We went to the Thai restaurant in downtown Urbana for dinner on Friday night. On our way in, I saw one of my karate students eating dinner there with his parents. We had a table for 9: Dad, Bonus Mom, Laura, Aunt Barb, Uncle Glen, Julian, Glenna, Jeff, and myself.
I had the pad thai, which was good, but I couldn't eat it all so I got a box to take home the leftovers. I think everyone else enjoyed their meals too. Afterwards, we went to Jarling's Custard Cup where I had a waffle cone with strawberry custard. It was pretty good. Then came the inevitable celebratory song: Dad, bonus Mom, and my younger sister had written a song about my accomplishments, to the tune of the Beatles' Lady Madonna, which they performed, complete with rhythm instruments and kazoos, right there at Custard Cup. It was a nice song and the lyrics were very clever and I wasn't as embarrassed as I could have been. But it was definitely a crowd quieter, because the people around us all stopped what they were doing and turned around and watched.
On Saturday, lots of relatives and near-relatives were arriving. The parents-in-law came around noon, as did Grandma Mary, Uncle Grant, and Aunt Jean; Alice, who babysat for me when I was growing up; and Aunt Ann all the way from Wisconsin. In the morning, Dad and bonus Mom went to the grocery store and bought a whole bunch of party supplies, such as hamburger patties, bratwurst, and buns. Then they came back to our house and put the perishable stuff in the fridge. Jeff and I stayed home to wait for the in-laws and my former babysitter, while Dad, bonus Mom, and Laura went over to Barb and Glen's house to have lunch with the other relatives.
I had requested that Dad-in-law make a watermelon basket with fruit salad for my party. I went into the kitchen with him to watch the master at work. Unfortunately, the watermelon cracked open when he began cutting it, so the watermelon basket was not possible. But it meant that the fruit was ripe and delicious, so he made a mean mixed fruit salad with it (which would have gone in the basket had the watermelon not cracked). I helped him make it. It was a good bonding experience.
The only problem was that we didn't have a bowl big enough to hold all that fruit salad. So father-in-law and his son went out to the store to get a big aluminum-foil turkey pan to hold it all. While they were gone, Alice arrived. She got to talking to my mother-in-law and they really seemed to enjoy one another. Eventually my dad and Laura came back to the house, after having picked up the cakes and dropped them and bonus mom off at the hotel. And my husband and his dad came back too. We did some final cutting of tomatoes and other preparations before heading out to the party site.
Dad, Marvis, and Laura were the first to arrive at the party site. Chris, a friend who drove in from Kentucky also got there before me, and was helping with the setup when I arrived. I got there a few minutes later with the in-laws and Alice. It seems that there was a mistake with the grill. When I had called to make sure that by "podium" they meant I had rented a "grill," the woman confirmed that I had indeed rented a grill, but that they don't have an entry in the computer for grill, so she used podium because it cost the same. But when we got there, there was no grill. The very nice park employee called around and got permission to borrow some grills from other park district employees who lived near the park, but she didn't have a car so my dad borrowed our car and picked up the grills. This meant that the burgers were a little on the late side and we didn't start eating for at least an hour into the party.
I think that the party was a huge success. All of my officemates showed up, as did my advisor and his wife; some of my karate friends; Barb, Glen, Julian, Glenna, Grandma Mary, Grant, Jean, and Ann; several other grad student friends; Alice, my former babysitter, who told embarrassing stories about me; Chris, a friend whom I hadn't seen in 15 years, who did NOT tell embarrassing stories about me (at least, as far as I know!); Dave, our friend from role-playing; and, of course, my dear husband, my father, my bonus mom, my younger sister, and my mother- and father-in-law. I had a great time, despite the encore performance of the graduation song. People seemed to enjoy it, or maybe they enjoyed watching me squirm. One of my friends decided he wanted to book my dad, bonus mom, and Laura for his next party.
It is blueberry season, and I got a whole flat of blueberries from my aunt and uncle who live next door to my grandma. So it seemed logical to make blueberry pancakes the next morning. I invited Dad, bonus Mom, Laura, and Alice to join dad- and mom-in-law with us for blueberry pancakes at 9. I realized that I didn't have the ingredients for it, though, so I got up the next morning to buy some syrup and some eggs, and while I was at it, some orange juice and some turkey bacon. When I got home, the family had already arrived and were starting to make the pancakes themselves. I was able to take charge of the pancakes and make them from there myself, while Marvis made scrambled eggs and cooked the turkey bacon in the microwave.
The pancakes were fluffier than usual, perhaps because of the extra gluten. Everyone agreed that they were excellent. There's nothing quite like pancakes made with fresh blueberries. I'm getting hungry at the thought of them!
Everyone was gone by 11 a.m. After that, my husband and I took a nap, because we were exhausted. I enjoyed having everyone around, but it can be tiring. I tend to get so excited that I end up missing a lot of sleep.