On my birthday, Sunday the 18th, I couldn't help noticing the wrinkles around my eyes, and the deep furrows on my forehead. I woke up feeling just a little blue, but I made it a point to praise God for giving me 40 beautiful years.
It was a nice, low-key day. I enjoyed lunch of fish tacos with my new friend Laura while Bill and Allyson made me a cookie cake. We had a delectable chuck roast for dinner, which I'd prepared in a marathon cooking day (6 hours straight) with a friend the day before. After that, we tucked into the cookie cake. This was probably the indulgence that knocked me off the wagon I've been on since January; I couldn't stop cutting off little pieces to "even it out."
Bill presented me with what we hope will be a lovely blue wisteria vine, the kind with pendulous flowers that resemble grape clusters. This doesn't exactly replace my poor cypress, but it has the potential to make my heart glad. He and Allyson planted it next to the pergola, wrapping it around one of the supports.
About a week prior, Bill had planted the pathetic banana trees pictured below. He got them from a coworker and brought them home from work in a garbage can. The rest of us found that absolutely hilarious for some reason. When I laughingly inquired whether these were supposed to make up for my cypress tree, he replied, "Spoken with confidence by the woman who ate all the Easter truffles."
I protested that it had taken me nine days to eat eight truffles. If he was too lazy to help himself to one in all that time, he wasn't worthy of the truffles. (They were sooo good.)
Anyway, Bill planted the banana trees in front of Lola's ugly chain-link dog run. We're hoping they'll take root and beautify her little corner. Lola danced around Bill's feet the whole time he worked, eying up this latest delicacy.
See that little log-looking thing? That's one of the insidious cypress roots that Bill was able to wrest from the ground. Bill put it in front of the little trees to discourage Lola from molesting them--ha!!
I guess she decided they weren't worth the trouble. They're still hanging in there, and maybe they'll perk up eventually. Meanwhile, she's been digging around the base of the wisteria vine. Bill had to put an ugly black cage around it to keep her away. Sigh...
The Big Party
We had my big celebration a week after my birthday, on Saturday the 24th. Bill threw a big party for all my family and a handful of friends. We wished we could have invited more people, but our house was bursting at the seams as it was. Bill catered in fajitas and all the fixings from On the Border, and oh my was it good. And the cake was delicious, too. I should know; I had four slices in four days. (I told you I fell off the wagon. And I haven't even started on Ethan's giant "Oreo cookie cake," whose irresistible aroma is even now wafting up the stairs from the oven.)
Surprisingly, my favorite moment was the "Happy Birthday" song. Of course, I had that sheepish feeling I always get when I'm the center of attention, like the way I feel when all the waiters sing to me in a restaurant. At the same time, though, tears pricked my eyes as I looked around at all these people who love me, who had gathered around me to celebrate my 40 years of life.
I also enjoyed playing cards with Mom, Aunt Judy, my niece Hillary, Bill, and friends Ben and Karen. I'm always begging to play games, and this time they couldn't say no since it was my birthday.
Yes, there's something about turning 40... that makes you realize how BLESSED you are. Here are just a few those blessed moments, which Bill compiled into a slide show for my party....
Melody, Me, Amy, Rick
Age 3 or So--Looks Like Allyson
Rick, Dad, Mom, Melody
Amy, Me (Age 6?), Emily
Age 7 or So--Looks Like Ethan
Extended Family, Dad's Side, Circa 1977
I'm On Front Row, Second From Left
Between Aunt Carol and Dad
Making Deviled Eggs
Emily, Me (Age 14 or so), Amy
High School Graduation (1988)
Me And Sister Emily (Both Expecting 1st Babies)
Emily's Mother-In-Law Mary (1996)