Younger granddaughter Harriet’s fifth birthday week culminated this afternoon at a remarkable spot tucked away in Anaheim (the only one of its precise kind, the owners told me) where a horde of 30 children can exhaust themselves for an hour on slides and in a ball and bounce house before repairing to indoor picnic tables for pizza, birthday cupcakes, balloon animals, and the lights lowered dramatically for singing happy birthday. Management takes photos throughout and produces and projects a video before everyone goes home, parents wheeling beaucoup gifts.

Thanks to a ride from Meaghan and PJ, cousin Frannie, going on seven in August, was up from San Diego. Much news exchanged around the family watering hole. Not having expected to be able to go at first, Kathy and I were along as part of a small but hearty grandparent contingent. Fellow grands Frank and Jamie are just back from a three-week Ireland and Scotland trip for the ages, including the Blarney Stone (to be safe, they blew a kiss) and the Johnnie Walker distillery in Edinburgh (where tastes from a 60-year-old barrel are available). Mike and Chris had a good report about Mike’s recent back surgery. Good chat with musician Scott, father of Lucy, another Harriet cousin. And younger daughter Lindsay is about to get her official teacher union jacket. I told her about Joe Hill. All in all, well done, Valerie and Mark. Best birthday party ever!