Saturday, October 22, 2011

Where R U? - Elsie's BDay Post could be a really bad pun related to my lack of blogging recently...

But really, it's what happens when 14 women go to San Francisco spend a significant amount of time texting "Where R U?"
  • Where R U now?
  • Where will you be?
  • Where have you been?
  • Where are you going?
And variations on THAT theme.

So...I've been a bad blogger recently, but really, part of the reason for my non-bloggyness (other than being crazy busy with teaching and my other various projects) is because last weekend's Nike Womens Marathon weekend was about MORE than running a half-marathon.

It was Elsie's surprise birthday weekend in honor of her XX birthday (she'd KILL me if I told which one, so I won't...let's just say it was a "special" that deserved some serious recognition!) Of course, she KNEW she was going to SF to run a half. She KNEW that Betty, Mik, Alberta and I were joining her. What she didn't know is that Momma, Wilma, Daisy, Clarence, Madge, Work friends (Cindy, Joan, & Sandy) were joining us.

Let me tell you...keeping THAT secret was no small was something that we started planning shortly after we "won"and got into the Nike Women's Lottery back in April. EPIC blog post about Elsie's BDay/Half-Marathon Weekend in the City, could also be titled...Herding heffers; Herding catsl It's really about the same thing...

By the way...this is going to be a long one (really? a long blog post from Alice? What a surprise!)
At Elsie's on our way to the far as we know, she has NO IDEA what we have planned
Of course I was lucky enough to be selected for the optional morning feel up.  Woo Hoo! 
So...other than the morning pat-down, feel up, the rest of the flight was relatively uneventful. We even were on the same flight as Irene and her sister Donna and some other SDTC peeps. Once we landed in San Francisco, we hopped on the BART to get to our hotel...which was just two blocks away from the start of the race. We stayed at a place called Hotel Palomar. I highly recommend it.

As I was standing on the BART, I thought for sure Elsie could see that I was texting Cindy (who had flown up with her crew the night before), letting her know how far away we were, how long it would be until we got off the BART, but Elsie remained oblivious to it all.

I really thought we'd blown it for sure as we got off the BART and walked toward our hotel. As we rounded the corner, Mik and I could see Cindy and her crew walking toward us. Suddenly Mik looked at me and physically turned Elsie around.

  • Mik: Alice...I need to go (quickly scanning the street, she spots the Virgin Records store sign and points) there.
  • Alice: Really? Why?
  • Mik: (looking at me for more help than THAT offerred) because...uh...because...Alex (her son) needs some, some
  • Alice: Music stuff?
  • Mik: Yeah...that's stuff
I LAME is that. MUSIC STUFF? ((shakes head)). Betty should have been with us. She is a MUCH better liar off the top of her head. Mik and I really suck at it. No matter. I guess it worked because even though Elsie was looking at us like we were a little loopy, she didn't say anything and by the time we turned around, Cindy and crew had ducked back into the hotel lobby. When we walked in, I could see Cindy hiding behind a luggage cart. Surprise #1 was up.
  • Cindy, Sandy & Joan: SURPRISE!!!!
  • Elsie: OMG...What are YOU doing here?
Apparently they'd been lying to her for weeks about sick aunts, vacations to the desert, and doctor's appointments...LOL.

Of course, we went to the room for Mimosas! I mean it was almost 11am at that point. Then Mik, Betty, Elsie and I headed off to the Nike Women's Marathon Expo

Outside the expo on Union Square...can we talk about the weather in SF that day...85 was gorgeous!
One word about the Nike Expo...and the whole Nike Women's Marathon experience...this is really an event that is organized around women ( offense dudes) organized by women. Everything is so darn organized (well...except the bag check...but more about that later), it's downright awewome. We walked in, picked up our bibs (timers were on the back of the extra shoe tag), and were out in several minutes.

Unlike other expos, there are only a handful of vendors...none of whom would be Nike business competitors, so unless you like Nike products, it's not the expo for you.

After that, we walked across the street to the Nike store.
The sign above NikeTown in Union Square...Team in Training is a MAJOR sponsor/partner.
Elsie's name on the wall
Betty pointing at her name
Mik's name was near the ground
And yours truly
By the was REALLY WARM in San Elsie decided she needed some flipflops. Luckily the Nike Store had some...that were really squishy. 

Yes...we are 12. The sticker on all the shoes read "Squeeze Me" and because we are such good friends, we let Elsie walk around Union Square with one on her back.
Lunch at the top of the Hyatt...Donna, Irene, Me, Betty, Joan, Cindy, Sandy, Mik and Elsie
Outside the Hyatt was what I'd call a paparazzi we posed (Charlie's Angel style for Betty)
I don't even know what's going on here...
But wait...there were more surprises coming. One of the reason the Hotel Palomar was such an excellent hotel was the hosted wine-bar happy hour. Our next stop. 

It was really dark in the wine bar, so my pix stink...but they did give us our first opportunity to sing Happy Birthday to Elsie

Finally...we went back to our rooms to get ready for dinner...Elsie's birthday dinner. I was still expecting about 10 more people to show up...6 more heffers and a couple of Elsie's brothers who live in the bay area. As we were getting ready, the herd started texting Betty and I funny one-liners from THEIR flights up to San Francisco...and while were were trying really hard to NOT laugh at texts and NOT comment on them in front of Elsie, we would occassionally slip up and...

Betty modeling the bed blanket as a reasonable shawl 
STILL SHE DID NOT NOTICE (although, at this point, I think she must know SOMETHING IS BEING PLANNING)

Finally... Momma, Daisy, and Wilma were in the hotel and I couldn't take the texting and fibbing any longer. 
SURPRISE!!!! Daisy, Momma, and Wilma... just randomly geting off an elevator in the Hotel Palomar
SIGH! We had a few more surprises coming...but by then, I think she knew what was going on...the Herd had arrived in SF to celebrate.

We walked over to John's Grill (a landmark...) for dinner where we were joined by Clarence and Madge and Alberta (who ended up driving to LA and flew out of there). (WHEW). We had a lovely table on the second floor.

Meanwhile, I'd been trying to get in touch with Elsie's brothers, who I'd emailed earlier in the week, but all I had was a work number for one of them.  We waited awhile, had some cocktails and wine before dinner, and I was getting worried that they weren't showing up when suddenly the waiter started pouring champagne.
  • Me: Who ordered the champagne? (I figured it was Elsie's work friends)
  • Waiter: Someone downstairs
So Elsie, Betty and I walked downstairs to find out who had sent up enough champagne for 14 women.
Elsie with brothers Adam, Bill and nephew Nick...everyone now ...AWWWWW! 
Yeah...I started tearing up too. about 9:00, we ordered dinner. Thank GAWD the race wasn't the next day and we had a whole day to recover...sorta...

OK...I thought I'd get the whole weekend down in one post...but that really seems like a good place to end this one, doesn't it.

Don't worry. There was a half-marry. We all ran it. It's a good story too. I'll get to it eventually, but until then. 

Happy Birthday one of my greatest inspirations! And the smartest dumb blond I know. I love ya girl!


  1. I love how you leave out the age because you'd get in trouble, but then you take a picture of the card which gives the age!!!

    Looks like a great trip...can't wait to hear about the race!

  2. That sort of thing is SO MUCH FUN! We did it to Linda's mom once, coming out for a surprise Thanksgiving dinner. Best T dinner ever.

  3. Elsie- I had a blast! You even placed in the half-marry. Your family and friends are a blast and we all love you so much!

    Alice - I love that you have documented such a special part of our lives.

  4. I've stayed at that hotel. It kicks ass at happy hour, doesn't it?! Actually, you all looked happy every hour. And Happy Birthday to Elsie. I hope I look that good in 10 years.

  5. i really love that race, but seriously getting to run it with such amazing friends would be out of this world. I hope I get that chance someday!

  6. Send Elsie my belated birthday wishes!