Tuesday, July 18, 2006

89 snowballs and 90 cupcakes

July 5th the journey begins at 4:00 AM for my trip to CA.  Early by my usual standard of an 8:30 AM wake-up.  No coffee this morning until I get to SeaTac for a three hour layover.  I walked the airport terminals, each one of them until about twenty minutes before time to board, knowing I would be tired and ready to sleep on the flight.

My brother Jerry arrived in CA just yesterday and here he was at the Oakland airport to pick me up and take me home.  Now I have several places I call home, Concord Ca where my parents live, Missouri where I was born, and Ferndale where I live with my husband Larry.  Home is where the heart is and that is where my loved ones live.  So I hit the ground running and ready to help with the final preparations for my dad’s 90th birthday party and a surprise 89th birthday celebration for my mom, and a sort of mini reunion with family that hadn’t been together for too long a time.  

Friday we were on the road to buy art supplies, food, drinks, and paper products, pick up the snow cone machine, popcorn popper machine, and the cotton candy machine.  I love to shop, so away we went to Home Goods, Michael’s, Wal-Mart, the produce stand, Costco, Wal-Mart again, and Joann’s.  Lack of water and too much warm weather left me napping during dinner and missing southern fried chicken, homemade rolls, baked beans, garden fresh cucumbers, and not one but two homemade desserts.  I did however wake up in time to visit with the first of the relatives who had arrived, Jerry, Sue, Bryon, Debbie, Justin, and Kim.  

8:30 AM, and all is quiet, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse would dare come into Mary’s domain and ruin this party.  Mary left at 6:30 AM to buy everything for the party that we didn’t get yesterday leaving me alone with the Miele coffee maker.  My husband Larry yearns for one of these machines for his very own and I thought about him every minute as I sat sipping my white chocolate, peppermint, mocha.  Everyone else began to arrive and we set up tables, chairs, peeled, sliced, minced, and chopped vegetables wondering where the veggie matic was.  We took a Fuze break in the afternoon laughing at the sayings under our bottle caps.  I think “Fuze it up” was the favorite of the day. Chuck, Jack, and David arrived today.

Let the party begin.  Everyone worked hard so that mom and dad would have a day to remember.  Kim and I painted everyone’s hand and had them press their palm print onto cardstock for an art project that I will finish at home and bring back in the fall.  Chuck, Bryon, David, Jerry, and Jerry all helped out with the barbeque and food stations, plus anything that needed doing.  Sue and Laura help with the food and Mary went non stop.  Debbie was manning the snow cone machine, the popcorn machine, and the cotton candy machine with volunteers to help in the rush.  We served two cakes made with 89 Snowballs for mom and 90 chocolate cupcakes for dad.  Jerry and Laura made it possible for Mary to have a video made for mom and dad.  It was an  emotional rollercoaster watching pictures of loved ones no longer with us and then laugh at the clothes and the hairdos we once thought were cool.  We each took home our own copy of the video and as a special surprise, Mary had cd’s made featuring the music on the video.  After everyone left we finished the evening off with mochas and bocce ball.  The new big kids, Jim, Dave, Kim, Chuck, Bryon, and Debbie went out for a few more laughs.  I don’t know how they could have had any more fun except they left the old folks home.  

Sunday was a day of honor and respect for my parents as we all showed up for church. Next was a photo shoot on the front porch with what must have been eight or nine cameras and two video cameras all taking basically the same pictures just to make sure we got the best shot.  Just as we were finishing up, Kelly arrived to surprise her grandparents.  Mom just kept looking at Kelly not quite believing it was her and then they just hugged each other and didn’t let go.   Mary had a special surprise for breakfast:  Zip Lock Omelets:  Have guests write their name on a quart size freezer bag with permanent marker.  Crack 2 eggs (large or extra-large) into the bag (not more than 2) and shake to combine them.  Put out a variety of ingredients such as:  cheese, hams, onion, green pepper, tomato, hash browns, salsa, etc.  Each guest adds prepared ingredients of their choice to their bag and shakes.  Make sure to get the air out of the bag and zip it up.  Place the bag in rolling, boiling water for exactly 13 minutes.  You can usually cook 6 to 8 omelets in a large pot.  For more, make another pot of boiling water.  Open the bags and the omelets will roll out easily. Be prepared for everyone to be amazed.  Of course there were left over cupcakes and snowballs to complement the omelets and fruit.  What better way to end the evening than with mochas and bocce ball.  By now some of the players are getting very competitive and have formed teams, named themselves, and had hats so that everyone knew who they were.  Mary had those glow stick necklaces and bracelets for those who wanted a little bling in the night.  

Mary, Laura, Jerry, Chuck, Jack, and I did a little shopping in Walnut Creek.  My favorite store was Moonstuck Chocolates and Andronico's Market.  Mary ordered Mexican food for everyone for dinner and then we hit the bocce ball court again.  This was the last night for some to play, and they were out to win.  The winners not only got the title, but a plate of snowballs or cupcakes of their choice.  

Mary, Laura, and I lunched at Mimi’s in Fairfield and did a little shopping in Vacaville.  Jerry bought steaks and everyone had dinner at Mary’s.  

Mary, Kelly, and I had princess cake for breakfast at Le Gateau Elegant in Martinez.  Jerry drove Kelly to the airport in Sacramento for her return flight to Las Vegas.  Everyone had dinner at mom and dads.  

Can a girl have too many shoes?  I don’t know if this is a secret or not but Mary told me she has 100 pairs of summer shoes and 100 pairs of winter shoes.  So Kim went home on Tuesday with shoes and I went home with my suitcase a little fuller.  I collected a couple of plants from mom’s garden to add to my own garden when I get home.  It is special to look at flowers in my garden and know that it came from my mom's garden.  In the fall I will collect a few from Mary’s garden.  I kissed my dad good bye and gave him instructions to behave and he laughed like he always does and said, “We’ll see.”  I hugged my mom and kissed her cheek and headed out the door to Jerry’s SUV.  I looked back at my mom’s watery eyes and had to give her another hug and kiss and remind her I would be back in the fall, the tickets are already bought.  

Gate 8 and a wait
Take a breath
C2E and then it is home
A glass of wine
A huge kiss hello
A bark
A purr
Home sweet home

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