Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Week-long Birthday BONANZA

Apparently everyone is born in November. In 8 days (from Friday, November 5-Saturday, November 13) I celebrated 5 birthdays, one of which was out of state.

My Dad looks exactly the same as he did 10 years ago

So does my Mom, for that matter, but it was my Dad’s birthday and I was going to be skipping the family party that weekend (see next header). Instead, I went up on the Friday before and we had a chill celebration which included French Bread Pizza (the love runs in the family), chocolate chip ice cream (his fave), and the gift of a hoodless sweatshirt, something that is remarkably hard to find. He’s about as low-key as you can get so he probably wouldn’t have even noticed if we didn’t celebrate at all, but it’s always nice to see the folks.

Meagan’s Dirty 30

My friend Meagan and I met during my one year at LMU 9 years ago. Since then we have never lived in the same city, so we’ve seen each other less than 14 days total since then. Regardless, we’ve maintained an important friendship, so when I got the invite to her 30th birthday party in Santa Rosa, California for November 6, I booked a ticket – 30 hours for her 30th birthday, from Saturday at 2 pm to Sunday at 8.

I was lucky to find a cheap flight into Santa Rosa itself, an airport so tiny you can still greet people at the (one) gate. Meagan picked me up in the flesh and we hugged it out, reveling at the unbelievable idea that it had been more than 3 years since last we met (when I visited her in New Hampshire). She whisked me away to her parents’ house, who were out of town but seemed to trust her to throw a party.

For not having lived in her home town for a decade, she drew quite a local crowd, many of whom she had gone to high school with. She also had several out of town guests, and Ian trumped my distance since he came from Vancouver – international guests are so exotic!

There was a keg of good beer, a beer pong table painted bright gold – Ian and I crushed it – and plenty of assorted booze and eats. I did garner some street cred when it was revealed that my present to Meagan was a whole salmon I had purchased that same afternoon at Pike Place market and carried on the plane. We barbecued half of it and I cut the other half into filets to be frozen and enjoyed at will.

Her friend Rachel definitely won for best presents, though: customized beer bottles with pictures she had gotten from Meagan’s mom, plus a hand-carved Scrabble board. I was drooling with jealousy over that board.

Other than pong, highlights included a small but admirable dance party and a hilarious game called some dude’s name that I kept forgetting. We hardly even noticed that it was raining, and enjoyed some good times over the outdoor fire pit despite the unseasonally cold weather. (WTF California, I leave Seattle for 30 hours and you make it rain??) It's ok, we kept warm by dancing:

The next day was an exercise in lazing around, which was really pleasant. Here are Meagan and Clare the dog chillin' on hangover day:

I made a random breakfast bake with leftover party food (my specialty) and we talked trash through the movie Twilight. I was so sad when I had to catch the airporter to Oakland – no such luck getting a reasonable flight out of Santa Rosa on Sunday – and much more bummed when I found out my flight was delayed. Fortunately my sister Tessa came to the rescue and picked me up from the airport, so I only got home about 30 minutes later than I was expecting since I had planned on taking the light rail. Regardless, waking up for work the next morning was not much fun.

Fortunately Meagan will be in Seattle in December so I’ll get some more of her sooner rather than later.

Robyn – Low Key, Baby

On Wednesday of that same week – 11-10-10 – Robyn had her birthday. It was a really chill gathering at Barolo in the Lake Union part of Seattle, a swank restaurant with a killer happy hour. Highlighting for the 1,000,000th time why she is such a stellar friend she was completely understanding when I was only able to stay for 45 minutes since I desperately needed a new home for Hattie or risk eviction and it was the only time the new owners could come get her.

Of course, the party didn’t end with me leaving; I hear it ended many hours later at a bar in Ballard. Robyn always knows where to find the party!

K’s Gourmet Dinner

K’s birthday is the very day after Robyn’s, which means next year her birthday will be 11-11-11. Trippy. We arranged for her to have day-long childcare so she could go to the spa, and then we had a delightful dinner at another friend’s house. I love K’s friends, and this love is only heightened by their ability to kill it in the kitchen. We had the fanciest salad ever, plus roasted squash and cauliflower, chicken with pasta, mushrooms, and artichokes, a vegan carrot cake that was so good I went back for thirds, and some apricot bars I could have sworn were made by the almond roca people. We also had some very lively discussion about the state of our education system – it’s always nice to be stimulated intellectually, especially when there is a bottle of wine at hand.

Jacob’s Game Night

This past Saturday was my friend Jacob’s birthday celebration (also an 11-11 birthday) which went down on a rain-soaked Ballard evening with some animated rounds of Catch Phrase during which the birthday boy took significant liberties, followed by lemon cake with chocolate and apricot sorbet. My contribution? A jar of rum I’d been soaking with clove-stuffed lemon slices and cinnamon sticks which I turned into hot toddies. Does anything taste better than a hot toddy in wintry weather?

After the birthday boy left, those still standing hung around for some Settlers of Catan. I had planned on getting to bed at a reasonable hour and being productive on Sunday, but staying out until 2:30 am playing board games was all worth it when I sneakily won game #2.

Side note: “Happy Birthday” has to be the worst trick ever inflicted upon the tradition of birthdays. Think about it: it’s the ONE SONG you are socially obligated to sing on a regular basis, and it is so, soooo painful. If it must be sung, I prefer it in double time – it’s much easier to hit the right notes and keys, it doesn’t drag on and on, and it actually sounds like people have some enthusiasm and mean what they’re saying. Can we just all agree to sing it fast and get it over with??

I think I’m off the hook for birthdays for a little while.
Up soon: more backlog posts, my cell phone evolution, and spending Thanksgiving at a spa.


AmberAnda said...

What a fun, and varied, 8 days of B-day celebrating! I can't believe you even went to California in that stretch! I also have a handful of close friends with birthdays in that time frame, must have been a good time astrologically to be born : )

Nick said...

I actually enjoyed our slow-mo, drunken sailor rendition of Happy Birthday at Jacob's party. It went on so long it was almost unrecognizable.

Jamie Grace Davis said...

HI! Wow. This is amazing to see what you are up to! I have been scouting around via facebook and what not to see if I might be able to connect with you. You were one of the best highlights at LMU...and am so bummed I was lousy at staying touch.

Life is great on my end, and would really love to chat.

p.s. My birthday is in November too!


Jamie Grace Davis

ElizaBeth said...

Jamie, I have been looking for you for years!! I am not on Facebook but please email me, elizabethries at gmail dot com. I can't wait to catch up.

Lisa Frumkes said...

Sorry - 3 colleague birthdays on 12/13. Get with it. :)