I've always been envious of people who DO STUFF for their birthdays, so I tried to DO STUFF for my birthday this year. But like I've mentioned here, I've been really busy with editing lately. And I'm not so good with the advanced planning stuff. But I have learned that if I really want to go someplace, I should make the reservation AT LEAST one week in advance, preferably two. Good lesson.
For my first thing, I convinced i_leonardo to go with me to the New England Aquarium and she was clever & brought sammiches and we had a picnic before going in with delicious beverages courtesy of the nearby Emack & Bolio's (the one at 255 State Street). While we were eating our lunch on a bench across the street, a trolley tour came by & told us that the ice cream store was named after a pair of lawyers! I had no idea, but the website substantiates that claim here: http://www.emackandbolios.com/roots.htm
Then we went into the Aquarium. OH MY GOD! They have a new exhibit called the "Shark and Ray Touch Tank" where you get to pet sharks and rays! It's SO AWESOME! I think the cownose rays really enjoy being petted because they made an effort to swim along the edge of the tank. And they're so soft! Only a tiny bit slimy, but just so soft! I didn't get to pet any of the sharks, but that was OK because the rays were so COOL. (There's a little movie of the critters swimming around the tank on the NE Aquarium link up there.) We also petted a flounder, a little bitty ray (or was it a skate?), and a bunch of star fish in the regular upstairs critter-petting spot.
And I took some pics! More than half didn't come out but here are some cool ones:
A cownose ray:
A sea slug:
Freaky sea horses:
Another freaky sea horse:
Myrtle the Turtle (75 years old, 450+ lbs):
Poisonous rock fish (I think):
Sleepin' sea lion:
When we were done, we took the T home again, home again.
Then I hopped into my car, crawled through rush-hour traffic, and went to the Super 88 food court in Allston (which is technically a Hong Kong Market, but they haven't taken the old sign down yet). There, I hung out with a bunch of folks, including (but not limited to) rmd, kimberlogic, xlii, jbsegal, bedfull_o_books, hammercock and sweetie, candle_light and family, lillibet & jason237. Kiran and Drew also showed up. Old friends Keith & Dawn came with their 3 kids; Andy & Lisa brought their two as well.
I ate a delicious banh mi from the Vietnamese place and later I had spinach & shrimp dumplings and steamed pork buns from the Dim Sum place. Plus I had TWO Lollicups: strawberry slush and lychee slush. And I got to wander around and catch up with all these awesome folks, many of whom I hadn't seen in YEARS! It was a really nice way to cap off my pre-birthday celebration.
Finally, on Saturday (earlier tonight), I slept most of the day. I had wanted to do the Chocolate Brunch thing at Cafe Fleuri, but they were WAY booked up by the time I managed to call. I was awake long enough to read Dragonbreath: The Curse of the Were-Weiner (volume 3 of the Dragonbreath series) by Ursula Vernon, which was awesomely funny & clever, before dozing off again. Eventually, I got up & grabbed a quick shower.
Next I dragged the BF to Meyers & Chang (big THANK YOU to folks who recommended places; special thanks to johnromkey for this place in particular). We took the Red Line to Broadway & then walked over. I had the edamame & celery slaw with sesame oil & candied lemon (delicious! but I got it all over my shirt), the genmai fried rice (consisting of brown rice, toasted garlic, greens, beans, sesame, nori, scallions, & a farm egg) which was tasty but a little too spicy for me (only 1 spice-star out of a possible 3! I thought I could handle it! I was wrong), and braised pork belly buns (which consisted of a piece of bao folded over with the pork, brandy hoisin, lettuce, and pickled something inside, plus pickled cabbage on the side) which were AMAZING.
The BF had dumplings (might've been mama chang's pork and chive) and thai pork kabobs (which were these pork lumps on sticks, wrapped in Thai basil and sitting in a bed of fresh herbs, all held together with lettuce cups, plus nuoc cham dipping sauce). He did not enjoy his dinner as much as I enjoyed mine. But he had a beer, which kept him happy. I had TWO vanilla & lychee sodas, one with dinner and one with my tasty dessert of a chocolate mousse (with 5-spice meringues on top).
When we came out, the BF pointed out that we were right across the street from Ming's Market! OH! I actually knew where we were! Then we walked back to the Downtown Crossing T station & took the T home.
So, I guess that's THREE activities I managed to do for my birthday. I might try & do the Chocolate Brunch in the near future, which would make FOUR things (Ah Ha Ha!). Next year I hope to plan better and further in advance.