The “13 Doesn’t Succ…” Succulent Party

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It rained all week and then suddenly on Saturday, the day of Bug’s thirteenth birthday party, the sun came out, the rain dried up and it was a brilliant lovely summer day. Pretty much perfect for an outdoor succulent-themed birthday lunch!

(Of course we had a back up plan. We would have went ahead and had a birthday lunch inside and crowded everyone into our dining room. I would have pan-fried the hamburgers three at a time and it would have been a smokey mess but we could have pulled it off. I’m just so glad we didn’t have to.)

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From the outside everything looked perfect. It was sunny and warm day in January. The napkins I found stuffed in my party box were the perfect color of orange to match Bug’s neon orange shirt that she picked out last minute. The adorable little succulent plants fit perfectly into their little terra cotta pots. The cupcakes were the most cute! The hamburgers were delicious and the avocados were even the perfect amount of ripeness to make a big bowl of tasty guacamole. The puppies were happy guests in the side yard petitioned by a puppy gate. Everyone was happy.

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I, however, was not as happy. A shame, I know. It’s just that I’m think I am ready to retire from party-throwing. I know. Nobody believes me. And maybe I’m just all talk. Come May when it’s time to throw Joon’s “baking challenge” birthday party, I’ll probably be rearing to go again. But right now I just feel like I’m done. I’ve spent way too much money on these parties over the years and it’s starting to get to the point where the wonderful creative aspect of party-throwing is not outweighing the financial and operational stress of making them actually happen.

It’s finally come to that. Maybe 2018 was a rough year for me and I’m finally growing up.

I love parties. I just don’t love who I become during party prep count-down time AND I don’t love how much money I spend. Unfortunately I’ve set the bar pretty high and the kids have come to expect this kind of festivities but I think it’s time to train them out of it because this can’t sustain itself. At least not for a while while I recuperate from losing my laptop and camera in Italy.

But you are not here to discuss my mental health and my party planning retirement. You are here to look at the details.

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Details! The green bar, the green lemonade, the sunny day, the succulents everywhere… It was all lovely

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Bug and I fell in love with the idea of succulent cupcakes. They are all over Pinterest these days. I didn’t really put a lot of effort into researching the how-to steps to make them though because Joon has become the baker in the house and I figured between the two of them, (Joon is the baker, Bug is the decorator) they would probably pull it off. I bought the Russian tips and let it all sit on the counter for a week until the day of the party.

Well, as luck would have it, the girls let me down. Not terribly but they kind of expected me to pull it off for them like I usually do and they were off in the bathroom somewhere doing their hair. So maybe you could say I let them down. Chalk it up to a miscommunication.

So there I was a the eleventh hour trying to figure out how Russian icing tips work. The kit I bought was super complicated with widgety plastic parts that for some reason with the last minute stress of it all turned into a rubic’s cube mystery operated by Greasy Fingers Mc-frustrated. Nothing worked and the cute little succulents of icing turned into smooshy blobs instead of leaf-like peaks. The color was perfect (because Bug, the color expert added the food coloring) but the shape was just a mess.  Of course it was 101 degrees in the kitchen because that is how our house works when the sun is out (pretty windows have an ugly side effect) and that probably contributed to my stress.

I grunted and screamed and pretty much turned into a Tyrannosaurus rex for twenty minutes. Poor Payam hovered nearby but there was really nothing anyone could do to calm me down or fix the situation.  I muttered through it and in the end the cupcakes turned out pretty cute. And since no one was comparing them to the Pinterest pin I had in my head, nobody realized they were a collassel failure.

Typical Brenda. Freak out and nobody knows.

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Payam cooked the hamburgers. Joon had perfect hair…

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And the party went off without anyone knowing that I was officially throwing in the towel. Last party I vowed.

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A funny thing about Bug and Joon. Bug loves to draw (of course! She’s just like me) and many of Bug’s friends like to draw too. Joon does not like to draw and many of Bug’s friends don’t like to draw either. So the party kind of split into two groups: the drawers and the game players.

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Joon LOVES any kind of game. The more active the better. I never realized how much I hated games until I met someone who really loves them. There are just so many games I am bad at!  Pretty much anything to do with math or being on the spot gives me anxiety. So that rules out all games except Pictionary. I love Pictionary because I love to draw. Sadly nobody else really loves Pictionary as much as I do.

When the party started out Joon was kind of moping around because it was a day for Bug and all of Bug’s friends were there. Joon didn’t get a chance to invite any of her friends, an oversight on my part. She was sad and bored.

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But then when Bug went off to a corner with her drawing buddies some of her non-drawing buddies got bored and wandered inside to find Joon who was standing by to save the day with TWISTER! and CARD GAMES! All the gamers were so happy and so was Joon. And that’s how that worked out.

It’s funny though because Payam came to me and said, Why are there two groups? Why are Bug and her two lone buddies off being anti-social to which I turned to him and said, Let them be. That was me. I always hated parties because I hated games and I just wanted to be off in a corner drawing. So we let them be.

 

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And that was that! Thirteen didn’t suck so much. But being the party planner did so maybe this is my last party. At least until May. And then THAT will be my last party.

Words off, ears on.

Paint tarp art.

I got up early this morning and wrote in my journal for three pages. I heard on a podcast somewhere that if you are trying to find direction you should write three pages of whatever you want everyday no matter what for six months. Then, supposedly, at end of the six months you’ll have a much clearer picture of what you really want and what you need to do to get there. I’m probably bungling the idea but you get it roughly.

This appealed to me because it sounded a little like blogging. I love writing so any kind of prompt is a good idea to me. I figured I’d give it a try. I’m not particularly trying to find direction but I have been feeling unsettled inside lately. Maybe three pages a day would help me figure out what it is that is bothering me and how to fix it.

I sat in the early morning chill with the dogs at my feet and scrawled out words for three pages. I thought I was going to write about all the many mistakes I made during our annual New Year’s party. I thought I would catalogue every blunder, every conversation, cross-analyze them for all possible future criticisms from each and every person’s point of view and make some kind of giant dump of all the fear, hurt and uncomfortableness I feel on the regular. That’s what my brain does. I have been feeling a pomegranate-sized ache in my heart lately and I knew I needed to work it out. Journaling helps me do this. I also wanted to think about resolutions and make some plans for the new year. Maybe even scrawl out a bucket list of wishes and preventions for future anxieties. I’m making you tired just reading that, I’m sure. Welcome to my brain.

I sat there looking at my page, preparing myself for the hand-cramps that were sure to follow taking on such a laborious task and then I was suddenly overwhelmed by the awfulness of my plan. Did I really want to do all that work? There would be so much writing. So much chasing my tail with all the writing.

What if I just didn’t? What if I forgave myself for all the mini-micro errors that happened yesterday and just moved on? What if I didn’t apologize? What if I didn’t re-hash it? Do my friends and family really care? I love to be self-deprecating and all but at what point is it just better to move on instead of bringing it up?

I remember my Aunt telling me the story of the hostess who burned her cinnamon buns and never said a word to her dinner party about it. She threw the cinnamon buns in the trash and took a quiche to the table instead like it never happened.  She didn’t comment on the smoke. Nobody asked. It was like it never happened. A good hostess doesn’t apologize said my aunt.  I didn’t really agree at the time but I’m sure she meant it as a confidence-builder for me since I seem to over-achieve in the self-criticism department.

And then it came to me. Maybe this year my new year’s resolution will be to be quiet. A year of quiet. Can you imagine? I could stop attacking myself from the inside out. I could stop being such a chatter box who constantly bares her soul to the world. I could learn to be a good listener instead…This sounds impossible to me now, as I have a tendency to word-vomit, I’m terrible at keeping secrets AND I use social media regularly but maybe a year is a long enough time to really take something like this on. I’m not going to get my hopes up too high or anything but it’s something I’m thinking about.

Don’t worry, I have no plans of going on a writing hiatus or giving this blog up or sitting in a sunbeams in the redwoods mediating (though that does sound nice) but it is something I’m thinking about today. Maybe I’ll still be thinking about it in a year. I hope I can say at the end of a year that I know something about quietness and even better, I could say that I’m a good listener. That would be really awesome. I’m not so good at that right now.

Words off. Ears on!