We’re on our way to meet Amy in Eugene for my birthday dinner, and we’re late because Larry didn’t get started on his bread early enough this morning, and there’s too much traffic because there’s a game at the U and we’re going to a bar in the U district before we head over to the restaurant, and why are we going to a bar anyway because I don’t drink, but we’re supposed to be early because Amy has something to do after and there’s no parking space so I get out and go on in to Taylor’s and there’s Amy who says come on over and meet a couple of my friends, and . . .

Surprise! Happy Birthday! and there is my family, flown to Eugene from LA and Seattle. OMG. I am so surprised! Everyone but David, who of course couldn’t get off work to fly over from Oahu, and Tom and Will, because Will has school. But Andrew and Amy and Charlie and Alli and Peter and Allison and Jenny–and they all don’t believe me that I’m truly surprised, but they did it. All the texting and phone calls under my nose and I had no idea. Wow.

No, children, we do not ask a lady’s age. No, even when it’s her birthday and she’s obviously pretty darn old and shouldn’t she be proud of that? No, my darlings, we don’t ask. And when the affogato dessert comes and there are lit sparklers on it, well, that can’t be helped, but you weren’t there.

Here’s the fun part: Jenny and Alli and Charlie spent the night at the farm, while the others spent the night in Eugene and all came up for breakfast. Sat around playing Scattergories in front of the fire, discussing whether on not there are aliens in space. Conclusion: yes, because the universe is huge beyond our ability to imagine. Thought you’d want to know.

Was this your best birthday ever, Grandma? Yes, and yes.

So it’s the new year, and one of our resolutions is to get off the farm more often and see what Corvallis really looks like. Yesterday there seemed to be a break in the clouds so we bundled up and headed to town. There’s a nice paved walk along the Willamette as it flows through town, so we found a parking space and headed north.

Gray sky, the river is high, lots of ducks, and hey, wait a minute. For my birthday I’d said that I’d like to see if my Verizon contract is mature enough to allow me an upgrade to my phone. My current edition is a 7 and Apple has gone up to 11. My sister, Martha, has a new phone with an awesome camera, and her photos prove it. Here’s a shot of some geese at Black Butte taken over the New Year’s holiday, but you should see Martha’s image taken as the same time. Of course, you can’t, so use your imagination.

So we went to the Verizon store, and found that sure enough, I can get an upgrade, and so can Larry. In fact, they’re having a two for one sale just now on Apples, but if we were to take advantage of that offer, one of us would have to have a new phone number. Hmmm. How much trouble would that be?

I’ll let you know what we decide, but I would like to have a camera with a zoom option.

Meanwhile, back to our exploration of Corvallis, we found a bagel shop in the street across from the river and realized that this has definitely been missing in the experience of our life on the farm. Got some to bring home, and the rain started.

Back at home, the sky clear again, we set out to walk to Muddy Creek and check for river otters or beaver dams, and discovered that we have a new downed tree in one of the north pastures. Luckily, our grandson Andrew is looking for farm work, and may be available to come help saw up this new one.

What do you think, Andrew?

At the moment, yes, it’s raining again, and I have to get this off to the ether and go make our late lunch/early dinner. Heading to Portland for a quick overnight for Larry’s Monday-morning-breakfast-with-the-guys and my stop in at the needlepoint shop to get my new canvas framed.

Next adventure: Molokai with friends a visit with David. Sunshine!