Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Birthday celebration!

While much of the energy and 'buzz' at this time of year is due to the Thanksgiving and Christmas crush, one of my favorite moments in December is whatever we do to celebrate my better half's  birthday.  My birthday is in January, so we are really into the birthday celebration, and then for Christmas, we actually don't exchange presents. It seems kind of ba-humbug of us, but it actually makes our birthdays way more fun (more gifts!) and then we don't have to stress about MORE presents for Christmas.  One other fun aspect, to me, is that whoever's birthday it is also has the pleasure of exchanging ONE gift to the non-birthday person.  See, win/win!
Probably the best gift that I ever gave Michael was a few years ago when he had one of those significant birthdays that end in -0.  I bought plane tickets out to Colorado and we went to a Broncos game.  They actually won too!  Most of our celebrations are more low-key, but we still have a great time!
This year did not disappoint, although we tried to keep a more flexible attitude, especially when we still did not have power on Friday evening.  I ended up cancelling our dinner reservations for Saturday night because I couldn't imagine getting ready for a nice dinner while cursing the lack of heat and electricity and feeling like a drowned, dirty rat.  That would not have been at all conducive for a merry celebration.  I was, in fact, feeling a bit dismal about the whole birthday thing on Friday night.  After all, I had planned on a LOTR evening with a viewing of the director's cut of "The Return of the King", one of Michael's birthday presents.  That obviously didn't happen.  As for Saturday, we were supposed to kick off the day with a nice 5K run, but I was in no mood or mindset to get up and go for a run in the morning.
Well, the morning came fairly early.  I rolled around and asked Michael what he wanted to do - stay in our warm bed or get out of the bed and get ready for a RACE!  Somewhat to my disappointment, he chose the latter.  Gasp.  So, in a disorganized manner, we quickly prepped for the race - he sported a new running shirt that I had given him, just for the occasion (and for his birthday!), and before heading to the race, we grabbed coffee and a scone at Starbucks - which was packed with people STILL out of power!  I think that we arrived at the race about 15 minutes prior to the start which I almost never do!  This was Michael's first race, and I had done the 10K last year and knew that the 5K route would be a fun course for the both of us.  We separated, but I did think about him, and once I crossed the finish line, I ran back to meet up with him and ran to the finish line with him.  He respectfully ran under 10-minute miles which was great for a first race!  Major high-five.
We were both in good spirits, and even coming home to a cold and dark house could not dampen our mood.  We decided that the best thing we could do would be to leave the house.  Rather than picking some of our usual favorites (Venice, Santa Monica, the Malibu beaches and north of there), we ended up in Japantown.  This is embarrassing, but it was my first exploration of J-town.  We stopped in some random giftshops, poked around in a supermarket and bought a few items, Michael picked out some birthday desserts from a pastry place (I wasn't sure about them, but it WAS his birthday), and we ate noodles at Orochon, a noodle place, obviously.  It was a super fun experience, but the noodles were SO f-ing hot and spicy that I really couldn't eat them.  I would take a bite or two and then my lips would start to burn, so I'd wait a few minutes and then foray into the eating process again.  Despite the weird desserts and the mouth-burning noodles, it was a GREAT experience!  I often forget that Downtown LA offers so many interesting places and experiences.  
Note to self: Must take advantage of cool experiences more often!
For the evening, rather than trying something new and unusual, Michael opted for a recent favorite:  Palate Restaurant which is in Glendale. We actually went there last year for the first time on his birthday!  It's a really great place - the front is a fairly formal restaurant and the back is a wine merchant/cellar with a bar and a few tables and the menu focuses on local, seasonal food.  We opted to sit at the bar which was SO much fun.  There, we proceeded to over-order and then eat every single bite and drink really good wine.  It was the perfect end to a pretty great day.  Okay, maybe coming home to a nice warm house was the perfect ending (sorry!). 
Now I just have to wait another year to spend the perfect birthday celebration with this random dude!

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