Oh, my dears, after a whole week spent resting and readjusting to the rhythm of everyday life, I can finally sit down and chronicle for you the famous Fabulous Birthday Surprise referenced in the last post.
I turned 35 last week, and my family conspired to give me one of the most wonderful birthday weekends since the Queen's Jubilee. First, you need to know that my mother-in-law is the lord high mucky-muck of all gift-givers. I mean, this woman could figure out the one thing that Oprah doesn't already own but would simply love to have and find some way to get it for her. Add to that the delightful fact that my husband actually loves me, and puts a great deal of thought into what would make me happy, and you have one hell of a birthday.
|(Photo by Charlie Phillips)|
Unbeknownst to me, a significant portion of King Tutankhamun's grave collection, along with numerous other wondrous Egyptian artifacts, have been in Seattle for some months at the Pacific Science Center
. My amazing mother-in-law, however, always watchful around birthday times and aware of my absolutely consuming passion for all things ancient Egyptian, spotted the advertisement with her eagle eye and bought Michael and I two tickets to the exhibit. Moreover, she booked us in for two nights at the only hotel within walking distance of the museum (which was a very nice place, I might add).
On the evening of my birthday, Michael, the SuperToddler and I joined his parents and brother at Olive Garden for a lovely dinner (for which they paid, God bless them), and we finally had the big reveal.
Michael and I would be heading off to Seattle to commune with the great kings and queens of The Two Lands (as the Egyptians knew their kingdom)! Meanwhile, Brigid would be enjoying a long weekend with Grandma and Grandpa, beginning right after that dinner and lasting until we got back into town from our trip on Sunday evening. Wasn't it helpful of me to schedule my birthday over the Labor Day weekend?
So, while the SuperToddler went to her favorite place in the world--Grandma's house--Michael and I came home, watched some Mock the Week
, slept in a bit the next day, packed and started our road trip to Seattle.
[Mock the Week on YouTube
--YOU NEED IT IN YOUR LIFE!! But if you're easily offended, for God's sake don't ever watch it. (Sucks to be you.)]
We checked in on our first night and roamed around for a bit, rustling up the nearest installation of my husband's favorite restaurant, Chipotle, and generally getting a bit lost and annoying Seattle's Yellow Cab drivers and dispatchers before we found our way back to our hotel. The big event of the first evening in the big city was when we stumbled upon a Dr. Marten's store, in a lovely old building that obviously dated from the turn of the 20th century or before. As the daughter of a shoe repairman, I grew up with the smell of leather and shoe polish, so I was whisked back to my childhood the moment we stepped in the door. While Michael shopped for a much- and long-needed pair of black shoes that could be worn to work or for dress, I was captivated by a beautiful, burgundy leather bag that I could tell would make an excellent over-the-shoulder messenger-type purse. It was expensive, but the beautiful thing about anything Doc Marten's is that it's virtually guaranteed to last longer than its owner! My lovely Good Man Michael generously made the bag my other birthday present, along with the delightful surprise of an iPod Touch that he'd given me earlier, and I was a very happy birthday girl, indeed. (I told him that for Christmas, I'd LOVE to have the matching women's wing-tipped leather shoes. Hint, hint.) (Photo courtesy of Doc Marten's
The next morning, of course, was the main event--the Lord of the Two Lands, Ruler of the Land of the Bee and the Sedge, Nebkheprure Tutankhamun Hekaiunushema--and any number of his royal friends and family. (Believe it or not, those are just a very few of his names; he had many, many more.)
|(Photo by dalbera)|
It was an amazing exhibition, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself in the gift shop, picking up a copy of the official catalogue, the DVD walk-through of the exhibit, and some lovely stationery. The SuperToddler, who adores all things Egypt as regular readers certainly know, got a lovely blue glass scarab magnet as a souvenir, which thrilled her heart and provided her hours of playful enjoyment when I got it home to her. (She LOVES all the beetles everywhere in Egyptian art; we haven't delved into the whole bizarre relationship they have with DUNG yet.)
|(Photo by Rick Vaughn)|
We also explored the famous Pike Place Market, with its extremely fresh fish, myriads of tiny, funky little shops that sell a bit of everything--including "herbal refreshment" in a few of them, I suspected as we shuffled quickly past!--and we stumbled upon an Egyptian shop keeper who was thrilled by my smattering of Arabic and small knowledge of classical hieroglyphs. His souvenirs, by and large, were much more satisfying than those in the museum gift shop, because they were actually MADE IN EGYPT. (I know, right? o.O He felt the same way--"Why they don't sell things made in Egypt? The things they sell have no soul!") I bought a sterling silver pendant from him, bearing the two primary names of the Boy King on it, and he was so impressed with my meager skills that he gave me one of the traditional, pressed-paste scarab beads "to protect you--we give them everywhere in Egypt." I was quite pleased, actually. Proof positive that we're all still at least a little pagan.
|(Photo by Frank Rytell)|
Michael and I rounded out the evening with a lovely meal at P. F. Chang's and a brief saunter through the mall, where we stumbled upon a great little Japanese store in which I bought some adorable stationery with "English" sayings printed on them that make ABSOLUTELY no sense whatsoever. (This is roughly akin to how we pick a new Chinese restaurant to try; if the name has been "translated" into English, and is utter gibberish, the food is pretty much guaranteed to be authentic Chinese cuisine, and therefore delicious. Our all-time favorite was called "Rice Star," although "Pig Miracle Barbeque" certainly won honorable mention.)
And there you have it, dear readers. The next day, Michael and I made our way back home, stopping in one of the towns along the way whose primary industry was tourism to visit a lovely bar and grill, enjoy an old-fashioned malted in their vintage 1950's ice cream stand, and take a brief ride on the remains of the historical railroad, now preserved in miniature as an excursion train for railroad enthusiasts. My dad would have loved it. I brought Brigid home a wooden Percy locomotive to add to her wooden Thomas the Tank Engine set; she was thrilled.
(Photo by Max Richards)
All in all, I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful birthday weekend. My health issues even behaved themselves. I am a blessed woman.