January Check-In / February Plans

End of December I created different category lists with only 12 items each to help work on marking off things to do and get out of a “doing nothing” rut. (read about my “Starting With a Dozen Each” here)

Well, looks like I had a good idea but didn’t really get around to implanting the plan and making it happen. Now we are at the end of the first month of the year. I was inspired from reading other blogger’s monthly recap posts, and decided to start doing that for myself. It’ll be good to look over what I’ve accomplished during the month and be a good refresher of what goals are still ongoing, or ones that get newly added to the different dozen.

Since I pretty much didn’t do anything with my lists In January, let’s just give ourselves (or mainly, myself) a refresher of what I currently have. When looking at all kinds of “things to do before you die” it gets overwhelming. If you break it down into smaller lists, you feel so much better and reason that you can get it done. I also hope to incorporate this graphic into my “things to do” goals.

Music: I’m already working on getting through the “1001 Songs to Hear Before You Die” and like how I have it set up to listen to twenty songs each week. By doing it that way, I can get through the list in a year so I’ll leave that to it’s own posts.

Breweries & Wineries: Go the places that produce that specific liberation and check off the lists that I have created for the different areas.

  • I did go to a few places in Lodi, California in January (3 new places)
  • Lodi Wine & Visitor Center – they change up the local wine list each week, went to check it out since it’s on the Lodi Winery list but didn’t try any wines
  • Paskett Vineyards & Winery – loved it there. and was informed there is a house you can rent through Airbnb right on the property.
  • LVVR – been there before, but the friends I was with hadn’t yet. Good sparkling wines
  • Durst Winery – was okay

Movies: watch movies from “1001 Movies to Watch Before you Die” list (these ones can be found on Netflix streaming)

  1. 13th
  2. Avengers: Infinity War
  3. Babel
  4. Cool Hand Luke
  5. Dark Knight
  6. Enter the Dragon
  7. Forbidden Planet
  8. Gangs of New York
  9. Hell or High Water
  10. I, Daniel Blake
  11. Kings Speech
  12. Life of Brian

Books: read books from “1001 Books to Read Before you Die” list

  1. All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren (- currently reading)
  2. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  3. Divine Comedy by Dante
  4. Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald
  5. Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  6. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison or H.G. Wells
  7. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence
  8. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  9. Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke
  10. Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  11. Paradise Lost by John Milton
  12. Ulysses by James Joyce

General Things to Do:

  1. Walk on the beach in winter
  2. Have a picnic on the beach in February
  3. 30 day challenge of yoga & working on the core of the body

Looks like I still need to work on having a dozen general things to do. I’m always open to suggestions. 

Starting with a Dozen Each

As we get ready to begin a new year, I’m looking over my blog and it seems my journaling has slacked way off. In pondering how to get myself excited again to “check” things off, I plan to start with a dozen items for different areas in life. Why start with 12 things to do? Well, I hope to accomplish 12 things pretty easily and then come up with 12 more things. If that doesn’t quite work out, I can at least aim to get 1 thing done each month. It gives me a whole year to complete this task and will feel good accomplishing the goal I set myself at the beginning of the year.

When looking at all kinds of “things to do before you die” it gets overwhelming. If you break it down into smaller lists, you feel so much better and reason that you can get it done. I also hope to incorporate this graphic into my “things to do” goals.

Music: I’m already working on getting through the “1001 Songs to Hear Before You Die” and like how I have it set up to listen to twenty songs each week. By doing it that way, I can get through the list in a year so I’ll leave that alone.

Breweries & Wineries: Go to 12 places that produce that specific liberation and check off the lists that I have created for the different areas.

Movies: watch movies from “1001 Movies to Watch Before you Die

  1. 13th
  2. Avengers: Infinity War
  3. Babel
  4. Cool Hand Luke
  5. Dark Knight
  6. Enter the Dragon
  7. Forbidden Planet
  8. Gangs of New York
  9. Hell or High Water
  10. I, Daniel Blake
  11. Kings Speech
  12. Life of Brian

Books: read books from “1001 Books to Read Before you Die

  1. All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
  2. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  3. Divine Comedy by Dante
  4. Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald
  5. Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  6. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison or H.G. Wells
  7. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence
  8. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  9. Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke
  10. Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  11. Paradise Lost by John Milton
  12. Ulysses by James Joyce

General Things to Do:

Walk on the beach in winter
Have a picnic on the beach in February

Enjoy a Fluffernutter Sandwich

Every once in a while, I will take a look at the National and International days to see what is being celebrated / observed / remembered. Each day, and month, has several officially recognized days and some of them just seem so odd that I either laugh or scratch my head and wonder why. October 8th is recognized as National Fluffernutter Day.  A simple enough food item, but it’s one I’ve never had. Now, it’s just bread, peanut butter, and marshmallow fluff. I have always loved peanut butter, but haven’t been all that fond of marshmallow.

Being on this “let’s try new things” attitude, I figured I’d give it a try.  Made it as a snack one afternoon, and it tasted okay. I didn’t have a “oh my, this is soooo yummy!!!” moment. At least now I can say I have given it a taste. Need to figure out what to do with the rest of the marshmallow fluff.

Have you had fluffernutter sandwiches?

Things to Do in the Fall Season

Saying there’s a seasonal change in the year is nice in that it breaks up the year. It gives you things to look forward to doing that’s related to that part of the year. Stuff that you do each year that have become traditions, and new things you are wanting to accomplish and experience. Fall season is my favorite, with the changes of colors in the leaves, and my birthday month of October. Some of the following things I’m looking forward to are traditions and some new experiences to try.

  • Watch 31 Halloween-ish movies from the “1001 Movies to Watch Before you Die” List
  • Apple Hill road trip (located around Camino, California)
  • Apple donuts, apple juice, apple pie, apples, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin pie, pumpkin ice cream
  • hiking, see the colorful foliage
  • pumpkin patch, pick a pumpkin, carve a jack-o-lantern
  • corn maze (located in Dixon, California)
  • pumpkin flavored food hunt (not pumpkin spice)
  • Hayride
  • Fall Festivals
  • mountain mandarin festival, in November (located in Auburn, California)
  • Pizza, go to a new place (October is pizza month)
  • fall picnic
  • Make some fall recipes
  • Fall themed music playlists (Halloween one for sure)

Items listed in the “2001 things to do” book

  • order yourself a birthday cake (birthday in October)
  • be the guest of honor at your own party
  • build a birdhouse
  • roast marshmallows in your backyard
  • pick, then bob for apples
  • have a Halloween bonfire with hot apple cider
  • See a ghost
  • levitate someone
  • have a séance
  • work at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving
  • learn the Rocky Horror Picture Show routine by heart
  • walk knee-deep in maple leaves
  • learn to carve a turkey like a chef
  • buy a perfect tomato from a farm stand and eat it like an apple
  • bake the best apple pie
  • Sing Christmas carols around the middle of August
  • Have a cookout that ends with S’mores
  • Tell ghost stories in a pitch-black room
  • Develop your own recipe for chili
  • Exorcise demons
  • jump into a big pile of leaves
  • Cast a spell
  • Spring clean in October
  • Carve a smiling jack-o-lantern
  • Sleep with a ghost in the room
  • Cruise the backwoods of Vermont between Oct 7 and Oct 14
  • gather a bunch of friends for a Halloween hayride
  • perform an exorcism
  • study witchcraft

Any other fun things to add for the Fall season?

On the Bookshelf: In Cold Blood

read about this challenge and see the full list here

Title: In Cold Blood
Author: Truman Capote
Publication Date: 1966
Country: USA
Genre: Non-Fiction / True Crime
Pages: 343

Synopsis: On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.

My Book Report: Very different from the type of fiction I normally read. This was pretty good. “In Cold Blood is regarded by critics as a pioneering work in the true crime genre” Now I can watch the movie.

The List: 100 Ways to Shake Up Your Life

book by Gail Belsky

Get a tattoo, ride in a fire truck, or use food as foreplay—in short, get out there and shake things up! Fun, inspirational, and incredibly motivating, The List offers one hundred ideas—ranging from challenging to outrageous—for women who have been craving a little novelty in their lives.

With instructions and inspirational stories from women who have risen to the challenge, The List will excite, scare, and push readers to do something they’ve always dreamed of, or better yet, to do something they’ve never dared consider. Whether it’s writing a novel, running a marathon, or taking on a lover, The List delivers what many women are missing—taste of adventure and a light kick in the butt. (description from Amazon.com)

  1. Write a novel
  2. Do a triathlon
  3. Strip
  4. Catch a big fish
  5. Learn a foreign language
  6. Witness childbirth
  7. Join an ambulance crew
  8. Learn to surf
  9. Audition for something nerve-racking
  10. Join a relief effort
  11. Get a tattoo (or a piercing)
  12. Enter a poker tournament
  13. Run for office
  14. Brew your own beer
  15. Do a polar bear swim
  16. Drastically change your hairstyle
  17. Bake a wedding cake
  18. Go horseback riding, bareback style
  19. Launch your own website
  20. Join a cattle drive
  21. Build your own piece of furniture
  22. Organize a rally
  23. Get hypnotized
  24. Learn trapeze
  25. Go commando
  26. Visit an ashram
  27. Shoot a gun
  28. Record your own music
  29. Buy yourself a sex toy
  30. Take a lover
  31. Hike Machu Picchu
  32. Have nude pictures taken
  33. Have a cosmetic surgery procedure
  34. Drive over 100 miles per hour
  35. Learn an exotic dance
  36. Swim with sea creatures
  37. Dive off a cliff
  38. Sneak backstage
  39. Spelunk
  40. Create a sacred space
  41. Learn to sail
  42. Take up an instrument
  43. Leave your marriage
  44. Start your own business
  45. Ask someone out
  46. Make over a room
  47. Hire a personal shopper
  48. Make a big move
  49. Conquer a fear
  50. Skydive
  51. Eat something really weird
  52. Become a bartender or sommelier
  53. Tell someone to screw off
  54. Take singing lessons
  55. Switch careers/go back to school
  56. Learn to box
  57. Get a makeover
  58. Buy something outrageously expensive
  59. Escape (for the day, weekend, or week)
  60. Kiss a total stranger
  61. Bike across America
  62. play in the snow
  63. Ride in a fire truck
  64. Watch porn
  65. Skinny dip
  66. Break a long-held tradition
  67. Join the Peace Corps
  68. Plan a girls’ vacation
  69. Learn survival skills
  70. Paint your house a wild color
  71. Try high-stakes gambling
  72. Play ice hockey
  73. Throw an all-girls party
  74. Make a sex tape
  75. Learn to drive
  76. Lie about something
  77. Go topless
  78. Scuba dive
  79. Get a Brazilian wax
  80. Use food as foreplay
  81. start a charity
  82. Find love online
  83. Go to Burning man
  84. Plan and prepare a seduction dinner
  85. Quit smoking
  86. Read the classics
  87. Blow glass
  88. Get a pilot’s license
  89. Spend 24 hours in bed
  90. Lose 50+ pounds
  91. Take a year off
  92. Have a baby late in life
  93. Live with less
  94. Mount an art exhibit
  95. Find religion
  96. Bungee jump
  97. Sleep with a younger man
  98. Buy a negligee
  99. Blow off the day
  100. Make your own list

Things to Do In Winter

A WINTER BUCKETLIST

Listed in the “2001 things to do” book

  • Ski Tuckerman’s Ravine (Sept 2012)
  • Ice-skate by candlelight at midnight (Jan 2013)
  • ski by torchlight (Jan 2013)
  • walk on the beach in winter (Jan 2013)
  • dress up like santa claus and play it to the hilt (Feb 2013)
  • find out what auld lange syne really means (Feb 2013)
  • snowmobile (Jun 2013)
  • drink mulled wine on a snowy night in Prague (Aug 2013)
  • build a glorious, elaborate snow castle (Aug 2013)
  • Christmas carol with candles (Oct 2013)
  • build an igloo (Oct 2013)
  • skate a perfect figure-eight (Oct 2013)
  • spend the winter holidays in Austria or Switzerland (Nov 2013)
  • pay Santa for a needy family at Christmas (Dec 2013)
  • catch a snowflake on your tongue (Jan 2014)
  • take a walk in the woods at night when it’s snowing (Mar 2014)
  • attend the winter solstice, or any Paul Winter concert (Mar 2014)
  • Write a personal note on every Christmas card (Jul 2014)
  • Take a child with you to cut down a Christmas tree on a a snowy night (Dec 2014)
  • Hire someone to wrap all your Christmas presents (Dec 2014)
  • Have a picnic on the beach in February (Feb 2015)
  • Send all your Christmas cards out on time (Mar 2015)
  • Decorate outdoors with abandon at Christmastime (May 2015)
  • Pack a thermos full of hot cocoa and go for a long walk in the wintry woods (Jun 2015)
  • Camp out in the snow (Dec 2015)
  • Read A Christmas Carol (Mar 2016)
  • Spend New Year’s Eve in Times Square (Apr 2016)
  • Make a snowman (Apr 2016)
  • Build a snow fort (Apr 2016)
  • Snowshoe (Jul 2016)
  • Go sleigh riding (Nov 2016)
  • Acquire meaningful Christmas ornaments (Jan 2018)

Any other fun things to add for Winter season?

Good Eats: Impossible Burger

#foodiefriday entry

As a kid, I was a pretty picky eater. Didn’t like many sauces and wasn’t happy with spices or trying odd foods. As an adult, I am willing and wanting to try new foods and there are a ton of choices out there. I think it’s been a couple of years now when I first heard about a vegan burger patty that looked so much like a meat burger, people were making waiters take their food back to the kitchen because they thought the waiter got the order wrong. Turns out it just was that good of a meatless patty. I was intrigued and wanted to give it a try but just never got around to buying it in a restaurant or grocery store.

Yesterday, I was heading out to a happy hour at a wine bistro place in town. I saw that they do burger and wine deals on Thursdays and one of the choices was with the Impossible burger. I jumped for joy. (Not really, but was happy for sure seeing that). As soon as I got in the door and sat down to order, I pointed to the burger and said that was what I wanted.

If I hadn’t known that it was vegan, I would have thought it a good flavored meat burger. They had added aioli, greens, pepper jam, vegan mozzarella, crispy onions & avocado (I had it without the vegan bun). I recommend and it is definitely worth a taste, it was super yummy.

Find out more about the Impossible Foods here.  Have you tried it? 

Crab Feeds

Do you like crab? Seems that crab season also creates a crab FEED season that are usually fundraisers for schools, churches, and non-profits. I belong to a non-profit that has been putting on a crab feed for 26 years. Volunteering to work this event got me to try crab and I realized that I enjoy the seafood. I also learned that there are people out there that LOVE going to a bunch of crab feeds each year. I had no idea that it was such a thing to do, but they are a ton of fun (and a ton of food).

I want to take a moment to promote my organization’s crab feed (tickets are still available). And I plan to write up a couple of posts about working a crab feed and also attending one for “bucket” list checks. I really encourage you to go try one out.

Have you worked or been to one? 

Step Right Up for the Active 20-30 Club of Greater Sacramento #1032’s 26th Annual Crab Feed, January 19, 2019 at our NEW VENUE: Citrus Heights Community Center!

General Admission sales ($65). For tickets, click here

Eat Alligator

In 2015 I decided I wanted to celebrate my October birthday in New Orleans. The other reason I chose to travel to that city was because I had been wanting to experience Halloween and visit a friend that had moved there. We made plans and set the dates at the beginning of the year. Another friend that lives in Dallas said she would come visit at the same time and we could hang out. This would be both of our first time in New Orleans and I was very excited.

We had so much fun exploring the area seeing all the landmark sites, as well as ate and drank throughout the town. One of the first places our friend took us to was a place called Oceana Restaurant in the Famous French Quarter district. Walking into the restaurant, looked like some fun décor. That is also when I realized the places there had courtyards. I had thought it was just patios on the side of places like they mostly have where I live. It was really pleasant to sit in the courtyard and relax. We order several sampler dishes and drinks. One of which was some alligator. Couldn’t come all that way and not try alligator.

I didn’t think to get a close up photo of the alligator. It’s the breaded dish that looks a little like nuggets. And it did taste like chicken nuggets, definitely not chicken, but similar. I’d eat them again.

We also enjoyed oysters, gumbo, crab cakes, and pasta. Very yummy and filling lunch.

Have you tried alligator?

Ride in a Dune Buggy

Every year I head out to a convention for my Active 20-30 International organization (philanthropy & service club). July 2017, I went a few days early and there were some pre-convention options. One was a chance to ride dune buggies. I was so excited to do that for the first time. We got on a bus and headed out to Florence, Oregon and ended up at Sandland Adventures. There we learned that we would be riding in giant dune buggies and get a tour of the sand dunes.

It was fun to be in a group and go along for a ride and look around. The driver would point out interesting spots and talk about the sand dunes and the water table.

It was also interesting to see a bunch of people sliding down a hill. Later learned that they were skiing on the sand. I’m used to skiing on snow but hadn’t thought it for a sand hill.

It would be fun to drive a dune buggy but for now I can say I’ve ridden in one and got to experience going over the sand.

 

 

Have you ridden in a dune buggy or driven one? California, Oregon, or another state/country?

On the Bookshelf: 1984

1001 Books to Read Before You Die

read about this challenge and see the full list here

Title: 1984
Author: George Orwell
Publication Date: 1949
Country: USA
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 328

Synopsis: Winston Smith toes the Party line, rewriting history to satisfy the demands of the Ministry of Truth. With each lie he writes, Winston grows to hate the Party that seeks power for its own sake and persecutes those who dare to commit thought crimes. But as he starts to think for himself, Winston can’t escape the fact that Big Brother is always watching…

A startling and haunting vision of the world, 1984 is so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the influence of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions—a legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time.

My Book Report: I am not sure if I want to do a book report/review for each one. I will definitely let you know on ones I absolutely hated.

On the Bookshelf: Foundation

1001 Books to Read Before You Die

read about this challenge and see the full list here

Title: Foundation
Author: Isaac Asimov
Publication Date: 1951
Country: USA
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 255

Synopsis: For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Sheldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future–to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save mankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire–both scientists and scholars–and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the Galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for a future generations. He calls his sanctuary the Foundation.

But soon the fledgling Foundation finds itself at the mercy of corrupt warlords rising in the wake of the receding Empire. Mankind’s last best hope is faced with an agonizing choice: submit to the barbarians and be overrun–or fight them and be destroyed.

My Book Report: I am not sure if I want to do a book report/review for each one. I will definitely let you know on ones I absolutely hated. This one was a pretty easy read, short chapters of different situations through the years. If I think of more to add I will.

Get a Tattoo

I had thought about getting a tattoo on and off through the years. I couldn’t decide on what it would be or where I would have it. I knew it had to be something I wouldn’t regret or get tired of after a few years. I would look at tattoos of things I liked, teddy bears, turtles, ladybugs, and Celtic knot designs. Plus, there was the whole being stabbed with a needle. I get light headed just seeing a needle for blood work. Of course that could be the blood part. So, I would look at tattoos but not really plan for getting one myself.

A couple of years ago, as I was looking online, I came across this Wild Bills Tattoo place located in Roseville, California. There was information on a day that they would host a tattoo-a-thon and 100% of the cost of the tattoo would go to the UC Davis Children’s Hospital. I thought to myself, “Well if I do get a tattoo that is when I will do it and then I can say I got tattooed for the kids”. It was an awesome find. I put it in my calendar to remind myself about the tattoo-a-thon each February.

I think it took me another couple of years to work up the nerve to go for it and get that tattoo. In 2016, I decided on getting a shamrock (because I’m part Irish, and it’s for luck, and it’s cute) and started looking at different photos online to see what kind of design I wanted and where. I found a cute one where it was just an outline and the leaves also looked a bit like a heart, and it was on the wrist. I really liked that idea, then I would be able to see it. I showed my mom and told here I wanted to get this one but not to worry, it would be small. She liked it be was iffy that I would go through with it from seeing the needles and getting poked. I made my appointment for early that Saturday morning.

A friend said she would come with and check it out. She was thinking about getting a tattoo and wanted to see. We got to the place and had to wait a bit for one of the artists. When one came over, I showed him the photo of the shamrock tattoo I wanted and that it’d be a small one on the inside of my wrist. He said okay and went to sketch the design on the transfer paper. That was something I hadn’t realized they did but totally makes sense. That took a while and then he came back and we grabbed seats. Luckily it was near the waiting area and my friend could sit and watch.

The artist told me to relax my wrist and warned me that doing it there, my fingers might twitch. Whoah! What? I hadn’t thought about that, but with the nerves being right there. Something else to get nervous about. How much twitching would they do? Deep breath. He transferred the design on the wrist. It was a little larger then I was thinking, but didn’t look too bad. I had told him I wanted it in green, he suggested doing a green and black coloring. I figured he knew what he was talking about and said sure. He placed the needle over my wrist and started the process. It went up and down so fast that at times felt like it was slicing me like a knife. That is when I realized, tattooing is basically have people stab you on purpose and scar you. Usually we try not to leave scars if we get cut. hmmm.

It felt so uncomfortable, but so glad he was was fast, and that I got a simple enough design, that it was over pretty fast. My friend got a photo that perfectly summed up what I was feeling. I am glad she got it while I was getting tattooed. The artist finished up and went over the care for instructions and I was done. He told me what the cost of that size tattoo would be and I wrote a check for a little more for the donation to the hospital. Then got a sticker that said “I got tattooed for the kids”. I really wanted that sticker.

A friend that lived nearby messaged us to come over for brunch, so we did. We said there almost all day, just chatting away. Hope she didn’t mind. I waited until the tattoo was healed and took a photo to show it off while wine tasting at a winery. I think it turned out cute. Took a while to get used to the fact I have something permanent on my arm.

I don’t know if I will get anymore. I have thought about it now that it’s been some time. But then I look at that photo above of when I was getting this one and remember. I am not closing the door, but I am happy with this one.

Did it take a while for you to get a tattoo? Have you done something like this where the money is for a benefit for children?

 

Throw a Surprise Party

My favorite so far is the surprise birthday party my sister and I threw for our mom a few years ago.

This was one of those milestone birthday’s (I won’t say which one so she can’t get mad at me) My sister and I wanted to make sure to do something special. Her birthday is at the end of July and there were several years she had to celebrate it at a swim meet.

I had gone to a friend’s wedding at a little winery not far from our house. It was super cute and their wines were pleasant to taste. I had the place in mind right away when we started discussing this. AND it would serve as a great cover of getting her to it, by using the excuse of wine tasting and then lunch.

We created a list of family and friends and sent out invites. This was my first time planning a big-ish event like this. Lots of little details became clear. Not to mention costs. There was the location, food, drinks, cake, decorations.

My uncle (her brother) was very helpful with the planning and when I became worried about having the money for it all, said he would be willing to help cover the cost of the food. My cousin was dating (and now married to) a very nice gal whose family managed a food place (Armadillo Willy’s). They talked and worked out that they would bring the food as a buffet. It was a perfect choice because it was food we knew my mom would enjoy, especially the coleslaw (side note: I am not much for coleslaw but this one is very yummy).

Next up was ordering a fruit basket cake from Whole Foods. That part wasn’t hard at all. The hard part was getting my sis here from Hawaii and making sure not to blow the party to our mom. I was living in an apartment at the time, so she was able to fly in and stay with me without mom being aware. She went to our house during the day, while mom was at work, and looked for photos to use as part of decorations. We found some fun ones of her throughout her life.

My sis thought she was being clever in setting up a call to mom to make it seem like she was still in Hawaii going about her daily routine. I just had to make sure not to say anything about the party when my mom was around.

We almost got away without her being completing aware, but then the winery made the mistake in calling her house phone instead of my cell phone. They wanted to make sure I was sending the final payment for the event. I was SOOOOO PISSED! It worked out in the end because, as my mom said, I didn’t need to come up with an excuse and she didn’t know what or who might be there.

The day of, we went to the farmer’s market to get a bunch of flowers. Then headed to the winery. Our uncle and family was there to help set up the food and when a few other guests got there a little early, gladly helped us finish setting up tables. We had bought glass jars from Goodwill that we filled with the flowers and then had the photos placed at the different tables. The winery had a table for the wines and set up another one for the cake and any presents people brought. I had a little stereo that had music, but it was small so people couldn’t really hear it (turned out to be unnecessary anyway). Being at the end of July, I wasn’t sure if it’d be super hot like it can often times be. Luckily it was only warm with a slight breeze coming over from the river nearby.

Then I went to go get the guest of honor.

One last thing, the week before my mom had gone out to dinner with a friend. They decided to get a bottle of wine and asked the waitress for a recommendation. She mentioned Scribner Bend to try. My mom came home to tell me that we have to check out this winery and that the wine was very nice. I almost said something then, but I was able to stop myself. Was very glad to know she would enjoy the wine.

So, I went and got her and came back to the winery. Now, where we all were was in the middle of some of the vines, so she couldn’t see it right away. She walked through the flower arch and everyone yelled, “SURPRISE!!” and she was. There were a few people she hadn’t seen in a while. But when she noticed my sister hiding in the back, she said “I KNEW you were here!” Later, she admitted she didn’t really, but had hoped.

In the end, it was a very pleasant afternoon and so fun. Definitely a surprise party to remember and cherish.

Have you thrown a surprise party or been the recipient of one?