Celebration Hangover

Is it possible to have a celebration hangover? Luckily, I’m officially done celebrating turning 40. I spent over a week connecting with dear friends in California and Seattle. I love birthdays because it’s an opportunity to show up and celebrate people. Sure, we should do this every day but let’s get real, some days you’re more concerned about getting through the work day and not eating cereal for dinner. That chance to say, hey! I’m glad you were born and are in my life! is one I don’t like to miss. I am so grateful to all the folks who came out of the woodwork to help me ring in 40.

Mr. Darcy, a man who shies away from planning most anything and who is not a party person, stretched outside his comfort zone to throw me a birthday bash. I could not be more touched or more proud. So many of my close pals showed up to partake in cupcakes and beer and a pinata (yes, I love pinatas!). Here’s some photos from the party:

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Love hug! Me, my sis, Jeni Angel, and Finn

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Favorite people! My bro-in-law, sis, husband, and BFF Meghan.

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I’m pretty sure my nephew was more excited than anyone for cupcakes & singing.

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Lovebirds C & S.

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BFF Jenny Two Times drove all the way from Portland for the party. ❤

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Hand sewn garland and happy birthday sign thanks to my talented sister.

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Me & my pinata before I whacked it open.

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Meghan handled the meat (tray). There are many jokes in that statement but I’ll refrain. I love her.

Heather & Aimee (former college roomies!) stopped by to celebrate with me.

Heather & Aimee (former college roomies!) stopped by to celebrate with me.

2 friends both named Jen gave me the same awesome card. How cool is that?

2 friends both named Jen gave me the same awesome card. How cool is that?

Friends from work came by to partake in the fun.

Friends from work came by to partake in the fun.

Our wonderful moms. Mr. Darcy's parents flew in from New Jersey earlier in the week. How nice is that?

Our wonderful moms. Mr. Darcy’s parents flew in from New Jersey earlier in the week. How nice is that?

My nephew makes any party fun.

My nephew makes any party fun.

Surprise of the weekend? Tomato flew up from LA to be there! 23 years of friendship.

Surprise of the weekend? Tomato flew up from LA to be there! 23 years of friendship.

I always say this but I always feel it: I am so lucky to be so loved.

I already am convinced 40 is going to be fantastic.

Weekend Wonderful

I have just returned from a laughter-filled weekend spent with dearest girlfriends in a magical place. So yes, my weekend was great. How was yours?

We arrived at Doe Bay Resort & Retreat on Orcas Island in the dark of Friday night so it wasn’t until Saturday morning’s sunrise when I fully realized what a place of beauty we had arrived at. This was the view from our cabin.

db sunrise1

Yes, this will do.

After an unusual yoga class (the teacher’s style was unlike any we had ever experienced and we’ve all taken our share of yoga over the years), I made us breakfast and then we embarked on an exploration hike of the grounds.

Doe Bay from the other side watersedge looking goofy

The whole reason we even decided to come to Doe Bay was because Jeni Angel invited me. She stayed in the retreat house with 19 of her closest friends and we stayed across the way at a smaller cabin. We were glad to get to see her and spend whatever time with her we could.

lovelies

This is what a Jeni Angel Love Sandwich looks like.

Besides it being a great chance to reconnect with these lovelies and with nature, The Local Strangers were going to be playing an intimate show- bonus! So after our wanderings and a very early, prolonged happy hour (that started at 3pm), and an impromptu dance party (thanks Macklemore music), we spent our evening enjoying live music in the very yoga studio where we started the day.

We managed to wake up and catch Sunday’s sunrise despite the partying that went on the day before.

sunrise more

We had planned on eating at the cafe which everyone raves but about 5 minutes into sitting down in the booth, the power went out. No breakfast for us! Instead we scrambled to pack up and make the 11:30 ferry. Next time, I’m definitely trying the cafe. And yes, for certain, there will be a next time. Maybe for my 40th birthday celebration? We’ll see. . .

It really was rad.

(Editors Note: This story starts out badly but ends happily.)

I woke up hearing the all-too-familiar sounds of a cat about to barf.

My eyes shot open and there was Dot about to throw up between us on the bed. I quickly shooed her off and she ran under the bed. I fell back to sleep. What felt like minutes later, Mr. Darcy was up and shuffling around.

“What’s up?”

“I smell shit,” he mumbled. And low and behold, Dot had pooed by his side of the bed and lovingly covered it up with a curtain (how dainty of her). He managed to clean it up while half-asleep.

Then when I got up I moved the covers only to discover a poo-shaped something fly off the bed.

“What the hell?!”

“What??”

“Jesus, what IS that? IS THAT POO?”

I turned on the light and got closer to it. It was a hairball-shaped like a turd. Oh and LOOK AT THAT! Someone had vomited on our bed.

DOOOOOOOOTTTTTIIEEE!

We stripped the bed and Mr. Darcy went back to sleep. I fed the cats and went off to dance class. Later, Mr. Darcy put the puke-covered cover and the down comforter in the wash. We were running around trying to pack the house up plus pack for our weekend away while the wash was in the dryer. When Mr. Darcy went to collect the laundry he discovered that it wasn’t dry. Not only that, the comforter had ripped during one of the cycles so feathers were EVERYWHERE when he took it out of the dryer.

I’m not kidding when I say it looked like many birds had been murdered in that laundry room. The cement floor was covered in them as well as all of his clothing. Frustrated, he tried cleaning it up and right when he was about to lose his cool entirely, I took over. I made him go upstairs and take a shower because we were already running behind to catch our ferry. I quickly realized a broom was no match for the feathers and grabbed the vacuum. We managed to get everything done without any blow ups or breakdowns and were on our way, 40 minutes later than we had originally planned to leave. Maybe we could still make the ferry at 3:35?

We arrived in Anacortes at 3:00pm and were told they were full for cars but could take walk ons. DAMN IT! I needed my car since I was the day of coordinator for the wedding we were attending and was going to be schlupping  stuff around. We looked at each other dejectedly and decided we’d be first in line for the 6:35 ferry. We killed an hour at a brewery with sub-par food and then ran down our iPhone batteries waiting in the ferry line. Finally, after a 30 minute delay, we boarded the ferry and were off to Orcas Island for the wedding of good friends.

Orcas Hotel on Orcas Island, the wedding reception venue and our lodging for the weekend

We arrived, quite tardy, to a boisterous crowd of wedding guests and a bride who was not at all put out that I was four hours behind my scheduled arrival time. Even though she is a friend of mine, they hired me and I do not like to be anything but professional in those situations. After grabbing a drink, we retired to our bedroom to get some much-needed shut-eye in preparation for the wedding the next day.

It was raining when I woke up but the owner of Orcas Hotel predicted that it would clear up around 11am. True to his word, it did. Sunny skies and beautiful vistas surrounded us.

The view from Orcas Hotel.

I spent the day running around arranging flowers, tables, displays, etc. while Mr. Darcy leisurely lounged in our room, alternating between reading, napping, and playing on his iPhone. To his credit, he was my on call assistant or would come downstairs with money when I summoned him to buy me lunch. It was good for him to have a little getaway since today is his first day at his new job. It was a much-needed transition for him.

I like to think this will be their album cover and that their music sounds like Wilco meets Twisted Sister meets Weird Al.

The wedding ceremony was in this tiny, quaint little chapel in the middle of preserved wetlands. The light was magnificent in there and I can only imagine the professional photos will be breathtaking.

The bride and groom walked out to the theme song from “Revenge of the Nerds” which is so them and so awesome. They worked tirelessly on every little detail of the wedding and it showed. They even had activity books that they designed for the guests to play with while they waited for the ceremony to start complete with a crossword puzzle, guest name word search, and mad libs!

Once back at the hotel, I was ready to imbibe just a smidge since it’d been a long day and my day of coordinator duties were tapering off.  (I would not have done this if these people had not been my friends.)

Let’s get this party started! (As in, let’s eat & drink all the things I have avoided for 6 weeks and pray I don’t get sick.)

The happy couple at their sweetheart table enjoying comfort foods like crab sandwiches, hush puppies, and fried chicken.

They even had a photo booth which was a huge hit with the guests. We snuck away during the reception to take ours since it had been over-run with people.

Mr. Darcy wrote the sign. And it’s true, we DO hope they have as much fun at our wedding as we did at theirs. Because we had a blast!

It really did get us excited about our wedding which is only four months and seventeen days away (eek!). I especially loved their ceremony. It was so touching, sweet, funny, and full of love. They had someone from each side of their bridal party speak about them which was just so heartfelt and lovely. And their vows to each other had the audience in tears (I was!). I’ve enjoyed the wedding planning process so far but the thing I am most looking forward to is writing the ceremony with Mr. Darcy.

There were three cakes baked lovingly by the bride and dancing after dinner. Mr. Darcy boogied with me to a couple songs (he doesn’t like to dance). There was even an amazing sunset complete with a rainbow! I do not think they special ordered that but it couldn’t have been more appropriate.

We got home yesterday to two angry cats and a mountain of boxes to fill. We’re trying to pack as much as we can while still being able to live here until Friday. Meanwhile, the cats are anxious and alternating between being very close and snuggly and running away from us. I suppose that isn’t different than when we’re not moving, come to think of it. These next few days are going to be CRAZY for us but if everything goes according to plan, come Friday we will be in our new house. We’re just waiting for the call to sign the docs and get the keys. Keep those fingers crossed for us and send us good packing mojo.

I’m grateful we got to take a mini-break to celebrate the wedding of our friends. It really gave me perspective. The chance to focus on someone else’s happiness went a long way in infusing me with energy.

So BRING IT, week. I’m ready for you. Don’t let the bags under my eyes deceive you!

**The bride has collected an amazing collection of vintage crockery which she is renting out via her new business, Rad Crockery. If you’re a local and need to rent cool plates and such, check her out!

Happy Halloween

It’s kind of funny that we say “Happy Halloween” isn’t it? When it is supposed to be a spooky, fright-inducing holiday?

(File that under: Random Thoughts by Sizzle Says.)

Friday my work had a party/costume contest. I was a real hard ass on my department about our group costume. I wanted to win! My initial suggestion of being SNL characters was shot down in a vote. Boo! I really, really wanted to be Linda Richman. Can you just see me pulling my coworkers into my cubicle pretending we were on “Coffee Talk”? What a hoot. Plus I’d get to say things like “I’m getting verklempt!” and “Talk amongst yourselves!” Or I could have been Pat. I could have made so many people uncomfortable with my questionable gender and that odd noise s/he would make.

But instead, the majority went for donuts. Yes, we all dressed up as donuts. See:

Donuts! (& a cup of coffee)

I’m a Feather Boa donut- my favorite donut at a local donut shop. It’s coconut!

We did not, however, win the contest. But these guys did:

Well deserved! Cereal characters!

How awesome is that? I bow my creative hat to them.

As you can imagine, being a donut is not really conducive to a desk job. Though I did discover that it’s convenient for resting your camera or a plate of food on it. I had to tip sideways to get through some doorways. And the pink paint I used to spray paint my inner tube/donut never completely dried so that white shirt is now garbage. So today I decided to wear something easier to work in. You know, type on my computer, answer the phone and attend meetings in. So on Saturday I opted for an easier costume when I happened upon this mumu-esque dress at the thrift store.

Mrs. Roper

Now if only Mr. Darcy would dress up as Stanley, we’d have it made.

P.S. This mumu is comfortable. Like, really.

What are you dressing up as?

Home Away From Home

After five days off, it’s hard to face returning to work today. Plus, it’s going to be 80 degrees in Seattle. YOU HEARD ME. Instead of sitting in a cubicle, I should be near a lake or pool, reading a book and eating watermelon. Sigh.

I took a quick jaunt to one of my favorite towns this past weekend for a solo getaway. Portland is an awesome town. Every time I visit I daydream of living there. Such cute houses! Awesome neighborhoods! Cool vibe! Friends!

Had a lovely breakfast with the lovely Kerri catching up and swapping tales at Gravy.

Met up with the beautiful Long Story Longer for mani/pedis and an afternoon of chatting. I have the best time just lounging and talking to her.

And of course, a visit to PDX is not a visit without time with my BFF Jenny Two TImes.

That last photo was snapped in a backyard where we were hanging with her girlfriend, drinking wine. Let me come clean: WE DRANK 3.5 BOTTLES OF WINE. Just me and Jen. The two of us. How did that “happen”?! And yes, we took a taxi home. And yes, I had a hangover from hell. I woke up with a start in an unfamiliar bed and a sore knee thinking WTF happened?! Then I looked to my right, saw Jenny fast asleep next to me and started to piece together how it all went downhill. Oof! Needless to say, I will be avoiding wine for a while. I drove back to Seattle in silence. The entire 3 hour drive- no music, just the windows down, and me and my lingering hang over.

But man, I love me some Portland. That is a wicked cool city.

Doing Good = Feeling Good

A bunch of my civic-minded, labor-ready, volunteer-type friends, AKA The Ulterior Motive Mob, gathered Saturday to clean up River City Skate Park in the name of Seattle Works Day. It was a blast! Though I might be saying that because I didn’t have to use a shovel or a wheelbarrow. Being a Team Captain seemed to keep me occupied with finding jobs for everyone on my crew, locating tools, coordinating duties and, of course, updating social media with our progress.

If there was a word of the day it was: MULCH. I kid you not. When we arrived there was a massive pile of mulch that had been sitting for many weeks waiting to be spread. In those many weeks, it had rained a lot. You get the idea (soggy!).

Ready? Set? MULCH!

Add to that, knee-high grass overgrown around the sloping skate-ready walls, invasive weeds that grow weeds up to 7 feet deep and a poisonous plant that, if you were to touch it with an open cut, would leave a burn looking much like you’d rubbed supper glue on it (let’s avoid that one, shall we?!), we had our work cut out for us.

These babes did a bad ass job pulling up stubborn roots of invasive plants. (Side note: I met 3 out of 4 of these ladies thanks to the internet!)

Everyone pitched in. Even Mr. Darcy who now can be seen doing yard work which means we’ll have no excuse next weekend when my mom asks us to help her in her yard. (D’oh!)

He even got a blister. Soft artists hands aren't used to this kind of hard labor. (Just ignore his crazy face. He was possibly at the end of his mulching rope.)

It wasn’t all socializing and live tweeting for me. I swear! I have proof.

My grassy chucks should prove I engaged in some form of labor if you won't take my word for it. And no, I didn't just wade thru cut grass.

Everyone did such a tremendous job. Look at how much mulch we got rid of:

The mulch pile decreased by at least 75%.

More pictures of my hard-working friends:

Danielle spreading mulch. This was totally overgrown with grass when we arrived!

Carls picks up trash (minus the orange jumpsuit).

Terrell is very handy with a broom. (Best visual I have of the actual skate part of the park.)

Thanks to my friend, Frank, for being an awesome co-captain and all around great pal.

Co-Captain powers activate! Form of an awesome volunteer group!

I can’t thank everyone enough for taking time out of their Saturday to work so tirelessly on this project. Since the park is entirely volunteer run, it’s so important that we get out and help keep it up for the kids in that neighborhood. My nephew lives right near there and he already is using it to “skate” with his scooter. Time flies so fast, in no time at all he’ll be out there skateboarding, hair probably flopping in his eyes, pants preferably not sagging below butt level (What? An Aunt can hold out hope!). It means a lot to the neighborhood that we came out to help as evidenced by some of the neighbors stopping by to pitch in.

Despite everyone’s sore muscles and blistered hands the next day, I hope the members of The Ulterior Motive Mob feel good about doing good.

I’d love to hear about your own volunteering. When will you be volunteering next? How do you do good for your community?

I’ve got an upcoming fundraising dance-a-thon event benefiting another local organization that does great work. Stay tuned for ways to help and get involved in that. (Locals- do you like to boogie? You are going to LOVE this one.)

Party with a Beat

I think I’ve found a new reason to bring my girlfriends together.

You know what I’m going to say, right? I don’t even need to say it. But I will anyhow.

Dancing!

Duh.

Since Mr. Darcy was away last week in New Jersey for a quick trip to visit his homeland before starting his new gig, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to throw an impromptu dance party. I mean I had wine and a Wii. What else did I need?

Have you tried Just Dance 2? Or, The Michael Jackson Experience? Because seriously, those two Nintendo games are just about the most fun I’ve had in a really long time. The Michael Jackson Experience is harder than Just Dance 2- that Michael had some really complicated and cool moves. You should have seen RCB & Booyah Girl bustin’ a move to “Dirty Diana” though. It was hot!

Terrell proclaimed she was going to dance her ass off- really, she said this to me right after we’d just finished sweating buckets in Zumba- and she wasn’t joking. She was the highest scorer every time she’d dance. I particularly enjoyed when she, Supple and I were all up dancing to “Proud Mary”.  It was just the opening of the song where the beat is pretty slow and steady. T says, “Is this how it is the entire song?” with a twinge of disappointment in her voice to which Supple and I replied in unison, “OH NO!” Because if you know that song, you know it gets kicked up 100 notches and you end up dancing in a maniacal frenzy.

Which we did while laughing.

It is the most fun. Sincerely. And a good work out!

You totally want to be invited to my next dance party, don’t you?

Party People

We went to a party Saturday night.

I heard about it through work. It was invitation only. Even though it was benefiting the organization I work for, we didn’t have that many details. You had to RSVP because if you weren’t on the list, you couldn’t get in. You were supposed to dress up (a rare thing in Seattle). There would be free drinks, dancing and you would get your photo taken upon entry, sort of like a red carpet affair. That photo was then uploaded immediately and projected onto a wall in one of the party rooms where everyone could see the “who’s who” entering the party.

So a bunch of us decide to go and are all in a panic about what to wear. I had Friday off from work which, consequently, is very bad for my checking account as I spent it shopping. Of course the dress I love the most is over $100. BUT IT HAS POCKETS. I am a sucker for a dress with pockets. I swear if/when I get married, my dress will have pockets. I bit the bullet, purchased it, along with a few other accessories and managed to make an outfit suitable for hobnobbing.

Even Mr. Darcy had to go shopping as he has nothing fancy. He landed a new suit jacket, dark wash jeans and button up shirt.  He looked pretty dapper. I have yet to see this man in a tie. (Someday!) He included me in his shopping outting by texting me photos of options as I was at book club. He was very sweet to compromise with me as I can be kind of. . . bossy. . . when it comes to his fashion choices. Look, I am not always this angel you read before you. (Snort.)

So we get all snazzy and meet our friends for dinner and drinks before the party. It’s a good time with good people and I had a blast. But the party itself? Was way weird. There was a very bizarre mix of people in attendance. Some that quite possibly were paid to be there -the go go dancers were for sure and it appeared that there were high class hookers in attendance or just ladies with a similar wardrobe. Some party goers were very much the epitome of the aged frat boy, the trophy wife, and/or scenesters. We felt a bit out of place.

I mean, my landlord happened to be there! I would not party with my landlord on purpose. We just don’t have that kind of relationship. So despite the open bar and ample people watching, Mr. Darcy and I bowed out early. It was about 10pm when we cut out, meaning we’d been at the party a whopping hour. It wasn’t even that we were tired, it was just not our bag. We’re more the pub-going type. Get us in a group with our pals in a low key setting and we’ll likely stay out late laughing the night away. I’ve never been into clubs, huge parties, or pulsing techno even when I was in college.

But I did enjoy dressing up.

Painting the town red. Until 10pm that is.

Apparently after we left the music changed to something more danceable and our crowd of friends stayed to party the night away until 1:30am. We are officially old. Oops.

My Boyfriend, The Artist

“I need to go to Ikea to get some frames.”

“Okay. . . but why?”

“Oh for my art show at the gallery next week.”

This is how my boyfriend announces to me that he is having his first art show.

“Is there going to be a reception of some kind?”

“Nah.”

“But why not? Don’t you want your friends to come out and see this? It’s kind of a big deal.”

“I mean it’s cool, yeah, to have my stuff up for people to see. But people probably won’t come.”

“Listen, do you know who you are dating? I am an event planner! I just mentioned the reception to you and planned it in my  mind. It’s done. We’re doing it. The end.”

Mr. Darcy isn’t one to call attention to himself. Unless you get him riled up in a political discussion.- then you might find it hard to get him to shut up. (He can’t help it. It’s a family trait.) (Also, it’s kinda sexy.) He also labors under the delusion that no one will show up for him. That’s why I had to throw him a surprise birthday party (where in everyone, even people living on the eastside of town, came to celebrate him). That’s why I had to force an artist’s reception on him. Because he doesn’t know how to let the limelight shine on him, even when it’s warranted.

And he’s dating me. Me, who likes to celebrate her birthday for a good week. Me, who does not shy away from talking in front of large groups, making friends with perfect strangers, who plans huge fundraisers and parties for a living. He’s totally in for it, right? Right.

So we sent out a Facebook and email invite to everyone we know. We got some beers and some wine. We raced home from work to get to the place to set up and wait for the friends to arrive. It’s a small place so it felt packed the entire time- and it was a great turn out. DUH. People like him. And want to support him. And besides, we had free booze.

Did I mention we didn’t have time to eat any dinner beforehand? Couple that with the booze and well, um,  yeah. . . I got mighty tipsy. Like fun tipsy not falling down drunk. Like by the end of the party when we were cleaning up, I pretended to drink from an open bottle of wine (because I didn’t want to waste it! Cough.) Like when I repeatedly cried out “chicken sandwich!” because the place we were all going had this yummy chicken sandwich and I was starving.

Chhhhhickkkennn Saaaannnndwwwwwichhhh!

When I was finally eating it I declared it the best chicken sandwich I’d ever had. Sincerely. Forever and ever. Amen.

 

Proof that we are dorks. And that Mr. Darcy is very street.

It was a really good time. Thanks to all who came out!

 

 

Operatic

Supple texted me, “Do you want to go see The Barber of Seville with me tomorrow night?”

I replied, “Sure!”

Then I thought to myself, “What exactly IS The Barber of Seville?”**

I googled it and was all, “Uh oh. It’s opera.”

Let me explain.

Despite my love of theater and music, I just don’t love them together. Yes, yes, I grew up loving The Sound of Music and Grease (though I prefer the uber-cheesy Grease 2) and was required to sit through multiple viewings of Oliver (my Mom’s favorite). In high school my mom, sister and I would go to the theater on final dress rehearsal night wherein I was subjected to the likes of Jesus Christ, Superstar and My Fair Lady.

I just don’t get why they have to SING when they could be talking. Oh right! BECAUSE IT IS MUSICAL THEATER.

I can stomach musical theater in small doses. But the opera? That takes it to a whole other level. THEY SING EVERYTHING. And they sing it repeatedly. And it’s in a language I don’t speak. And it goes on for a very long time.

I think opera could seriously benefit from an editor.

At last night’s performance, there was an older lady sitting a row ahead of us and four seats to our left. Not 20 minutes into the performance her head was thrown back and she was sawing logs. Occasionally she’d jolt herself awake, grab her theater binoculars, and pretend she hadn’t just been fast asleep. Nobody bought it. But I found it entertaining. She might have been my favorite part of the show. That and the cocktails. (And of course, Supple’s company.)

At the intermission, Supple asked, “So what do you think?” And I replied, “I remembered I don’t like opera.”

I wish I liked opera. Liking opera sounds so cultured. But alas, I am not that girl. You can take me to the theater, an author reading, a poetry slam, a dance performance, to hear classical music or hip hop or indie folk or jazz but you can’t take me to the opera.

Feel free to judge me.

**If you think you aren’t familiar with opera, The Barber of Seville, you probably know it without knowing you know it. There was a Bugs Bunny adaptation called The Rabbit of Seville that is widely known. I recognized a lot of the music because I had seen that cartoon as a kid.