Before March gets away from me I need to wrap up the birthday celebration for number four-three. It wasn’t quite the month-long event that it usually is, and little illnesses have been kicking my lobster (as the last boy likes to say), but I did manage to partake in a few freebies and I did receive some really fun gifts. So, for posterity’s sake, here’s the rundown…
I didn’t fully recover from the worst of this month’s sickness until well after my actual birthday of March 3rd but I did, at least, feel enough better on that day to get out of bed and get into the shower. MUCH NEEDED. I was gross from hair to toes, so I spent several hours of the birthday morning just inching around my flat to regain strength and wash away the grimy sick feeling. I was still too nauseous to actually eat anything, so I just made a giant cup of hot tea with a generous dose of honey to calm my coughing fits and then accompanied that with a banana. Yep, the good ole BRAT diet was still in effect. Just that short time of moving around in the morning pretty much did me in, so I spent the remainder of my birthday doing one of my all-time favorite chill-out activities: classic movies. Every year I record a slew of films during Turner Classic’s “31 Days of Oscar” and then I spend the following month trying to watch as many as possible. Being down and out on my birthday was the perfect excuse to knock a few titles off the DVR. Best of all, I had a couple of Paul Newman films in the list that I’d never actually seen before! Let’s face it: there’s pretty much no better gift than Paul Newman, is there? [Or Redford. Him too.] I had hoped to sneak in a couple more flicks on that day but by early evening I was just too weak to stay up, so I headed back to bed for another extra-long round of sleep. I did manage to get out on the following day, Sunday, to meet my parents for lunch and to pick up a couple of my birthday freebies, and I made a little trip to Target as well to use a gift card, but that little adventure proved too much too soon and it took another couple days to regain any strength I’d gathered over the weekend. Interestingly, as my body was getting better, my voice took a downward spiral until I had complete laryngitis! Still, slowly but surely, the first week of 43 allowed me to make use of some fun little freebies and to regain enough strength to begin returning to life (such as it is these days).
I made my first true birthday outing on Friday the 9th. This was the last day of school before the kids’ Spring Break and I had an ice cream freebie that was due to expire that same day, so I picked up the last boy from his school (getting him released early, much to his surprise!) and together we had a couple hours of celebration. Ice cream just wasn’t something I could really tolerate yet, so I took the Pickle to Ben & Jerry’s and let him use my freebie. He’d not been there often so he took some time to taste a few of the flavors, including my favorite Cherry Garcia, but in the end he returned to an old standby – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. From there we crossed the shopping center to Starbucks to redeem the freebie that I most needed this year: piping hot Caramel Apple Spice cider with a bit of whipped cream to smooth it out. The boy and I sat in Starbucks for a long while and just enjoyed the time out with the sweet treats. And that’s when I truly felt I was finally celebrating my birthday.
There’s a lot to be said for being single, and I really don’t ever feel lonely, so birthdays on my own are actually enjoyable. But after being so out of touch and so ill this year, I really did find great comfort in being with family and getting out of my own space. I love being alone as much as I am, but sometimes you just need to be reminded of the world outside.
The rest of this month has brought fun little surprises and more freebies that just feel like extra little gifts for my birthday. I’ve still not felt well more than 20% of the time, but there have been enough good moments to feel that I did get to celebrate my birth month. I suppose that’s more than many people in their forties ever do anyway. But I love having a month that is all about me, and I don’t mind getting older. Despite my body’s rebellion I still feel like a 21-year-old looking for whatever is coming down the road. And I cherish that as a gift from God. Getting to spend this month with family and celebrate (long-distance) with my best good friend reminds me how blessed I am and how exciting it is to be given another year of life. That’s not a bad way to spend any birthday! So let me just say, thanks so much, you guys! For a month that could’ve gone to the dogs, it really did turn out to be a pretty good birthday celebration. Love you all!
blogging with Paul Newman... Watching him is a good way to spend any birthday!
birthday breakfast: hot tea with honey + a little banana on the side
OMG, it's Batman! Adam West (for about a minute) in 'The Young Philadelphians'
my birthday face, attempting to refresh from the week of grimy sickness
a few of my birthday freebies that were used this year (plus a Target card reward that came at exactly the right time)
Maybe my favorite freebie meal this year, just for the sheer comfort factor: chicken pesto panini with red beans & rice (from Jason's Deli) plus a side of potato salad (from McAlister's)
My free Sacher Torte from La Madeleine didn't taste right this year – perhaps because my taste buds had not yet returned to normal – so I went out later in the month for a good piece of chocolate cake. It's just not my birthday without chocolate cake!
My parents surprised me with my very own box of Girl Scout cookies... in the only flavor I actually like. I'm still savoring these little darlin's. You just can't get these on any old day!
Spinning the (in)decision wheel at Ben & Jerry's, the Pickle actually landed on the same flavor he had already chosen. Serendipitous!
much-needed hot apple cider (my throat was so happy!) and a piece of berry-licious coffee cake, just for the treat of it. See how it's sitting inside that little brown bag? I managed to hide the entire piece from the Dyl Pickle until I had only one bite left. His eyes grew quite large when he saw that I'd been eating cake and realized he'd missed the whole thing. Ha!
My birthday buddy! Everywhere we went, the Pickle rushed ahead to open my car door before getting into the back seat. I finally made him pause long enough to capture the sweet gesture.
Back in December I received my first birthday gift: the Project Life Core Kit which I'd mentioned over and over until my parents finally asked if I'd like to just order it immediately. Why yes, yes I would! You'll see more of this project as the year progresses.
My sister's family gave me this great shopping bag (that could not scream my name any louder!) and filled it with a couple of crafting tools I recently mentioned wanting: super-sharp craft scissors with teflon coating and a large cutting mat that will provide a bigger surface for my projects than the little 6-inch board I've been using. I think this bag was the best of the three items, though. I'm a sucker for a fun bag!
Lastly, my best good friend, Cerella, capped off the month with a glorious box of goodies that were all themed toward Old World maps and the creative journey. She'd been gathering gifts for this box well over a year's time, and it was just very good timing that she was able to wrap it up during my birth month. It was a fantastic way to cap off this year's celebration!
Every single thing is very personal to me, from the great little butterfly ornaments and the scrapbook with corresponding kit to the amazing clock and that little container with Mona Lisa pictured on it. That little item? Purchased at the Louvre in Paris. Couldn't love it more!
The nifty box at the top of this photo is a pretty cool story in itself: I've been looking for a large box to place on my coffee table and haven't found just what I wanted. This one, with its fun map design, perfectly fits with the other items on the table. I couldn't have chosen a more perfect box! As for the little supplies at the bottom, those just hit my great love of office supplies and things brought to us by the color green. But the book on the right is the real treasure. According to Cerella, she thought me the perfect recipient, one who would draw as much from its pages as she did. Love that!
See what I mean about the box being a perfect fit for my coffee table? The other little rounded box and the book beneath it were previous gifts and all feature the Old World theme. It's something I've loved for many years and it just makes me so happy to have such gifts on display, especially when it looks like I planned it all myself. Just awesome!
Finally, next to that clock I would've purchased for myself had I found it (and above the little jar of cake pops.. yum!), is a book about story mapping. What makes this so cool is that I've been lamenting the fact that I began writing a story (for Cerella!) over 18 months ago and have made very little progress on it. I've been frustrated with not being able to write with the ease that I once could. Bless her, she's listened to me fret for far too long and during a recent discussion she mentioned how valuable mapping can be for story-writing. I've never done it before, so this little gem is exactly what I needed. That's what makes Cerella my best good friend – she knows those things that I need, just when I need them. (*You're* the best gift, girl!)
You know what else? Cerella's gifts were even wrapped in awesomeness, and I saved every single piece of this cool tissue paper. Some things are just too good to recycle... just yet. And now, whenever I use it for other gifts, I'll always think of this fun birthday box and the love that came with it. Best! Ever!