Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Our 50th Anniversary Dinner and Vacation Part 2 for Pink Saturday

Welcome to Pink Saturday once again. I'm doing this early so you can read about our experiences this past week.

These are what we saw in our gardens when we got back home from California. The peonies are absolutely huge. But on with the story below the flower pictures. Do not stop reading here!

And 2 different colors of clematis on the same plant.

We arrived at my daughter's house in northern Calif. on Monday and on Tuesday she and her boyfriend and hubs and I traveled down 101 to Santa Barbara. The motel was booked on line. Let me say here the pictures do NOT do justice to the rooms. If they hadn't been so cheap at $189 a night we would have gone somewhere else. We were all disappointed in them, but as I've said many times before here we just laughed and giggled at how bad it was. Nothing—and I mean absolutely NOTHING—ruins my vacations.

My son and daughter had booked 5 rooms for all of our families. Hubs and I took a small room as it was just us and we aren't picky. BUT this place was sad. Most of the lights didn't work. The whole place was shabby instead of the perceived "ambiance and quaintness" visible in the photos. A nice regular room in Santa Barbara started at $400-$500 a night and since my son and daughter footed the bill for hubby and me we weren't about to complain. I mean they didn't let us pay for one thing the whole week. But as I said, it doesn't make a whole lot of difference to me where we stay as long as the bed sheets are clean. There were wicker settees outside of each room so we commandeered 5 of them and sat out there instead of in the rooms. Being right across from the beach was nice for the kids also.

This was our room and trust me when I say the actual room didn't look this good close up. The toilet in my son's room wasn't even bolted to the floor and moved whenever anyone sat down. Our toilet seat wasn't on tight either and at one "critical" point it slid sideways with me on it and I almost fell into the...well, you get my drift here. It was not pretty, let me tell ya. The phones in every single one of our rooms didn't work either. Thank goodness our rooms were next to each other. The closet is to the left of that mirror/alcove and there was padding on the concrete floor but no carpet. (Photos courtesy of the motel's website.)

A patio on the 2nd floor of the motel. We never went up there as stairs are still hard to climb with this foot, although, it is definitely getting better.

We had to fight for parking spaces in the motel lot. Parking was at a premium here with the beach across the street. There were 27 motel units but only 12 parking spots and only 2 or 3 on the street.

This was our son's room. He had 5 people in his party: him, wife, 22 yr. old son and 14 and 15 yr. old sons. The staff put a cot in the closet for our 22 yr. old son. Then my tall, skinny son sat in the one chair and fell through to the floor. They took the chair out to a vacant room and brought him another chair. It truly was laughable.

This was my daughter's room. My oldest grandson's girlfriend's little girl, 3 years old, had a fun time splashing in the jacuzzi tub. They are planning a wedding for next May. This room also looks much better here than in actuality.

This is how the skies looked all week down there. I think we saw about one hour of sun the whole 6 days.

I truly am not complaining as I'm grateful for my son and daughter and can adjust to just about everything. BUT it gets better, chicks...

An elegant dinner was planned for The Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch, ranked as one of the best hotels in the world. And it truly was elegant.

We had a party of 15: 2 babies, 2 teens and the rest adults. The menu was spectacular and pricey. The side salads were $13 each and the desserts were $14 each (Mine was caramel apple pie and just for the record my apple pie is better!). I had the Parmesan Encrusted Halibut, which 4 of the adults had, but 9 had the Steak Diane. I had a bite of my 22 yr. old grandson's and it just was incredible. My son had it and said it was better than Ruth's Chris Steak House steak and that was his favorite until this night. I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful it tasted. For those of you unfamiliar with Steak Diane, this is how it is prepared: The steak is seasoned by rubbing garlic and pepper into it and fried quickly in butter. A sauce is made from the pan juices using butter, shallots, cream and beef stock with worchestershire sauce, which is poured over the steak just before serving. I actually prepare this a lot because we love it but I go very easy on the cream. Mine has never tasted this good though because the steak was Premium! My kids wouldn't let me see the total cost but with the prices on the menu I figured out this had to be a $1300 to $1500 dinner. (A funny thing happened with Caroline and her mummy. One waiter —we had about 5 waiters waiting on us—asked Mandy if Caroline wanted anything and since she's only a year old she told him no, she was going to give her Spaghetti-Os. We all laughed at that, but she couldn't have eaten anything on that menu.) The below photo was on the Stonehouse's website as I didn't get any pictures and the kids haven't sent me any they took that night. As an aside: Jackie and Jack Kennedy spent their honeymoon at this resort.

And better yet...

The dinner was Thursday night and took us about 3 hours eating on the elegant patio in lush surroundings. We had valet parking and there had to be at least 5 valets because all of our cars were brought up from the wooded parking area at one time. But later on that night people started getting sick—daughter, daughter-in-law, granddaughter and her hubby, one grandson and Love Bunny. He went to bed that night and stayed in bed until Sunday morning. I'm not going into specifics but he was queasy and used the facilities A LOT. I stayed outside on the little area outside our room with some of the others who weren't sick. We don't know if it was something in one of the food dishes or just a bug going around but I didn't get sick.

Now, for the clincher. I told the kids "NO GIFTS" and had no reason to doubt they'd adhere to our wishes. But while sitting in that beautiful setting at that stunning table, they whipped out a gift bag with a jeweler's name on it. I was in shock when I opened it up and inside were 2 gold watches with our 50th anniversary date engraved on the backs of both watches and a little stone on each one. Brats!!! They never did listen to me. :-) Sigh.

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