Roadhouse Blues

Yeah, keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel
Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel
Yeah, we're goin' to the Roadhouse
We're gonna have a real
Good time

-The Doors

During the final week of our California vacation, our address was: Magnificent Beautiful House, Lake Tahoe, California. I didn’t think that any house could have topped last summer’s Beautiful House (also in Lake Tahoe). Magnificent Beautiful House definitely takes the cake.

birdMAN’s mother, Moomoo, carefully researched Lake Tahoe vacation rentals, finally settling on Magnificent Beautiful House because it fulfilled these must-haves: 1) a patio with view, 2) sufficient space for 11 people, 3) a Jacuzzi, 4) a patio with a view, and finally 5) a patio with a view. Did I mention a patio with a view?

Thanks to the generosity of Baba D and Moomoo, we enjoyed 6 days of relaxation, swimming, laughter, and catching up. We feasted like kings; each meal looked like the feature photo on the cover of Bon Appetite magazine.  Each savory meal was one of Baba D’s favorites: beef tenderloin, leg of lamb, grass-fed beef tacos, Coho salmon, sticky chicken, peach berry cobbler, See’s candy, and organic, hormone-free ice-cream. Nothing but the best for the man of honor: Baba D.

To summarize this week in three words: We ate good.

Did I mention that we had a view?

The evenings proceeded in a familiar, comfortable fashion. Moomoo and birdMAN’s sisters directing the chopping, roasting, carving, and general meal plan. Savory smells slowly emerging, saturating the senses and revving the appetite. The men on the deck discussing the Tour de France while drinking soda or beer. Four-year old Milan pittering and pattering around underfoot and singing Frozen’s “Let It Go.” Me trying to be useful but just ending up watching food preparation and chatting with Moomoo. All this happening with a fabulous Lake Tahoe view. Blue mountains layered like puzzle pieces sitting atop a blue cascade of glass framed by blue skies and cottony white clouds.

One evening, with bellies full of beef tenderloin and mashed potatoes, the family sits before Baba D. An after-dinner family tradition, a box of See’s chocolate is passed from hand to hand. Each person carefully selects a favorite piece of chocolate. Chocolate truffle for Barach, California Brittle for birdMAN, and Cashew Crunch for me.

Moomoo begins, Baba D, we want to thank you for always taking care of us. You have worked hard and we just want you to know how much we love you. Emotion creeps up her throat, spilling into the room. She can’t help it. Months ago while planning this family retreat, Baba D had been diagnosed with cancer. He was in for the battle of his life. At first, they lived in a state of uncertainty. Later, chemotherapy sessions, strict pill regimens, and hydration sessions became routine. It is both absurd and shocking how “normal” can quickly transform.

But tonight, her heart is filled with gratitude. His treatment is going well. He has a good appetite. He can joke with his sons. He can enjoy his family. He is here with his cherished wife, the four children they raised together, and their in-law children who are like their own, one treasured grandchild, and one on the way. And they are all together in one of Baba D’s favorite places on earth: Lake Tahoe.

Moomoo has asked each of their four children to prepare a tribute to their father. The youngest begins. Growing up, I didn’t have many friends. You were my best friend. You took me snowboarding. What’s happening? This family is getting some serious talk on—saying things that need to be said. Nobody—nobody—can hold back the tears. The next youngest, Milan’s mama. You are so affectionate. How you cared for all of us. How you show such affection to Milan. I just really appreciate it. birdMAN now. In birdMAN’s typical fashion whenever he talks about something serious, he diverts his eyes and shifts his jaw. You taught us to love the outdoors. Whenever I visit a mountain or ocean I think of you.

The oldest, Barach, starts but he can’t speak. The room is silent except for Barach’s lone sob. He seems surprised at himself. I’m inconsolable. Now that I am about to be a father…I hope to raise my child the same way you raised me. I am going to read books to our child. I am going to teach my child to ride a bike and love the outdoors. Thank you for this.

Yes, thank you Baba D. Look at this family. Look how they want to cater to your every need. Do you want some water? Do you want a blanket? How they suffer when they see you suffer. How your pain becomes their pain. Look at them. Look at how they love you. The years of rearing four children- your four greatest achievements, your greatest loves—have led to this moment. Simple words, but inconceivably deep. Thank you Baba D, for everything.

Well, that is enough of that. This family can only take so much serious talk. Someone says a joke, and everyone laughs through tears. Milan stands on the fireplace mantel, a makeshift stage, and puts on an encore performance of Frozen’s “Let It Go.” Thank goodness for Milan.

 The kids put on a show!

So it was a good week in the Magnificent Beautiful House. Besides a whole lot of eating and some serious talk, we enjoyed visitors (including my sisters—yay!), a gender-reveal party for future parents Barach and Elizabeth (it’s a girl!), awe-inspiring sunsets, sudden and intense hail storms, swimming, patio Pilates, and just hum-drum family time.

Thank you, Baba D and Moomoo! Magnificent Beautiful House was Ahhhhh—MAZING! I think the week of clean air definitely purged our lungs of all Beijing impurities.

Chinese Word of the Blog: 景色    jǐng sè  
English translation: scenery / scene / landscape / view

Example sentence: 太浩湖的景色特别美丽 Tài hào hú de jǐngsè tèbié měilì
English translation: Lake Tahoe scenery is especially beautiful.

Swim in refreshing Lake Tahoe!
Astonishing beauty
Click HERE for more Lake Tahoe House pictures
Click HERE for pictures of Baby Boo's Gender Reveal
Sand Harbor is AWESOME. Click HERE