The Goddess of 5th Avenue
Buddha was born in 623 B.C. My friend Carole Simone was born in October, and she wrote a book about Quan Yin called The Goddess of 5th Avenue. We have been friends for over 20 years, so to celebrate her decade birthday I was happy to organize a Quan Yin themed party. In Buddhism, Quan Yin is the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion, and so is Simone. It was her party, yet she brought party favors for us.
Simone is a spiritual catalyst and intuitive who practices love and compassion in her daily life. Her favorite color is turquoise and she loves vegetarian food, so I chose Green’s Restaurant and turquoise blue Buddhas which lined the table from one end to another. I also used the cover of her book to serve as the menu card.
E-vite was the manner of invitation as I didn’t know any of her friends home addresses. In my book, Simone is a 10, so the headline read: “On a scale of 1 to 10 Simone is a 70.” Forgive me for mentioning the number, but as President Lincoln said, “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count; it’s the life in your years.”
I asked all guests to dress in her favorite things: bright colors such as turquoise and jade; Quan Yin and Buddha’s, or Astro chic because of Simone’s vocation. The table decor and party favors were Chinese takeout holders with fortune cookies from her favorite Persian poet Rumi (“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right during there is a field. I’ll meet you there…”) which is also her voicemail recording. Many years ago I made a needlepoint pillow of this saying for her, so clearly this is her nature. For the seating I needed Simone’s help. The last thing I wanted was for her guests to be incompatible. Even the Tarot cards scattered all over the table had meaning.
We giggled the afternoon away and even her birthday gifts reflected her life. My favorite find: a Namaste Bitches Yoga Calendar. Before she blew out the candles on her bread pudding, her longtime friend wrote a poem in her honor, and I concluded the party with one of my signature candy grams. Nothing but sweets for my sweet friend.
Nothing Is By Accident
Catherine Bigelow, Society Columnist for San Francisco Chronicle was nice enough to cover the luncheon in her weekly column. One unplanned gift was actor Tim Robbins who hap seated next to our table. I was at a loss of words when I met the Shawshank actor, but I mustered up enough courage to ask him if he would mind taking a photo with the birthday girl. It was a special memory for Simone and all of us who love Tim’s work. P.S. They were born just days apart!