Being a practical gal, Deb knew that, if she wanted to celebrate the way she wanted to celebrate (and there's not a thing wrong with that!), she'd have to plan it herself. She wanted all the family there. There aren't many of us, but we are scattered in different states and (especially us) in different lifestyles. Deb's first announcement asked us all when we could plan to be free during this summer / fall. The weekend of August 5-8 turned out to be favorable. Then she spent days / weeks on the Internet locating a site we could all get to reasonably easily. She was looking for some place that could handle the group (expected to be a dozen plus one toddler) and especially a place that we could set up our motorhome.
Deb found a VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) near Fiddletown, California. It's called Manzanita Ranch, largely because of the native manzanita bushes that grow in the area. The house is a log lodge: two stories, with three bedrooms, a huge deck, and a carriage house with an additional apartment, and a Murphy Bed in the downstairs "great room." We would have complete access to the home, it's appliances, the grounds, the grand piano, the hot tub, from Friday afternoon until noon on Monday.
For us, it was perfect! We had planned to be at our other daughter's (Kathie's) college graduation in Reno in May, and to spend time with Deb at her home in Silicon Valley over the Fourth of July. We love to visit California's Gold Country. What more could we ask?!?!?!?
The whole family showed up, except for Grandson Jason's wife, Crystal -- conflicts with her work situation -- and we had a ball.
|Here we are parked in front of the house, with water and 20amp electric.|
|Suzy had to BACK the motorhome down this narrow curved driveway. She did fine!|
|Deb's guy Albert and Grandson Jason enjoy the view from the read deck.|
|Evening is coming.|
|Preparing ham for my famous omelet -- made enough for 12 people!|
|Renee and Adam prepared a wonderful French Toast breakfast.|
|Great Grandson Darren sees it ...|
|...and really wants it!|
|Grandson Sam gives it some lip.|
|Granddaughter Renee's Adam just about has it!|
|Darren gets a little help from his Grandpa Shawn.|
|Jason has only one more to go.|
|Cousin Carol closing in on the prize.|
|Let's see -- the red ones go to the left,and the green ones go to the right. Where do the yellow ones go?|
One special birthday request was that Suzy play the piano for a family sing-along. The girls even bought sheet music of the songs we and they love. With a beautiful instrument like the grand piano, there was no question.
|Warming up for the singalong|
|"Sing, sing a song, make it simple to last your whole life long"|
Now, here's the background. One helluva long time ago, I celebrated MY 50th birthday with some family and friends at a restaurant in Phoenix. Deb was living in Los Angeles at the time, a single mother with not a lot of spare money. She couldn't come to the party. However, shortly after we were all seated for dinner, Deb came in, dressed to the nines, followed by a character actor she had hired to play Father Time. He did a wonderful and somewhat ribald bit. I could do nothing this year but provide payback! My routine was hardly "wonderful and somewhat ribald," and my beard was awful -- but Deb was totally caught up in surprise and laughter.
|Deb, Jason and Albert enjoying the show.|
|Did you ever see such a phony beard?|
|Kathie pouring the donut batter into the cooker.|
|Deb had her turn too.|
|Donuts with a choice of frostings!|
Now about a birthday only coming once ... or twice -- Deb's actual birthday is next month, so I'm a-guessing there will at least be birthday cards, and maybe her pals at work will sing her a song! She'll have two 50th birthdays!
We'll be moving soon, back to Carson City (for Suzy's next epidural shot), then we'll mosey around in Nevada until the end of the month. That's when daughter Kathie goes in for back surgery; we'll stick around then to see if we can be of any help, or just be in the way. In either case, we need to head back to Benson, AZ to pick up the more sedate portion of ... Our Life on Wheels.