A weekend escapade on mother’s day


As I See It

Honoring motherhood or the mother of the family is what Mother’s Day is all about. We are actually celebrating their hard work and sacrifices in raising their families and acknowledging the impact of their influence in society. When they raise their children according to accepted norms, they are actually shaping their children to becoming contributing members of society.

This week’s column is lovingly dedicated to all mothers, grandmothers, stepmothers, and mother figures in the whole world, especially to the three mothers in my life: my mom Leonor, my wife’s mom Sofia, and my wife Delia.

While not a holiday, the second Sunday of May is a busy day where people appreciate the mothers, either by sending those cards or gifts, or making a special effort to visit them. Most of them treat them in gourmet restaurants, buffets, steakhouses, and/or holding a special meal at home.

My late mom was a super mom, a model of sacrifices, and a symbol of unconditional love. Together with my dad, she ably raised 13 children (10 boys, 3 girls) to be all professionals. I am the 11th of the 13 children.

My wife’s late mom was likewise a great mom to her 9 children (3 girls, 6 boys). She sacrificed a lot to provide food on the table, woke up late evenings and early dawns to change their diapers, and dress them to school during their elementary days.

Delia, my wife, is a wonderful and loving mom raising 6 children (3 boys, 3 girls). She took care of them from day one to present. She makes sure they eat their breakfast before going to school and to work; she cooks three regular meals a day; does the laundry; and in the evening, calls them and traces their whereabouts when they are not yet at home at about 9:00 in the evening. She can’t sleep if one of them is not yet at home. She takes care of them when they are sick and attends to their daily needs. My children look at their mom with authority and respect.

Last weekend on mother’s day, my children expressed their appreciation to all the things their mom did to them and in raising them as good children, by giving her a surprise mother’s day present. In consultation with their elder siblings Ma. Edelgrace (Gigi) who lives in Sydney, Australia and John Edward (Jojo) who lives in Jacksonville, Florida; Mary Rose, Charles Jayson, Rose Anne Joy (Tweety), and Paul Joseph, planned a weekend escapade on mother’s day for her (a mother’s day and also a birthday treat since she was born May 10) trip to Seattle, Washington. It was a paid-for-package-trip (plane tickets, hotel accommodations, food, and transportation) for six.

We boarded the early morning Alaska Airlines 6:30 a.m. flight bound for Seattle. We arrived at Seattle at 2:15 p.m. and immediately proceeded to the Enterprise car rental office and rented an 8-seater Ford Expedition, with Jayson as the designated driver and May as the tourist/navigator, for a Seattle city tour!

First stop was at Lola’s restaurant for breakfast located at the city’s 4th Avenue. Then we walked through the city streets which led as to the Pike Place Starbucks store, commonly called the Original Starbucks, the first Starbucks store established in 1971 at Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle, Washington.

Walking a few steps inside the market was the Alibi Room, known as Seattle Bubble Gum Wall, one of the tourist attractions we never expect seeing which was a brick building absolutely covered in wads of bubble gum. People stick their chewed bubble gums on both walls of the alley.

Apparently, while waiting in line to gain admittance, theater patrons would stick a wad of bubble gum on these brick walls and stick a coin in the gum. In 1999, that bubble gum wall was actually becoming a tourist attraction. Parts of the wall, about several inches thick, are covered with bubble gum, and the gum stretches about 15 feet high and about 50 feet long.

Sitting below the iconic Pike Place Market sign is the Pike Place fish market. These guys do an amazing job of pleasing the crowd and providing everyone with top-notch seafood. They’re known for tossing fish from up front to the guys in back and having a lovely time while doing so. This place is run by guys who read books on how to have fun at work. This is one of those places that you absolutely have to visit if you come to Pike Place Market. The guys are super cool and very entertaining.

Then we went to the famous Space Needle. At the observation deck, at 520 feet, you can have a 360-degree panorama of the Emerald City, Mountain ranges covered in Douglas Firs, Elliott Bay’s bustling waterfront, the lights of downtown Seattle, and Mt. Rainier.

The Space Needle is a Seattle Icon and draws nearly 20,000 people a day. Visitors can reach the top of the Space Needle by elevators that travel at 10 miles per hour (4.5 m/s). The trip takes 41 seconds. On windy days, the elevators slow to 5 miles per hour (2.2 m/s).

Located next to the Space Needle at the Seattle Center is Chihuly Garden & Glass in honor of artist Dale Chihuly who lost his sight in one eye. This led him to wonder why glass couldn’t be three-dimensional and non-symmetrical and then began to create such pieces. His drawings fill the walls; his inspirations fill the galleries; and his work is shown in progression, each step and stage leading to the next. The Chihuly Glasshouse is home to a 100-foot-long sculpture of red and yellow blooms, suspended from the ceiling.

We wind up the first day taking dinner at a Chinese Restaurant at the Great Hall Shopping Mall. Then we checked-in at Renton’s Marriott Hotel, an adjoining city from Seattle.

Day 2 was a more hectic day for us. After taking our 8:15 a.m. breakfast at the hotel, we proceeded to Washington Park Arboretum. The Arboretum is well known for Azalea Way in the springtime, a stretch of the park which offers a unique combinations of azaleas of many colors. The area is a popular site for strolling. It is utilized by photographers and artists. The manicured Azalea Way stands out in stark contrast with the Arboretum’s wild and heavily canopied areas.

Then we visited the first underground power plant generating electricity at the Snoqualmie Park Water Falls. Snoqualmie Falls is a 268-feet (82 m) waterfall on the Snoqualmie River between Snoqualmie and fall city, Washington, USA. It is one of Washington’s most popular scenic attractions. More than 1.5 million visitors come to the fall every year.

We had our lunch at a Teriyaki restaurant at about 2:30 p.m. then took a brief rest in our hotel before going to dinner. At about 6:00 p.m., we went to a steakhouse for dinner – Jimmy Mac’s Roadhouse at Renton. It is a locally owned, “Texas-style,” family friendly restaurant featuring quality steaks, handcrafted food, craft cocktails and ice cold beer. The first thing I noticed was the peanut shells were scattered on the floor. Customer’s throw their peanut shells on the floor.

Their signature, handmade dishes include Dungeness crab cakes, crawfish chowder, BBQ baby back pork ribs, fresh grilled salmon, shrimp, a variety of specialty salads, hubcap burgers, grilled chicken entrees & sandwiches, smoked pork, desserts and more.

We went back to the hotel, after this, and at about 8:55 p.m. the children went to watch the movie Captain America and the Iron Man. We stayed behind and waited for them to come back at 12:35 a.m.

On the third day, we took our breakfast at 8:15 a.m. and met Capt. Doug Souza, a United Airlines pilot taking a 10-day simulation re-training course. I interviewed him and discussed aircraft operations and troubleshooting.

At 10:00 a.m., we returned our rent-a-car and took the shuttle to the Seattle Airport for our 12:15 p.m., flight back to San Jose. We arrived at San Jose at 2:30 p.m. – the end of the mother’s day weekend escapade!

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