I've had the feeling for the last few weeks that this birthday would be the best birthday in recent memory. I've never been one to make a big deal out of my birthday, hoping that, by letting things happen more or less as they will, magic would naturally happen. But I've realized more and more in the last year that good things don't really happen to those who wait, but rather to those who take charge of their own lives. It may take some time, but things don't happen if they haven't been set up to happen. A birthday is a rather trivial application of this philosophy, but one has to start somewhere.
All of this was borne out of great disappointment last year. Let it be known---cooking dinner for a large group of acquaintances on one's birthday is never a recipe for a good day. So this year we kept it much simpler yet better planned. First we went downtown, had lunch at Cafe Iberico (I've been missing the pulpo a la plancha) and stopped by the MCA for the free day. Despite living here for two years now, we've only ever been to the Art Institute and no other museums, so I've been curious. Apart from a few pieces and the little mirror maze you see above, we thought it was immensely stupid, but it's kinda fun just to walk through a museum sometimes.
The real celebration was in the evening. Jeffrey made us delicious bentos with unagi and saikyo-yaki and we rushed down to the lake to eat dinner on the pier at Hollywood beach as the sun went down. The sun had scorched us all day downtown, but, as usual, the lake sent us the perfect breeze to cool things down. As you can see, it was a magical night.