I could embarrass myself greatly, there is video, but then I couldn’t show my face here again. Sometimes it’s just a little too much. I will tell you the story, because without video it’s adorable, quaint, fun.  With video I’m just a big giggling dork. I’m going to stick with adorable. I’m going to stick with how it sounds in my head, and out loud on our blog.

I am back home in cool, beautiful, completely Fall, Germany. It’s hard to believe it was only a week ago I was still in the states, celebrating the worlds longest, bestest birthday. It’s rare for me to brag about how completely wonderful, amazing, best something is. Something that is mine, for me. I am pretty blessed, and on a daily basis things are pretty great, but The Best? That is debatable. I’m an average Joe, with a slightly larger than average family. But my birthday? That was beyond average. That really, truly, was amazing and the best. It just was!

My friends & family pitched in on so many different levels to make my 50th special. From plane tickets to presents to lunches to dinners to loud, off-key singing. I was spoiled like no other. I feel loved. From the top of my head down to my my tippy toes. And that is what made my birthday the best.

Dave’s aunt Laurie is close to my age. Early in our marriage, Laurie loved and accepted me just for me. The rest of his family had a slightly harder time because I came with a beautiful boy (Soren) and with political leanings not quite theirs. Laurie didn’t care. And we soon found a mutual love for quilting, cooking and gaming. We haven’t stopped geeking out together about any of these hobbies for over 20 years.

After my actual birthday weekend at my sister’s, my mom drove me down to Manteca. She dropped me off at the Starbucks and Laurie picked me up. My mom went on to San Jose, to visit her old friends, and Laurie and I went to Sacramento. To her house, Uncle Rick, her kids, grandbabies, kitty cats, quilting stores and sight-seeing.

We spent a whole day, just us, roaming the streets of Sacramento and old town Sacramento. Why did no one tell me how delightfully charming Sacramento is? Not just old town, though it is really, really charming, but Sacramento. The houses. The old Victorians, Tudors, bungalows, mission-revivals, Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired homes… we drove for over an hour picking out houses we’d love to live in. Each better than the last. I had no idea. If it wasn’t for all those days over 100, I’d be moving to Sacramento today.

We finally resigned ourselves to just drooling over architecture, and moved on to Old Sacramento. Another gem! I could shop there all day, all week, all month, if only I had room in my suitcase and money in my wallet. Laurie treated me to a fabulous lunch at Joe’s Crab Shack, all the crab I could eat (and a little more) and a Shark Bite! And this is where the story comes in.

A Shark Bite is a cocktail filled with delicious rums and blue Curacao. At Joe’s Crab Shack it’s served with a shark on the side filled with grenadine. The server got the lunch crowd all riled up and yelled “Shark Attack” and I poured the grenadine into my drink and it looked just like blood swirling in an ocean of blue. Everyone screamed, me too! And then I got the giggles. So much so blue and red came shooting out my nostrils.

The California state capitol in Sacramento

Lookee all the palm trees lining the road!

This reminds me of the mission I had to build in 4th grade

Old town Sacramento feels like another world

Tower bridge

My “Shark bite”

Crab! Drooooooooooooool!

Tower Bridge went up 4 times!!!! Special treat just for me.

Generation Z learning about life in Old Town in the one-room schoolhouse

I want candy! (sing it with me people!)

Old Sac’s version of the Gainesville police

I was half expecting a shoot-out!

Evangeline’s Costume Mansion? I could live there. Forever.

Of course there’s a horse!

…and we have left Sacramento.