Brian and I have the romance thing worked out. This is how it goes: One person plans Valentine’s Day and the other person plans our Anniversary. The person who does not plan gives the planner a gift. Usually, the destination of the event is also a secret.
For example, Brian planned Valentines Day this year, so I gave him a gift. In return, he did not tell me where he was taking me at all.
“OK, here is what I know,” I told a friend at work. ” I know it starts at two, we’re going to have a picnic before-hand, and it’s appropriate for me to wear a dress.”
“That could be ANYWHERE!” she said.
“I KNOW!!” I replied.
But, Brian’s track record for amazingness is pretty good. I bought him a pocket watch, made him a card, and tried to be patient.
He took me to Graystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. The gigantic house is surrounded by a maze of well-manicured gardens, although evidently they don’t let you do anything there. No Picnics, said a gigantic sign, and No Photos either. I took a photo of the no photos sign. Then, I turned my camera on “stealth mode” and took pictures of everything else.
We wandered the grounds for an hour or so, rambling around with the rambling pathways. We kept running into faces everywhere – on the walls spitting water, surrounding a fountain, sunk into the walls. We found our way down hill to a rusting greenhouse, and then climbed a winding brick pathway set into a vast, green lawn. At 1:30, we went to the front door of the house.
“Music In The Mansion, Viola and Piano Concert” said a sign out front.
“I know what we’re doing!!!” I said to Brian.
“Good job, Sherlock,” he replied, laughing. “There’s a gigantic sign. And also, you’re adorable.”
“Do we get to go in?!!” I said.
“Yes, the concert is in the living room.”
And the concert was wonderful, full of modern music that was beautiful and lyrical. I didn’t want it to end. They had tea and melt-in-your-mouth cookies afterward in the Card Room. Black and White marble floors reflected the three gigantic french doors leading out to a terrace that overlooked all of Los Angeles.
The park rangers offered a mini tour of the house, too. Turns out someone was murdered in the guest bedroom – bonus!!! The real tour is two hours, Brian and I will have to go back. Everything about that afternoon was wonderful.
That was my Valentine’s day. Did I mention that we really have this romantic thing down?