asleep and Uncle Matt hasn't gotten home from work yet, so all is quiet. I haven't been here in years- I honestly can't really remember the last time. I find it really hard to believe that I didn't come to Oregon at all the entire time I was in college, but I honestly don't remember doing so. The last time I was here was for our last family reunion (more on that when we get to the beach, as it is sure to be strange), but before that... wow. I think it must have been when I came up to visit Lewis&Clark for college. I stayed with Whitney in the apartment behind Grandma's house, when they were in the process of cleaning out and painting Grandma's house after she died. Jonah lived in her house then, and it was so weird to see Grandma's house all white, not smelling like smoke, and without all the signature Grandma stuff- the giant chair, the dining room table cluttered with photos, the living room no one ever sat in, the tubs of ice cream in the freezer, and of course all her hats in teh bedroom. Oregon holds such odd memories for me...

Take Aunt Kelsey's house. I remember coming here with Taylor in the summers- when we were younger, it was more fun to stay with Aunt Karen, because Simon and Jonah were still at home and we could shoot bows and arrows in their backyard, or Uncle Bob would take us BB shooting on top of a mountain- but as we got older we enjoyed staying with Aunt Kelsey more. Uncle Matt always had jellybeans (hence his nickname, Uncle Jellybean), and we would all sit in their giant bed and watch The Price Is Right and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. There are no toys at Aunt Kelsey's, but we always got treated like grown-ups, and that meant a lot... especially when MacKenzie and Spencer were born, and the alternative became spending our days in Pocahontasland.

I know all of you probably don't care about all this-- it's just random thoughts that I figure I'll start to forget as I get older, so I should write about them now, right? There will be a lot more before the week is out, so if you're one of the two people who read this (hi Jenn and Kara!) and you're bored by family things, you might want to tune out for awhile.

Oh, and by the way, the road trip up was great. Aunt Kris, Tobin, Jonah and I had a blast, and I'm not kidding at all. More about that later though.

Happy Olympics Day! Look for this kid in the Opening Ceremonies and in the swim competitions-- he went to my high school, trained in my neighborhood pool, and I was on student council with him. Nicest kid ever.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Hail to California

We got back from Camp last Saturday, and I haven't really felt compelled to write since because I've been busy doing... nothing at all. Literally. I've just stuck around the house and read, messed around on the computer, etc. It's a tough job, being on vacation, but somebody's gotta do it.


The Log


Camp was lovely. It was beautiful and relaxing, full of sun and bugs and dirt and trees, and yes, we missed our friends-- it's never going to be the same without them-- but we made do pretty well. Besides, it's not like nowadays I spend all my time at Camp with Spense and Zach anyway... it was really in the evenings that I missed them, cause there was no one to play cards with or to make fun of the staff shows with. During the Golden Revue (the camper talent show) these teenagers did this godawful slow accoustic guitar version of Hey Ya! and I had no one to roll my eyes at, because Mom and Dad had never heard of it. So I missed them at times like that, but during the days I was happy reading by the pool, or hiking down the creek to Camp Blue (although I pulled a muscle in my left leg climbing over a gigantic boulder, so I wasn't too happy walking back...), or kayaking at the lake with Mom and Dad. Dad fell in the lake getting out of his kayak and there was no ladder, so two of the kids who work at the dock had to pull him out. At that moment, I was really sad that I hadn't brought my camera for fear of it getting wet- I really wish Taylor had been there.

Perhaps the strangest thing about Camp was that Russell Miller was on staff this year. I know none of you know who Russell Miller is, so I shall tell you: Russell was a little kid when we were younger, when we were about 10 or so. I guess he's probably 19 now so he's 6 years younger than me, but he always seemed even younger. We used to babysit for him and his brothers Nathan and Stewart, and they completely idolized the boys, especially Spense for whatever reason. I guess Taylor and Jake and Jarrod really did more of the babysitting, at least for the older two, but I do have a very clear memory of Spense and I being left in charge of baby Stewart, playing with him on a bed in one of the tents, and both of us diving to catch him as he almost rolled off. Strange how those things stick in your mind. Anyway, it was really weird to see Russell all grown up, or at least partially grown up, as he's just about the skinniest person in the whole world:

Russell in The Boxer
(That's him, in the wig, beating the trash can. It's a long story.)

Dad and I played first Bonnie and Mike Forbes in Trivial Pursuit and beat them pretty quickly. Mike was pretty smart, but Bonnie had never played before, so she was pretty useless. Then we played Nicola and her dad, Bean Guy, who I don't like at all but hey, he's not as uptight as he used to be, so that's a plus. And I like Nicola a lot. It was a really close game- we got all our wedges first, but then we missed our question in the middle (about how many people were guillotined during the Reign of Terror) and so they got to the middle and then won on a question about Flashdance, of all things. I'm not as good a partner for Dad as Laury is, but I think I'm a decent substitute.

Laury and Jarrod did come up for a day, bringin Jarrod's girlfriend Amelia with them:


They were there from around lunch until right before the show, and it was nice- like the good old days. Well, if it had really been like the good old days, Jarrod and I would have been running around The Log with squirt guns instead of reading Science News and talking about dark matter, but you take what you can get. Everyone else went to the Forbes/Warren/Volker clan's Mai Tai party, but I stayed up at our campsite... I don't really have any desire to socialize with people who have known me for 24 years but can't remember my name.

Mom and Dad and I hiked around the lake one day, or at least partway around it. I was going to go the whole way, but turned back when they did because the air quality was so awful due to the fires in Yosemite. You could barely see across the lake, which meant it wasn't much of a day for scenic picture taking as I was planning. I will add more pictures soon, but right now, I need to go to bed...

Because tomorrow (or rather, in about 5 hours) I am driving to Oregon with Aunt Kris, Tobin, and Jonah (two of my cousins, for those who don't know). I'm excited about it- I haven't driven to Oregon since I was a kid. I remember going past Mt. Shasta very clearly, and stopping at some truck stop for food, and spending the night at the Pollaczek's house in Roseburg, but I don't remember much else. So it should be a semi-new experience, and I'm glad I get to do it with two of my favorite (oops, am I supposed to say that?) cousins.

More from Manzanita Beach, Oregon =)