Monday, November 13, 2006

Birthday Weekend: Day 4 of 4 ...

I am happy. Truly happy.

I honestly can't remember a better birthday.

This portends good, good things for the coming year, I'm sure.

I awoke this morning with a smile on my face. "Happy birthday to me!" I said, lying in bed. The phone rang. It was mom.

"Can I ask a favor?" she said.

"Of course," I said. Mom has done so much for me over the past few days, I can hardly repay her.

"Could you come over here to open your present? It won't fit in my car."

"What the hell did you buy me?!" I asked, as if she was going to tell me.

And then I thought I might know: A couple months ago, we were shopping and I spied a painting I really liked. But no, I thought. It couldn't be that. That would be too much.

I told her to put on a pot of coffee and that I'd be by in a half hour.

I brushed my teeth, pulled on some slouchy clothes, decided against putting in my contacts, grabbed my coffee goo out of the fridge, and headed to my parents' house.

When I arrived at their house, I poured myself a cup of coffee and then sat in the living room before the most festively wrapped patchwork tissue-papered box, about 2 1/2-feet square, with a giant tissue-paper flower on the top. The envelope of the card tucked on top looked aged.

"I bought that card for you two years ago and hid it so well, I just found it," she said. Mom buys the best cards. This one is particularly sniffle-inducing: "The beauty within you ... brings joy to those around you. Have a wonderful birthday." Oh!

I tore into the box. Inside the box was another tissue-paper wrapped packaged, somewhat shaped like a pillow. Only it wasn't a pillow. It was a new down comforter. I'd been looking for one for my bed, and finally hijacked the one off the guest bed. But my new comforter is a king size for my queen-sized bed and super fluffy. I'm very pleased!

I drank more coffee in the kitchen as she and dad noshed on veggies and blue-cheese dip leftover from Saturday night's dinner. I was still too full from yesterday. Honestly, I'm eating twigs for the rest of the week.

We spent most of the day shopping (I changed and put in contacts; I didn't go out into the world looking like a total schlub). I spent my Best Buy gift card on Shawn Colvin and Brandi Carlile CDs (Brandi is on right now - very loud and very amazing; I love her) and jotted down a couple CD titles that I'll ask for for Christmas. We had lunch at Chili's (mom and I are addicted to the mashed potatoes there, and now dad is, too) because I was finally hungry. I found the sought-after fourth box of cards at the Hallmark at the mall. I bought fluted oval cookie cutters at a nearby kitchen store, in preparation for the holiday baking which will commence soon. (I made this year's cookie list on Saturday. I need to make a couple test batches of some new recipies, but I think this year's roster will end up being 13 or 14 varieties.) By the time we got to Walter E. Smithe and were looking at the rack of rugs, dad grabbed some couch and just waited.

Men - most men - do not like to shop.

Mom took dad home so he could rest while we continued our shopping day. We powered up at Starbucks. We checked out a new antique mall where I bought a copy of Larousse Gastronomique. Mom asked what I planned to do with it, and I said that I just thought that any self-respecting cook should have a copy for reference. And it was six bucks. It's 1,101 pages. Such a deal. And then mom decided that we needed to visit the local candy shop for some dark chocolate-covered raisins. Hell yeah!

I had decided this morning that I wanted take-out Chinese for dinner. So we headed to a place she'd never tried before. It was closed. So we headed to a Thai place. It was closed. So we headed to another Chinese place. It was closed. Clearly, any Asian cuisine is off the table on a Monday.

We ended up going to her house to collect my dad and went to a restaurant they used to frequent where mom likes the broiled lake perch they make for her special and dad opted for a porterhouse steak. It's one of those time-warp restaurants where you get little dishes of salads and a bread basket and soup and salad and your entree with your choice of potato. Who can eat all that food? My father, apparently.

I came home to birthday greetings in many forms: e-mails, voicemails, IMs, cards in my mailbox. One e-mail was from a guy who wrote to me the last time I was on Match. I'd let our communications lapse in my haste to get away from that site once and for all. But I liked Barry. I'd kept his e-mails, and it's fun that he got in touch again. Another e-mail was from Dave, who's putting in a late night on a show that's screening tomorrow, but was writing with birthday wishes as my day winds down. He included the most adorable picture of his new toddler dog, Randolph (I have to include it here; it's too priceless) with the message, "This little guy says 'Hey.' " I totally melted. Can you *stand* that face? And the jagged little tufts of hair sticking up from his head? And the perspective of the shot, big, sweet face with a little body tucked underneath?

So I called Dave to chat briefly. If he's working late, he needs to be working, but I felt the need to talk to him for a moment on this, my best birthday ever. Eventually, he sighed and said, "Well, I should work, Beth, cuz I could go on with you all night." Don't you love friends like that? The kind you can talk to for hours? One of my favorite things about Dave is that no matter how long we're together, when it comes time to say goodbye, we always find 10 other things we just have to talk about right that minute. Goodbyes with him take half an hour.

I was born at night. As we were driving to dinner, mom was reminding me of my birth "stats": 8 pounds, 2 1/2 ounces, 20 1/2 inches long. "You did not want to come out," she said.


"No, he broke my water and you still weren't coming out. So he induced me, and an hour later, out you came."

"Huh," I said. "I was lazy even then."


Blogger OneMan said...

One question
69 or 70 (trying to figure out if you are 3 weeks younger for 49 weeks younger)

9:51 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

1969. I've always been pleased that I was born in the '60s, even so under the wire.

9:55 AM  

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