Birthday dinners, Christmas parties, and game nights are wonderful things.
There were eleven of us at dinner Thursday night. We decimated four vegetarian dishes, a chicken plate, five naan, three plates of rice, and assorted desserts and beverages. It was delicious and wonderful. I tried kulfi for the first time, which was excellent. I want to try to make it with soy ice cream (so Kevin can try it) and ground-up pistachios, almonds, and cardamom. Yummy. Both Livia and Reid (Reid came! For the first time in months I got to see Reid! And she brought me a pretty assortment of teas!) tried Indian food for the first time and apparently enjoyed it.
People gave me birthday presents, too. Lovely surprises. Besides Reid's tea assortment, Lindsay gave me a cylinder of blackberry sage loose tea, which smells amazing. Chris gave me a couple CDs (the Postal Service and the Talking Heads' More Songs About Buildings and Food, both brilliant records and nice to have in the car) and Lauren gave me a box of vegan mac & chreese. Christine and Josie are way cool and got me a rice maker, which rocks because I make terrible stovetop rice.
Friday afternoon's party prep was quite abbreviated, as I arrived around 2 p.m. only to find the house was already cleaned and organized. I just mopped the kitchen floor and did a few dishes (for the house I haven't lived at for a week, nice). Livia used my computer after preparing the easiest brownies on earth (box + yogurt + stir) and I hung out with Josie. Christine and Danger showed up 45 minutes early and helped with things like slicing bread and listening to records.
It was a slow party that lasted until nearly 11 p.m. with chattering, music, snacking, gifting, and gaming. Jen was my Secret Santa and gave me a couple nice books--a seafood at fancy San Francisco restaurants cookbook and a book with advice on organic gardening. My Gift of a Llama went over well with Lauren, who, along with Chris, spent much time playing with the stuffed llama (a fabulous thrift find to accompany the information about the Heifer International donation and a card with a picture of a llama sandwich).
Lauren, Chris and I were the most inept and unlucky Cranium team ever. The game dragged; it did not quite live up to my expectations. I did, however, get to pantomime a "rainbow" for them by jumping around the room and trying to mock a leprechaun.
We stopped by Jesse's party only briefly, as it is likely to be one of the last times many of us will see him for several months at least. He was crowded in a bathroom with several others (both boys and girls), teaching the delicate art of eye makeup application.
On Saturday, I had the whole day free to do things with Livia that were not hanging out with an enormous group of my friends. I feel bad because she is so bored by almost everything that I really have to make an effort to do things that vaguely amuse her; she's a difficult houseguest, but somehow this feels like my fault. I suggested to go to the Henry Art Museum on the UW campus: it has interesting exhibits I've been meaning to check out for months now and is free with a student ID. We killed about an hour and a half wandering around there. The karaoke pods were most fun, of course, but there were some other interesting pieces. (And some sort of pretentious crap, but hey. What do I know about art?)
We then bussed to Uwajimaya, where we ate bahn mi for lunch and Livia tried a sip of my Vietnamese coffee, proclaiming it "bitter." I laughed and told her that, well, yes, coffee is bitter, but this coffee is very sweet! I guess it would be bitter to a girl who puts a spoonful of sugar in her whole milk. Then we wandered the store, picking out gift wrap and random food items including fresh tako sashimi, which tasted like very chewy king crab.
At my old house, we disassembled my stereo and packed it in the car, then met my mom back at the new house. Soon after, we went to Chamber Music Madness at University Prep, in which my brother's quintet was performing. It was long, but there were some pretty good performances, my brother's group included, of course. I hadn't eaten dinner and it was 9:30, so I went home and everyone else went home and Kevin came over and spaghetti was consumed. Hooray.
Sunday I had grand ideas about seeing the Bad Santa matinee with Chris, then heading to Reid's place in Edmonds for game night. The movie was excellent; very funny shit. Kevin was planning to come to game night, but when the time came, he was too tired to make it, so I was pissed about him flaking out again, but got over it enough. Chris and I picked up Lindsay and managed not to get lost or killed in the great gray area between I-5, 99, and Reid's apartment.
Anyway, here it is, Monday. I'm at work, covering for people taking finals. Hah! Finals. I'm done, seriously. And working. Yay money. Yay big long break coming up. Yay scary.