Was it a surprise? She says yes, but I have my doubts. If she'd really believed we were going to the French Laundry would she have worn the jeans?
Matters not. Justine had a big birthday, we threw a big party, people ate, people drank, people listened to Yaz and Donny & Marie and Emmylou Harris on our fabulous sentimental mix CD. Kids ran around with grimy handfuls of baguette and my mother (pictured above in striking ropy necklace) worked the crowd, one of her brilliant gifts and one that I sadly did not inherit.
I hereby declare the event a smashing success!!!
I've been wanting to post about the menu-planning machinations for several long, lonely weeks, but for obvious reasons could not. There is more to this story -- the most expensive meat purchase of my life, uncharacteristic anxiety & copious tears, our national appetizer crisis, Martha-Stewart-to-the-rescue! etc. -- coming soon.