Today is my dear cousin Erins birthday.
I have to point out that Erin is more than "just" my cousin. We grew up together, taking summer trips to Disneyland with our grandparents, building forts in our grandparents backyard, being given baths together in grandmas kitchen sink.
Erin is more than just a cousin to me, shes like my siter, and shes my best friend.
For the past few months, Erins been going through some rough times - nothing I'm going to elaborate on here in respect to her privacy - but it has not been the best months of her life. Today is her birthday, and with her birthday coming up I felt that she deserved an extra special celebration.
A little over a month ago, she and I were commiserating over dinner and it got brought up that she'd like to attend horse races sometime. With her birthday approaching, I decided that we would celebrate with her friends at the Sacramento Harness Races. To make it a more festive occaision, "Derby Dress" would be encouraged.
Erin and I in our Derby attire:
Saturday afternoon we met up with friends at the pub, then took a couple of taxis over to Cal Expo for the races.
We had a fabulous time. With a group of close to 25, all in various attire, and a handful in some outrageous hate, we drew a little bit of attention to ourselves. For the 4th race, Erins birthday was announced and we rode in the pace car:
You can't tell, but we are in the car there on the left and are being watched by some of our friends lined up at the gate.
Riding in the pace cars was great, and it was reassuring when the driver and another guy who sat in the back watching advised us that the jockeys are not allowed to whip the horses at any time and the SPCA has a box from which they watch every single race to ensure that the horses are treated humanely.
At the end of the 7th race, our entire group was taken out to the finish line for a photo with the winning horse:
Then 5 of use were taken up on the roof to the announcers box:
Afterwards, we headed back to the pub for further festivities and cake that I'd made the night before:
Happy Birthday Erin, I LOVE YOU!