Last year, when I turned 25, I was in a new city with few acquaintances and family around me. I knew that I wasn’t going to be getting a sweet little birthday party like I would have gotten at home, with cake and presents and a nice family dinner. So I decided to have my own party.
I invited all the people I had met through Sean’s friend Paul to come over one evening to play games, eat dinner, and hang out. I baked and decorated my own chocolate cake with white frosting. And I cooked a meal, which I think was curry beef (I’ve cooked for friends several times in the past year, so I’m having trouble remembering).
We played cards and videogames, and just talked and ate. It was a fun time. Leonard skunked me, Kelly, and Chris at Hearts, although I was doing pretty well. I think Mari and Kathy spent the entire evening talking about bellydancing ;) And Dave, Paul, and Sean (and maybe some others, I can’t quite remember now) stayed glued to the TV, playing some sort of game on the Xbox. (We don’t have one; two guests brought theirs and we hooked them up to both of our TVs.)
My guests had fun and I had fun. I remember thinking, though, that only a loser would have to organize her own birthday party. Why didn’t people want to throw me one? Didn’t anybody like me? But I squashed these thoughts as best I could, with the logic that I was new in town, and not many people knew it was my birthday anyway.
A year passed; I became close to Mari, Kelly, and Chris, and added a new friend, Brooke. The time for my birthday came around again.
This time, I didn’t even think about people throwing me a party. Instead, I already knew what I wanted–to spend time celebrating my birthday with my new friends. So I announced my intention to have a party, and we all picked a date–yesterday–and agreed on what to do–watch anime, eat Japanese food delivered from Mikoto, and go bowling.
I bought snack food, drinks, ice cream, and a “backup cake”. Kelly made his famous chess cake (which is sinfully rich and delicious) and he and Mari brought M&M sugar cookies. Brooke didn’t have to work, so she was able to come this time. Chris, unfortunately, already had plans for that weekend, so he wasn’t able to make it. Apparently he is willing to commit seppuku to make up for this crime ;>
When everyone arrived, we first just hung out talking while Kelly made the chess cake. (He is only a month away from getting a full-size kitchen! Woohoo!) While the cake baked, we watched the first five episodes of Naruto–up through the bell test. I think Brooke is afraid of Kakashi ;> Then we took some time out from our snacking on chips, dip, veggies, and cheese to eat cake and ice cream. By the time we were done, we were so stuffed that we pretty much had to go out and take two laps around the apartment complex, which we did. The geese hissed at us to stay away from their goslings, beaks parted and long round tongues sticking out. Mari and I led the pack, while Brooke and Kelly hung back and talked. We all had way too much sugar :D
Mari and Kelly had brought their Gamecube and some games, so we started playing when we got done with our walk. I didn’t care too much for Super Smash Bros., mostly because I had no idea what I was doing. Warioware was really fun–and really strange. (To the delight of the others, I entered my name as “fuck”. This led to some interesting phrases on the screen in the minigames, like “while praising fuck…” and “li’l fuck wins!” I had really only chosen the name because “Heather” was too long ;>) Mario Kart was, of course, Mario Kart–I can play racing games until the cows come home. But I think my favorite game of the evening, which took forever and a half to finish, was Mario Party 5. Lots of different games to play while trying to gather the most stars–there was strategy and then pure chance, just like a real board game. I was in the lead, but Brooke came from behind at the very end with a zillion “bonus points” to take the win. (It reminded me of Gryffindor conveniently besting Slytherin in the first Harry Potter book…;>)
We stopped playing Mario Party to eat dinner. It was fantastic–several shared appetizers, sushi, and miso soup for me. Then we finished off our game before finally heading out to Brunswick for bowling.
Our lane was pretty shitty–when the bowling guy tells you that “it was messed up, but now it’s fixed”, just ask for another lane :> The monitor was all screwed up so that the option buttons were hanging off the edge of the screen (or, later, scrunched into the middle, but you had to touch the part of the screen where they would normally be in order to access them, which was challenging). The pin counter got things wrong several times–I think I lost three points due to that, but maybe more. And the pinsetter also messed up a few times, leaving one pin missing when it set them all up for the next person.
But we didn’t let it bother us too much. Kelly and Brooke, totally hopped up on sugar, continued their running gag from Mario Party, in which they would count by flipping each other off. “How many pins are left, Brooke? One?”–and the middle finger would be up, somewhere; scratching an eyebrow, tucked against the chest or body, etc. Brooke was laughing uncontrollably for much of the time :)
I did really well in the first game, getting strikes and spares galore; my score was 147! The second game didn’t go as well; my arm was fatigued from holding and throwing the ball, and my balance had started going off a little, so I wasn’t as deft as I’d been. I did manage a few strikes and spares, but my final score was something like 98. We’d paid for two hours (and gotten a pitcher of Sprite as part of the deal), so we didn’t have time to finish a third game. That was fine by us, because we were pretty tired by then–it was after midnight!
All in all, it was great fun. I was really glad to get to spend that much time with my friends, and do all those fun things :) I’d originally wanted to watch much more anime than we ended up watching, but that’s no big deal. It can get boring just sitting around watching stuff with no breaks for something else. And plus, playing those games was great!
Mari, Kelly, Brooke, and Chris also all chipped in to get me a great birthday present: Friends season 2! :D Mari said, “It’s so fitting, to get Friends from your friends!” Kelly’s response: “That’s so clever, Mari.” ;D They also gave me a hilarious card; on the cover is a picture of the view a driver has while driving a car, and in the rear-view mirror is…Death! Inside the card, it says “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” ;D
I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday party. I’m not sure anything would have happened if I hadn’t organized it, but unlike last year, I don’t think that makes me a loser, or unloved. Think of it this way: how many times have you organized a party for someone else? ;> I think planning your own party is really the best way to go, because you know that you’re going to do stuff that you like. Plus, your friends don’t have to worry about what they should do for you–all they have to do is show up. It really just takes the stress off for everyone. The proactive approach: always a good choice. :)
Today is my actual birthday. I got a call from Grandma Flo to wish me a happy day :) She was hoping to come over and give me my card, but I had already made plans to go to Mari and Kelly’s for a Harry Potter bingefest. So she’s going to mail it. I feel bad about not being able to see her, but I wish she’d given me more notice.
Cheryl and Reid are down in Beaufort (pronounced Buford, which is really confusing because there is also a Buford, GA) this weekend, hanging out with Cheryl’s friend Martha at the beach. They’ll be going to the lake as soon as they get back. Since they knew they wouldn’t be seeing me, they already sent me my card :)
Mom is sending me something, too, and I have no idea what it is. All I know is that it’s late ;>
So now I’m looking forward to a fun day of working out and watching the Harry Potter movies with Mari and Brooke. What a nice weekend :)