the U.S.A.   Well, some of it, anyway. December 1999-February 2000

     With three months to kill between the end of our job contract in Taejon and the start of our next one in Kwangju, we headed home to the USA to see family & friends, relax, and bring in the year 2000. Here's a huge list of pictures, categorized more or less chronologically with a few words of introduction here and there, from this marathon vacation of ours.

     We flew into Portland, Oregon for the first of many happy reunions with Cheris's dad and stepmom, John and Sue. They immediately shuttled us off to Tumbletide, their beach house in Oceanside, Oregon, where we recovered from our jetlag in style. We also had the chance, while hanging out at the home base in Vancouver, Washington, to explore Portland, see Cheris's buddy Melissa and her adorable son Taylor, and go out to dinner at a Morroccan restaurant, where Rob received an unexpected and thoroughly embarrassing bellydancing lesson.
all of us at Tumbletide
the view from the deck at Tumbletide
Melissa, Taylor, and Cheris
Taylor jams out at the ivories
Rob shakin' that thang
shakin' it some more

     We also got the chance to head up to Seattle to see a our buddies there. (Thanks again, John and Sue, for lending us the car!). We arrived in town a week after the WTO riots, but we found relative calm there and had a great time.
Justin and Doug, our gracious hosts
the inimitable Wyll Pugh:  y? just because
Beth Johns smiles while strangled by cameraman
Maki & Meso, a couple of cool cats
Swinger, D&J's restored and redecorated pinball table

     At this point, Rob split off for a while to visit his Aunt Pat and Uncle Ted (the Bates family) in Phoenix, Arizona. (From here, the trip follows Rob for a while, since he has the digital camera that produces 99% of the pics for this site.) The weather, scenery, and hospitality were, of course, first rate. We made day trips to South Mountain, near the Bates residence, and Sedona, famous for its huge red rocks. As chance would have it, Rob's old buddy Claire was in Arizona at the time, and they met up for a few hours in Sedona.
Uncle Ted and Jake at South Mtn
big honkin' cactus at South Mtn
first view of Sedona
Aunt Pat & Uncle Ted in Sedona
Rob with goofy smile in Sedona
more Sedona
still more Sedona
Uncle Ted and Jake in Sedona
woah! still more Sedona scenery
crazy cool church in the rocks in Sedona
Claire at a valley park in Sedona
Sedona main street with mountains in the background
Uncle Ted looking cool behind the wheel

     Rob flew back to New York, and after the family reunion on Long Island, he headed back into the city for a weekend to see performances including Jennifer Middaugh at the Knitting Factory and Bill Lifford with the Chicken Foot Express at Chicago B.L.U.E.S.
Jen Middaugh in her makeup for the performance
Zwas, Yan, & Lindsay at the Knit that night
The Chicken Foot Express blues band
Bill and Ken representin' the CFE
Lance and Jerry, the rhythm section
the NYC skyline, through a fence from a moving car, photo by Chris Kardos

     Christmastime rolled around again, and we spent a jolly Christmas Eve at the Carpentier's place in West Islip, NY.
Nana cuttin' the rug
ladies hanging 'round the bar
dogs love Rob's dad, who knew?
dancing Nana and Mickey
Nana, Carpentier kids, and pups
Rob's lovely grandparents, such a fine lookin' couple

     And here are two shots from Nesconset, NY on Christmas Day. 'Twas a merry merry day.
Bill and Jen
Rob's parents and the Christmas tree

     Between Christmas and New Year's Eve, Rob's old buddies David and Michele got engaged. Rob, lounging around his folks' house like a slug, was in the fortunate position to be one of the first to find out this happy news. And thus he managed to snap the very first photograph of them as a betrothed couple. Rob also made a few visits to Dave and Michele's apartment in Larchmont, NY during his vacation.
the first engagement picture, in the Lifford living room
the engagement ring
live dragon stalks plastic giraffe in Larchmont

     Cheris flew into NY on about December 28, and to ring in the year 2000, we went up to Schroon Lake in New York's Adriondak Mountain range and rented cabins for a few days with a whole buch of folks. Much champagne was on hand, and a good time was had by all. Kirk and Eric from NYC had the good sense to convert one of the cabins to a dance club for the occassion.
Gadi, Leah, Cheris, & Michele at our cabin
laughing Jen, drooling Gadi
Dave and Gadi raid napping Cheris
chillin' on the couch
Gadi's tongue once again
Gad and Dave
startin' to git down in the disco cabin
Jenny and Kurt
dancing and silliness
the turntable, Chris's back, and Erik
Karl with his head in the clouds
preparing some champagne: Jenny, Karl, Danielle
tons of dancing shortly before the big moment--photo by Erik
and the sparklers came out--also by Erik
Gadi hog wild with sparkler--yet again courtesy of Erik
Rob and Kirk kick out the first jam of the year--once again, thanks Erik
Kurt, next day with leftover champagne
Gadi, still looking strange in photos, and Jenny
Karl betwixt cars at some strange angle
uh, hello, Danielle?
Erik and Kirk
Erica smiles, Karl cleans plates
the Margraf brothers
Leah and Cheris winding down

     Rob and Cheris did a little bit of exploring and visiting folks on Long Island while she was in town.
Cheris in Port Jefferson
Rob with his grandparents and great-uncle Mike in Ridge, NY, photo by Cheris

     We also took some trips into the city. We spent one particularly cool evening at Dave and Lindsay's place in Brooklyn, with some other suspicious characters in attendance.
Mickie and Dave
Lindsay goes nuts, with Chris and Mickie close by
Leti and Cari smilin' it up
Leti and Cheris
uh, Dave, you OK, man?
no unauthorized photos, said Heavyweight Zed

     Gus flew up to New York and we took off in a rented car for Ithaca, NY. After spending most of a week there, Cheris headed off on a trip to Colorado with Leah & Chris, then on to Texas. Rob and Gus drove over to Haverhill, MA to visit Eric & Jessi Drake, and to bring Rob's cat Mayet to her new home. Then Rob & Gus headed back to New York City for a few days before Gus had to return to Miami.
Gus, overwhelmed upon arriving in I-town
Gadi tickles feet, news at 11
Star Wars Trivial Pursuit at Stewart Little co-op
the guys, in deep shame after losing the above game
Chris and Cheris in the glory of victory
group grumble, it was past our bedtimes
Gadi licks Liz, eeeeeew gross
Chuck disguised in Liz's clothes
the Drakes' kitties, Olaf and Cierce, in Haverhill
Mayet gets comfy in Haverhill
another shot of Jessi
the Drakes together
all of us at the Drakes'
going crazy at Heather and Dan's place in New York
Heather demonstrates an orthopedic surgeon's enthusiasm for the mighty bonesaw

     Rob flew down to Texas to meet up with Cheris, prepare to return to Korea, and of course spend some time with Cheris's mom and stepdad, Ann and Mike, and her brother, Joe. We had a great time there, and our only regrets were that we couldn't stay longer and didn't take enough pictures. Tyler, Texas is a beautiful, friendly little place, and of course we were in great company.
Jack, the Reed family wonderdog, fetching stuff at Lake Tyler
Ann and Cheris on the lake's lovely shore
Cheris at the lake
a raccoon carcass at the lake, grisly but strangely beautiful
close up of the above carcass
Jack warming up in the car after his swim
Cheris in mud-mask
Cheris and Joe
old scanned picture of Cheris with cousin Amber and a really cool sand-dragon on the beach

     From Texas, we headed back to Korea (see the recent journey page if you haven't already), and our longest vacation ever came to an end.

     But don't leave yet: here are a few totally random pictures that we thought we'd throw up here as well...
Mo' M'schug'na, Rob's last band, sometime in 1998
one more of Mo' M'schug'na, from the same show
sunset over taxicab, Ronkonkoma train station, Long Island, NY
a "Go Into Wow" license plate?!? no, it's suppposed to mean, "Goin' to Walt Disney World"--how lame

the Kwangju Chronicles