Monday, March 11, 2013

celebrating 60

My nearest and dearest and most bestest friend of life, Rochelle Ellen, turns the big 60 next week. We surprised the pants - figuratively, duh - off her with a weekend of birthday wonderfulness.

Knee-deep in kitchen prep for Thursday night's dinner, I decided to "run to la farine to grab a baguette quickly." In reality, I secretly stashed the carseat in my trunk and bopped down to the BART station where Anne, Brian, and Miss Priss Ellie Dranka would soon be arriving. Imagine Rochelle's surprise when, upon returning home, I said, "You'll never guess who I ran into on Solano..." and walked into the room carrying her very favorite granddaughter. Seriously shocked faces and happy tears ensued.

Friday took us to the city for lunch at Gott's and a quick stop at Gina and Kieran's new apartment. I had a hard time believing Anne and Brian spent several days staying ACROSS THE STREET from the Ferry Building for a conference a few years ago and had never indulged in such burger-and-fry-related greatness.

That evening, we all gathered 'round the table for the first of many - unbeknownst to Rochelle, of course - birthday related activities. Anne and I gifted our mom with a stack of vibrant and colorful envelopes, each containing a favorite memory from her family, friends, and colleagues. In the weeks leading up to "the main event", we worked tirelessly to track down email addresses for the many people who know and love our dear mom, and get in touch with them. A big thanks for everyone who tolerated our constant reminders and pestering, and for sending your favorite memories. Our mom stayed up well into the night reading every last note. Safe to say a few more happy tears were shed.

Having never been to Alcatraz, Anne and Brian suggested we spend Saturday morning trekking back into the city and enjoying an absolutely perfect day on "The Rock."

We inception-ed mom into "suggesting" that dinner at East Ocean Inn would be the best way to end our day. Upon arriving, she was again shocked to see much of her family and friends had flown in to celebrate alongside us.

Because three consecutive days of birthday partying wasn't enough, Sunday morning we woke up and hit the road for Mount Tam. You wouldn't think a 1 1/2 mile hike with a moderate incline would take all that much out of you... try doing it with a 30 pound toddler on your shoulders. That cold beer upon arriving in the amphitheater might have been life changing. 

Unfortunately, Andy and Ray missed the weekend festivities. I guess being in halfway across the world is a decent excuse. I guess...

Martin, thank you for taking the time, energy, and care to plan an exceptional birthday celebration honoring my mommy. And mom, thanks for being the brightest sunshine in my life. I love you.

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