Tuesday, November 10, 2009
My Dad is a commercial insurance broker. That means that if you are a company looking for insurance but aren't sure what to get or where to start, then you go to someone like my Dad and he will do the legwork for you and find the best deal. He has clients who run all sorts of different companies, but over the years has gotten more and more involved with construction and manufacturing businesses.
Those in the construction field are often involved in fund raising for scholarships developed for young men and women looking to study the sciences and other fields directly related to construction/engineering. Often these fund raising events are in the form of big dinners with auctions which, if we are lucky, us kids get to sometimes attend with him. The latest was for an organization called N.U.C.A which stands for the National Utility Contractors Association and it was a big event.
I love these events. It is an excuse to get dressed up and the chance to eat some really good food which I didn't have to prepare. Those are pretty much 2 things I am always down for.
It was held at The Governor Hotel which is a historic hotel in downtown Portland. The entire building is beautiful with ornate details and a certain old-fashioned grandiosity that is rarely seen in newer construction.
Our party was in one of the ballrooms and I was kind of obsessed with the lighting.
So pretty! These were on the ceiling and they just added a really lovely feeling to the whole room.
See? What did I tell you? There was a feeling.
There are some things in life I just never joke about, and one of them is the feeling in a room. Very, very serious about it.
Again - the lighting. Really awesome. Maybe it is the little film nerd in me that notices this stuff, but it was so well done.
The night started off with a silent auction. The items up for bid were placed on tables around the exterior of the room and you had about an hour to go around and bid. I snapped this photo quickly of my brother and me as we were about to take a stroll to see what lovely items were in the auction.
This was one of the first things that caught my eye. I think partly because I am naturally drawn to the color pink (just look in my closet) but also I am naturally drawn to cake - so there you have it. This was an entire set with everything you would need to make cupcakes. Yum. (Jana - I thought of you when I took this!!)
All of this went for only about $100, which surprised me. I loved seeing all of these stacked together, but again, I think I was attracted to all of the colors. That, and the fact that I love games. I am just one of those people.
Especially Trivial Pursuit. I ROCK at Trivial Pursuit. Just sayin'.
Ohhhhhh - PRETTY! You could bid on this fully decorated tree, which looked divine. I am still in a bit of shock that Christmas is nearly here. If anyone would like to give me some insight as to what in the heck-fire happened to 2009, I would love to hear it.
This auction item gave me little flashbacks of summer and made me happy. My Dad actually went home with this one, because apparently the 18 sleeping bags, 12 tents, 9 lanterns and 3,000 coolers he already has in his basement just aren't quite enough.
I liked this one. It was basically a tree of scratch-it tickets. Odds of making your money back? Probably not great. Odds of feeling really hopeful for the 20 minutes it takes you to scratch them all off? Phenomenal.
These were two separate auction item groups you could bid on during the live auction portion of the night: the girl dream package and the boy dream package. Is it wrong that I actually wanted to just sit on the floor and play with it all? I think that each one went for about $1,000. The pictures don't really to do them justice, but these were BIG toys. There are some kids out there who have no idea what is comin' their way.
Here is the only thing that I bid on during the night - the centerpiece. Each table had one and you could bid on as many as you wanted. They then took all the top bidders from each table and entered them into a drawing to win $1000. There were only 30 tables, so I figured those are the kinds of odds I like to work with.
Especially since I hijacked the bidding sheet from our table so nobody else could bid on it. I justified this to them by saying that I am getting married and need the money. I think they were all cool with that...I think...
I didn't win though. I was robbed. ROBBED, I tell you.
Another fun little money-maker they did was that for $20, you could buy a set of cards. One said 'Heads' and one said 'Tails.' Then, those with the cards all stood up and the people on the stage would flip a coin - BUT, before they flipped you had to put either the heads card or the tails card up in the air. Whoever picked correctly got to move into the next round until there was only one person left, who would win $1,500. My brother took part in this one and got into the 5th round before he chose 'Heads' and the coin landed on 'Tails'. It was a real crowd-pleaser though and a good one to keep in mind if you are ever trying to raise some money.
Shortly after that, we got to eat and it was SOOOOO good. The salads had blue cheese, pear and candied walnuts. That is a combo I love almost as much as the old Friends/Seinfeld/ER days on NBC.
Must see TV baby. Ahh - I miss those days.
After the salad came salmon, filet mignon, mashed potatoes and asparagus. I was too busy enjoying every last morsel that I forgot to take a picture, but it was scrumptious. I actually ended up giving most of my steak to my little brother, Conor. He was home for the weekend from college and we had recently had this conversation:
Me: "So, have you been cooking yourself meals?"
Conor: "Uhhhh...yeah - kinda."
Me: "Like what kinds of food?"
Conor: "I dunno - like Top Ramen."
I figured he would appreciate that steak more than I would, so to his plate it went. Besides, I had more important things to get to:
Okay - I know that the picture quality here is quite lacking, but this was the MOST amazing cupcake I have EVER had. It was light but decedent - and the frosting...oh deary me...the frosting. It was perfection on a plate. I wish I knew who made them and then I could send them to you all. So, so delicious.
After dinner, they had a live auction with a professional auctioneer whose voice and style had me mesmerized. How do they talk so fast? I love it. It is an art form, I think. Sometimes he would be repeating "five hundred" so many times in a row that it would start to stress me out and I desperately wanted someone else to bid so he could move on to saying "six hundred" over and over again.
Perhaps that is part of the tactic.
That and a bunch of people who have been given free wine and beer all night. I think that helps too.
All in all it was a really fun night and nice to get to get to spend some time with my brother and Dad. I hope that NUCA raised a lot of money to help feed the wallets of those young and eager minds.
I also hope my brother reintroduces vegetables into his life.
And that I can find out who made those cupcakes.
Oh - yeah, and what happened to 2009. Reeeaaallly curious about that one...