Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Best. Birthday. Ever.

Playing in the background: Joan, messing with tarts. No, that's not as naughty as it sounds (alas).

June 12 quote from the Zen calendar: "Surely joy is the condition of life." --Henry David Thoreau

Holy cow, I'm 40. Still not sure how that happened. I could swear that just a few days ago I was 13. We finished the records project yesterday, so I had my birthday off work. This is good. Everybody should get their birthday off work. I didn't have to get up early, but I did because there were presents involved. Not many, this being a tough year on everybody, but more than enough to make me feel loved. Here's the List o'Loot:

Books: Madness by Marya Hornbacher (a stunner; I fell into it yesterday and couldn't get back out) and Mindful Eating by Jan Chozen-Bays, both from Joan.

Gift certificate for Fire Mountain Gems from my sister. Whoo hoo!

A Thor's Hammer pendant, also from Joan, in celebration of The Book Publication (and there's still time to get your copy! See above.)

Tarts from Joan and Tammy and Tracy. I don't eat cake anymore so that's going to be the Birthday Treat at dinner tonight.

Somebody, probably Tammy and Tracy, renewed my subscription to Tricycle Magazine.

And here's the topper, the clincher, the Ultimate Maximum Present. My mom must have been planning this for years, literally. She sent me a scrapbook of pictures and mementi from my first forty years on the planet. It's bound in kid leather that must have cost a bloody fortune, and it's full of pictures of me doing all the stuff I love to do. Including swimming and wearing long strings of beads (circa 1974 - I wonder if they are love beads.) It goes from roughly birth through our wedding last July. (Yeah, okay, it was technically our third wedding, is it our fault California can't get its story straight?) What's amazing is that you can look at all these pictures of me from childhood and say, "Now there's a solid little kid." I always thought I was hugely fat. But I wasn't, really. Just of a size and obviously muscular. Quite amazing. There's also a pic of me in a wild hot pink dress for a ballet recital, and since that's one of my favorite colors to this day, it definitely left an impression.

And I got scads of cards and emails from all over the planet. Somebody (Joan, maybe?) went to a lot of trouble to let people know when my birthday was, and that it was a Big One (with a zero after it). There's evidently a gathering this evening in my honor, for which I should go shower and change shortly. But first, here's How I Spent My Birthday, by Jen.

I slept late, as I believe I mentioned. Then I headed out to L. Ron Hubbard, er, Lake Ray Hubbard in Rockwall for an open water swimming lesson with my coach. Open water swimming, in case you did not know this, is a whole different ball of wax from swimming in a pool. Currents and winds and stuff. Fish. Unexpected floating corpses (okay, not that day). My coach followed me in her kayak out to the bouy, which I couldn't really see ("Just swim that way," she said), and we did a little tour de bouys and then came back into shore and then went out and back again. The whole thing took an hour and fifteen minutes and I was more tired than I can ever remember being after a swim. It was windy and choppy and I was really glad the kayak was there because I might have had to grab onto it at some point. I didn't. The coach said I did a great job for my first time out. I'm hoping to enter this open water swim that's next Sunday, and this was kind of a test run. I think I passed.

So, I was tired and muddy and I felt fantastic. I stopped at Starbuck's on the way back and then went home and took a shower. I had mud in places I didn't know I had places. The water in this lake is so murky that when you hold your arm out, you can only see about to your elbow. Your fingers are invisible. After lunch a nap was definitely in order, and I was joined by not one, not two, but all three cats (okay, Caesar kept an eye on me from across the room).

It was Friday, so of course we had to take in a Friday Fright. A Haunting in Connecticut at the dollar theater. I'll give this one somewhere between a GOOD and a GREAT (that is, two to three stars). It could have been a lot scarier but it had a good heart. If you've seen the special on the Discovery Channel, you know this family moved into a former funeral home made over into a rental house, where all manner of strange things started happening to them and especially to their oldest son, who was sick with cancer. The movie took that and ran with it, brought in another story line about a dead kid from a previous century, a possible past life thing, an old Russian Orthodox priest (or maybe he was Romanian?) and, um, bodies that were mysteriously missing from the local cemetery. Automatic one star deduction for too many horror-movie shots obviously missed. Like, you know, the girl's fixing her hair in the mirror and she reaches down to get something and while her face isn't in the mirror you see Something Really Scary. They had five or six chances on that shot and didn't nail a one. I grudgingly admit the Spooky Reflection in the Turned Off TV Set was pretty good, though. And of course there were Milk-Duds. There are always Milk-Duds.

I got home just before Joan and we stuck a pizza in the oven. Then Tammy and Tracy came over to make tarts, as I mentioned. I worked on Tammy's necklace for her brother's wedding and Tracy and Joan dished about -- whatever they dish about, algebra, torture, the finer points of blackberry glaze. There was an episode of House on, which was a rerun, but I love House no matter what he's up to. And then I fell into bed, exhausted, about eleven.

A birthday full of all my favorite things. It just don't get no better than that. Now, if you'll excuse me, I gotta knock off another chapter of Madness before I hop in the shower.


Barbara said...

Happy birthday! Sounds like a fantastic haul!

Jen said...

Indeed!! Nothing's a better haul than good friends and good food.