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2005-09-23 11:35 PM
Thai and Promenade
Fri Sep 23 - The Shire quarterly birthday dinner over at the local Mongolian BBQ was a lovely success, as always. And I was fortunate that I had enough birthday cards in my box of cards. So I just stopped off at the local Barnes & Noble and got gift cards for everyone. The only person I had a gift for in advance was Morgana, because when I bought a set of 8 Anglo-Saxon medieval lead spinning whorls, I was purposefully not showing them to Morgana because I knew I wanted to give one to her. I'd already made a gift of one to Eichling (in honor of the ancient spinning whorl she'd given me, years ago) and one to another close friend at the Dyestuffs Retreat (who gets a personal religious/spiritual experience out of ancient and lovely artifacts, so how could I *not* give her one?). I still don't know to whom I plan to give many of the other whorls, I just know which one I'm always keeping for myself and which ones have gift potential.
In fact, as an aside, when I was buying things on eBay to replace all my spinning, I saw many "whole lots" (or sets) of artifacts—spinning whorls, ancient coins, thimbles—and I think it might be fun to purchase more things like this on a regular basis, simply so I can have unique and amazing SCA gifts on hand, all the time. I love the idea of being able to give someone a true medieval artifact. I'll have to remember to do this when I have a few dollars every now and then.
So, back to the birthday dinner. I think this might have been the largest birthday gathering I'd been to in a while. Albra has been quite good lately at taking RSVP's in advance, to make sure that the restaurant is prepared for thirty people to show up at 7pm on a Thursday every three months or so. I was almost the last person to arrive, so I stood in a *really* long line for my stir-fry to be cooked on the giant metal grill. And I had enough gumption to ask nicely if they would scrape it before cooking my food—the two guys ahead of me had heavy chili spices in their mix, and I'm a wimp who uses pineapple juice as the oil/liquid on my dinner. [Although several friends said "Oh! Pineapple juice, that's a good idea!" so I felt fine about it. *grin*]
I'll need to set aside some time this weekend to work on thank you cards for all my birthday gifts. I had a lovely time.
* * * * *
Work was a bit more scattered than usual since I had put off filing emails in all their appropriate folders for some time. But I'm happy to say that all 363 read emails in my inbox are now filed or discarded, yippee. My boss has done some wonderful things with the schedule and our deadlines, and even though my schedule is now booked out through January, there are only two projects on the list. So I'm the furthest booked with the shortest printed assignment. She and I laughed at the printout, as if it were a work of art to be admired and ooh'ed and ahh'ed over.
The head of our department is turning 50 Monday (although we're all joking that it's her 25th bday, not her 50th) so we had a company-paid-for luncheon at a nice Thai food restaurant. This, of course, took up almost two hours of our day, traveling there, lingering over lunch, meandering back—which just added to my "did I even get anything done today" feeling. But I had a fabulous Pad Thai Tofu and a to-die-for yummy coconut milk soup (Tom Ka Gai). I even "converted" my co-worker to Tom Ka Gai over Miso Soup—she actually sent her miso back to order tom ka gai instead, and then purchased a huge order of tom ka gai to take home with her at the end of the meal.
The soup (and all the appetizers for the table) were so filling that I had nearly my entire pad thai order in a to-go box, which was really convienent since I was spending the evening sitting in traffic. Nate was flying home from 2-weeks in New York (he's a third-mate and a tug-boat operator, so wherever/whenever he gets a job, he heads out to sea to work). I picked him up from the local small airport (yea!) but this did mean sitting in traffic for quite a while.
Since I had several hours to kill before meeting someone else for coffee, I finally got to do something I have never done—wander around the Santa Monica Third Street Promenade. One of the clean-up-my-desk tasks that I did this morning was to find all the gift cards in my wallet, purse, and day runner and check all the card balances either with 800- numbers or online registries. (Did you know that most gift cards have a hotline where you can phone in and see what the balance of the card is?) I had nearly $78 on three Sears cards that had been in my day runner for almost five years now, plus a bunch of gift cards from this year's birthday. So I parked at the Promenade and wandered down to the Sears opposite the mall at the end of Third Street. I found a really comfy pair of leather flats that can double with my SCA garb as "shoes that almost look historically period" or "the toes of these shoes look fine under a floor-length linen dress" for only $15 on clearance. Yea me! Then I finally found a watch that both fit me nicely AND that I really liked the look of, for under $50, so I still have about $8 on my gift cards to use some day. Whee! Free money!
The flat shoes were a necessity because I certainly wasn't going to be able to enjoy walking up and down the Promenade in my office heels for several hours. Once I had those purchases in hand, I went back to my car and dropped off my large knapsack and my heels, and wandered back. I enjoyed watching several street shows, picked up a soy latté, and then just hung out waiting for Saul to arrive. (He'd been having dinner with his parents, and Santa Monica is one of his favorite hang outs, so it was a great place to meet for coffee since I was in the area dropping off Nate.) I found a ring vendor out on the street who had some silver knot-work rings that reminded me a lot of the rings I wear, and I needed to replace one ring that I had given away in friendship. I found a lovely one with a braid pattern, right as Saul arrived. So we went meandering the Promenade for a while.
We found a gaming store and ooh'ed and ahh'ed over all the puzzles and games and action figures together. Then I found a period historical game that he and Ben really wanted for their Gaming Inn that was easily within my budget. (Nate had owed me some money, maybe a month or so ago, and had unexpectedly been able to pay me when I picked him up this evening. So it was like having free money again that I was never counting on having. Whee!) So I've made my first donation to the Inn, and that's really cool.
We also wandered the Borders Bookstore where I found two paperbacks I'd really been wanting, and Saul felt good that he spent *less* than $100 on his purchases (this is after sternly turning down many many purchases he really *wanted* to add to his stack of books). Then we wandered over to a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and got cold drinks to sip out on the patio, and got to finally talk about gaming. I've never really played a lot of role-playing games, although in college sometimes I would pinch-hit and sub for someone some evenings, and when I was married sometimes I'd hang out at their campaigns and listen to the play. But Ben, Erika, Saul, and I are going to do a silly little gaming quest together, and Saul and I got to work out some of the details. It's definitely going to be silly, and fun to finally really learn what that's all about. Plus it's a fun opportunity to hang out with the three "owners" of the Gaming Inn, all of whom are really cool people.
Tomorrow is "Collegium"—an event entirely devoted to classes and workshops, so it's time to crash asleep and head out early in the morning.
* * * * *
Recently Listening to: Poe "Haunting"
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