The following took place between Friday night, February 19, and Sunday night, February 21:
As expected, I worked late on Friday night to prepare for the weekend's Gospel Brunch. I think after two years of handling the event's guest list and seating I'm ready to become an event planner. I actually enjoy it; it's almost like a puzzle. You take a seating chart, a list of names, and knowing the guests' various needs and egos, you seat them appropriately. This year's guest list was smaller, which in seating helped a lot. Doing the seating plan didn't take too long. What took a long time was that I handwrote everyone's names on envelopes and placed the tickets inside. This part was enjoyable too, if only I had more time to do it. I was getting a kick out of writing everyone's names as neatly as possible, but when I looked at the clock and hundreds of names to get to, I had to rush a little more. Still, those first few envelopes were exquisite.
When I finally headed home, it was raining. Kevin had invited me to hang out at Akbar and I had agreed, but coming home after a long day at work, all I wanted to do was make dinner and turn in, especially since I was going to run 18 miles in the morning (more on that later). But I reminded myself that it's better to be out with friends rather than at home, so I figured I'd spend a couple of hours at Akbar and get the last train back home. I wound up staying later than planned, but Paul gave me a ride home and I was in bed by 2 am for my 6:45 am wake-up time.
13 is the New 18
Prior to leaving for Akbar on Friday night, I shot my running buddy, Linda, an e-mail. It was raining and I wrote to tell her that if there was rain in the morning, I was going to stay in bed. I prayed there would be rain.
When I woke up, it was sunny and beautiful. I debated cancelling anyway since I was tired not just from the lack of sleep the night before but for the last week. But I forced myself to run. I scavenged some pretzels and cookies as breakfast since I was really hungry and would need the energy for the run. When I got to the Rose Bowl I told Linda how badly I wanted it to rain. Apparently she did too. We were both not feeling up for the run, but guilt and a sense of obligation to each other forced us out there. We compromised. We won't run 18 miles but will try for 13 instead. One thing I've been told as a runner is to listen to your body. My body was telling me that it was tired. Linda and I ran our 13 miles but it wasn't a great run. We might have both managed to do more, but I think we would have felt awful doing so.
One benefit of running a shorter distance was that it afforded me time to go home and shower for Astrid's birthday lunch. Had we done 18 miles I would have been forced to just change clothes in my car and hope no one smells me--or I could have asked Astrid if I could shower at her place before heading to the restaurant.
The lunch was at Cafe Massilia, a French restaurant in Monrovia. It was a cute place and the Yelp reviews were good. The lunch and breakfast menu consisted of things that any regular schmo like me would stereotypically expect of the French--crepes, quiche, and...hamburgers?
I saw that they had escargot and the last time I had it was my last night in Paris, and since the Yelp reviews complimented the dish, I figured I'd order it. It turned out to be overwhelmingly garlicky, which luckily I like. The snails were served out of their shells and baked in garlic and butter. Really it was like eating a tapenade of garlic. I ate the snails and garlic oil on bread and it was a satisfying meal. I was hoping the snails would still be in their shell since part of the fun of eating them is fishing out the little buggers.
I also had a tomato and roasted bell pepper soup, which was fine. Everyone enjoyed their food, I think, if only for the company.
I was thoroughly in need of a nap by the end of lunch. I headed straight home and took one and then woke up to finish some last minute things for work. Then I got dressed again and picked up Kevin to go to Stuart's karaoke birthday extravaganza in Eagle Rock. We also swung by the Coffee Table for dinner since I was famished.
The evening was a lot of fun even if I didn't get up on stage to sing and even if it took hours for Stuart to take his turn. When he did, though, he and his friend Lauren blew the roof off the bowling alley with a fun rendition of "Love Shack." It was fun just singing along at the back of the bar. It was also great to see the GLU guys. I left earlier than everyone else since I had to work in the morning, but I definitely got my fill of fun for the day.
Hallelujah, it's over!
The 12th annual Gospel Brunch was a success, as far as I can tell. Things seemed to go off without much of a hitch. We'll see if the money starts pouring in.
Set-up and preparation went smoother this year because there was no early show. We had plenty of time to set up and get the tables ready. Even at check-in there were little to no snafus. It was a success!
More pictures from the busy weekend can be found on my Flickr page.
Now another work week looms. Next weekend should be lighter than this past weekend, with the biggest thing being an 18 or 20 miler. I'll probably also make a trip to West Covina to see the family.
Yes, I survived the weekend!