Best. Birthday. EVAR.

Yes, even better than the birthday a beloved TV star ordered pitchers (literal pitchers) of the best tequila, followed by a separate event in which I received countless gin & tonics & a lesbian lap dance (which was not so much a dance as my lap was a bounce house for a tiny butt).

The deciding factor was of course the presence of my boyfriend, who was able to drive down for the weekend. Plus also Jesus. I shall explain.

A theme was set Friday when a beloved client popped in with this: 


and if you know me, you know I love me some flowers. Especially roses. My camera phone cannot do them justice & my arrangement skills are for shit, but trust me, these are gorgeous.

Saturday was my actual birthday. I turned 41, if you must know, & I happened to note about a month before that my beautiful church, Saint Thomas of Hollywood, was having a Latin vigil mass the same day with none other than LASchola. They are a choral group that sings ancient church music with such sacred harmonies that you will cry. Shut up, you will. Anyhow, a number of my friends keep making noises about joining me for a church service, as it is pretty much the only thing I ever talk about, but few have followed through.

So I thought “What better way to spend my birthday than with Jesus & my boyfriend & my family & 200 of my closest LA friends?” Out went the Facebook invite. “Come! Reception to follow. Bring cash for the plate in lieu of gifts. Jesus gives infinite plus ones, so bring everyone!” but more articulate, sort of. 

The Los Angeles rule of invites is it’s ok to invite everyone because maybe ten people will respond & of those, 5 will show up. Well, not including church friends, I bagged exactly 7! And we partied hard, y’all. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The point is, 7 of my non-church friends, plus my mum, brother, sister & her boyfriend came to a Latin mass, the most massy of all masses, on a Saturday night, when they could have done virtually any other thing with their time. I am blessed & honoured.

We always have a reception in the parish hall when LA Schola sing, so we walked up in da club to a wine bar. I am abstaining for Lent, but my friend (acolyte, vestryperson, future bishop of Los Angeles if there’s any justice) explained to me canon law & how yes, absolutely I can & in fact ought to have some wine. She then handed me a giant bunch of flowers, as did my sister (left to right, respectively):  


so we took over a table & piled flowers & presents & were joined by my dear church friends & talked & laughed & ate cheese & delicious gluten free cupcakes for hours. My brother signed (in ASL) that he was happy, bear hugged Father, challenged us to a mild dance off where we had to wiggle our bums, & displayed his ominous psychokinetic powers when Father turned to the exact page in his birthday book that is my brother’s birthday.

I was achy, so we didn’t stagger around Hollywood after as suggested. We eventually made it home, watched Lost Highway (one of three David Lynch films gifted to me by my roommate, which she now probably regrets), & finally went to sleep.

I awoke Sunday morning very sore, but to glorious cuddles from the boyfriend & Persephone (Girl Cat) on his chest. We decided brunch at Hugo’s was in order, & he got me my favourites: gluten free eggs benedict & almond energy pancakes. (Celebrity sighting: Jackson Galaxy). We then drove up Mulholland Drive to Outpost to see a house we had fallen in love with online. Impressed by the secure, high walls (i.e. you can’t see shit from the street), we returned to the Valley in a circuitous route taking us past unique & beautiful homes. A set of octagonal pod apartments jutting over a canyon here, a house entirely covered in mosaic tile there. 

We came home, & my roommate consented to Blue Velvet, which again, you know, she probably regrets.

The boyfriend & I had dinner at our new favourite Chinese restaurant, watched The Walking Dead finale (highly satisfying), & said goodbye to each other as he was returning this morning.

I got to spend my birthday with many of the people I love, & it was fantastic.


Wet Bums

A couple of weeks ago, my little sister Caroline asked if I’d like to go to Disneyland for my birthday. That’s one of the perks of living in SoCal, being near my sister. Oh, right, & Disneyland, too!

I said sure, as long as we went on a Saturday so I’d have plenty of time to recover from the inevitable fibromyalgia flare before work on Monday. My birthday being the 28th, she suggested the 26th. It was a date.

Caroline kindly picked me up, even though she technically lives closer to D-land than me, and this turned out to be a prescient decision. We were headed toward a pre-Disney lunch at Clay Oven when she said “Wait a minute. Is that a Marmalade Cafe?” We would not even have been on this part of Ventura if Burbank hadn’t been closed for rain, so I confirmed that it was and, after some epic turning around maneuvers, we valeted & went in.

We were told it would be a 10-15 minute wait, so we went outside where I was instructed by Caroline to talk like Rex Harrison in order to amuse her. This was inspired by my tucking my kitten umbrella under my arm “like an Englishman”, apparently. Two minutes of me using “blasted” as an adjective later, we were told we had a table.

I ordered the bacon spinach goat cheese fritatta, she ordered the 7 grain almond pancakes & stuff, & we shared the amazing artichoke spinach dip. We then easily launched into a discussion about puppetry, her teaching job while she works on her master’s in playwriting, whether or not Jim Henson was on acid, how puppet Yoda is superior to CGI Yoda, how the Rankin Bass cartoon of the Hobbit is horrendous, and I sang a snippet of “The Greatest Adventure” to sell the point home. We were taken with two small children & laughed loudly, like we do. The dip was so filling I had most of my brunch boxed.

We got on the road for Disneyland, which, being off the 5, was at a slow crawl. This gave us plenty of time to sing. Our whole family sing, but it’s only the women on my mum’s side who sound any good, & we all spontaneously harmonize. Additionally, I was trained to do Broadway & Caroline did medieval hymns w/ Occidental’s glee club. So, bitches, we BRING IT. I love singing with my sister, & she can pop in a new harmony when I’ve already found the one I’m comfortable with. So we’re singing Depeche Mode, Radiohead, whatever & we’ve got three part harmonies of righteous beauty going with Dave Gahan & Thom Yorke. We’ve previously done this with Jeff Buckley, David Bowie, & pretty much anybody who doesn’t suck. We should actually be a thing, but we’re both quite busy as things stand right now.

Anyhow, after much driving (or rather edging forward on the 5 for miles), we make it to Disneyland. We queued up for the tram & invented the Middlearth theme park while waiting. Trust us; it’s freaking awesome. We’re doing lines from the films & imagining rides all the way to the ticket counter. Caroline tells the ticket lady “It’s not quite my sister’s birthday yet, but we’re here FOR her birthday, so can we have a birthday pin?” The lady carefully writes out my name & draws hearts & Mickeys on it, then I put it on my coat. Immediately, five employees said Happy Birthday to me. Disney really goes all out! You can kinda see the pin in this photo:


There was a high school marching band from Japan playing as we entered. We made our way toward Pirates of the Caribbean only to find it temporarily closed, so we headed directly to another of my 3 favourites, the Haunted Mansion. Let’s just say that stereotypes about line cutting hold up at Disneyland. Also I said “Fuckin’ A” in front of a small child & started a little game on Twitter, “Guess Where We Are?” Here’s the first photo I posted, from the line for Haunted Mansion:


The park was filled with cheer teams, high school choirs & orchestras that day, on big class trips, and all the cheerleaders in the Western Hemisphere were in our group for the descending room. They found it necessary to scream. We enjoyed the ride, got frozen lemonades, & decided now was as good a time as any to stand in line for an hour for Indiana Jones.

I posted a new “guess” photo to Twitter:


Caroline then said “Oh look! Cobras!” to which I immediately responded by looking up through the trees into the skyline. I have no idea why I did that. Neither does my sister. But it did prompt me to sing, to the tune of “You Can Fly” from ‘Peter Pan’:

It’s a wonderful snake
It can fly above a lake!

Caroline doubled over in laughter & pulled her shoulder, in fact, the knowledge of which prompted me to add more:

Think of all the leaves you’ll rake
When you surely bake a cake
And throw it in the sky–y!
Snakes can fly, snakes can fly, snakes can fly!

We finally stopped laughing & singing my idiot version when we ended up high enough on the waiting ramp to be nearly eye to eye with a tall planter. We were still on about the cobras, so I sang another verse:

It just landed on this thing!
Luke Skywalker flies X-wings.
He goes into outerspace
Just like all those clever snakes
And cake is made of pie!
Snakes can fly, snakes can fly, snakes can fly!

Caroline knows all the special things in the Indiana Jones line to touch & pull, so she got to freak out the blonde Filipino nigh-tranny behind us a LOT. He was so gloriously effeminate, he made Pamela Anderson seem brutish. He was draping himself over things like a cheesecake model while his straight friends took photos. It was a real delight. I’m sure he loved our song.

We finally got to the John Rhys-Davies seatbelt film & of course said things like Gimli. After going up & down two flights of stairs, we finally got on the ride, which is freaking awesome. It takes nearly as long to get through the passage out as to get in.

We then headed to the Jungle Cruise next door.


I’ve been told by my friend Dan & also seen from Zac Levi that this can be THE best ride in the park if you get the right host on your boat. Ours was decent, & had gems like this: “Be careful near the gorillas, people in yellow shirts. Don’t make any banana noises. It’s too appealing.” Oy vey.

Here’s an elephant.


We now found that Pirates was open.


Yes, this ride has been Johnny Depp-i-fied, but it’s still the closest thing to a rollercoaster my condition will allow. And it’s a motherfucking boat. Speaking of, we got to sit up front this time, though they wouldn’t let us get on two of the boats that lined up for us. I thought it was because they were so wet inside, but that theory went out the window the second we got into a third, approved boat, which had a puddle on the floor and, we realized upon sitting, on the seat. My sister made a wet bum comment I dare not repeat, as she is eleven years my junior & I find the whole thing a tad disturbing.

Sitting up front is great in summer. When it’s chilly out, getting a hairdo &, sometimes, mouthful of chlorinated park water is not as lovely. But it’s still way more fun up front.

Next we purchased my oft talked about cotton candy (which was incredible) & lined up for this:


Some of the smart arses on Twitter described this as the 7th circle of hell (&, oddly, even ones who aren’t following each other). I might have cynically agreed with them several years ago, but the hell with it. I love It’s A Small World now. Maybe because it has corporate sponsorship now (Sylvania, if you were wondering). Or maybe because it has Stitch now:


But honestly I think it’s more that, after years of viewing & reviewing seasons of The Simpsons, I can’t help but hear, instead of the usual song, the Duff Gardens version:

Duff beer for me
Duff beer for you
I’ll have a Duff
You have one, too!

And then Aunt Selma making Lisa drink the water, & Lisa saying “I can SEE the music!” And also, It’s a Small World is a boat ride. I love boats. So back off, haters.

You know what I hate? When a loud ignoramus chick sits behind me “explaining” each culture to her friends, who for the most part do not want to hear it. She failed to identify much of what she was looking at, & even when I turned around and said “That’s Greece & Turkey”, they kept going on about “Holland, or should I say The Nedderland, but also Russia.” She also apparently identified the Jewish diaspora in this series of singing puppet children, & seemed boggled by the entire concept of Africa, & did not note that China & Japan are separate nations. She then had the audacity to suggest that “most people viewing this attraction would not catch the subtle cultural nods”. I felt like I was in a fucking Brett Easton Ellis novel.

I now had 19% charge on my phone, so I stopped playing the guessing game with Twitter. I had never been on the Winnie the Pooh ride, so my sister took me. It is relaxing & adorable. If I’d seen a Pooh today, he’s the only character I would have done a picture with. I prefer A. A. Milne’s Pooh, but I like him, period.

We then bought ears. My sister got herself the red sequined Minnie Mouse ears with black sequined hat & stand up flower, & I got this:


She also got me a silver tiara comb I’m gonna wear to work on my actual birthday.

We then saw there was no line for the Haunted Mansion. BOOM! Second time!

We caught some fireworks, got Caroline a hot dog, and had a couple of fountain Cokes. I was aware my fibro body was betraying me when I found I could sometimes not swallow. We heard a little ragtime piana, then lined up for Alice in Wonderland behind a five year old barrel racer who climbed everything & accidentally punched her very sweet mother in the nose. After Alice we did Pinnochio, Buzz Lightyear, & Nemo. I remember when it was better & called 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, but it was still fun.

The park didn’t close for another hour, but my sister had stuff to do & I could barely walk. Although I’d entered the park 8 hours before skipping & jumping, I was now hobbling & shuffling like an old woman. It was time to leave.

Thank God my sister drove. My legs and feet were cramping sporadically & my neck & shoulders were in agony. An hour drive back to Los Angeles would have been brutal if not impossible. We sang some Cure & Beatles on the way home & it was one of the best days ever and I love my sister so much. She is the awesomest sister that ever was.