Monday, August 17, 2009

Birthday Bash

I've been really freaking out about this birthday. While I have suspicions, I don't really know why. It's the first year I was ever dreading my birthday and naturally it's not one of the classic "big ones". However, time marches on.

And it marched on while I failed to make plans. I had considered getting tickets to Depeche Mode, a favorite band since high school. FF two dozen years, and I can afford tickets. Kind of. I didn't have anyone on the hook to go with me and I didn't want to commit to two tickets if there wasn't a guarantee someone else would go. I thought I'd do my usual trick of going to the box office on the day of, but the Hollywood Bowl just uses ticketmaster instead of handling their own tickets for some shows and this is one. With two previous local-ish shows cancelled, there was too much competition. I did almost get a ticket from someone, but I was on the waiting list and the original invitee actually went.

Last week I realized I had no plans and that felt pretty sad. Until my brother called, saying he'd be in vegas with friends. I asked if I could crash that Honda and join him and he said yes. I decided friday, mostly, to go, and moved my Saturday brunch date up.

A book club friend came over to my area (whew!) for a lovely brunch at a local place which I like because the food is good and they have buy one get one free coupons to make it affordable. We then went shopping for random junk and snacks for my trip before hitting the bookstore. I went a little wild in the bookstore. I got $150 worth of books, including a 3 audiobook set of my favorite author to listen to during my drive.

After briefly tossing some stuff in a bag (not dithering for hours about how to pack things for a plane) and seeing my friend off, I set out for the bright lights of Vegas. It's a very odd drive. Tons of high density traffic, then nada for a couple hours. There's nothing built up out there. Don't get me wrong, I don't think it needs building, but damn. Audiobooks were a good call. Even worked out that they were abridged (not my usual preference) because I could finish one and the scarier parts were edited out.

Vegas started off annoying. It took me a half hour to get from the freeway to the hotel because of road construction and bad signage for the hotel. I did finally make it and calmed down enough to enjoy dinner at the Bellagio. I got a look at the Chihuly in the entrance as well as their atrium water garden with giant red glass poppies. We each popped a few dollars in the slots. My brother came out up a hundred, I was down $10. Given the "free" drinks we got before dining, it was actually cheaper to lose my money for free beer although I wouldn't have minded winning!

Yellowtail Sushi at the Bellagio does overlook the fountains, which is nice, but it was only so-so for the money. I expected it to be more or better but I think they're selling the location, not the food. The dogpile mash of king crab, corn, and wild mushrooms in aioli was pretty tasty and the saki helped the rest go down easy. It wasn't bad by any means and I was happy to share the company of my brother (and have the big winner pick up the tab).

We managed to stretch dinner late into the night so just wandered the strip a bit, checking out fashions and hairstyles. "Now that ain't an accident!" is not necessarily a compliment. My brother's a bit of a style diva. He was totally dicomfitted by someone telling him that another guy had been wearing the same striped pink shirt. The wandering and judging was pretty fun. Finally grabbed a cab back to the Renaissance, which is difficult to get to but has nice rooms.

It also has a really nice all you can drink Sunday Brunch! We lounged at the pool in the morning then the cocktail waitress for the pool (good times, good times) recommended the brunch. In addition to the king crab legs and omlette station, the requisite pile of bacon and fruit, there was a bloody mary bar and all you can drink mimosas. We enjoyed ourselves enough that we weren't hungry later at all.

The drive back went less smoothly. It again took a half hour to get to the freeway, but this time going directly, just being so stalled in traffic that my bro got out and walked, reaching his destination before I did. I filled up on gas and noticed the freeway was slow. I paralleled it as long as I could, but it never let up. I got as far as the border casinos and outlet stores before giving up. It was 107F in full sun and stop and go traffic. I pulled off, parked in the shade, and went shopping for impractical shoes. They're really comfortable, I just can't let down my guard with the heel placement or I'll be felled like a tree.

Monday was a slow day at work. I had arranged to get the afternoon off if the concert ticket thing worked out, but it didn't. I went out with the date to Claim Jumper and got a salad and split a pot pie and cupcake. Didn't split the Tropical Storm.

All in all, not a bad birthday. Thanks to all who dropped me a line or a card! Hopefully I'll stop freaking out and won't break my ankle in my new shoes. I also ordered a cheapo netbook laptop so we'll see if I can make the picture upload work on that and I'll fill in pictures of the brunch and the shoes. And Alaska.


Noemi said...

Glad you enjoyed yourself, gal. Hugs, N

S said...

Sounds like a pretty good birthday even if it didn't include Depeche Mode. I'm glad your brother was around to help you celebrate. And I'll race you: let's see who gets pictures up first, you of Alaska or me of San Fran. :-)

Anonymous said...

Happy to see the b'day turned out semi-good after all. We're rooting for you.