After turning in my grades for everyone except the grad students (whose essays I have still to grade), I decided to visit my former roommate moltvikh and his partner Paul in Portland, OR. I had never been to Portland and he had a few weeks left before he was going to start his new career in nursing school, so it was the ideal time to visit (plus it meant that I would be away during the chaos of the Manayunk Bike Race, which is right near my house). It also meant that I would miss the Swarthmore Alumni Weekend, but as it turns out, I'm going to have my own Swarthmore reunion with several folks while I'm out here! The plan is for us to have dinner with hhw tonight, and drive to Seattle tomorrow to see syndicatedebby and jhp64 and their kids and also Ellie, her partner and their daughter. moltvikh and I will stay overnight so that we can more easily visit Mount St Helens on Sunday. Since I've never been to anywhere in the Pacific Northwest, I'm happy to just roam around, visit folks, and sightsee. Today, I went to the Chinese Garden in Portland and it was beautiful and relaxing. We took a guided tour and learned all about the architecture and the plants. I highly recommend it. We had tea and mooncake there (they have an enormous selection of all kinds of teas). Then we visited Powell's Books, which was amazing! It's a bookstore that spans an entire city block. I was in heaven. So, I am enjoying vacation, and have even made friends with moltvikh's dog, Pedro (who is a cross between a pit bull and a German shepard). Fortunately, I have good animal mojo and we have gotten along. I'm looking forward to a bit of fun and downtime, since I've been very fried from work. Now to relax!