I've been spending most of my time organizing a surprise birthday party for my friend debs.
It's really great when friends read my blog and are my Facebook buddies, but the sucky part is I can't share with you the things I make, or my ideas...
because they'll be seen by the intended recipients.
Anyway, I'm going to draw this post out several days because there is lots and lots to share about this party, and I really hope it inspires you to do something fun for someone you love.
First off, this was a biiiig birthday.
The dreaded big 5-oh.
Debs said she didn't want a party, she just wanted to leave the country (she and her husband and kids are on a cruise, where debs and Bill will renew their wedding vows after 20 years) and stick her head in the sand.
Okay, so I figured half a century doesn't come along every frickin' day, and I opted not to listen to her.
In order not to piss her off though, I figured I'd make the party as wacky and weird as possible, that way she'd hopefully spend most of the night giggling.
And that's exactly what happened.
I was able to get messages out to a few of her old friends and to her sisters via Facebook.
I also contacted a few people from her job.
I enlisted my friend Tracie, debs' husband Bill, and debs' two sisters to help me plan.
At first it was really frustrating, because I worked and worked on trying to figure out a venue, and nothing was falling into place.
A lot of fun events were mid-week, for some reason.
With debs working full-time, and one sister in Los Angeles, that wasn't going to work.
Should we go to a place like Dave & Busters or Boomers, where we could take photobooth pics and play Skee Ball?
Debs loves playing Skee Ball when we go to the fair every year.
No, something didn't feel right about that choice.
I found a Beatles cover band playing in a local casino (debs loves The Beatles) but Tracie was out of town that night, and her kids couldn't be in the concert area as it was 21 and up.
Ditto The Stagehouse to see The Disco Pimps (a band that plays disco tunes), or The Shout House (a dueling piano bar).
The old movie Funny Face was playing in Balboa Park (Audrey Hepburn is a debs fave), so I thought we could picnic then see the movie.
Sadly, the Museum of Photographic Arts no longer has their vintage photobooths, but I still thought the location had potential.
But it was on a Thursday night, and the other party planners thought we needed an environment where we could talk and mingle (not sit quietly and watch a movie).
I loved the idea of going to The Murder Mystery Cafe, because I knew the characters would include debs in the plot.
The other party planners didn't think she'd like that.
But then her (younger) sisters thought we should rent a Hummer limo and bar/photobooth hop.
Uh...no. Back in the day, maybe, but today "we old".
We're too tired to hop, lol.
I LOVED the idea of seeing Richard Cheese, but he was appearing on a weeknight also, and it was too soon to get the party organized.
If you haven't heard of Richard Cheese, he sings current songs in lounge version.
He's so wonderfully wacky.
Check out this video.
By the time I even found out he was going to be at House of Blues, most of the event was sold out.
Had he played here late August, that would have been perfect.
Sigh, I really hope he doesn't retire as he is threatening to do, because I really do hope to see him live one day.
Anyway, after I came up with 30 options and they all had something wrong with them, everyone was getting a little stressed that it was down to the wire and we had better decide.
Wanting to help, Bill and her sisters chose a local restaurant, but I decided no, it couldn't be a "normal" location--it had to be a place where we could show up in costume and the waiters would play along.
We opted for a mostly gay bar/restaurant in Hillcrest called Baja Betty's, chosen especially for the personality of the waiters.
It was the perfect place.
You see, sixteen people showed to the party, and we all showed up dressed like debs.
Her sisters snuck into her closet and wore two of her old 80's outfits, and wigs in "news bobs" (debs used to be a television reporter and anchor).
Her daughter wore one of debs' old pageant gowns (debs was Miss Pacific Beach in the Fairest of the Fair pageant, the year Tracie was crowned Fairest of the Fair, then later Miss San Diego).
Her daughter also had on a brassy 70's-style wig with banana curls at the sides.
Really, what could be more perfect?!!
Her husband wore a strand of pearls and a hideous curly blond wig with a little bow at one side.
I wore a platinum wig and kitty ears, with pearls and ribbons hanging down.
I walked into the restaurant, and no one even blinked.
So along with wacky, we focused on the positive--the theme was wishes, hopes, dreams.
Debs used to give seminars for Barbara Sher's inspirational book, Wishcraft, so in essence it was a Wishcraft party.
Barbara Sher even sent an autographed copy of her newest book.
I made up favors for everyone in little metal buckets from Ikea--filled with pads of paper for bucket lists, a mini Skee Ball game, and a glittery pencil for the ladies/a disposable fountain pen for the guys.
I also made star-shaped sugar cookies with royal icing and edible glitter on a stick (magic wand cookies), so everyone got one of those also.
Tomorrow I'll tell you about the gifts in buckets that we gave to the birthday girl.