On Friday evening I flew into LAX and Monkey picked me up and took me to have some delicious Thai food (mmmm, tom yum soup. Mmmm, spicy noodles.) I hadn’t seen her since shortly after our wedding last year, so we were up late catching up and my cold was still coldy and I was still getting dizzy spells and I was all gross and coughing all over her place. No wonder Julius (her cat) was afraid of me!
In the night, Julius put on a concert for me, which I found lovely but would have preferred hearing during daylight hours. I have a natural affinity for orange kitties and find him delightful but it wasn’t the best for my beauty sleep. snerk.
Saturday I woke up at 7 AM and couldn’t fall back asleep, so I read until Monkey woke up, and we had some breakfast, ran a few errands, and went to see Watchmen. Usually, Dan and I see comic book movies together but I knew he didn’t want to wait until I came home to see it, and I knew Monkey wanted to see it, so we went. Afterword we did some girly shopping at H&M and had sushi and I got to try pinkberry for the first time. I felt enormous and uncomfortable around so many skinny people walking around old town Pasadena, but chalked it up to being in LA, where nearly everybody has body issues.
The original plan was for Monkey to drive me to House of Oldest Friend, wherein a small group of her closest friends would go to dinner before the Big Party. 30 minutes before we headed over there, OF called me and told me the plan had changed and that we should go to the house where the party would be instead (also known as the Heat House because it was featured in the movie Heat) and meet everyone there. So we climbed all the way up a big hill to an amazing house and meet two giant doggies. OF wasn’t there yet (and neither was anyone else but the house’s occupants), and Monkey left me there to help set up for the party (she came back later). I helped Dave and Jayme move furniture and rugs, change out bulbs in the cool lamp fixture, and took photos of stuff. And I waited.
After that, I waited some more. I called Dan to chat for a bit and the cake arrived. I called OF to see what was up, and she said she was about 20 minutes away, so I went to do my hair and makeup while the house was still empty and quiet.
Arrivals by OF’s friend Sarah, OF and her parents, and a few other folks brought me out of my hair-curling reverie and I went out to present her with her surprise birthday blanket. (She liked it, hooray!) I returned to finish primping and pulled out the four wraps, four pairs of gloves, three sets of jewelry and two pairs of shoes I’d brought as possible accessories for the dress OF had brought for me to wear (a dress last seen nearly a year ago that I’d made for her to wear in our wedding). After a few minutes of consultation and discussion, the accessory decisions were made and I spent a few minutes getting dressed.
I went with the green pearl necklace Julie had made me for our wedding, the longer white kid gloves (made in France! probably 60 years old!), the thin light green wrap, and the new silver shoes I found at DSW on clearance ($12!). My hair was curled. My makeup was done. I felt hott. I wish Dan had been there to see me, because he would have given me That Look and it would have made me feel even hotter.
A few last-minute projects were completed, and then everything was ready. I snapped another photo of the skyline as the beef sizzled on the taco truck and my mouth watered, hoping they would soon cook the chicken so I could eat dinner. And when it was ready, boy was it tasty! The taco truck guy and I chatted about Mexican food and Rick Bayless and love for cooking while he prepared my chicken tacos. “I make all the sauces,” he told me, “and the one in the middle there, the spicy one? That’s my own recipe.” I wish I had gotten a photo of the taco truck, because it was awesome.
The evening went on, and drinks were consumed, and more people arrived. I was the fanciest one there until a couple wearing masks, tux and sparkly red dress showed up, and then a girl in a flapper dress with peacock feathers, and suddenly all those party poopers who came to a Birthday Ball in jeans must have felt a little out of place. There was mingling and there was singing happy birthday and there was red velvet cake, and a toast and speech by the birthday girl, and then the dancing began.
Somehow I managed to stand, walk, and dance in spike heels for several hours (a first!) but eventually they came off. After there’d been dancing for quite some time, OF announced the winners of the prizes: best duo, most valuable partier, best male, and then….I won best female! Me! I couldn’t have done it without the fancy dress and the shoes and most especially Julie’s grandma’s gloves (thanks, Julie’s dead grandma!)
Everybody danced for hours, and drank for hours, and it was 1 AM and I was about to keel over (having had little sleep, been up since 7 AM, and still sick) so Monkey and I bid adieu to those who were left and I gave OF an extra hug and we headed back to Monkey’s place. It was the best birthday ball I ever attended, and I even got a Major Award.
Sunday, I was groggy from the NyQuil Monkey made me take (it was probably necessary; my cough was terrible) but managed to wake myself up and help Monkey make brunch for me and a few other people she knew. I fried the homemade paneer for the saag paneer; I hand-blended the spinach and wiped out the idli molds after the first batch came out. Mostly, I watched Monkey cook (while she intermittently called her parents to ask about ingredient ratios) and enjoyed the spicy smells. We had a great brunch (nothing better than a brunch with samosas AND mimosas) and hung out until it was time to take me to the airport.
I flew home, completely wiped out, and reflected on my whirlwind LA weekend, on turning 30 with my oldest friend, and remembered the last time I was in LA for OF’s birthday: the day of the LA marathon, when it was 95 degrees and I only made it halfway. Luckily, the weather was mild and beautiful and the view was amazing and OF had a great party. Complete with Major Awards.