My birthday weekend began with a trip to Alamosa with the speech team. While spending 7 hours on the bus wasn't an ideal way to celebrate, we did kick some serious butt at the meet. On top of 35 awards including 7 first places (out of the 9 events we competed in), Alamosa's coach decided to give out an award to the school with the most points overall. We won it by a landslide, much to the delight of the students.
I got home a little after 11 PM Saturday night and crashed. When I got up the next morning, I though I was going to be a little late for church but it turned out I was super-early for Stake Conference.
The afternoon was spent doing laundry, cooking meals for the week, and talking to friends and family members on the phone who called to wish me a happy birthday. Rachel, Ben, and the boys descended on my house to bring gifts, dinner, and a birthday pie:
They also brought chaos. There's nothing like a couple of children to show you how incredibly not child-proof your house is.
It was really fun to see them all and celebrate. Rachel got me a labelmaker (hurrah!) and made me a crocheted baby Groot for my desk at school (much to the delight of my students). Ben got me a canvas print for my bathroom, which I love, and Jack made me some artwork for my fridge:
The "M" stamps are for "Manda", he explained.
After the Masons left I talked to Mom and Dad for a bit and opened their gifts. In a revival of my childhood years in San Francisco, they got me some tap dance accessories, including a portable dance floor that Natasha immediately laid claim to:
As if that wasn't enough, Fara told me a few weeks ago that she was taking over birthday celebration plans. All I had to do was give her a guest list and a couple of open dates, and she texted me back a bit later this cryptic message: "We're picking you up at 6:00 PM on Monday."
I was ready and eager Monday evening to find out what they had in store. I had no idea that my friends would find one of the best possible things to do on a Monday night.
Fara, Rachel, Tammy, Lisa, and Cindy surprised me with tickets to a quote-along viewing of The Princess Bride at the Alamo with a live screening of Cary Elwes reading from his new memoir before the film and a Q&A with him after the film. Plus, the tickets came with a slew of bonus items:
- An inflatable sword to use during the fencing scenes (bonus points if you start out with it in your left hand),
- Bubbles to blow when Buttercup jumps out the window,
- A bell to ring whenever there's kissing (since it is a kissing book),
- An Alamo-exclusive souvenir pint glass with art depicting the tumble down the mountain side, and
- A signed copy of Elwes' new book.
It was ridiculously fun. I've never seen it on the big screen (and, oh, the textiles! I did not appreciate the use of trim in those costumes when I watched that movie as a youngster), and I loved seeing it in a room full of fans. There were even people in costume.
Truly, my friends outdid themselves. Fara told me her first suggestion to the group was that we all go paint vaginas on dinner plates a la Judy Chicago
(an excellent example of why I like Fara so much), but "that idea flatlined." I assured her that this was absolutely perfect. It made my month that I got get together with such good friends to fan girl over Cary Elwes (and Mandy Patinkin and Wallace Shawn. Yes, he's short, but he's a writer, an Oxford alum, and a Fulbright teacher so he also = HAWT.)
This pretty much sums up how I feel about the entire occasion: