Yesterday may have been the best day ever.

For two months now, I've been thinking about, planning, and trying to coordinate a little something for my birthday. You know, my birthday that was at the beginning of October. Let us just say that was not a good week (for reasons mostly unrelated to the birthday itself) and move on. In any case, I didn't do anything to mark the occasion. Meanwhile, I've added a new future job to the list of celebration-worthy events, and I also just plain needed a break. As it happens, earlier this fall my beloved Julie opened a spa down the street from her hair salon. Weeks ago I suggested to her that I could have a party of sorts there, just spend the afternoon with a bunch of friends being pampered in various girly ways. She thought it was a fantastic idea, and offered to provide wine and cheese for the duration.

You know what? It was a fantastic idea. Pinning down a suitable date was a bit of an ordeal, and there were people I wished could come along who had to stay home (but I'd like to do this again before I leave, so all hope is not yet abandoned). It was definitely worth the effort, though. I now have adorably sparkly purple finger and toenails, and am reaping the benefits of my first-ever 90-minute professional massage. Wow. That was, in a word, awesome--and I mean that in the real sense of the word. Worthy of awe. The therapist told me it would take numerous regular treatments to rid me of all the accumulated tension in my neck and shoulders and lower back. Sadly, that's just not in my budget for the foreseeable, um, ever. (Choose an academic career, kiddies: all of the stress and half the money of other demanding professions!) Still, even once was definitely a good investment of time and money. I was kneaded and rubbed and oiled and stretched into a quivering jelly of well-being.

After that, my extremities were pruned, clipped, tweezed, massaged (again), scrubbed, soaked, masqued, and prettified. Of course, I managed to be my usual spaztastic self, and plop my freshly-polished feet into the tub of water where I'd previously soaked them. That would have been bad enough, but then I decided that the best solution for the unpleasant squelching of my wet feet in the spa thongs was to remove the latter and wipe the former on a towel, thereby messing up my pedicure and necessitating a repair. (The wine-cheese ratio may have been tipping a little too far in the wrong direction at that point.) I was suitably chastened and behaved much better after that incident. For example, I was not the one who dropped her cell phone into the foot-soaking water. Ahem.

Meanwhile, the four of us spent all afternoon being pampered, chatting and laughing with each other and with the spa staff. Between facials, massages, manicures and pedicures, by the time we left we were all glowing and relaxed. We all needed it.

The pleasure train continued with some delicious crepes and more talking and laughing. Then Amanda came home with me for a while to admire my sadly neglected knitting stash and court Fred, who showed off her table dancing skillz and even deigned to let Amanda both pet and play with her. Then Amanda headed back to New Jersey and I tumbled into bed to sleep the slumber of the utterly indulgent.

It's a good life.