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Birthday Treasure Hunt! July 7, 2009

I've had a great weekend. First off, it was my birthday! Last year's birthday was so close to Mom's death and I was out of town for work and it just sucked. I was worried that last year broke all my future birthdays, but I am happy to report my birthday mojo is back.


(Have I mentioned I LOVE BIRTHDAYS? Everyone gets to be really special for a whole day -- or a week if you're doing it right -- and everyone deserves that.)

Lala started things off Saturday night by having the house full of things I love: sweet apricots, orange tulips, buffalo mozzarella, fresh bread and more cheese (chevre), and prosecco. And she vacuumed. That's love, people.

The next day I had artichokes from the garden and a caprese for my birthday because I could and IT WAS SO GOOD.

Then to the Big Scavenger Hunt! Sisters Bethany and Christy went ALL out making it for me. It was so damn cool. A run down of how it went:

They put up a webpage that they sent with the Evite which had  a picture of a mural and a google map with no identifiers. I didn't know the mural, but I know Lake Merritt, so I was right on time for the magnificent picnic.


After we all stuffed ourselves silly and directed the people who were lost to our blankets, they handed out a knitting puzzle, one in which we finally figured out that the YOs stood for letters, which directed to us a cafe down the street.

I loved this one: It was a flier on a window that was advertising lessons for Sexy Knitting (I was sad none of the little slips of paper at the bottom hadn't been torn off). There was a url of a youtube video on it. How freaking clever is that? RachelO's iPhone to the rescue: The video led us to the library across the street which was closed, but in a pile of donated books I found a copy of How to Knit a Love Song (they'd made the cover and wrapped it around a Harry Potter book).

Inside the book was a picture of this mural:


If you click to make it big, you see that in chalk is written Smith 3339. Didn't take us long to figure out that it meant Smitty's, a bar down the way, at 3339 Grand St. Yay! Break time!

But no rest for the wicked. Bethany had knitted me the most awesome scarf of the alphabet, the letters in different colors (will show photo when she's woven in the ends, still not quite done). The scarf was the decoder for the next clue which the bartender gave us (after giving us a nice G&T). Using the colors of the letters, we worked out the clue which led us down the street 45 paces and up three steps to find this:


Ooh! Gelato at Michael Mischer down the street. There we found some needles:


After a bunch of puzzling, Bethany finally had to give us this one: the Kingsman Lucky Lounge, down the street.


Celia, Maia, Nate, and Sara working out the next clue (which was a bracelet of row counters acting as a decoder ring -- that one was AWESOME but too convoluted to explain. We cracked it, though!).



The clue there led us down the block to Walden Pond Books, where in the knitting section we found:


No, Thoreau didn't write a knitting book (it was funny that several people checked the section without noticing this). Inside was a photo of another mural:


Me with the photo. That led us to the Grand Lake Theatre, where one guy nicely agreed to hold the clues, and the other douchebag later ripped them up and threw them out. Thanks, Grand Lake Theatre douche! You are now immortalized on The Blog! (But thanks, first guy who was nice.)

But that didn't matter! Bethany fished out the pieces of Sarah Palin and Ralph Nader charted for intarsia (HAHAHAHA) and figured out as a group that it was a clue for the Seranader lounge down the street. The clue there led us to another cafe, where I found a scarf with a sign that said Frog Me.


You really want me to frog it? Okay?


If you click for big, you can see me frogging away. See the blue yarn? And the boys in blue? Dude, I totally hemmed them in as if the yarn was police tape. They didn't say a word. Smart.

Down the road, the yarn ended:


At sushi!


How freaking GREAT is that? I had the best time. Thanks, sisters, and thank you to my guests who made my day fantastic (and to Maia for the photos!).

And yesterday I fixed our leaky faucets and started learning the fiddle. Today I'm off to take the dogs out and then to continue with the last day of my birthday weekend. But it's only a 3-day work week starting tomorrow, and then I'm on vacation, so this summer thing is working out way better than I thought it would. YAY!


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Wow - what a cool thing (and what a lot of work went into that!!). You go, birthday girl!

Second : WOW! You have some amazing friends and loved ones. This is so wonderful. Thank you for sharing your special day.

Happy Birthday! Looks like you had a great day. :)

My Gawd! That is the most fantastic birthday celebration ever! Hats off to the sisters. That is beyond freakin' awesome!

Happy Birthday, Rachael! I'm glad you are enjoying it.

That sounds like a fantastic birthday, and I must compliment you on your crazy-clever gal-pals. I am envious!

You are the luckiest woman! It was the bestest birthday party ever!!!

Happy Birthday!
Sounds like quite a riot.

You are obviously VERY LOVED! What a great day!!

pppssssttttt...it's birthday month! LOL
But I don't know if I could handle a moth of b-day celebrations like that! Wow, what great friends! Happy Birthday!

WOW! Your day sounded P.E.R.F.E.C.T.!! Your sisters did an awesome job.
I am so glad you had a great birthday - you deserved every minute of it.

OMG that is absolutely brilliant. What a thoughtful thing for them to do for you. That must have taken them ages to figure all that stuff out. You are so loved :)

Best Treasure Hunt EVAH! Happy b'day!

Happy Birthday, sweetiepie! That sounds like one hell of a day...I LOVE the frogging scarf past the police dudes. I especially love that it led to sushi. You got smaht friends, lady :-)

yay birthday girl! :)

That's an excellent birthday day! I spent mine at work and I'm not doing that again, ever. :)

That is absolutely the coolest birthday ever! Birthday mojo indeed. And awesome sisters. Happy birthday!

That is possibly the coolest birthday ever ... how fun :) (i am not crazy about celebrating my birthday however, i do use the occasion of my birthday *month* whenever i see something i want

What an awesome birthday celebration!
Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday, and WOW! My family has done this sort of treasure hunt off and on since I was a child (I remember Easter hunts the most clearly)... but nothing THIS elaborate! Tell your friends that they clearly rock :)

Insanely cool. Thanks for sharing your day with us!

Happy Birthday! Mine was the 29th. And nobody did ANYTHING as cool as what you got! Wow. What a fun birthday surprise! :-)

What fun! Happy Birthday!!

What a wonderful birthday and such clever/scheming friends and family!

Wow, what an awesome way to spend a birthday!
Happy Birthday (month) Rachel.

My mind is completely boggling. I sort of lost the thread half-way through. I'm glad you're smarter than I am.

I'm also glad it was an awesome day!

What an unbelievable Birthday celebration with your sisters and friends. They have set the standard so high I don't know how they can top it. Glad you had a great day. Wishing you many more "over the top" birthdays.

This weekend I'll get my pictures off my camera and post them where you can get at 'em! And last night I was listening to this David Rakoff essay, which was, appropriately, about a scavenger hunt (the title is "J.D.V., M.I.A."). If you can download it, it is very funny.

Happy Birthday!
Wow, I do not get scavenger hunt clues. I would still be sitting at the first one going "huh?". I might get the ice cream one, but then...I probably would have given up and gone to get ice cream on my own. I love ice cream.
I love birthdays too and I celebrate all week. I was born on Thanksgiving Day and I enjoy the whole holiday weekend and three days before and pretend it's all for me no matter what day my birthday actually falls on! My mom always baked me a pecan pie, not cake!

The frogging...LOL! Last week I heard a story on NPR about a guy who "lived" on an airplane for a few days. He found that if he put one end of a roll of toilet tissue in the can and unrolled the rest of it down the aisle and then had someone flush the toilet, the entire (unrolled) roll disappeared in three seconds.
The picture of your long trail of blue made me think of that story. Funny!

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.


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