Thursday, August 17, 2006

Back in the Land of Wa

iPod morning commute music: Bob Dylan, Highway 61 Revisited, 1965

Without a doubt one of Dylan's (and Rock 'n' Roll's) greatest albums, the one where he went electric for good (or at least until after his motorcycle accident), the album opens with Rolling Stone magazine's #1 greatest rock song ever recorded, Like a Rolling Stone. I'm reading Greil Marcus' book, Like a Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan at the Crossroads, so it seemed like a logical choice.

I got back home from the States late Tuesday night, back into the heat and humidity of the Land of Wa (as opposed to the cool, beautiful summer of the State of WA). It was a busy 3 weeks. Good but frustrating news was that Tatsu should be considered a Washington State resident since I should be considered a Washington State resident ("should" because we still have to wait for the paperwork to be approved). It turns out I was basically right all along: By keeping my WA driver's license and voter registration at my parents' address, I retained my residency. Tatsu still will take a year off, and will probably attend my first college, The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, though Western Washington University in Bellingham is still an option. The problem is that Western won't give much credit for Tatsu's IB Diploma, while Evergreen looks like they'll give a lot (45 credits, though again we won't know until the paperwork goes through).

Along with Tatsu's university dramas, he was/is learning how to drive. Our friend, Holly B., is a certified Drivers' Ed teacher and is giving him free lessons. Kaoru and I basically just let him drive us around everywhere, giving him chances to practice. His longest road trip was to Ellensburg, where we stayed with another friend, Mitch W. Had a chance in the 'Burg to visit a whole slew of the family who lived across the street from us. Tatsu's driving is getting very good, and hopefully he'll take his driving test at the end of August in North Bend, where my brother Mark lives.

Cliff and Holly from Alaska came to Vashon for a few days to visit. They were pretty stressed out over trying to plan back to back weddings for both their children, but I think we helped to relax them (all the Costco beer, wine and food that they brought with them contributed greatly to that cause). We also met my late friend Bob K.'s sister and fiancee for lunch and had a BBQ party at my cousin Juila's and her husband, Craig's place, where we got to see my ailing but improving Aunt Vera and my other cousin, Stacia, whom we hadn't seen for several years.

Nan W. took us to see a Seattle Storm (women's basketball) game. My friend since high school, Nan is an artist who has helped Tatsu over the years with her advice and guidance, and who recommended Evergreen's art program as one to be considered. Before the game, we made signs which, when put together, read "WE'RE STORMIN' MAD! Save our teams!" protesting the potential move of both the Storm and the Sonic to Oklahoma, and which got us on TV for a moment of glory.

Craig B., Holly's husband and one of my oldest and best friends (since 1972, when we were both 18 and in our first year at Evergreen) sailed back from Lopez Island to Vashon Island following a Latitudes and Attitudes party on Lopez. It was my first long sailing trip, and aside from hurting my ribs in a fall, damn near getting sick in the Straits, and getting the worst sunburn I've had in recent (20 years!) memory, I had a great time.

But mostly it was about family: My mom and dad both turn 80 this year; Kaoru, taking care of them while she was there; my brother Mark and I sharing wine on his back deck at night; long conversations with his wife Ann after Mark went to bed; Alisa, off to the Global Young Leaders Conference; Tatsu, staying behind with my folks for a year, realizing he will need to cook for them. It was hard to say goodbye to Tatsu when he and Mark saw me off at the airport. He turned 18 at the end of July, but it is difficult to acknowledge a child becoming a man. Our last few days together were spent with me trying to be a daddy one last time, to show or teach something to my son one last time, to try to make him see how much I love him one last time before flying back to the heat and humidity of Wa.

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