I'm 30!! This news is about a month old, but I'm looking at this past month as my entry process. I've been taking good care of me, living it up, and ultimately feeling really good about where I am in my life.
I had a solid two weeks off during the holidays. It took me 30 years, but I think I've aced holiday gift giving - giving signed and framed Achewood strips to four different people made things a bit easier. But in general I didn't feel the least bit stressed. Time with my family was relaxed and great. And then on Dec. 26 I flew to San Francisco!! This was the perfect trip for right now. I got to see my sister and the McAvoy girls all in one place, which was long overdue. We all stayed out in Sunset with Cara and Brandon. I spent early mornings out on their back patio working on my Nia routines [ I started teaching a class the week I got back!! The timing couldn't be better. Whatever Ok-I'm-30-and-capable-of-great-things energy I got has been poured right into that class and while it hasn't taken off numbers-wise yet, I am feeling more and more solid in my choreography, most of which I'm making up myself, and I'm getting steadily better at calling out the steps, which is the thing that used to stress me out the most.]
Cara works in an Italian restaurant downtown - Chiaroscuro. She's the pasta chef and the dish she invented - a caramelized onion pesto - is the best thing on the menu. I got to eat there twice! Once with Susan as a sort of birthday dinner, and once on a date with the guy I met New Year's Eve. We went to dinner and then saw Slumdog Millionaire. It was a nice night, but in retrospect, the only thing we have in common is that we both like to dance; a mistake I have made before and I'm sure I will make again. On the plus side, when we first met he guessed that I was 24, so that just felt like a big ol' birthday present to me.
When Cara was free we'd go site-seeing; long walks at Land's End and along the beach, checking out the Japanese tea garden and the Embarcadero. We made a couple of big family dinners and had a second Christmas where Lauren started pulling presents out of her carry-on luggage like she was Mary Poppins. On Cara's last day off, we all took a drive to wine country where I found the best late harvest ice wine I've ever tasted, and Susan made us all laugh so hard, Brandon had to stop the car in the middle of the road. I added a riff or two, but this is mainly Susan's masterpiece in which she explains the birds and the bees to my 19 YO cousin Lauren:
You see, Lauren, when a man and a woman like each other very much, he asks for her phone number. And then when the man and woman love each other very much, they get married. And then nine months later, the woman gets a BIG TUMMY ACHE and she has to go to the hospital. And the man says, Did it have to be on sports night?And the woman says, I f*cking hate you. And that's where babies come from!
Aaand then about 10 years later, they all go to Disneyland, which is where I spent my actual 30th birthday, with Susan. We spent 15 hours on our feet going on every single ride, and eating all our meals standing in line. The place was at maximum capacity but we still pulled this off! Including an hour and forty minute wait for Space Mountain, which broke down an hour and a half into our wait, and was magically repaired five agonizing minutes later and was TOTALLY worth the wait. The whole time I was holding onto my face to keep it from falling off and laughing like a five year old.
The other fantastic thing about California is that I know a bunch of great people out there, and got to see most of them. Got to spend some quality time shooting pool with Ben and Dana and Doug, made friends with the San Francisco Fire Department, got some great eats with people, and spent a totally kickass New Year's with an entourage of 10. The party was organized by the people who throw Burning Man and it was the place to be. Inside a 15-acre convention center there were 3 stages, 8,000 people, a hookah dome, art exhibits, body painting, men wearing chaps, women wearing hardly anything, burlesque dancers, aerialists and acrobats. It was a SCENE. And I danced until 4am. Thievery Corporation was headlining, but I liked BLVD the most - their sound reminded me of a cross between Daft Punk and The Faint. Afterwards we chilled out at Ben & Rachel's until 6am. My kind of party!
I took the red eye back to Albany, drove home on a Monday afternoon, and had a raucous supper club that night, with special guest Andy O'Brien!! Who I realized hasn't been in my house since the 13-hour brunch in aught 3. I hope to see more of him now that he's firmly situated - and holding public office - in Maine.
When my mom heard that I had 6 people over for dinner the day I got back, she laughed and said, I'm so glad 30 hasn't changed you! And you are completely insane.
One thing that has changed is that I have homework now! I spend a ton of time working on my class and - shocking! - can't go out every single night. I'm also sitting out the current cycle of plays. But it's totally worth it. I'm dedicated to this class growing and actually making me a little bit more money - good timing, as everyone at my work just took a pay cut - and in general, I'm feeling really fulfilled by it.
Two weeks after I got back from CA, I had my 30th birthday prom!! I was planning it for a solid three months, and it went off without a hitch. The morning after, as I was mopping the Footlight Club, it struck me that it feels weird to refer to the party in the past tense, and I wonder if people have similar feelings about their weddings.
The night was a great success. 55 people made it out, despite blizzard conditions! My sister came up all the way from Philly! Cousin Lauren made six delicious lasagnas AND her roommate made several pounds of peanut butter sugared dates. Lauren and I also made 75 cupcakes. The spread was impressive; lasagna, green beans with a ton of butter and several heads of roasted garlic, salad with dried cranberries and grated asiago, roasted garlic hummus, guacamole, clam dip, peanut butter popcorn, dates and cupcakes. It took about five boxes to move my bar in, but we managed it, and thanks to some generous contributions, we had plenty of beer and Hugh kept the mulled wine coming.
There was a garden seating area with a canopy of Christmas lights, thanks to my many helpers (honestly, it is such a coup that I never even climbed a ladder or cleaned a dish, and I am eternally grateful to my amazing friends!!!). I created a little living room pod with couches and a tv playing The Simpsons on mute. The living room was walled off with a sheet, on which we projected dance scenes from '90's movies - Rachel M spent countless hours putting that together for me, and I was sooo excited about it! And we were able to dance until about 3am to Zach's sweet '90's tunes.
I organized a select group of friends to work as the Prom Committee - sitting in half-hour shifts in the foyer, taking coats, taking the $5 donation, and snapping polaroids, which then got placed in a photo guest book that people signed like a yearbook. I heart that book. On the cover I put a picture from my actual freshman year prom in 1994, with Jeremy Davis, looking resplendent in his ponytail and his grandfather's tux. And Matt Marrone, my actual senior prom date, made it all the way up from Jersey! and was a lamb and helped me with a lot of the grunt work.
I wore my actual senior prom dress - blue sequins, short skirt, and timeless enough that I still look forward to wearing it in this millenium. Andrea was a total sweetheart and gave me the updo I always dreamed of back then! And Bridget, who couldn't make it from Maryland, sent me a corsage to match my dress!
People looked amazing that night! - all my beautiful ladies in their finery, and my college girls dressed exactly as I remember them freshman year at Drew. Rob bought a tux for this event!! And Mike busted a move in his as well. Sheryl and Larry came as Tonya Harding and the guy who clobbered Nancy Kerrigan. Liz Z came as Tracey Flick - so clever! Noah came as his 1994 self - in pajamas and carrying a teddy bear. And Angus and Michelle brought my youngest and most adorable guest - Luna. She is a year and a half old, and once she stopped screaming and watched a little of The Simpsons, she spent the whole night dancing in her little flamenco dress. And cousin Lauren's friends came out in force, infusing the dance party with new life late in the night, and then cleaning the shit out of the Footlight kitchen, leaving it neater than it was when we found it.
So now I have officially arrived. I'd be lying if I said there aren't moments when the thought of being 30 isn't a little terrifying. But I keep announcing my age like it's excellent news! And I'm starting to believe the hype. I was really great at my 20's, I'd say, so all the "Life begins at 30" comments didn't hold water. I was afraid I'd turn 30 and feel like I got fired from the 20's Corporation. But instead I'm feeling like I got promoted in my life, and they gave me a corner office. Rock on.
Oh yeah, and the other night I had my first erotic presidential dream ever! That Barack Obama - what *isn't* he good at?