Friends gathered at my request.

I’m what I call a “high-functioning introvert,” which is a little joke meaning that I like being alone, but I perform well in a crowd. I am most at peace alone, and when I’m stressed or depressed or sick, the ONLY thing I want is to be absolutely alone. I’ve collected a wonderful group of friends here in the Portland area in the past decade, and it turns out many of them are introverts too. We don’t go out to party on Friday nights, but we do like to collect in groups of 3 or 4 and talk for hours.

Several of them knew my 50th was coming up (January 9 – this post is very late) but I laughed to myself realizing that among a group of introverts, though their love is unquestionable, it would probably not occur to any of them to plan a party for me. But this year I wanted a party. So I planned it for myself!

There is a new cider place in town that I mentioned in a blog post earlier, and I wanted to go back. Schilling Cider House has 50 craft-brewed hard ciders on tap from brewers right here in Portland to around the world. There’s a gluten-free kitchen that doesn’t serve meals, but does serve a collection of creative and delicious snacks like tempura zuchinni, risotto balls, and hand-dipped corn dogs. I set it all up ahead of time with the manager, to give them a heads up. Over a year ago I was invited to a different friend’s birthday party, and she had set up a tab under her own name for the whole group. I thought it was a super classy move and did the same thing. There were a few battles between the staff and my guests who wanted to pay for their own food and drinks, but Schilling had my back and no one got to pay. Ha ha!

Ciders on tap at Schilling

I don’t recall ever having a birthday party. Maybe it has happened at some point, maybe in my childhood. But more clearly I remember my mother telling me she would never host a birthday party for me because my birthday was in January and that would mean all the kids would have to stay inside the house. She would not put up with that! My mother may also have been an introvert…. I had so many fears of self-doubt: how do you get people to come to a party? What if I pick a bad day or time? What if no one shows up? After all the planning with Schilling in the weeks ahead, it would be so embarrassing if only one or two people showed.

I contacted only the people that I really love – the ones that could would make my day better, no matter what happened. I invited about twenty-two people and got their input on what times would work best. A few couldn’t make it. But about eighteen people showed! I was delighted. One of my friends showed up at the very first moment, and she stayed till the very last moment: over four hours. I was touched. I arranged to stay the night with another girlfriend and after we Ubered back to her place, we chatted some more. It was a perfect perfect birthday party and birthday night.

Oh! And I received gifts! Ha! It had never entered my mind that people would bring gifts. I certainly didn’t ask for anything. So many fun, beautiful, sweet-smelling, homemade, and perfectly selected thoughtful gifts.

Awww, I felt so much love.
People came and left through the evening, but for awhile there was a nice big group.
I didn’t even invite Tara and Brynnen, because they live so far away. But they surprised me and showed up!!

Gosh I’m getting all weepy as I write this. How can I be so lucky to have these great people in my life? Not just a couple of them, but all of them at the same time. I am immensely humbled and grateful.

There was one more person that I absolutely adore that I did not invite, and that is Marlene over at In Search of it All. She would have been a great addition and would have fit in with the group, but lives nearly an hour from the cider house and the party would be at night, which is a time Marlene tries not to be out driving. She and I will just have to celebrate on our own. In fact, I have a gift for her that needs to be delivered, so I should plan that trip soon. 😉

Some of the last people with me at the end of the night, when most others had gone home.

And P.S. did you notice the people at the end of the table, gaming the whole entire time? I thought that is such a great idea! I want to meet at a cider house and play games too!

16 thoughts on “Party

  1. Such fun Crystal. And a very happy 50th to you! Like you, I am more introvert than extrovert. Good friends are a precious gift, however, to be treasured, and it looks like great fun was had by all! –Curt

    1. Good friends ARE a precious gift. I think we all had fun. The hard part was making sure I gave my time to everybody. I kept having to leave conversations that I was enjoying, in order to start up new enjoyable conversations with someone else. I needed some clones. 🙂

      1. Always the challenge with being the host, Crystal! The belle of the ball, so to speak. Everyone wants and deserves a piece of your time. I am sure that you were superb. 🙂 –Curt

  2. Just brilliant, Crystal! ❤ I felt so much love in this post and at your party. You deserve your birthday party every year and had it coming big time!

    As another introvert I fear a little my big 50 in May, but yes, I'm putting together my party too with my parents. I can tell you – we will rent a bus and drive around Slovenia, 50 people or so. We would stop at certain places with a good view for my new camera (that I still need to get – and I don't know which one to get! What do you recommend?). Let me tell you – you would fit right in there too, so if you're on the continent in May, give me a shout. 😀

    But I'm so glad that you had such a wonderful time surrounded by your beautiful people full of love for you, just how it should be. ❤

    1. Thank you for the birthday invite, Manja! I think it would be a splendid time and believe me, I have been keeping it in my mind just in case I can find a way. A bus tour with friends is such a wonderful idea. I know you will have a great time and be showered in love.

      As for a camera, I’m not educated about them actually. I purchased my first camera (Nikon D5000) in 2011 and it worked well for me for years. I purchased my second camera six months ago, and had grown to love and trust my old Nikon so much that I bought another (Nikon D7500). I’ve used Nikon lenses and Tamron lenses. I did have a Tamron lens die on me during a vacation in Chile, which was terrible since it was the only lens I brought. Nevertheless, I am currently using another Tamron lens because I just can’t resist the convenience of the 18mm-400mm range. So there you go, in ten years of photography, I can say I am very happy with Nikon. I’ve got no experience with anything else.

      1. Thanks so much, Crystal. I have yet to hold any device that uses changeable lenses. 😀 To me it sounds like a major pain in the butt when all I want is just click. 😉 I’ve got a point-and-shoot Nikon now but the zoom is too short and the automatic zoom doesn’t work well any more. I’ll think of it some more.

  3. As you know, I am very far behind in my reading of blogs. Obviously! Glad I caught this. I am so glad you had a great time. As for driving at night, I’ve done it twice. Both were emergencies taking someone to a hospital. I pray very hard and let the Angels do the real driving. I had one birthday party growing up. My sister had one as well. My mother didn’t like kids so having them around was hard. She had a neighbor help her with mine, I helped with my sister’s. Thanks so much for the ping back. I am looking forward to seeing you.

    1. Yikes, that’s terrible! I’m so worried about you being stuck in that scary position to have to drive at night while under stressful circumstances. Thank goodness your angels are so attentive and dedicated to you.

      Funny, I thought of you while writing about my childhood lack of parties. I thought you might have had a similar experience. There was too much struggle just living when you and I were kids, and something like a birthday party could easily be a ridiculous idea, depending on how the family was doing at the moment. Do you remember much about either of the birthday parties you did have? I remember my brother’s birthday party. We had a big lunchroom table set up outside with a tablecloth and paper plates and cups for everyone. I thought it was amazing to set the table outside. There were balloons in the tree nearby. Colour everywhere. To me, it was magical. I think I was just as happy to go to my brother’s birthday party as I would have my own, because it was such a delight just to celebrate.

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