I was a little awkward, but it was ok. There was wine and several people I knew. The weather was wonderful and the house was in the West Hills, clinging to the side of one of those hills, actually, and we spent a lot of time out on the back deck which dropped off into a steep, lush ravine. Gorgeous. Everyone was warm and happy to be together and I sat with SK, at times wanting to crawl into her lap.
We left after one short hour to run to the airport to pick up Dutch who was just coming back from Holland after getting her PhD in Organizational Psychology. So now she is Dr. Dutch! She was exhausted from a long flight but very happy to see us. We wanted to bring her back to the party, but she was too tired. She was a sweetheart and brought me back a treat, some funny little butter-syrup waffle cakes. At first I was *mildly* disappointed that she hadn't brought me back the super-yummy, salty licorice she'd gotten me years ago in Holland, but then I tried one of the waffles and wow! They're really good and unusual and now I'm happy to have gotten something different.
Back at the party, after dropping Dutch off at her apartment, we were too late to get any of the food (brats and a huge hunk of smoked salmon, among other things, which had seemed plentiful when we left) -- but we got there in time for the "speeches." When SK said, "Oh, we're back in time for the speeches," I think I groaned b/c I've been conditioned to associate "speeches" with some kind of unpleasant, forced formality of speaking. However, these "speeches" were just really sweet reminescences by the birthday boy's oldest and dearest friends, almost all funny stories, many of which to do with his old, long-deceased dog that everyone seemed to remember fondly. It was like peeking in on someone else's family reunion -- full of love and warmth and laughter and the timing, of course, was perfect. Nothing dragged on too long, the speeches ended just when they should have, the cake was promptly presented, cut, dispersed, and done, and the crowd began to trickle out magically. We all disappeared into the night before 10:30 and it was lovely.