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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, Saturday I flew out for my Grandma's 80th birthday as a surprise to her. She was throwing a big bash on Sunday. Northern CA - Oakland/Hayward areas.

Day 1
Arrived in Oakland 10 minutes before my sister's plane did. When my aunt arrived, she had a very shocked Grandma in the seat to see two grandkids instead of 1. The bay was gorgeous - completely clear. An hour later is was covered in fog... but I got to see the Golden Gate bathed in sunshine, and it's a sight I won't forget. We got back to my aunt and uncle's, and made ourselves some breakfast. Then we sat down and planned out the itinerary for Sunday - decorations, food, entertainment, etc. I had the idea of everyone playing "Pin the red hair on grandma"... which resulted in a life-sized drawing of grandma on butcher paper, Viola included, and various hair styles colored red to stick on her. My brother put together a wonderful CD of big band music - Glen Miller, Artie Shaw, etc.
Once we planned everything, we sent the boys out to pick up supplies and us girls went dress shopping. We found a darling dress for Grandma at this store called the Dress Barn. It was a one-piece-meant-to-look-like-two affair. The top part was a cream colored piece with ruffles down the front, and the bottom piece was a high-waisted black skirt. She looked wonderful - especially for 80 - and proceeded to chat up the saleswoman. By the time we left they were the best of friends and my aunt was muttering...

Then we went to the local Goodwill store to try and find something snazzy for my aunt. It so happened there was a Salvadorian restaurant right around the corner from the thrift store... after much searching, my aunt decided on a sparkly top, and we left in search of Pupusas(sp?). OMIGOD. I am in love. They are basically really thick corn masa cakes with this Mexican cheese ( the literal translation of whatever the word was is "Fresh Cheese"), and they had a pickled version of coleslaw to eat with them. It was AWESOME!!!! I could have eaten 50 of them, and gladly suffered through the resulting heart attack.
That was about it for the day... we went home, continued plans, etc. I cooked dinner for everyone. We had pot roast, steamed carrots, seasoned red potatoes, and spinach salad with lots of Russian cucumber chopped into it. Everyone was very impressed... not to brag, but I can cook a good meal.. heh heh.

Day 2 - party day!
Nobody woke up until 11. We were supposed to be ready, packed, and at the church by 1. A panicked sandwich assembly line ensued. We had cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, watercress and brie & blue cheese, peanut butter and jelly, egg salad, various versions of pumpernickel sandwiches - some with butter, some with cream cheese, some with cream cheese and chutney. The chutney was really neat. It's like an Indian jam... but they make it out of strange things like tomato. We had the tomato variety - it was really pretty good. And the pumpernickel bread.. that was delicious.

In any case... we made it to the church, miraculously both due to the time frame and grandma's driving - and I got all the tables pulled out, table-clothe-d, and got christmas lights strung up everywhere. We had tea brewed, laid out the sandwiches with labels, and managed to be slightly organized by the time all the guests started arriving. Many were friends from grandma's church, her hiking group, her strings group, her school friends, etc. My favorite was her fellow teacher, Sherry. That woman is one of the funniest human beings alive. She is so lovable she can even coax return hugs out of my grumpy brother!! She had me and my sister in tears with stories. Really a neat gal.

I got to meet grand-Uncle 2 (so called because he was boy #2, haha) and another of her brothers... and the best part was I got to meet my little cousin Colin! He is freakin' 10 years old!! Holy crap! His mother and I used to be pen pals. She'd send me photos of him when he was a baby, tell me about his first steps and his first words.. She passed away when he was 3, and I still had this vision of him as a little blond toddler. I hadn't talked to her husband or their older boys since her death. Everyone treats him like a pain in the ass... he's pretty active/hyper, but I always liked that kind of kid (insert fond memories of babysitting hellions here). So he and I teamed up for the evening... playing zombies, seeing who could make the most awful faces, talking about his brother Brent (who he idolizes), etc. What a doll. I am just in love with that kid! We made a funny video of him, eyes rolled back in his head and arms extended, shuffling after my brother demanding "BRAIIIIINNNNNSSSSS"..heehee. I think I've got him on the right track!

Grandma and her friend Sue, who grandma has been playing with for 11 years now, played a lovely duo, a friend wrote a funny poem about Grandma, and grandma had another friend with a fancy cello-like instrument play.

By the time the evening was over, we were all tired but pleased. Colin, inbetween zombie attacks, helped put all the chairs back and clean up. My brother swept the carpet as we couldn't find a vacuum... and we stuffed all the plants people brought as presents in Grandma's car. Then we decided after only a couple sandwich wedges each hours before, we were hungry. We all went to eat at this place called La Imperial - wonderful restaurant. It started out as a Mexican market, and the family started making tacos, etc on the side. The food became so popular the poor people had to open a restaurant to keep up with demand. We got to meet "Mama"'s sons, and her sister, who were holding down the fort. I ordered a supposedly small burrito... which was, of course, gigantic. Grandma had some neat little dish made of cactus - I sampled it a couple times.. rather large bites, admittedly... mmm. My brother had some kind of shredded beef dish. My aunt was saying when they didn't have hamburger (back in the day), they would just cook meat until it was literally falling apart, shred it up, and season it. So it was I guess technically Mexican hamburger...
My sister had enchiladas with this kind of Mexican sausage. I made sure to check her food for poison as well, but only out of concern and kindess. I swear I didn't eat half of an enchilada.. I swear...

Then, after a couple wrong turns and going up the wrong side of the street occasionally (she is the worst driver in existence.. and has always been so), Grandma and I made it back to the house. Straight to bed - we were all just exhausted.

3rd Day
In the morning, after everyone was showered, packed, and organized, we went into San Francisco and went to the Wax museum there. It was SO awesome!! those freaking dolls are incredibly lifelike... They had a politics room... they had Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, all the presidents, and many more. There was an artist exhibit.. their Van Gogh was sitting in a display made to look like that painting he did of his room. So cool! There was also Da Vinci painting the Mona Lisa, Norman Rockwell doing a self-portrait, and wax figures from the famous painting American Gothic - looking just as miserable in wax as they did in the painting.

The Egyptian room was neat - my dad would have liked that one. He's really into Egyptian culture.

There was a yucky room of horrors... lots of wax people being tortured. I went through just out of fascination and determination to wring out the worth of my museum ticket... grandma and my sister bee-lined out of there.

The celebrity room was neat. The Marilyn Monroe was absolutely beautiful. Clint Eastwood looked ready to draw his six-shooter on me... and the Indiana Jones/Harrison Ford was great. They even had a Steve Erwin (crocodile hunter) tribute. For some reason Rambo was standing behind Irwin with a knife... lol

The western room had Paul Newman, Chuck Norris, and John Wayne. There was a Wizard of Oz exhibit that was neat ... but Dorothy was out for a makeover, which was a little disappointing.

After the museum we went to this amazing Sourdough place... I want to say something like Boudin? It was, hands down, the most amazing sourdough I've ever had. I bought a simple roll and was wishing I'd bought the whole damn store to take home with me. They had sourdough teddy bears, turtles, crabs, and many more... all with little raisin eyes. heehee.

I was rather sad to leave.. Mike and I are planning to visit when we can... There was so much more I wanted to see and just not enough time. I would love to tour all of San Francisco by bicycle. There was a coffee factory I was particularly interested in...
 

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Sounds like a blast,it's so interesting to visit new places and see all the cultural diversity that makes this country so unique.
 

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Sounds like it was an awesome trip! That was also a great report. Lots of hustle and bustle. I could imagine almost being there! Thank you Terra for sharing that with us,your "other" family! :)
 

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I am sorry Terra how did it end I fell asleep.....
 

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Did you take lots of pics of the area and the wax people???
 

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My father lives in SF, been out to visit him a few times over the years. Great City, but you'd better be rich to live there.

tk
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I did take pictures, but they're on a disposable camera... and i attempted to drop it off at Wal Mart last night for development... but there wasn't an employee to be found. By that, I mean nobody was at the photo counter and every time I spotted an employee and approached they evacuated the area. Was I something I said? :'(
 

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Sounds like a good time. My grandparents are getting up there in years, I need to plan a trip out to UT to see them.
 
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