Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mom's BIG 6-0 Birthday!

Mom's big 60th birthday was last weekend. Initially...I was full of ideas: we were taking a trip to Napa, then we were going on a 4 day cruise down to Mexico, 3 nights in Vegas, etc, etc. In the end, it was a day in Temecula. I was a little disappointed (okay, 'little' is an understatement). I guess it took me a whole week to 'get over' the disappointment to actually blog about it. Geesh, if it was last weekend, you wouldn't hear the end of it. In the end, I realize what was important was that my mom was happy and we were able to celebrate with love ones. And that my sister who wasn't able to join us and fouled my plans...it's her lost not ours (okay, maybe I'm not completely over it yet).

My aunts and uncles from San Jose flew down to celebrate with us. We had a fun dinner at Yamashiro (one of Mom's favorite because of the view, not the food). Since it was extremely dark at the restaurant, I didn't take any pictures. My little cousin B also joined us for the festivities. After dinner, we head to Old Town Pasadena for the infamous Pinkberry. My parents and my aunts/uncles never tried it before. They were amazed at the long line especially since the night was cold. Here we are waiting in line.

After the little frozen yogurt adventure,we head home for cake cutting and present openings. The cake was dark forest with a layer of Chinese pudding ~ it's from a Chinese bakery by hubs' work. Besides the 'American' sounding flavor, the cake itself was the typical yummy, light Chinese style cake.

Here's hubs and I with Mom & Dad (yes, I'm wearing pajamas, it was a long day). Look at the pile of gifts! My aunts informed Mom all the gifts were just random junk from their house packaged nicely. It's mainly just for the purpose of ripping open presents. They were JOKING of course. =D

Dad broke open one of his precious liquor collection. The sketch on the bottle is created by the master of art deco, world famous designer Erté. Initially there was 7 bottles in the set. Another bottle called "Inedit" has been launched in 1995 as a tribute to Erte's life and work (he died in 1990). Only 4,000 units have been produced. The design on the bottle is the first one that Erte created for the Vigne bottle, but censored at that time on the American market because the girl on the draw was half nude.

Erté created the luscious shape of the decanter, and then conceived visuals to represent the seven stages of the courvoisier cognac-making process. Each one of the decanters is filled with an exceptionally rare blend of the best cognacs -- some dating back to 1892 -- the year of Erte's birth. The third design in the series, "Distillation" inspired Erte to portray the coaxing of the precious spirit which is distilled from the wine, which reminded him of the genie appearing from Aladdin's lamp. ~ Courvoisier

Dad has been collecting since the bottles were first released. A few years back he opened bottle #8 when we had a family reunion (the earlier bottles are higher in value since people started drinking them before the artist passed away). This time for Mom's birthday, he opened bottle # 7 "la Part des Anges." Prices vary drastically...I seen it for $500 on ebay to $1500 at retail.

Here's my cousin B tempting the dog with persimmons.

The poor thing didn't realize B was instructed not to give him any. A dog can dream though.

Next morning we headed to the Temecula wineries. I didn't know what to expect. Temecula had much smaller scale wineries than Napa or Sonoma and the wines aren't as good. But the positive is Temecula is only an hour drive. We started at the Hart Winery. It was fairly small (literally a small shack on a hill) but they are building another bigger structure in the back. The owners are very friendly and it was a great start to the day.

Next up, Thornton Winery. It's a nice enough place but my only complaint was that I called ahead of time to see if I could bring my doggies, which they said I could. But look at the white sign to the right.

So the kids and I were out front in the lawn enjoying ourselves while the gang had lunch inside. I of course entertained myself playing on my iPhone ~ poor neglected kids.

Grandma came out after lunch to play with them. This is why I LOVE my mom. She really cares and always play with them and give them treats. My mom truly functions in the capacity of the grandma that spoils the grand kids rotten!

Then I called them for their afternoon treat and look how they come running.

Water, pupperoni, and chicken jerky.

Off to the other side, I saw the lawn was set up for a wedding. I was able to see the florist setting up before we left. The winery closes at 5pm and I'm assuming open to weddings after that. I can vouch for the food though. Mom bought me out a hamburger with grilled mushroom and it was delicious! I had my own little picnic under the trees.

All in all, Temecula was nice. It's not comparable to the Napa or Sonoma but it's our own little piece of wine country.

On our way home we went through the sand storm again. This time hubs had his camera ready. Initially we thought it was only in the morning but on our way home, it was just as bad. It's only for a short two miles before you reach I-10 on the 15 freeway. You can see from the side of the picture how hard the wind was blowing. All the trees were tilted dangerously to the side. It felt like we were underwater and the trees were the seaweed floating with the current!

Sometimes it was so bad you could barely see the car in front of you. All the cars came to a standstill. I can only compare the experience to driving through thick fogs.

And this is why there's high wind advisory.

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