Graduation, German food, Burnt almond cake

I think that title pretty much covers it. We went to our sons graduation in Santa Cruz on one of the warmest days of the decade. We still have sunburn lines (with new sunburn lines over them now, but that’s a later story.)

The trip up was fun and cozy. There were 5 of us crammed into the jeep. Grandma came. Celina (girlfriend) came. Luggage came. No animals though. They stayed behind with a farm sitter.

We went through Gilroy, garlic capital of the world.

We left on a Friday morning after traffic. It worked out pretty good. We missed most of LA traffic. Then hit construction at the crossroads of nowhere and nohow. One lane each way. Mr. Driver was fuming. So were most drivers. It was a huge stretch of the I-5. But what can you do once you are stuck in it? We went around it coming back so that helped.

Our hotel was the lovely Hampton Inn in San Jose. The German restaurant we went to after graduation was in San Jose too, as it turns out. And it was “Summerfest” with om-pa-pa music by men in lederhosen and peter pan hats. But graduation. Here are some pictures.

(Sniff) my 3 muffins, together again.

We lost Celina in the mob at one point. In fact spent a lot of time looking for each of the group. We couldn’t seem to stick together.

Nothing says romance like giving your girlfriend a bug. Our sons grown tall, but do they grow up? She is taking it gracefully. It is a Santa Cruzian beetle he named Jove. Do I have a better picture?

By Jove, a bug!

Ah, romance. Anyway, it was a very hot day for being on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. It is most beautiful there and I think he will miss it very much. The cool moist and clean air, the redwood forest, the deer. He may not miss so much some of the crazies, the ‘woodsies’, the students running naked in the night during a certain rain every year, the hippies. But its Santa Cruz, pretty close to San Fran, land where the crazies originated I think. (yes, its beautiful there too.) This is a place where you can practically get lost in the woods on your way to class. They offer lots of organic foods, more than I offer here I am afraid. Oh well, he will miss it, but missed home more. And just when he gets used to it, he is off to Peru for a while…

Anyway, next was dinner. He had found an interesting German food place, called “Teske’s”. Wow, great food, authentic atmosphere. We all tried something different, then had one each of the desserts. We all had to agree that the burnt almond cake was the best. It was light, flavorful with a nice crunchy top. I had some kind of big pork thing with surprisingly great German potato salad (I normally am not a fan). I don’t remember what all we got, but I tasted everything.

I am now obsessed with find a recipe for this burnt almond cake. I have not seen its like yet on the internet, similar, but not quite itand yet it is sold by 2 bakeries. Ironically, both in San Jose, home of this same restaurant!! I am determined to dig up every old German cookbook at the library and find just the right recipe. MUST FIND!

The next day was Sunday and we said good-bye to San Jose and swung over to the church Phil has been visiting this past couple of years. I wanted to say hello and give a big thank you to all those people who had been helping feed my son every Sunday at their potlucks. He didn’t bring food and couldn’t always pay the small fee, but would don an apron and help clean up afterwards. I knew at least on Sundays he was eating. Most of the people there were very friendly and I got at least one tearful hug from a very short woman who was going to miss Phillip very much. He got a gift from one and handshakes from others. I am very glad we took the time to go there. In spite of the long trip ahead of us.

Once, while he was there on a Sunday, he saved a flock of chickens from certain death! Really! This chapel is at a retreat in the woods somewhere. They happen to have a flock of hens on the property and had a new shipment of baby chicks. Well, Phil overheard some women talking to someone about how they were dying and no one know why. Phils ears perked up. He asked if he could help, seeing as he has raised chicks before. They gladly led him to their pen area and he immediately assessed that the warming lamp was to high to keep the babies warm. He saw them all huddled in a mass of fluff, trying to stay warm and suffocating some of them.  He rigged the light lower for them and helped resuscitate a few that looked ready to ‘buy the farm’ as it were. Next thing you know they were perky again, running around and looking for things to peck at. The people there were very thankful and when we went there,  we got to see the by now, teenage hens. There were about 30 or more by this time in a nice big cage. Wish I had my camera handy then.

About that time hubby noticed that Phil’s vans tires were as bald as a cue ball. At least the rear two. “You can’t drive home on those!” You see, the youngsters had wanted to go home via old highway 1, the scenic route. But there was no way he was going to take those tires and our sons on that trip together. So we went by a Costco in town. But were told there was a 2 1/2 hour wait. Then we drove to a tire center. They were closed on Sundays. Who ever heard of such a thing! By then it was getting late and we still had hours of driving to go. We compromised. A short trip to Monterrey, then head back to the 5.

So we split up after that. The youngsters went in Phils van, while us more mature peoples went in the jeep. They got  to swing by Monterrey, look at Sea Lions and so on. We wanted to head straight back and get to cooler weather. We went by way of China. (see previous post).

Of course, lets not forget that we drove by oodles of farms and went through Castroville, the artichoke center of the world. Everyone needs their claim to fame. After that it was just a matter of putting the miles behind us.

It was a long weekend, a fun weekend. a whirlwind weekend.

We love you Phil…Good job and God speed.



5 thoughts on “Graduation, German food, Burnt almond cake

  1. Awww…I’m just about tearing up about the sweet lady at his church. Isn’t it heartwarming to know that other people love our kids and will miss them when they’re not around?

    And I LOVE that last large photo of the handsome grad. Congratulations, Phil!

  2. By the by, he still has the “Graduate burn line” on his forehead where he got sunburned while wearing his graduation cap. Says thats how the grads can recognize each other. Just kidding of course.

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