A Very Harry Birthday

I’ve felt the need to gush for a week now about how nifty my birthday turned out to be this year, and I’m finally getting around to doing it. I only wish I had more pictures to share! Unfortunately, the main part of my birthday didn’t lend itself to pictures because they were “not allowed” to be taken.

I shall explain.

Ignoring the banality of the majority of the day due to working (for both of us), we’ll fast forward a bit.  We had to go out to West Seattle to drop off a card to one of our friends and then it was back to downtown.  See, about 3 weeks ago, my Dragon pointed out that there was a Harry Potter Exhibition going on at the Pacific Science Center. I hemmed and hawed about making it out there because I absolutely detest driving downtown, but ultimately we decided that it might be a nice outing for my birthday, provided we didn’t get any freak snowstorms.

Finding Pac Sci wasn’t difficult, thanks to our handy bitch-in-a-box (aka Magellan), and parking in the tiny pay-per-hour parking lot rocked.  In fact, we now know where to park the next time we decide to hit up the Seattle Center for fun.  Once in line inside the building, we noticed an issue we hadn’t considered…timing.  See, I suppose it’s normal in big cities to have timed events, all the better to keep from having 1000 people in one showing, leading to trampling and hurt feelings.  The only open time slot was 4:30.  When we got to the line? It was 3pm.  Dragon suggested doing it another day, I told him no, damnit, we fought our way through too much downtown traffic and random close-calls with S.L.U.Ts to turn back now. If that meant I had to sit there and wait for 90 minutes, then by golly, I was going to do it.

Here’s where a little bit of awesome comes into play: when we got to the window, intent on seeing the 4:30 showing, the clerk told us that he’d just had two 3:30 tickets open up…did we want them? Uh, yes please! So a little Snarkstress’ birthday miracle happened.  After tromping through a bathroom (apparently sans toilet paper) we hurried out across the courtyard to get in line for the exhibition.  I was determined to have fun, come hell or high water, and the only slight blow to my chipper mood was when the guide informed us there weren’t to be any pictures taken nor cellphones used for the duration of our visit.

Well poo, I thought. That’s no fun at all.

Of course, the exhibition itself was totally worth the price we paid to gain admission.  Over 200 props from the movies, including full set pieces, costumes, even creatures were all on display. I got to touch Snape’s robes. *tiny squee of awesome*  We meandered through the Gryffindor sleeping area, the Potions room, the different offices of each Defense Against The Dark Arts professors (yes, even Umbridge’s), pulled Mandrakes in the Herbology classroom, sailed through the Quidditch area, drifted into the forest (complete with Buck Beak AND Dragon AND giant spider), relaxed in Haggrid’s Hut, crept through the graveyard, and danced in the Main Hall, all before spilling out into Diagon Alley, where I got one of Hermione’s Time Lockets.

Here’s my only complaint, because honestly, the whole thing was massively spectacular: I know that the world of Potter is mostly for children. I’m a fan, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not my whole life. That said…if you have children and you want to take them into public? Please, for the love of Odin, keep an eye on them and ensure they at least have a tinge of manners.  I know kids will get excited and bouncy and that’s just fine. But after a few body slams from chitlins left to run wild, an elbow or two from others as they tried to jockey into a better position, with nary a word of rebuke from their parents…well…it’s moments like that that I remember why I tend to shy away from large gatherings.  It wasn’t just the children either! I seriously had a 6′ tall, mid-40’s dood practically knock me over to see something that HE COULD ALREADY SEE. *facepalm*

Aside from the above, it rocked.

And then we decided to go to dinner, which was, thankfully, closer than we’d anticipated to the area we were already in.  Pasta Freska. Oh. My. Gods.  I won’t say it was the most amazing food I’ve ever had? But it was damned close.  No menus, no hassle.  Declining wine (I had to drive and I don’t like wine much anyway), we were brought a fresh raspberry lemonade that was to die for. The chef came out and asked us what kinds of things we absolutely did NOT like and then created this “beautiful meal” that just melted me into a happy little puddle of culinary goo.  Seven courses, each one resplendent with rustic Italian simplicity, each one better than the one before.  Eggplant, salad, spaghetti, stuffed chicken, mussels, salmon, and dessert. Words cannot express how fantastic this was.

In the spirit of gastronomic adventure, both Dragon and I tried something we’d never tried before: mussels. Steamed. And practically drenched in a sweet cream sauce. They were incredible.  This from the woman who swore up and down she’d never eat one.  And, too, even my picky Dragon ate them and everything else set down in front of him! I was so proud of him!  We only traded once: he prefers white fish and I prefer salmon, so when we both got the opposite, we traded. BOTH were good.

Of course, I had to run out of the restaurant after dessert to make sure I pulled the car out before the parking garage closed, leaving Dragon to pay the bill like a manly man would, but even then…sublime.  A place we are most definitely going to visit again!

The end of my birthday resulted in heading home, looking at the lights along the way, and being oh-so-thankful to not only be living in this incredible city, but to have made it through another year in, more or less, once piece.  And with another year looming, just days away, I wish the same to all of you: Health, happiness, and love in 2011.

The Snarkstress *H*

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