living. loving. laughing.

living.  loving.  laughing.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Check it out! I figured since it's been almost a YEAR of marriage (and subsequent name change), it's about time to switch on over to a new blog. I'm also using it to launch speaking and writing, eventually that is...

xoxo, and switch on over to the new blog!

Monday, June 20, 2011


after a week of camp with middle school friends...

hearts on the cross, next to the gift. one week down, three to go.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

1 2 3 4 5

To tell you the truth, I'm not even sure what day it is. I'm in that land called Young Life assignment land, where dates and days of the week are lost, and we just end up referring to days as "day 1," "day 2," "day 3," and so on and so forth. I have the privilege of spending four weeks in San Diego county (um, yes, that's a great thing), speaking to middle school kids about this godman, Jesus. So with one week down and under our belts, we're getting ready for the next crew of kids to arrive tomorrow.

And what day is it again?

Though I wish I had better stories to tell from my day off, this I know is true:

1. I just finished 8 hours of Fuller coursework for a spring class, and was EAGER to turn it in one day early. Today's workload included a 6-page book comparison paper and a three-hour test. I write this not for pity, but simply because it's the ONLY thing my brain's been thinking about since 1 o'clock this afternoon!

2. Have I mentioned that I love middle school kids, with all their awkward and preciousness? It's official, I do, I do, and this past week was no exception.

3. Our assign team is AWESOME; for instance, one of my suite-mates, Joey, just came in and brought me hot chocolate. Because he's that nice.

4. James arrives on TUESDAY - yippee!!! He'll be here for two full weeks, and both of us are beyond delighted at our luck. He gets a two-week vacation, and I get him here on camp turf with me. Delighted.

5. I'm especially excited because of the many stories I tell about him, and I know he's going to become a superstar to the little 5-foot buggers. Stoked about that.

And that, my friends, is a night in the life of one such Mrs. Meredith.

Until next time, blogger-land.

Monday, May 30, 2011

hipstamatic and instagram

1. I have fully become that person who doesn't just refer to her cell phone as such, but as the (...wait for it, wait for it...) iphone. I do love my iphone, and fast-forwarding a bit, I love the picture apps on it; hipstamatic and instagram are two of my favorites, with a couple of fave pictures here:

This was on a random wall on a random street down in San Diego; I head down there in a couple of weeks again for assignment with Young Life - that means that, as YL staff, we staff their camps for the summer. I'll be at a camp called Oakbridge, speaking to middle school kids for four weeks; James will join me for half the time, and will hold down fort as the speaker's husband. He's excited too. :) But as per the picture, the coloring tinted it to what I'd deem San Diego coloring - a little hippie-esque and muted.

This one isn't 540 miles away (ie: San Diego...), but instead just about 15 feet from where I'm sitting. I love the vase, with all its funkiness and perfect, brightened green color against the stark white background. And, of course, I love the picture that family printed up for us - with all its funkiness and perfection from our wedding day as well. :)

This picture was right before a perfect, organic, yummy dinner in the city...and the tinting on the photo reminds me of one I'd find in a 1970's photo album on that same corner street. Love it.

This was a fun night for "work" called Couch Life, ie: drive couches in trucks around the city of San Mateo in a scavenger-like fashion. As per the picture, it again has that 70's/San Diego look, but I also like, that while the couch was planted on the front lawn, the couch (and cute YL girl, Lyddie) are part of the picture, but not the entire focus. They're kind of a fun, main accessory.

My parents were in town last weekend, and what fun we had doing the everyday - including taking BART into the city for a visit to James' office, lunch, and ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery. (Snickerdoodle ice cream, um, yum!). As per the picture, the natural orange-y tint brings excitement to an otherwise dreary public transportation experience.

I do love these pics - and using fun mediums only adds to their fun!

Monday, May 23, 2011


It has recently come to my attention that if I were to stop eating the following, I would probably lose 47 pounds or so:

Now this wasn't because some random passerby or rude very truthful friend pointed out my love of cheese, but no - I simply took stock of our refrigerator and noticed that about 25% of it could be found in your local grocer's dairy section.

I could be exaggerating.

I am exaggerating.

But as I just sat here eating a snack of crackers with goat cheese and cherry tomatoes, such a realization was had:

It's still true, two wasted paragraphs later. [Wasted, as in the space on this blog site, not as in the vino I should be drinking with said goat cheese topped-crackers.]

My parents - Dan and Noel - were in town this past weekend; hoping on Saturday to trek up to Sausalito, to see old family houses, the famous liquor store that they met in (no joke), and honk at the hospital yours truly was born in, our plans were quickly thwarted by every other Bay Area resident hoping to stake their claim in Marin county that day as well. [Or at the rivaling Giants-A's game, I'm not sure...]

So what to then do with a couple who grew up in the area, who doesn't then need to see Fisherman's Wharf, and isn't about to trek to the top of Montara Mountain? (My favorite viewpoint hike, by the way).

Harley Farms Goat Dairy, of course!

We took the 1 down from San Francisco to Pescadero, a quaint little farming town south of Half Moon Bay. I'd learned about the goat farm when James and I were engaged; enthralled with the idea of getting married in a barn, I began researching barns in the area, of which Harley Farms has an - albeit small - one for hosting monthly organic dinners and small celebrations. (Any of you want to go in for one of the monthly dinners? Two words: Goat Cheese. Third word: Yum).

Anyways, we got there, and immediately smelled these:

(All photos courtesy of Harley Dairy Goat Farms).

And then tried to get a couple of these little mini buggers to chat with us, but they ran into their little goat-house and hid...

But we then succeeded in eating said favored fromage, including all of these ones here:

It put Costco's free samples to shame, that's all I have to say. Who needs lunch when you've got hoards of goat cheese to sample? And olive oil. And honey. And more cheese.

Needless to say, I loved our little jaunt out of the hustle and bustle of the Peninsula to the heartland of the coastal farming community. As I prepare to make grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner, go book yourself a tour at the goat farm.

You can thank me later.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Sometimes I sit down in front of the computer, and don't have a plan for what I'm going to write - but I assume that if I want to someday be that Anne Lamott-Annie Dillard-Fredrick Buechner woman of a Cara-writer, I'd better start. And that writing better than writing nothing at all.

This weekend James and I just RESTED - and it was glorious. Oh, to sleep in two mornings in a row without setting the alarm :: now that is just pure bliss! (All of you parents out there, I know, I need to shut my yapper, but I'll glory in the sleep in for now). We ended up watching 3 movies in 3 nights:

Night 1: BRIDESMAIDS. Heel-arious. I so highly recommend this flick especially if you've ever a) been in a wedding, b) been a female, c) been a male because it's still funny to all humankind, d) had a love affair with Wilson Philips and yearned to be the 4th woman in the band. Upon originally seeing previews, I thought it was going to be one of those chick-flick, 25% critic ratings, but no, friends - this movie got a 92% critic review on Rotten Tomatoes!

Night 2: LETTERS TO JULIET. You'd think that if we watched a highly-rated movie night one, we'd continue the trend: not so much. But I can say this, after a day of sleeping in (ahem), eating yummy cornmeal waffles, reading the morning away, hiking, shopping and just being together, it was the perfect end to our evening. Paired with pizza on the grill and a bottle of wine, our little Juliet (of Shakespeare persuasion) never looked so good!

Night 3: THE BLACK SWAN. One thought: I will never pick my cuticles again, swear to God. (Yes, incredible movie with amazing special effects and highly disfunctional people - which generally make for excellent films - but I'm just glad we watched it a) together, and b) while the sun was still peeking its way through).


Otherwise, Mondays make me think of Whole Foods because that's where I usually eat dinner after a work out and before Young Life - which makes me think of sushi because that's what I generally eat most Mondays ... which makes me think of our lovely James and Cara sushi birthday party a couple months back:


Fun times with cousin Kaitlin and friend Lily above - redheads unite! ...Which makes me think of Nevada City and good times with family out there, like this one of the two loves of my life:


So it is here that we come to an end. Random, but altogether accomplished, I'd say. xoxo, c.

Monday, May 09, 2011

a things I love list today.

1. the apple store. I'll be honest: I'm a total sucker for all that apple puts out. I admit that I fully buy in to their promos that somehow I'll end up being that altogether uber cool nerd; I don't know if I've quite been successful in it yet, but I still show up wanting and desiring to be a part of the mac community.

2. The Body Shop. I recently bought a $45 Body Shop groupon for $20 - it just makes you feel healthy and organic, and REALLY, if marketers were reading this right now, they'd label me SUCKER for positive advertising campaigns. (ps: PLEASE tell me you're aware of Groupon and Living Social...and if you're not, run to their website right now for steal of a deals!)

3. Macy's Home Section. I've grown up. I covet peacock blue Fiestaware and grass green Kitchenaid Mixers and other gadgets that will somehow make me want to be in the kitchen more. And God forbid, it's worked. What's next?

Can you tell that I had meetings and errands to run today at the mall?


4. a good glass of wine. I don't even mind that it came from a screwtop.

5. Substituting various non-semi-sweet chocolate chips, cranberries, raisins and trail mix for 12 ounces of (said) semi-sweet chocolate chips to make some AMAZING cookies. Not that James ate 5 of them this evening or anything. Not that I counted.

6. When Young Life leaders care more about kids hurting than a program. That I love.

7. My husband. Neighbor Mark recently described him "...without a mean bone in his body. Why is he so nice?!" He asked. "And how does he put up with your sassiness?" The nerve!

8. Books on tape. Actually, they're totally not on tape - but I LOVE listening to so-called books on tape channeled through on my iphone. The elliptical at the gym never tasted so good! Current reads: LOVE WINS (Bell - I'd love to dialogue that with some of you. Let me know if you're reading it), and THE INHERITANCE OF LOSS (Desai).

9. Speaking of the gym: the classes. My goal is two a week. At this point, Zumba and Spin have clearly come ahead as the winners - seriously, who knew shaking my booty and working my booty could be this much fun?

10. Mr. D. You know I couldn't end a post without mentioning the little bugger. I tell you, there is nothing better than a slightly neurotic dog absolutely overjoyed at seeing his human mama. I'm like, I will walk through that door 15 times if you're going to make me feel this way!

What do you love today?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

a neighborhood easter.

This year's Easter celebration was birthed over the Chuck-it. You see, most every morning is marked by our neighborhood's own version of a dog park: Mark and Ruckus, Erin and Lilly, Kara and her girls, Cara and Mr. Darcy, Mona and Simba, & Loren and Mochi might be out on the green throwing and catching the balls. Our eclectic little neighborhood has been brought together by our canine friends.

Our mornings together are real and messy and encouraging and perplexing all at the same time. Yet conversations happen in the midst of it, and neighbors have turned into acquaintances, and then to friends and might I say ... dear friends. But it's a pretty cool picture of real life, because we're not all alike - for instance, each couple seems to have been dubbed some sort of label. Though individually James is "the hot one," and I'm "the good one" [oh, how I've vied for the label of "the hot one!"], collectively we've been labeled "The Christians."

It was over a canine conversation that we began talking about doing a neighborhood Easter celebration, and happen it did. Together, 18 Christians and non-Christians and Jews and gays and lesbians and straights and friends of friends gathered for a potluck Easter "slupper" (supper + lunch, of course), complete with an Elton John and Sound of Music sing-a-long at the end of the afternoon.

It was altogether lovely. And, quite frankly, I think the way it's supposed to be.

Jeannie and Mark, chatting it up.

Time for dessert! Cinnamon rolls by James, carrot cake by Jeannie, Fruit tart by Kara (upstairs neighbor and namesake), and an apple turnover. Yummy!

Upstairs neighbors Earl and Kara - the former of whom I think must be Jude Law's brother.

Conversations over books, starring the former English teacher, the man who reads a lot, and the English professor and author - what great neighbors for this girl to have!

And finally, the Elton John and Sound of Music jam session - if only you could have seen Mr. Meredith singing along!

The Easter celebration continues, all year long... He is risen - he is risen, indeed!

Monday, April 18, 2011

today was a big day...

Today was a big day:
I bought a coupon organizer.

Today was a big day:
I reorganized clipped coupons into my own little sections instead of the boring old
alphabetization and/or month's expiration. So instead we have some of the following
categories: "carbs," "dog," "toiletries," and of course, good old "random."

Today was a big day:
I read four chapters for an upcoming Fuller class - do violence and hospitality go together
when talking about Jesus' death on the cross? that is the question.

Today was a big day:
I didn't pick up book 3 of teenage vampire smut, not even once.

Today was a big day:
I baked 4 dozen triple chocolate cranberry oatmeal cookies, and only ate ONE of them (okay,
and some dough. And then some more).

Today was a big day:
Mr. Darcy had two really good sweaty workouts, and I had two really good sweaty workouts.

Today was a big day:
I told a girl at Young Life that if she could get seven of her friends who'd never been to
YL to camp this summer that she'd go for free. I might bite our area's campership
resources in the butt, but I think it's a good incentive for this future marketing major.

So really, was today a big day? Not really - it was actually altogether quite normal - but I suppose that if we're to live each day to the fullest, then we're going to look for those "big" things in the midst of the little.

What was big about your day?

Friday, April 15, 2011

the up-to's

What have we been up to lately?

...speaking at two different Young Life banquets in our region and loving it. I've also worn the same outfit both times - shhh, don't tell.

...then not sleeping super well because my mind is racing from speaking at said banquets so I then attempt to remember to take my melatonin and have a cup of camomile every night before bed.

but what happens is that my mind turns on super-speed, and I can't slow it down. I'm excited and exhausted and replaying and reviewing my words and motions and actions all at the time, and it's RIDICULOUS that sleep suffers as a result of it! And yet I feel so ALIVE in the midst of any of you have this problem? What do you do? How do you calm down and go to beddy-by?

Because otherwise what happens is that I find myself waking up at 2 in the morning, making another cup of camomile and reading smutty brainless "literature" like this:

I mean, really people, this has to stop! There are SO many better books to be reading in the wee hours of the night than those about Sookie Stackhouse (which I can't even call real literature, so much so that I have to put it in quotes).

So, we are hopin' and a prayin' for some SLEEP for this sleep-deprived lady so that she can at least come up with better blogposts than that of insomnia.

xoxo, cara "I love vampires at 2:12 in the morning" meredith

Thursday, April 07, 2011

i'll admit...

I'm pretty excited for these to come in the mail:

I'll admit...

I've been listening to CIRCUS MUSIC lately, and am stoked for this coming Monday's circus-themed YL banquet. Who knew?

I'll admit...

I've actually been having a whole lotta fun in the kitchen lately.

I'll admit...

It's hard when the hubs works long hours.

I'll admit...

I wish I only required five hours of sleep - but the but of it is that I really, really like my bed.

I'll admit...

I'm excited to get into being a life coach for high school kids. Eventually. (But I am starting a certification program in the coming months).

I'll admit...

I desire to see life half-full, even when it seems like there's nothing but rain POURING all around you, if you know what I mean.

I'll admit...

Even though the waiting process is hard, there's fruit in the midst of it, and fruit to come.

Waiting, waiting.

Monday, April 04, 2011

once upon a mississippi...

Once upon a Mississippi there was an Uncle James and an Aunt Cara who flew back to the man-boy's homeland to see the relations. And see the relations they did, namely in the four "j's": Janae, Jaylah, Jameria and little baby James. [Okay, let's be honest, there were three more "j's" to add to the mix: James senior, Judy and Jessica. I feel like my name should be Aunt Jara.]

The deep south ain't NOTHIN' without the great state of Mississippi. And imagine to our great surprise, the delight of getting to spend a birthday evening at Chuck E. Cheese. I don't think the Salem, Oregon Chuck E. ever kicked it this hard:



togetherness (in one "car" ride, no less).

pure bliss.

But Alas, the fun with Chuck E. and the boys could only last for so long, before the fun could begin across the freeway at the Red Lobster. On a Friday night. Need I mention that the entire town of Jackson seemed to be convening there for Lobsterfest as well, resulting in a 2.5 hour wait? [It was then that we decided to ask some patrons who just happened to be lounging and not eating or drinking at the bar to let us have their seats. What would you do? We claim west coast ignorance of southern rules of hospitality, but some have advised that that's a universal "no-can-do" rule no matter where one resides...]

Indeed, together the three of us shared two Lobsterfest plates and stuffed ourselves silly (thus only adding to the deep south weight gain that is inevitable regardless of visits to the Lob). We were especially excited that Cousin Gordie decided to make the trek down and back, just for dinner, from Arkansas merely to see his cousin James - now that's love!

And on to more family time it was: on Saturday morning we attended the Blacks in Government brunch at a local hotel. Yes, I was the only white woman there if you're wondering (and yes, that seems to be a normal occurance having married a black man from the south. We're used to it, the family's used to it, but the culture itself - need I say, but they aren't necessarily "used" to it yet).

Here resides some of the ladies of the family: cousin Charlotte, mama Judy and little ol' me.

JHM and JHM - I love their father-son smiles.

Let James and I never be too old to dance to live music.

Though SO much more happened while we were in the deep south, the pictures appropriately end here with some swingin' time in front of the Cracker Barrel. Might I get a couple of those for our settin' ...deck?

Till next time, Jackson...

Thursday, March 31, 2011

it's a happy birthday-day to the best man I know.

Yesterday was the hubs' birthday, so in fabulous birthday fashion, here are 43 things I love about the man! (And realize that there are just some things that will be kept between he and I - ba bam).

James, I love...

1. your smile.
2. how much you love American Idol.
3. how much AI makes you giggle.
4. said smile when you then start CRYING you're laughing so hard.
5. how you "let" me beat you at Words With Friends, and any and all games involving letters.
6. how excited you then get to play PHASE 10.
7. how good you are at doing the dishes and cleaning up every night.
8. how when I make something especially delicious, and you clothes your eyes, truly savoring every taste.
9. how you pursued me in dating...and engagement...and now in marriage.
10. how you call me every afternoon just to say hello.
11. how you greet me with pure LOVE upon walking in the door.
12. how you make fun of my sleepy self upon leaving in the morning.
13. how much you love the neurotic mr. darcy.
14. how you go on early morning runs with MD.
15. how you continue to seek to win the crazy dog over.
16. how much you love the pioneer woman!
17. how you love to read.
18. how you love jesus and love to sing to him.
19. how you love people so, so well.
20. how you seek the best for our current and future family.
21. how you set a budget (and love doing so!)
22. how much you cheerlead and support me.
23. how you sing your little heart out even if you're completely off-key.
24. how you then make up words to songs, still off-key.
25. how intelligent you are.
26. how you want to be your best self and strive for excellence.
27. how at the bottom of it you're human, and you just want to be loved and understood.
28. how you put up with me all the time rearranging and "hiding" things around the house.
29. that you're from Mississippi!
30. that you have an incredible story, and god's not done with you yet.
31. that you're an AMAZING dancer.
32. that you come fully alive when Prince and MJ are played.
33. that you say "Valentime's" day. Still. at age 43.
34. that you're just a little snuggle-bug.
35. that you love my family, and love to love them and be loved by them.
36. that there's not a judgmental bone in your body.
37. that you say what's on your mind.
38. that you can't be put in a box, and you're just full of surprises!
39. that you love holding little babies. seriously now.
40. that you love to work out.
41. that you shine in who you are, and not in who you're not.
42. that you seek to put others first.
43. that you're MINE!

happy birthday, love bucket!

Friday, March 25, 2011

pics that tell stories.

1. Wyldlife superhero club: what's not to love about this picture?

2. A dear friend of mine, Miss Davis, from our teaching days at Monte Vista, got married a couple weeks ago. This I love: it's her turn. Weddings now seem to bring about a different type of emotion: celebration. As the years as a single girl went on, I'd wonder when it was finally going to be my turn, and as much as I cheered on him or her on, still in the pit of my stomach/back of my heart/whatever the phrase might be, I was sad and frustrated and mad and __________ that I wasn't the one in the poofy white dress. So as my perspective has changed a little now, I can honestly say that at the bottom of my heart, there is JOY and THANKS and nothin' but LOVE for the one standing up front. Congrats Jenn and Matt on it being your turn.

And now to steal some pics from James' computer so that we can tell more stories...

you. drive. me. crazy.

I remember as a little girl doing the following motions:

pointing to my brother + putting both hands in the air, gripping the invisible steering wheel then in a driving motion + pointing to me + making the ca-razy (!) face.

You. Drive. Me. Crazy.

As James and I just successfully passed the 7th month hump of marriage, it has come to my attention that perhaps there are some imperfections on my part. Just a few.

1. Admittedly, I don't like to make the bed. He likes the bed made. That's been said here before, and hasn't gone away yet.

2. I apparently have a problem wiping down the counters, especially after said baked item requires being rolled in flour. He really likes the counters to be clean. This is problematic, folks.

3. I like the heat off at night because I seem to have an internal temperature gauge of 1 billion degrees. He, like a bear hibernating, likes to be all cocooned up in a hot house with lots of covers. What to do, what to do.

4. We live in a condo, so even though Mr. Darcy gets copious amounts of exercise throughout the day with walks and runs and Chuck-it sessions, he still has to go potty right before bedtime. And that means one of us has to take him. I really like playing paper-rock-scissors to determine the winner. James reasons that there must be a more logical problem-solving solution. Oh boy.

5. James likes to DVR the NCAA basketball tournament for "us" but not Grey's Anatomy. Don't get me started - don't even get me started.

But since the honey is away for the weekend, I find myself missing him already - so I'll stop there in these lamentations. What drives your honey crazy?

Mama’s Losin’ It

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Sunday morning I woke up to what I thought was a migraine, complete with headache and my right eye pulsating in pain, super sensitive to light. By Monday the headache was gone, but the eye was still hurting like it was goin' out of style, and I ended up opting out of Young Life that night because the lights from other drivers' cars were too bright. Hmmm. Then Tuesday I had a meeting down in Los Altos, about an hour away, and in morning traffic had to pull over on the side of the FREEWAY because I kept having to close my eyes while driving.

Seriously Cara, do you think you have super bionic, invincible driving powers?

It was then that I realized that maybe I should get the eyeball checked out - and lo and behold, it was an eye ulcer! Really, it's worse than it sounds. Really, the pain and light sensitivity cleared up by Friday morning, just in time to finish writing my Fuller paper on John 2:1-11. [Side note: I've always been a procrastinator - hey, it's when I do my best work! This time, I thought SURELY I will and can get my paper turned in before its Friday due date. But with the ulcer came an aversion to computer screens and books both, so all 15 pages were pounded out, pain-free from 8.07 am yesterday till 4.39 pm. Ba-bam! Will my procrastination never cease?]

In the meantime, I got to wear these rockin' shades that some of the kids I work with dubbed THUNDER-SHADES. I also got "pimpin'" and "hipster" at one point. One of the best moments of THUNDER-SHADE redemption came Thursday afternoon at one of the local high schools; we do "Young Life" (sans a Christian talk) there once a month, simply building relationships and serving the school. But we still get to do a little inspirational message, so to speak - so I owned the current THUNDER-SHADES situation, complete with the following Judy Garland quote:

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else."

That's right! I'm going to be the first-rate, THUNDER-SHADES version of me, you'd better believe it! ...So, with whatever situation is going on in your life, how are you going to own the present circumstances, and just be you, not comparing yourself to others? Own those THUNDER-SHADES, I tell you!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

a weekend that just makes sense.

This past weekend James, Mr. Darcy and I drove 2.75 hours north-ish to celebrate the 90th birthday of one great man: my grandfather. We jam-packed 24 hours as full as one could make it, starting out with the search for the perfect beanie:

James, if you haven't noticed, has quite the healthy fetish fascination with always covering his cold, bald head - hence a cousin trip to downtown Grass Valley to see the sights as we searched for the perfect hat!

We had quite the adventure in trying to find a place to stay this weekend; generally we stay with family when visiting Nevada City, but there was no room at the inn this weekend! Much family + a foot of snow + a beloved problem dog named Mr. Darcy made for a tough time trying to find a place to stay after our original plan ended up with a power outage and lack of way in there with the local road closed. It was then that we stumbled upon Swan Levine, a fabulous bed and breakfast that one posed as a Nevada County hospital where none other than my dad and his two younger sisters were born! Of course, once they heard where we were staying, they decided to come check in as well:

The "surgery room" (or "pink room", as it's sometimes called to unsuspecting visitors) still boasts its original tile floor!

this is why everyone should support their local B & B:

And because we were able to take our deranged lovable Darcy-pup!

And also because such coffee makes you take such pictures as this:

Sometimes we like to pretend like we're really, really tough, just to scare the masses few who might be convinced.

To celebrate Grandpa's birthday, the whole fam-damily went to THE WILLO off old 49. I wish I could describe the beauty of this old roadside diner: it's kindof the city's best kept local secret, at least for the meat-eating types. They've got a fat grill in the middle of the dank, dark restaurant, so you know your meat's being grilled to perfection. You can choose from three different sizes of steak, or get chicken, halibut, or catfish - James, of course, chased after his southern roots and ate catfish for dinner, while I opted for the halibut. (mmm, my favorite!). Every meal is the same: meat, salad, baked potato and beans. AND a scoop of ice cream for dessert - I mean, come on, people!

So here pictured is (my) Uncle Kensell, just hanging out with his grandbaby Nicole. Love.

It was then time to remember why we ventured to Nevada City in the first place: to celebrate 90 years of life! Grandpa then proceeded to direct us like the family chorus we are, only then to be topped by a toasting speech. Hey, when I'm 90, I'm sure as hell going to be toasting myself!

You work those boots, girl! (I sure wish I could still work one leg in, one leg out!)

What grown woman doesn't like seeing her grown husband hiding under a blanket just to entertain your local three year old who needs to go to bed, but just wants to play one more game (!) with Uncle James?

The fun's not over yet! "Let's play follow the leader!" Thus followed five grown males around an old country house, stomping in the footsteps of said "I'm almost four!" little lady.

Family makes sense. Being so, so weird together makes sense. It was a weekend that just made sense.