This weekend has been full of people! From Shabbat dinner with friends to a crowded synagogue and two birthday parties, we have been shmoozing all over town.
On Friday it was a dear friend 60th's birthday. Feeling lonely, he organized a Shabbat dinner for himself, and we stepped up to the plate, despite the fact that everyone invited knew that there was a surprise party for him planned for the next night. The hosts picked up huge balloons and made a delicious dinner of chicken tagine, couscous and green salad; the birthday boy brought the challah and champagne; and I made the world's best non-chocolate dessert, based on a recipe from Cook's Illustrated: lemon bars and lemon flavored whipped cream. We had a great time and managed to keep the secret about the next day's party.
On Saturday morning I was scheduled to lead putting away the Torah scrolls and the musaf service at synagogue. I haven't done this in almost a year, due to the dislocated elbow in April and the practically constant chemo since May. I prepared some new tunes, and got my equivalent of stage fright -- when I opened my mouth to sing a new song, something entirely unexpected came out. Oy!
This has happened once before, when I let the pressure of the moment get on top of my feeling ready to sing a new piece. Yesterday I managed to recover and pull through the end of the Torah service, and by the time we got to musaf I was fine. But for a few minutes I kept saying to myself: "WTF? What was that?"
Saturday night's first party was the surprise one. I had ordered the birthday cake from Bakery Nouveau and brought it to the restaurant. About 20 people gathered to await the guest of honor, who arrived on time and acted surprised to see us all. We enjoyed a terrific Indian dinner. The super-moist chocolate cake with 64% chocolate mousse, chocolate glaze and chocolate shards was a big hit. The chef even wrote happy birthday and drew a sailboat on top.
Around 9:30 PM we arrived at the second party in time to do some great dancing. Rik stayed for a bit to say hi to people but I let him off the hook to go home early, and asked friends to take me home later. We danced and danced to the music of several local Balkan bands. Around midnight I gave up, and probably missed some fun late night singing, but by this point I was pooped. One of the bands was seriously over-miced and too loud for conversation, so I spent a large part of their set shouting instead of being able to talk.
This morning it was really hard to get up and go to a synagogue meeting on time, but I barely managed the feat. My voice was down in its lowest depths, my eyes are sagging, but this great weekend was worth it!