On Vacation, part 2: Partying like Rock Stars

We are having a little too much fun at my mom & stepdad’s house in California. Just a smidge.

Sunday, July 3rd, we had our annual Independence Day BBQ/Swim Party. 45 people, and it went for about 10 hours. Marathon party. 13 people slept at the house that night.

Yo, our parties are off the chain (or hook. either one, really) . Slammin’. Bangin’. Totally ballin’. The bomb. Badass and whack. Like yo.

Okay. Forgive me. Sometimes my thiry-something self reverts back to a 21 year old. A 21 year old that was nothing like ME at 21. In any case, WE HAD FUN.

We swam. A lot:

It was really freakin’ hot (seriously, like 106 degrees Fahrenheit. No lie.(that’s about 41 degrees celsius for you people from across the pond.))

And we lit about a bazillion fireworks in front of the house:

As you can imagine, we were a little overheated and peopled-out the next day. The guests left and we kept out of the sun at the movies in the afternoon (Kung Fu Panda 2. Cute.), then went down to my old high school for a community fireworks show.

We waited for the sun to go down:

And took some pics:

We had snow cones:

And the boys played with bubbles: 

Then we had fireworks:


That night we all died from exhaustion and heatstroke.

Then we got up the next morning and went to breakfast with the best grandma ever. Like, in the world. I couldn’t love her more. We hung out at Grammy’s house and did a whole lot of nothing, which, at Grammy’s, consists of putting together puzzles, playing dominoes, and eating Taffy cookies. Sometimes stale. Oh, and sucking on butterscotch candies. The boys played in her “playroom,” sometimes affectionately referred to as a “junk room.” Toys from the 1960’s & 70’s hide there among aging avocado green lampshades, lodge robes and memorabilia from kids and grandkids alike.

My mom & gram. Puzzle making.

Have I mentioned how much I adore my Grammy? She’s going through radiation right now for a very deep melanoma that was removed from her temple a few weeks ago. She’ll be 84 next Saturday. I heart her with my whole heart.

*moment of reverence*

Moving on –

That night we partied AGAIN. See what I mean about being rock stars? It’s like every night with us. No stopping us. Somebody better hold an intervention.

So, y’all know Joni, right? She came over, with her brood (husband, baby Ella, and 3 big kids) and her old friend (and my old acquaintance), Staci, and her big kid daughter, and we all hung out in the heat gulping water, laughing, and sharing stories. Oh, and we ate some sumptious BBQ fare, cotton candy ice cream and Joni’s delectable chocolate, chocolate cupcakes.

Photo courtesy of Staci. 🙂 (I realize my boobs appear to be missing. It’s the swimsuit that I had on under my dress. It has failed me terribly in the support category. Not that a blame it, per se. The job is onerous.)

I’m very sad to say we only have two days left of vacation in California. We’re heading to the beach tomorrow for the last two days so you can all wait for a third, and final, installment of our on-vacation antics.


On Vacation, part 1: the U.S.S. Hornet

Saturday we got up early and caught a flight to San Jose. This was the first time the boys have flown since they were babies and they LOVED it. My oldest was a little afraid when we were taking off, and that’s naturally his way, but he relaxed really well after that.

My mom & stepdad picked us up and we drove up to Alameda to tour the U.S.S. Hornet. This is the ship my grandpa was on in WWII, circa ’43-’44. It was surreal to walk in areas where he may have been as a young man. Incredible.

Here are some pics we took there:

A friend told me my husband looks a little like Richard Branson. What do you think?

Stay tuned for the next chapter of our vacation travels. Happy Independance Day everyone!

Sometimes I’m a lucky girl

My company HQ is in San Francisco. Coincidentally, I love San Francisco. Always have. Sometimes I have to go visit my HQ to do work type stuff. When that happens I take full advantage of the opportunity to visit my California family.
So last Thursday night I packed a small bag for the weekend and got my booty into bed by midnight. I set the alarm for 5:30 AM. Then I lay there. And I tossed. Then I turned. Then I tossed again. Then I moved to the sofa. Sometimes I can sleep on the sofa when I can’t get comfy in my bed. 2 am, 3 am, and finally, blessfully, I fell asleep around 4 am. I had moved the alarm to 6 am. Yeah, you do the math.
On the way to the airport I saw this:
When I got to SFO I took the BART, because I’m thrifty like that, to my HQ’s BART stop near Market:
And schlepped the few blocks, partially UP HILL, to my office in SOMA. It was an absolutely, unbelievably gorgeous day:
I worked for a while. I had a successful, productive meeting. I found out that our HQ has a “Zen room” (more like a Zen closet) which I said was very Zen-like and my co-worker corrected me and said, no, it’s more IKEA-like. But, you know, that works for me.
After a few hours there, I took the BART back to SFO and picked up a rental car. In fact, I got a BRAND SPANKING NEW rental. It only had 70 miles on it. Sunroof, leather seats, satellite radio. I dug it. And I hit the road. And parked. In San Jose traffic. It took me 2 1/2 hours to travel 42 miles. Frick ‘n’ frack was I annoyed. And tired. Did I mention that I was operating on only 2 hours sleep?

Finally, around Morgan Hill, CA, I hit open road and I kept going until I hit Fresno County. At which point it was about 8 pm and I had to pee. And felt a powerful need to eat a little something too. But, thank goodness I didn’t need gas because that’s where I saw this:
Holy preposterousness, Batman. For reals.
And then I got a text from one of my best friends from high school, Alicia. I call her Leash. Her brother’s band was playing at a dive bar that night in my hometown and could I come? Pretty please? And bring my mom since her mom was going to be there too? Um, yeah, SURE! Because I may have only had 2 hours sleep and flew across 3 states at dawn, and been in meetings all day and on the road for 5 hours but OF COURSE I’m up for hitting a dive bar with friends to listen to a rockabilly band. Duh.
So this happened:
It was sorta dark in there and my mom couldn’t figure out how to work the camera on my phone. At this point we were all laughing at her. That’s Leash on the right. And on the left, Kristen. We all reminisced about getting into a fender bender in Kristen’s car on the first day of my Freshman year. Probably the first time my mom let a friend drive me anywhere. Yep. Kristen & Alicia look exactly the same since HS and I hate them. Except that I love them. Moving on.
I spent the weekend with my Mamacita. This is her in her backyard. It’s my own personal Zen place. Her house backs up to a field so it’s super quiet and there’s very little light pollution so I can lay out there in the patio loungers and listen to the fountain and look at millions of stars. Om.
One of the biggest reasons I came to my hometown this weekend was to see my Grammy. You see, she’s the best Grammy EVER. Without exception. Even my hubby says that she’s the best – and he had a pretty amazing Gram himself.
Here’s me and my Gram:
I was laughing in this pic because she was clutching her blouse up around her neck in order to hide her “turkey neck.” She is so silly. The best parts of me, my cousins, my mom & my aunts all came from her. She’s ornery, nurturing, loving, understanding, and the epitome of gracefulness. Except when she burps out loud. Man, can she burp. And snore. My goodness. Oh, how I love her.
I also spent a good part of the weekend with this dude:
Okay, so his hair is a little crazy in this pic, but he’s still cute right? And he has kind eyes. He’s my cousin. He’s my brother/cousin. And he’s single. Swoon, ladies, swoon. Also, he’s 30 and he likes older women. If you live in the valley and want to meet him just email me. (He’s also a journeyman/electrician looking for steady work so, you know, email me for that too).
Saturday night something momentous happened:
That’s JONI! Yeah, THE Joni. My blogging inspiration and altogether-awesome-person Joni. And that bitty baby is Ella. I tried to hold Ella. She took one look at me and screamed her adorable little head off. C’est la vie. But I did get to try one of Joni’s chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. Delicioso. (That baby WILL like me someday. I’m determined).
Sunday afternoon I packed up my fancy rental car and headed for the bay. I pit-stopped at Harris Ranch in Coalinga. I sang my way along I-5 and 152 over Pacheco Pass. I smelled the garlic in Gilroy. The drive went quickly and before I knew it I was standing at the window in the airport looking out at the bay and thinking how much I love California. Politics, finances, even pollution aside – I love California. I love the way I feel when I visit. I love the roads that I know by heart. I love the colors. I love the ocean, the country and the mountains and that in one afternoon’s drive I can experience all three. Until we meet again, California: 
Sometimes I’m a lucky, lucky girl.