Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life (Twain)

What a fun-crazy week this has been! After my family headed back to their respective homes, John and I kind of vegged/ slept/ cleaned house/ caught up on GoT on Tuesday. Wednesday the three of us and the dogs drove out to this creek in Lewis County that we like to rockhound and swim in, and then on Thursday my friends Chico and Brit arrived.

So awesome

So awesome

We stayed up far too late catching up and looking at picture albums. Because they slept on the couch, and Brit came over from across the pond and was dealing with a bit of jet lag, John and I waited until about 8:30 to come out and start making coffee and breakfast.

I made french toast for breakfast, which Brit informed me is called, “eggy bread,” in the UK. I love that, and will now always refer to this dish as eggy bread. That’s brilliant. I canned some strawberry jam the other day, which paired nicely with the eggy bread. For lunch, we ate at this local Indian place. Brit (whose parents are immigrants from India) deemed it extremely authentic and delicious, although they apparently prepared the eggplant differently than her mum does.

Because they had a limited amount of time in the area and couldn’t really go out of town, we took them downtown to wander the shops and waterfront, although first we made a detour to Cabelas. Apparently they don’t have giant superstores dedicated to hunting, fishing, and camping that are filled with taxidermied animals over in the UK. Weird. Brit was a little freaked out by the crazy-huge gun display, and when you consider it from the p.o.v. of someone who comes from a pretty gun-free nation, I can see why. There were a lot of guns. As we walked through, she joked that she was a little worried about stumbling into one and accidentally setting it off.

Although joking, the comment made me think — it’s funny, I actually feel safer in a gun store than I do in a gun owners home. A gun store, I know that the store policies mean the guns are definitely unloaded, and that the seller has a vested interest in preventing any negative media about gun accidents in their store. But in a gun owners home, the guns aren’t always kept unloaded and in a safe area. It’s a topic of huge debate in the gun owning community apparently — on the one hand, loaded guns secreted around the house are pretty much deadly accidents waiting to happen. On the other hand, an unloaded gun locked in a safe is pretty useless against a threat. Whatever the reasons, far too many gun owners seem to leave their weapons loaded and unsecured within their homes, and that worries me.

After Cabelas, we went downtown. I showed them all my favorite local stores, and each of us bought a few small items — books, gifts, cards, etc. Brit bought these beautiful friendship bracelets (she chose the purple one for me because it matched the embroidery on my sundress).

Friendship bracelets!

Friendship bracelets!

At Dumpster Values (a consignment thrift shop), we found a great pair of barely-used motorcycle pants for off-road riding, which fit John perfectly. They were $16! What a steal! Armored pants like this usually run $100 – $200, so damn. And perfect timing, since he has that multi-state off-road motorcycle trip coming up!

Then we went and got some Olympic Mountain ice cream cones — they have a vanilla habanero flavor, and it’s surprisingly yummy. John was the one who got that, of course — I stuck with my usual cherry vanilla. We sat outside and enjoyed the sun, ice cream, gorgeous view of the Sound, and the conversation.

IMG_20140620_202435

Man, I love visiting with these guys. We had the most fascinating discussion on the culture of gun ownership and anti-gun control justifications, and came up with a set of gun controls that we would like to see implemented:

  • Require 3 character references for a gun purchase, 1 of whom is a medical provider for the potential buyer. (based on the fact that all of the recent shooters had telegraphed their intentions through conversation and social media prior to obtaining their guns)
  • Keep a national gun registry. (gun advocates like to compare guns to cars. Well, we register our cars, and that information is available to all law enforcement agencies. Similarly, we should require and maintain a national gun registry.)  
  • Limit amount of guns an individual can legally own (because there’s no reason for non-military/ non-police individuals to own an amory — 2 handguns and 1 rifle should be sufficient for any civilian … more than that is just overkill)
  • Provide an on-site gun library at the shooting range. (Chico pointed out that some people own more guns than they need because different weapons fire differently and require different types of skill/ training. The solution is that people who want to try an AR-15 can just check it out at the gun range. They might already do this, I don’t know.)

I thought of two more after we got home:

  • Make it so guns can only be sold through authorized retailers (it should be illegal to sell guns through social media sites or gun shows). 
  • Invest more in safe guns. (I can’t believe the NRA opposed this)

It was a really fascinating conversation, and Chico and Brit pointed out some aspects of gun control (both for and against) that hadn’t previously occurred to me. We all agreed that the relatively simple step of requiring character/ medical references for potential gun owners was something that would be easy to implement and difficult to argue against, seeing as we already ask for references in job and financial loan situations.

It seems like a natural step, and it’s a relatively minor hoop that most gun owners have hopped through for other things (job/ loans), so should be fine with hopping through for the weapons they so adore. Plus, if you read the various manifestos of the crazy-ass homegrown terrorists that keep shooting up schools and towns, there’s one pretty common thread — their family and friends are pretty concerned about the disturbing statements these people are making, and would generally not tell a gun-seller that the person is totally emotionally stable and to be trusted with a weapon.

But I digress. After the ice cream, we wandered along the pier and then headed home. We stopped by Olympic Cards & Comics real quick — it’s the biggest comic book shop on the West Coast, so how could we not? — and ended up buying a few graphic novels and comics. Chico bought Kidling a MLP comic, button, and a Calvin & Hobbes book. To thank us for our hospitality, he also bought us a copy of Preacher. By then it was about 7 pm, and they still had a two hour drive ahead of them, so we went back to the house and said our goodbyes.

It’s been such a hectic week with houseguests and graduations and more houseguests, but it’s been such an amazing week, too. I don’t like to use the word “blessed,” but I can’t really think of a non-religious alternative at the moment which expresses how I feel — I feel blessed. I am so grateful to Bex and dad for coming out to my graduation. Their presence this week was such a valuable and meaningful gift for me. I was delighted with the unexpected arrival of thoughtful gifts and congratulations from my Aunt M and older sister. I felt humbled by the support and delight of my friends, who came to my final project presentations, cheered me on as I graduated, and joined me for the graduation celebrations.

I feel privileged to have such wonderful people in my life, and I think it’s far too rare in our culture that we express gratitude and thanks for the beautiful relationships in our lives. It almost feels like bragging instead of reveling. All I know is that this week has been so jam-packed with support and affection as my loved ones celebrate this milestone with me that it’s difficult not to smile. I can’t help the delighted grin that keeps spreading across my face, or the cheery song that keeps spilling from my lips.

 

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