For those of you who don't know us, my husband Matt and I share a birthday. Our first date was actually on our birthday, when we went out with college friends to take advantage of a "free birthday dinner" promotion at Denny's 14 years ago. I recall the exact shade of green in Matt's face after he ate an enormous dinner despite the fact that he'd already had a fair amount of cake in his dorm room earlier. He actually had to go outside for fresh air. I can't say that I was impressed by this per se, but then again he was only 20. Such things are to be expected during those years, particularly when free food is on offer. I gladly went out with him again but we steered clear of Denny's - which, for some reason, discontinued that promotion. Wonder why.
Part of what was remarkable to me today was that all these years later, there was a strong emphasis on fun. Our gifts were media-related and very much humor-related. For example, we have recently gotten hooked on the show "Arrested Development" and are tearing our way through each season on Netflix. Thanks to Matt, I now own the complete series on DVD - there are very few things I could watch over and over but this is one of them. We also now own both seasons of "The Ali G Show" and - get this! - a 14-hour audio collection of David Sedaris reading from *all* of his books, thanks to my in-laws. I could just die and go to heaven right now. The strange part is, Matt and I have absolutely no history of watching TV. For most of our years together, the TV has either been off or in a closet. We still don't have cable and don't intend to get it. But something about this cold winter in a new city has brought us to the couch with a big warm blanket in the evenings, and we've had such great times laughing together over these shows, and find ourselves giggling about them at odd times during the day, too. So it's very unexpected but a whole lot of fun to have this influx of comedy all of a sudden. And it's a good reminder to stay open to change.
I got so much birthday love from every direction today. Of course, it started with Matt and the kids (who get very excited about the double birthday fun), but it seemed to go on all day. I got so many lovely phone calls (including two from good friends who actually sang to me) from all over the US and even Vienna. I had the pleasure of talking to my mom, my aunt, and my cousin, all of whom are in the Bay Area, during the course of the day. I was tracked down by a family I used to babysit for back when I was in high school - they never miss my birthday, and I haven't seen them in almost 20 years. Cards, emails and text messages came from all directions. Our friends (and now neighbors) Becky, Aaron, and little Anya brought over homemade cake so we could have a little party, and then Becky came back when the boys were in bed and babysat so that we could go out for a late dinner at Reza's. Yum.
While there was silly fun and lots of love and good wishes, what perhaps accounted for an equal third of my joy was the time I spent on my own today. What's that? A whole day on my own? After spending my spring "break" (a term I used very loosely last week) "hoeing out" closets, going to meetings (yes, work meetings), staying up past midnight getting taxes and other business work done, and unpacking boxes at home, I was feeling like I'd really cheated myself out of a break. So yes, time for me: A haircut. A pedicure. Okay, and a manicure too because when I saw the red toenails I was suddenly inspired to have fingernails that color, despite the fact that it's tremendously impractical and even a little scary-looking. I debated for a while and decided that if you can't have impractical fingernails on your birthday, when can you? And then with the new short haircut and red fingernails I suddenly felt my outfit had become quite frumpy and decided to go buy some pants. I even lingered over lunch on my own and read a junky novel just for fun.
It was heavenly, that's all I can say.
It was heavenly, that's all I can say.