Monday, February 11, 2013


There is a reason I don't plan big events. I tried it once several years ago and learned that it completely stresses me out. I'm not even worth being around because I'm so worried that things will go wildly wrong. But this year, I put all those fears aside to organize a 40th birthday party for my San Diego. I figured her husband wasn't likely to do it and no one really deserves it more...besides, her birthday is the day after mine and they fell on a Friday and Saturday this year. What better excuse to go spend my birthday with my sister??
So, after months of planning, a friend took me out to breakfast and dropped me at the airport on my birthday. And I hopped a plane to San Diego.
Unfortunately, I hadn't uh, say, read the instruction manual for the new camera lens I've got. I didn't realize you could turn the image stabilization OFF. Who'd want to do that, after all?? Not me. Except it was...until Sunday. So I have a lot of blurry pictures. Whatever.

Leaving my nephews at home with their dad, Karen and I set out for a nice We had such a good time catching up, drinking pomegranate martinis and ordering too much food. I should drive to San Diego just for dinner once in a while. Well, maybe not really, but it's fun to pretend.

Saturday was party day. On the recommendation from one of Karen's friends, I booked the "back room" at a wine bar in the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego. I'd corresponded with the manager via e-mail and talked to him on the phone a couple of times. But gosh, doing things long distance is always so sketchy. I'd ordered a cake the same way. I found a commercial kitchen that made wedding cakes and had a good online reputation. It was near Karen's house, so I ordered a cake from them. I thought I'd ordered a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and coffee mousse filling, but it didn't quite turn out that way.
O.K., so the frosting's the wrong color, but they wrote the right thing on top and it looks pretty...sorta. The gum paste flowers are lovely, but why are the roses so...uh...white. They're beautiful, but really, really chalky-looking. O.K., now I'm kind of freaking out about something totally ridiculous...and I'm thinking I could have made her a prettier cake (whether that's true or not), so I had Karen drive me to Michael's to buy some "lustre dust" and paintbrushes. I took the roses off the cake and brushed them with color so they weren't so darned pasty.

The first bunch was...well...experimental and reminded me of that children's book The Pinkish Purplish Bluish Egg. Ever read that? No? It's about a mourning dove who finds a funny-colored egg and it hatches into a griffin named Ezekiel. Oh, nevermind.

The second set of roses, I brushed with yellow, decided I liked them and left it at that. I carefully rearranged them all on the cake again and set about resuming my daytime job as a relatively normal person.
I left early to help a couple of Karen's teacher-friends decorate the room at Wine Steals. The room wasn't quite what I'd envisioned, but I think it was probably better that what I'd envisioned. It was a cozy little room in the back of the restaurant. We had our own little private wine bar, food and great company. Karen's friends are a blast.
Who knew elementary school teachers were such fun on the weekends? Well, other elementary school teachers, apparently.
Even our parents, who had also made the trip from the more northerly reaches of California, seemed to enjoy themselves.
If anyone finds this blog while looking for information on Wine Steals, I'd have to say the manager at Hillcrest, Nick, was super nice and easy to work with. I wish I'd caught the name of our wine pourer because she was fantastic. Once I figured out how to get my laptop all hooked up, the stereo system was great, the wine was good, the food was yummy. I don't have a single complaint. We had so much fun!
I'd brought some large truffles as party favors...and I had to take a picture of them because I was so proud of how cute they looked.
And that cake was pretty yummy too, despite the white frosting. I'm certain no one would have looked twice at the pasty white flowers, but at least I was secure in my knowledge that I'd done my part to make the party a little more colorful...well, by coloring the flowers, and drinking three glasses of wine.
Considering I was in a room full of strangers, the party was over far too soon. I'm so glad I put forth a little effort and it turned out so well. I've got an awesome sister. She deserved a great 40th birthday...and then some.

No comments: