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edgewaterLeave it to my dear friend D to turn FIFTY – THE BIG 5-0 – on the “end of the world” (December 21)!  And to pull together a fabulous celebration with friends in style!

And how fabulous was it to shut off the laptop, wrap up the work conference call (while on the road heading into Seattle) and just focus on FUN.  Normally this time of year is super quiet at work.  Most people are on vacation or working from home, checking messages very infrequently.  That’s not how it’s been for us at ALL.  We’ve got a big product launch next month and we’ve been on an intense schedule since mid November.  Man, it’s been crazy like this for over a month!  As much as I love my team and what we’re doing, I’m ready for a break!

I woke up Friday morning with a huge smile on my face.  It’s the end of the world…and we’re still here!  One weird thing:  I have a small clock in my master vanity with a swinging pendulum.  The pendulum had completely stopped swinging overnight.  But the clock was still ticking and keeping time perfectly.  Hmmm!!  I know it’s the energy of the Solstice.  It’s that solid, THUD-like energy you can feel on that day if you breathe really deeply. Breathe through the darkness.  The stillness.  I felt it for sure.  It’s those deep rhythms of the changing seasons.  And it almost feels like a slightly heavier gravity pull.

It could not have been a more glorious solstice. As I was heading over the bridge into Seattle, I saw the beautiful colors of the early sunset and the sky was glowing.  THIS is the promise…the promise of more light ahead – brighter days.  And what a bonus it wasn’t raining!

First stop:  the famous Edgewater Hotel.  Right smack on Elliott Bay.  Yep, the one where you can fish right out of your window.  Where the Beatles stayed back in the day.  This is THE only waterfront hotel in Seattle…and it’s a must-visit the next time you are here.  It’s very lodge-y feeling and cozy. River rock decor everywhere.  Warm, luxurious and unpretentious.  Did you know this hotel was built in 1962 in anticipation of the Worlds Fair? Hey, the same year D was born, ha.

We checked into our rooms, had a cocktail toast and the 10 of us got whisked off to Cuoco for dinner.  Any Tom Douglas restaurant is a major hit in my book, and I couldn’t wait to try this one!  It’s delicious northern Italian cuisine.  The mezzaluna pasta with butternut squash is heaven on a plate.  Savory but light.  And this is where the Ketel One martinis started flowing.

cakeOne of D’s friends made her birthday cake from scratch.  4-layer red velvet decorated with fresh roses.  Exquisite!  And the shiny thing next to it?  That’s the Long Lei….a chain of 44 chocolate kisses and 6 condoms.  I think everyone got to wear the Long Lei at some point throughout the evening.  It was long enough for two people to wear it at the same time!

We headed back to the Edgewater and up to the Six Seven lounge.  This is another part of your must-do-in-Seattle list.  The views of the water, the ferry boats and looking back at the city are stunning.  So is the food and service.  A few more friends joined us, and I vaguely remember heading back to the room a couple of times for a Veuve Clicquot toast, loudly cheering as we popped the champagne corks right out the window.  By the time the evening was over it was 3:00am and we were all back in D’s room laughing so hard. 

Most of this group goes back to high school years or earlier.  So you can imagine the hilarious stories and memories flying around.  I loved it.  I feel very blessed and fortunate to know D and to get to know her friends in the process as well.   I’m the new kid to this circle, having only known her a little over a year! 

The Motrin worked!  I crawled out of bed the next morning with no hangover.  Just no voice.  Although while we were eating breakfast back in D’s room, I casually asked my roommate P if I snored.  She said I sure did and she had to put in her earplugs!  Oh my God!  I laughed but felt a little mortified too.  Do I really snore all the time?  No, it couldn’t be…it’s gotta be the martinis and champagne.