Anyway, the end of February ushered in the final celebrations for Preston's birthday. I was really quite glad that he agreed to celebrate his birthday AT ALL, since he gets weird and depressed on his birthday every year.
Preston threw himself a little get together on Friday night at his favorite bar. Preston's favorite bar is a tiny restaurant/bar that looks like something out of the 1930s. It's very possible that the place hasn't changed much since then. Though the bar has a somewhat cheesy nautical theme, it has a very 'old Hollywood' feel and was apparently one of the favorite haunts of Marlon Brando.
|I have shaky hands|
Since he had invited like 25 people, Preston was able to reserve a back room that most of us didn't even know existed! What was even more amazing was that...EVERYONE he invited showed up. When does that happen? Preston is very loved. :D
Pres and I arrived at the bar early and posted up in the corner near the ancient jukebox. Preston LOVES jukeboxes and spent the next 30 minutes organizing the playlist to set the vibe. :P
We met some pretty interesting characters while waiting for everyone to show up...all of whom were VERY drunk at 8pm. ha! Preston also got on really well with the young bartender, who took GREAT care of us for the rest of the night.
Finally, all the guests arrived and we headed to the backroom. It was a large room with a big table and its own sound system. So much for the jukebox playlist! I hope the main bar enjoyed Preston's hard work. :P
|Whiskey shots with a pickle juice chaser. No thanks for me!!|
It really was a fantastic time. The room was large, with access to the outdoors, and a giant and clean bathroom. Best night at a bar. Ever. :P
Sidenote: seriously. Unless there's an awesome band or something, i fail to see the appeal of a bar. They are loud, disgusting, more expensive than drinking at home and it's impossible to carry on a conversation. Maybe because I don't really drink, but I just don't get it. I do not find bars fun. At all. I guess the only plus side is meeting new people...actually, I met my husband in a bar. Soooo...I'll shut it now.
The party carried on into the wee hours before we headed back to our place. Unfortunately, I had to work at SEVEN AM on Saturday morning, so this was mostly the end of my night. Everyone stayed in our newly designed yard and continued talking, drinking, and listening to music.
When I got up for work at 6am on Saturday morning (evil and HORRIBLE), a couple of the revellers (my beloved included) were STILL awake and fresh from a walk on the beach. Ha!! Again, I don't drink like that...so this is unimaginable to me, but they were all still having a GREAT time. Go big or go home, I guess. ;)
I had to be at work so early because the power was being turned off and I had to ensure that all was well with the cells. Pesky biological things...they make SO many demands. "I need to be warm, and dark, and moving!! wah wah". ;) It's kind of nice being in the lab alone though, so I didn't mind too much.
|I stopped for coffee and appreciated the beauty in the sky|
I hit Whole Foods on the way home and gloriously spent the rest of the day on the couch catching up on 'Modern Family'. That show is SO clever and well written!! Me gusta!
Somehow, Preston was out all day talking to a potential employer, but my lazy day felt great after 3 hours of sleep. I made Roasted Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Pasta for dinner. It was pretty good, though a tad toooo creamy and mushy. I think I overcooked the veggies? Either way, it was perfect for a couch day. Mmm comfort food.
On Sunday, I was up early. I followed my typical weekend morning routine with hot tea and blogs before heading to Gianna's to meet her for a hike.
The forecast had been calling for rain all weekend, but it had yet to make an appearance. As I drove through downtown LA to head north of the city, I noticed the distant mountains covered in snow.
It was an unbelievably clear day. The air was crisp and perfect. Heavy, puffy clouds filled the sky and stretched for miles to the horizon. It was awesome.
I scooped up Gianna and her friend Joanna and we were on our way. We chose Griffith Park as our hiking spot, since it was near to the street festival we would be attending later in the day.
Griffith Park is a beautiful and rugged city park covering over 4000 acres in the hills overlooking LA. It is also home to the Griffith Observatory, which was featured in "Rebel Without a Cause".
We chose a hike with a good challenge in elevation and a challenge it was! The climb was steep and never ending! :) However, the views from all sides were incredible.
This street fair was the first of its kind and we arrived to a GIANT crowd. Somehow, the parking Gods smiled down on us and we found a spot RIGHT away and very close to the event. Incredible!!
The fair was only on two small streets and it looked like the estimated TEN THOUSAND people were in attendance. It was a mess! We could hardly walk or move around at all. We joined the gargantuan line to get tickets for food and waited about 40 minutes to an hour before we had them in hand.
We then proceeded to wait in line for some Shepherds Pie. After about 20 minutes, we arrived to the front and were told it was sold out until the next one cooked...and there was a bit of a wait. Grr. So, we accepted the alternative salad, which was tasty, but NOT Shepherd's Pie.
|Not Shepherd's Pie, but still tasty|
We joined ANOTHER long line and waited for some falafel. While we stood there, dark clouds rolled in and suddenly the heavens let go of a DOWNPOUR of water. It was torrential rain!! We were soaked within seconds. Luckily, I'd packed my rain coat. While I put it on, we were pelted by pea sized hail. It was ridiculous. We were freezing and wet.
As we got closer, we realized that we were NOT in an actual line for falafel. We were in some side/secondary line that led to nothing. People near the front were trying to push their way in for some falafel, but were mostly unsuccessful, so we gave up.
Gianna was about to lose her mind with hunger. She hadn't eaten all morning in anticipation of this event. We wandered (squeezed through) the best we could to see what else was available. EVERY booth had a GIANT line. We decided to join one from a restaurant that Gianna knew was good.
We stood in line for almost TWO hours for some tacos. AGAIN, two lines were converging, but we refused to give up this time. We were FREEZING. My fingernails were actually blue. It was so cold and it drizzled rain on us as we waited for our tacos. The line barely moved it. It was absurd.
At one point, Gianna stepped out and joined ANOTHER line for Whole Foods food and returned with some fake tuna and tofu to hold us over. We could see that many of the booths were closing up because they'd run out of food...even though it was only half way through the festival time.
|Food while we wait. Better than it looks!|
We gobbled up our tacos, which were really quite tasty and then did our best to get rid of our remaining tickets. I can't even really say where the money I spent on tickets went. We got very little food and mostly just waited in line all day. With free entry, I guess I'll just write the loss off to supporting an event with good intentions.
Since it was the first time this has been attempted, I expected some snags. However, the organization was dismal. There were no clear lines, there was not enough space, and there was not enough food to last the whole time. I think the festival was a great idea and I hope they'll work out some kinks for next year.
After dropping off Joanna and Gianna, I headed home to Santa Monica in a rainstorm. Somehow the sun was breaking through the clouds and creating an orange glow that surrounded everything I could see. It was a magnificent sunset.
And that was my weekend. How was yours? I'm off work today since I had to go in on Saturday. Whoopee!! :D