Happy Birthday To Me!

Today I turned 60! Hard to imagine, but there I am and not at all unhappy about it. Many years ago, when the comedienne Gilda Radner was struggling with cancer, her wish was to live long enough to celebrate her 40th birthday. She didn't make it and from that time on I vowed that every birthday for me would be a true celebration. I am looking forward to turning 90.

Having said that I shall write about my perfect birthday. One of the many ways my Mom had of making us feel special (not easy with ten children in the house) was by not having us do one chore all day. No making our bed, no dishes (a huge plus as it was a long job!), no running errands, and of course a birthday dinner and homemade cake of our choice. All these years later I still feel entitled to this. Now that I have no small children in the house, it happens!

I had a phone call from the Doering/Ellis household as I was lying in bed reading. Susan wished me a very "happy birthday", Amelia wished me a "happy", and Kevin sang to me! How lovely! Doug sang to me as well when I came downstairs so it was a good day from the very beginning. Riku was next, with a very clear "Happy Birthday Nana!" and told me we would have cake. That seems to be on his mind and certainly connected to birthdays these days. Gail and Tom called to sing their birthday wishes to me too, singing it twice so that I could hear both of them clearly.

The phone rang once again and it was Caillie calling from the Manitoulin, starting off the birthday wishes from northern Ontario! I spoke with all four children; they were getting ready to head off to the lake behind the house for a swim. Kelly had just finished her run, and was ready for a dip in the cool water too; I spoke with her and Irene, Gregg's mom, before they rang off.

Susan and Amelia had invited me to breakfast at "Just for You" with them, and as I intended to go to the Kabuki Spa afterwards, I went out unshowered and without a hair wash! Yikes! Those photos aren't the most flattering ones of me, but that's fine. I had a fresh fruit bowl and beignets... puffy, airy, delicious pastries à la New Orleans, to which Susan introduced me last year. Amelia blew out the candle Susan had placed in one of them, and we had a most enjoyable hour together.

Doug had some errands to run, so he drove me to the Kabuki Hot Springs... no parking, and dropped right at the door, another treat. Ah, bliss! Three hours of a quick shower, followed by three rounds of soaking in the hot tub, making myself cool off in the frigid cold tub!... yikes!... so I could more enjoy the sauna and the steam room and the cold pool in the mioddle of them all. My skin glows when I leave there; they have wonderful rosemary oil shampoo, three different types of body lotion (cucumber, verbena, and a gingery one), and the most wonderfully relaxing surroundings. Bliss, indeed!

Doug was outside to pick me up, dashed off for a few minutes and came back with a big beautiful bouquet of flowers from Gail and Tom! They are really gorgeous, and nicely filled the Blue Mountain pottery jug I bought years ago when a teenager.

Just as I was trimming the flowers, the doorbell rang, and there was a most unusual and beautiful display of flowers from Wendy and Glenn. It is perfect for the small table in the eating area while Gail's and Tom's are on the big dining room table, brightening up that quite dark room.

I had birthday email messages from two of Bryn's friends: Sean in San Diego, and Mark in Vancouver! I was so touched that not only did Bryn think to tell them it was my birthday, but that they took the time to write to me. Corey and Tracy also wrote warm greetings, which were lovely and unexpected, and E-cards came in from Gail, Celeste, and Zoë as well.

I had intended going out for a pedicure, as I had a gift certificate for that as well as the Kabuki spa. The time flew by, however, and I honestly forgot about my toes and feet. I do have to have this done before my upcoming trip to San Diego this Thursday.

The mail came, and with it a card from Glenna, mailed from Montréal just two days ago!, one from Judy McLean, mailed three days ago, and a home made multi-photo card from Kelly, mailed long enough ago that Kelly was concerned it wasn't going to get here. She had sent a very small "I remembered your birthday!" card a few days ago, and while I was happy to get it, I must say I was a little disappointed that it wasn't a little more special than that. And Kelly knew exactly how I would feel about it, had it all planned out, even to the choice of not-so-wonderful card, and had told her brother and Dad just what she had planned.

The card is just fabulous, beautifully designed, with four photos of their trip here in the spring and with heart-warming captions, enough to make my Mother's heart glow! I phoned and told her immediately that I had received it; Gregg answered the phone, wished me a happy birthday as well, and told me how happy Kelly was going to be that it arrived. We laughed about it; honestly, what a thing to put me through!

I spent the rest of the afternoon answering emails and puttering about. I heated up a small bowl of soup to tide me over 'til my early dinner, and read a bit of my book. However, before I knew it, it was 5:15, and Doug and I left for our early dinner at "A16", a new Italian restaurant that had great reviews for their pizza. We aren't eating out very often these days and I miss good pizza more than any other food; this seemed the perfect time to try this Cow Hollow eatery.

It is obviously popular, as it was crowded even at 6 p.m., an early hour for San Franciscans to be eating out. We did get a table immediately though, ordered a side dish of cannelini beans (delicious), ate too much of their good white and whole wheat breads with olive oil, and thoroughly enjoyed our individual Margherita pizzas. I did only eat half though, and intend to enjoy the second half another day soon.

I came home for a hot cup of tea and for gift opening; I had decided I wanted to open Doug's gifts to me tonight... so that I opened gifts on my actual birthday, but mostly because Doug buys me books and I like to have time to look them over, discuss how he came about choosing the ones he does (sometimes they are books I have asked for and Doug has been looking for for ages! and other books are titles that he found on his own for me) and relax while opening them at the leisurely pace I prefer. Once again, Doug has chosen some wonderful-sounding books for me, and I have stacked them in the front bedroom to read one at a time. I don't want them to disappear into the piles of others to read, as I have asked for many of these and Doug has found some very enticing books on his own once again!

We waited to hear from Bryn as to when their dinner was over. Riku had napped late; they all went out to the playground and to 24th Street to buy bananas, and were heading home. Riku was all ready with his "Come on. Let's play!" when we walked in, and play we did, for a long long time. He, Doug, and I built with blocks for the longest time; Doug built a very tall tower and Riku waited, at his Dad's urging, to get permission before knocking it over. I got his PJs on him, brushed his teeth and we had a little more play time in the living room with the domino set. Bryn placed all the dominoes and Riku patiently waited for me to get a photo before having them all fall neatly over, one at a time. What a guy!

I read him two stories before Akane took over for his night time routine. The plan was for Bryn, Akane, and I to play cards but by 10 p.m. it was obvious that Akane too was sleepy. We were all reading "New Yorker" magazines, but at 10:30 Doug and I headed home for bed.

It has been a wonderful birthday celebration and tomorrow is the official party! More to come...


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