Wednesday, August 30, 2006

One sweet party

Finally, I can add a new entry. On Sunday, I, um, sorta got sick from eating too much ice cream. But I felt better by Monday evening. And yesterday, I removed a splinter from a co-worker's finger. I'm just doing great things left and right this past week!

Anyhoo...if I do say so myself, I am now officially the coolest neighbor in Sunnyvale. Ever. I am still basking in the glory of having pulled off one of the most memorable block parties in our cul-de-sac. I still can't believe I managed to do it all from Phoenix. Guess it reveals my inner Martha Stewart, control issues. But it was pretty much how I pictured--several of my neighbors, friends and relatives mingling and enjoying themselves. But I couldn't have done it without the help of my mother and our neighbors Earl & Debbie. Debbie and Earl did all the barbecuing of hamburgers and hot dogs, they brought out their four patio tables and umbrellas to their driveway and they were just so gracious to the people who weren't neighbors. And our next door neighbors Dave & Kathy were great too. They have a knack for making anyone feel welcome.

Of course, having ice cream on hand for everyone was a bonus. I got carried away setting up a sundae bar. I don't know what it is, I love setting up festive luncheons or dinner parties for people. I would do it more often if I had more $$. I like seeing people have a good time over food. Weeks before the party, I already envisioned how I wanted the ice cream station to look. For this, I splurged at Bed, Bath & Beyond when I saw this set of glasses that are shaped like waffle cones; I thought they'd look great holding all the toppings--crumbled Oreos, M&Ms, nuts and cherries. I decided to bring out my chocolate fountain and used a tiered buffet of trays to put out strawberries. And I wanted to avoid putting the ice cream in our red cooler. Luckily, Sunday morning, I found a big, sunny yellow beverage bucket at Albertson's for 75 percent off--costs me $4. As you'll see in the pictures, I don't mess around when it comes to dessert.

But the absolute highlight that elevated the festivities was the appearance of some firefighters from our local firehouse. I had completely forgotten that I had invited them. Then, sometime before 1:30 p.m., while everyone was eating on the driveway, we saw a yellow fire engine enter the court. Everybody was totally surprised, myself included. I ran up and introduced myself as the hostess who requested the fire engine. I met Vicky and Don (How awesome was it to meet a woman firefighter!). And everyone went gaga over their engine -- adults and kids. There's just something about boys and men around firetrucks. People were swarming the engine. And I told Vicky and Don the story of how I won Dreyer's ice cream last year because of how Dad almost burned down the house. Hee-hee. After eating some ice cream, Vicky and Don let people take turns operating the fire hose. And they handed out stickers and cards to everyone.

At 3pm, a second fire engine came. Everyone was asking me things like "How did you get TWO?" or "How much clout do you have?" Funny. Turns out, the other engine, manned by the lieutenant, went to another party that was kind of a bust. So, he and the other firefighter decided to check out my party. They all agreed mine was the best. LOL. Anyway, one of my neighbors, who apparently has had fantasies about being a fireman, said everything I do is gold--according to his wife.

It was definitely a day to remember. I loved seeing everyone getting along. I finally got to meet our new next-door neighbors, Luis and Fabiana, who are from Brazil. Both so nice. They brought a pitcher of that Brazilian drink, Caipirinha. It's made from lime, sugar, ice and a Brazilian liquor called "cacasa" which is made from sugar cane. They warned everyone it was made with alcohol. So, of course I go into the house to get something and find my 15-year-old cousin Jonathan sitting on the papasan all quiet. I said "What's the matter?" He said "I drank some of that 'lemonade.'" I told the story to a couple of people. By the end, everyone had heard. Luis and Fabiana at first felt bad and I reassured them Jonathan knew what he was doing. So, the running joke was mentioning lemonade with air quotes.

Everyone says I have set the bar for neighborhood parties but I shouldn't feel like I have to top it in the future. That's nice of them to say because I don't think I could. I'm glad it all worked out. To think, I was going to invite Shao-Lin monks too!

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