I guess the main reason we're here is because there is a serious family reunion coming up (in Lake Tahoe) and we want to celebrate my Grandma Wood (Gabby, whose house we've been sitting), the matriarch of the family, who has been so loving and generous to us. Kristen and I have been feverishly transferring my late grandfather's journals into electronic format, and we plan on presenting the finished product to her at the reunion. I hope we finish in time. Kristen is really the star player here. I get really frustrated with the voice recognition software, which always thinks I'm saying "in" when I say "and" or "can't" when I say "Kent". To give you an idea, Kristen has done 600 pages and I have done 150 pages. She gets so absorbed in it that she sometimes forgets that it is 2007 instead of 1968.
For example, we were recently shopping at a second-hand store when Kristen sees a little dress and says, "Oh, that would look so cute on Noel!"
"Wait, Noel isn't 3 years old anymore. Nevermind."
The Noel of whom she speaks is my aunt who is now in her early forties. I thought that was pretty cute.
Our yellow labrador, Holly (who suffers from acute urinary incontinence, aggravated by baby-talk and any degree of eye contact -- or a malevolent combination of the two), has been keeping me company when Kristen is lost in 1968. Holly isn't a bulldog, but she suffices. She and I mostly play fetch, but every once in awhile I'll throw her toy into the pool, and her instincts will snap (like Lambert the sheepish lion) into Rescue Dog mode. She leaps and belly-flops after that toy with such gusto that I can hardly keep from laughing every time she does it. You may say to yourself, "Gee, that doesn't sound like Rescue Dog mode; that just sounds like good old fashioned fetch." Trust me. You try jumping into that pool and she'll try to fetch you.
She usually waits until she's right next to me before she does this.
I've also spent some quality time working with my Dad out on the ranch that he and my mom are slowly developing. It is about 70 acres out in Ione (Amador County, near Sutter Creek). It has rolling hills with scattered oak groves and a river running through it. My Dad (who is getting his Masters in Astrophysics) built an observatory at the top of one of the hills. He uses the telescope for astrophotography (you can see a few of his photos by going to his blog, in the Links section to the right). His passion for the heavens (in more than one sense) is contagious. Lately we've been working on irrigation lines for some young trees and for a new horse arena that they're building. My mom and her friend go out there every other day and spoil their horses, Ty and Tude. The more time I spend out there, working and watching my parents build their dream up from the ground, the more I yearn to own some of my own earth and put my mark on it.
Last week, while I was eating lunch out at the ranch, a beautiful bird flew by. I had this funny feeling and I asked my dad, "Dad, do you ever see a bird fly by out here and say to yourself, 'Hey, that bird belongs to me'? 'Cause I just had that feeling."
"No, son. I can't say that I have."
"Well, it's true, in a way, since you own this property."
"No, son. It's not."
I'm paraphrasing. He actually said this with more tact and with a fatherly smile -- you know, the kind of smile that says, "Let's just change the subject to something sensible."
I'm counting down the days until school starts again. It's springtime again in my mind, which is nice after an unseasonally long dry spell.
I own this tree!