My 21st

The trouble with having a birthday right around Christmas time is that it’s right around Christmas time, the time of year when everyone is frantically buying last minute gifts no matter how early they started. It’s busy, there’s things going on, everyone’s running around like mad. Jolly good fun.

This was the first year in a long time that I’ve had a proper “party,” (i.e. more than my immediate family and the neighbors who hang out at our place a lot), and it was all put together by my friend Carrot*, who is a wholly decent human being. A flawless example of what humanity should be. One of those people you have trouble being around for too long because they make you seem like a thoughtless jerk in comparison.

Really, nothing bad to say about the guy.

At any rate, Carrot organized a group of a dozen of my closest friends and we all went out to see Rogue One. Mid-late December is a lovely time to have a birthday because Hollywood likes to release the high-effort shows in time for the holidays. No weak summer comedies for us!

After the movie we retired to Carrot’s place for ordered-in Chinese food and board games. We would have gone out, you see, but it was the day before my birthday and I still couldn’t technically drink.

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I had two teaspoons of alcohol that day, wrapped in chocolate and tin foil.

But that’s okay, really. I’m not a “going out” kind of person. Neither are any of my friends. It’s the reason I stopped having parties to begin with, because parties are exhausting and require you to interact with people, and wouldn’t it be much better to just celebrate your birthday from the comfort of a blanket nest in a dark corner?

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Hence, board games. Always board games.

Carrot had a cake for me, which was incredibly sweet, and they painstakingly lit the whole twenty-one candles. Every year I wonder if this will be the last year people attempt to light the correct number of candles for my age.

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Amelie’s boyfriend, Jonas, gifted me Redd’s Ginger Apple Ale. “It’s because you’re a redhead, get it? Get it, Jean? Get it?” *nudge nudge*

I’d have taken a picture of everybody, but I’m trying to maintain some semblence of privacy, so instead I offer up this picture of a cart full of Pikachus, and I wish everyone a Merry Christmas. As of now, I’m so officially an adult that I could order alcohol on the plane back home if I chose. I won’t, but I could.

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What happens when some of the boys you take care of are veeerry into Pokemon, to your eternal torment.

* So named in this blog because he puts me in mind of Carrot Ironfoundersson, Discworld character and decent human being dwarf. They’re also similar in height.

Brunches and Bashes

As the leaves change colors and the cold seeps in, my friends rustle their wings and drive south to eat brunch on the regular.

I was very excited at the idea of brunch, because I had never seriously eaten brunch before. “Gosh,” I was thinking, “what an amazing concept! Instead of eating breakfast or lunch you can eat one big combination in the middle! How revolutionary!”

So myself and seven of my friends planned on going out to eat brunch this morning. 11:00 sharp, they said. I could hardly wait.

As 11:00 neared, a group text was sent out, explaining that even though we had a reservation, a reservation of 20 people had pushed our eating date back to 11:30 to 11:45. All right, that’s fine. We can wait that long, what’s the rush?

So at 11:30, we showed up at the restaurant and were told they could not seat us until all of our party was there. This seemed fair. We were only missing one person, and the restaurant was so crowded that there was a line out the door. While we waited for the last arrival, we wondered why this restaurant in particular, a rather generic looking place, happened to be so woefully crowded. No conclusions were drawn.

At 11:45, our last member collected, we approached the podium again, only to be told that our table wasn’t ready because the previous group of people were still eating. Well, this wasn’t the restaurant’s fault. Some prodding on the part of our ringleader made the hostess reluctantly say that it would be another twenty or thirty minutes.

Well, 12:10 wasn’t so bad. We dispersed, walked around the pet store, poked through the sewing shop, chatted a little. When 12:10 came by, we headed back to be seated.

“We’re sorry, but the previous table is still there,” the frazzled hostess announced, pointing at the monitor, which displayed a blurry group of individuals who were apparently part sloth. “It will just be a little while longer.”

The sloths were in an intense “who can eat the slowest” competition, and showed no desire to leave. Because the restaurant was so crowded, my friends and I shivered outside and stared in through the windows at the sloth party, pretending to be starving British paupers dying of Poor Disease.

At 12:45 the sloths decided it was probably time to leave, and only stayed another ten or so minutes. At 12:55, the waiters cleared the table and set it. At 1:05, we were finally called in to be seated, and drink orders were taken. I ordered a tea.

At this point I was seriously considering whether brunch was worthwhile. “This doesn’t seem all that great,” I mused silently. “Brunch time is too crowded to be-”

And then I was presented with a masterpiece.

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Instead of sugar, they gave you a rock candy stick to stir your tea with.

This was the most amazing thing I had seen in my life. I brandished the rock candy stick in everyone’s faces. “Look, guys!” I exclaimed, in pure rapture. “I can stir my tea with a rock candy stick! My tea! Rock candy stick!”

My friends were less than impressed.

All in all, I think the wait was worth it simply for the joy of being able to stir with a rock candy stick. Imagine that, like it was a spoon and everything. Amazing.

This is also the time of year when my friends throw Halloween parties, and despite the cold and the wind and the rain and the mud and the threat of all of this worsening, there’s an outdoor party being held tonight. I tend to put off my costumes until the last minute, but fortunately I had a cosplay costume my sister had made for me leftover in my closet.

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I enjoy being Ms. Frizzle because it’s the only time having frizzy red hair and a large nose really come in handy.