Family, friends and hoops at Easter

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George and Lori on Easter Sunday 2018.

What a great way to end spring break: Easter dinner with family, followed by a Trail Blazers game with longtime friends.

I didn’t plan it this way, but it worked out just the same. Weeks ago, when I was scanning the Blazers schedule for a weekend game to attend, I bought tickets to the April 1 match-up against Memphis, thinking we would be returning from vacation a day earlier. It was only later that I realized the game would be played on Easter Sunday.

Oops.

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Simone & Kyndall

Simone & Kyndall and Nathan & Sara came over during the afternoon for an early dinner of ham, potatoes, salad, deviled eggs and carrot cake. We got caught up on recent travels (S&K to Victoria, British Columbia) and plans for next month’s wedding (N&S are tying the knot after a 8-year courtship — yay!).

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Carrot cake, topped by a white chocolate bunny, made by Simone.

It’s always fun being around our kids and their partners. Soon enough, we’ll have a chance to see all three reunited when Jordan, Jamie & Emalyn come out to Portland for the wedding.

(Love this gallery. Credit goes to Simone, the photographer.) 

After the meal, Nathan and I had a NBA game to catch. At the arena, we met up with Bob and Chris Ehlers, whom we’ve known since Chris and Nathan were born the same week in the same hospital in Salem, Oregon, in 1980. Bob and his wife, Deborah, were in the same babysitting co-op that formed among us and a few other new parents. So, clearly, we got back quite a ways.

For the record, the Blazers whipped the Grizzles, 113-98, behind the stellar play of All-Star guard Damian Lillard. With the win, the Blazers secured a spot in the playoffs for the fifth straight year.

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Dos amigos: Chris & Nathan

Far more entertaining was seeing our boys exchange hugs and launch into 2 1/2 hours of animated conversation as they sat to our left. They were best buddies in the co-op and seemingly have only grown closer over the years, despite periods where they’ve gone years without seeing each other.

Chris is an adventurous sort who has traveled across much of Europe and Asia, and only recently moved back to the U.S. after several years of teaching English and running a restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

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Bob, Chris & Nathan

The two of us dads managed to interrupt our sons at halftime as we gathered around a bistro table with our beers. Next up: A gathering to include our wives.

 

 

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Orcas photo album

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A dockside view of Eagle Lake.

Even when it rains five out of seven days, there’s no place I’d rather be than in our cozy log cabin, enjoying the warmth of a wood-stove fire and the tranquility of a remote location on Orcas Island.

Lori and I came home yesterday from a week on the island, where we enjoyed down time with our little dog, Charlotte. The premises were in good shape, so we spent more time relaxing and less time working than we would have otherwise.

We buried ourselves in books and magazines, played Scrabble and plowed through the six-part Netflix series “Wild Wild Country” on the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his followers. Lori did some knitting and we walked the Lake Trail around Eagle Lake on the one-year anniversary of my father’s death.

We took Charlotte on short nature walks above our home, had a home-cooked meal with longtime friends Carl and Juliana, tried a new restaurant for lunch in Eastsound, and capped off the week with dinner at the nearby Doe Bay Cafe.

When Saturday morning arrived, the sun came out and we had a leisurely drive back to Portland. Heading into a new month and a new week, it’s safe to say we’re both feeling refreshed and eternally thankful to have this island getaway to relax and recharge.

As always, here are a few (OK, more than a few) images to seal this trip in memory:

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Home: a welcome sight after a nature hike.

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The driveway down to the main road.

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Looking northward from the back of the cabin.

 

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Sunrise on Orcas Island, with Mount Baker (middle right) in the distance.

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The essence of serenity: Eagle Lake.

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Who doesn’t enjoy being the only ones on the trail during a weekday morning?

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Charlotte, our trusty guide, sizes up an obstacle.

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Words don’t do justice.

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A splash of color, thanks to skunk cabbage.

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Treetops reflected on the glass-like surface of the water.

 

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We had lunch at Wild Island Juice Bagels and Bowls, a new addition to the Eastsound restaurant scene.

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How’s this for a restaurant facade?

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Looking toward the village of Eastsound from our outdoor stools on the porch.

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Tasty: The Wild Island Bowl (left) and chicken pho with veggies.

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Peregrine Road, a favorite hiking destination, has a new sign.

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Puddles on the path of our walk.

 

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So long, Orcas Landing.

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View from the interior of the MV Yakima heading back to Anacortes, Washington.

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Circles and rectangles make for some cool photo aesthetics.

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A passing ferry on the Salish Sea, headed for Orcas Island.

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Aboard the MW Yakima, capable of holding 2,500 passengers and 160 vehicles.

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Looking over the stern of the MV Yakima, a super-class ferry operated by the Washington State Ferries system.