24 July 2008

Birthday Watermelon

Today is my birthday.

The people who live in the same house as I do have gone camping for a few days. Seems like there’s a joke there somewhere, but I’m not sure what it is.

I’m not the type of girl who is tweaky about her birthday. I am exactly the age I feel at any given moment. Sometimes I feel twenty-nine, sometimes I feel thirty-nine. I mostly feel twelve. A good age to be, if you ask me. (And since you’re here reading my blog, I’m pretending that you've asked me.) I haven't felt older than my official age in years.

Chronologically, I am forty-six today. I have no problem with this. It feels great. I’m thinking I’m about mid-way along. This may sound optimistic, but I am pretty sure my drop-dead age is ninety. Or there abouts. So I’m about halfway started. (Not halfway done, mind you.)

Though out the early years, I was quite busy learning some important stuff: walking, talking, peeing appropriately, reading, bike riding, coloring and kissing. So I'm thinking that not all of those years count against my total. It's been only in the last ten years or so that my self-awareness learning has begun. Therefore, I’m completely confident that the best is yet to come. And babe, won’t it be fine.

My first birthday memory is of my third birthday. My uncle’s birthday is two days after mine. I remember sitting at a picnic table at the home of my grandparents. One pink cake for me. One brown cake for my uncle. And a baby basket at the end of the table in which lay an alien creature with much dark hair. My new sister born a couple of days before my third birthday. Happy Birthday Barbie! I wanted to name her Hoss, my least favorite character from Bonanza, but they wouldn’t let me. And that was the beginning of the end of the Reign of Barbie. We entered, the Dark Ice Age. This was a combination of the Ice age and the Dark ages, in the microcosm of my world. Until that day, I was the first born child, first born grandchild, toe-head, blue-eyed angel of the family. The center of the known universe. Man, those were the days.

You know I was perfectly feeling fine when I started this blog, a few minutes ago, but now I’m starting to get a little depressed.

My next birthday memory was of a surprise party. Five or six years old. I came home from somewhere, with someone, and my house was full of children. It was crazy. Seemed like there must have been fifty kids in my house. It was probably only eight. It’s one of the only childhood birthdays I remember not having to share with my sister. SURPRISE!

When your birthday is just a couple of days from that of your sister, you end up having your parties together. You end up getting a lot of matching gifts. We got matching stuffed animals, matching homemade outfits. We shared a cake. We shared party guests. I was, quite frankly, robbed. It is no wonder I’ve never really liked her much.

You know, I think I could use a drink. Scotch, please.

Barbie Birthday Trivia:

  • I grew up where it was quite HOT in the summer, so I usually got a Birthday Watermelon instead of a Birthday cake (too hot to bake a cake).

  • My 14th birthday was one of my favorites but if I gave you the details, you might think I should have notified the authorities.

  • On my 16th birthday, I got into an accident on the way to take my driver's test. (And I totally passed.)

  • I've repressed the gory details but there was forced camping involved in a few birthdays between twelve and seventeen. (I tried to report THAT to the authorities but they asked me to please stop calling.)

  • My 19th birthday was spent sleeping in a tent along the river for the Columbia Cup hydroplane races in the Tri-Cities. (Wait a minute, sleeping in a tent by the river? That's camping. Holy Crow! All this time I thought it was a cool, four day long, drunken party without bathroom facilities. That one slipped right past me.)

  • I let someone set me up on a blind date for my 21st birthday. It was the worst way to celebrate a 21st birthday EVER. Idiot!

  • For my 22nd birthday, I threw myself a big fat party to make up for the fiasco 21st, the year before. If you want something done right, let me take care of it.

  • I turned 23 in Anchorage.

  • The next few birthdays were quite a blur of domestic life.

  • One of my least favorites was my 30th. Not because of the age thing, but where my life was at the time.

  • I remember my 40th was a good one. This was another perfect example of "If you want things done right...." Drinks by the water. A designated driver and almost a week to myself

My birthdays get better and better from there because the fog of adulthood begins to lift. Life shines again, for some years now. And I, with her. I awoke from my 'Compulsive Parenting' coma and am now, much better equipped to enjoy my children and for them to enjoy me.
Whew. Win, win.

By this time next year, I'll be Gigi to my new grand child. I can't wait.

03 July 2008

Weather for the Watching

I must have been a very good girl in a past life.

The Weather Gods are raining generosity and happiness down upon my 2008. Literally raining down upon me.

Plus (bonus!) thunder, lightening, hail and wind. An abundance of weather to watch! Score for me!

You know how the Chinese have the Year of the Rat, the Dog, the Snake.
Well, this must be the Year of the Barbie.

I love where I live. Western Washington. I love the gray, rainy, mild-temperature days. It's why I continue to live here, after originally moving here for a completely inferior, stupid-girl reason.

I was raised where it is perpetually brown and dusty. And HOT, three out of four seasons. The closest thing we would get by way of watchable weather was the wind blowing the dust around. If we were really lucky, the dust would blow with a rolling, tumbling tumbleweed thrown in, once in a while. It was really all we had before MTV came to town in the early eighties. The residents of this area appear to have really nice tans all spring, summer and fall but really it's just the dust sticking to their sweaty bodies.

Now I live where it is reputed, and perceived by those in other lands, to rain a great deal. And I am, indeed, all gratitude for every drop we get. (Did you hear me, Weather Gods? Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.)

But I must say, I would love for it to rain even more. This I've found, in spite of where my neighbors choose to live, is not a popular notion in these parts. Which begs the question, "Why, then, do you live here?" (Another blog for another time. Titled: Weather Wimps.)

I love the fall and winter around here, along with the beginning of spring. But in most years, as spring moves into summer I only tolerate the weather with the thought that 'This too shall pass' and a self-written permission slip to complain at will.

This spring, and now beginning of summer, has been the best ever. Cool, cold, wet, gray, blustery. Happy, happy Barbie. There have been a few days of boring, uneventful warm, hot, empty blue sky days but I've been languishing in the glow of the Barbie weather so fully that I took it pretty well. Even appreciating the change, for a day or two.

The past week or so, however, it's been pretty warm and sticky. And I was starting to creep toward the edge of outright weather hostility, when last night on my way home from work around 9:00 p.m. I saw a bolt of lightening flash in the steel gray sky and I squealed! YEAH! Stormy weather! I was so happy. Then a few seconds later, another squeal after another flash. And then a third! I could have wept with delight! But settled instead, with giggling uncontrollably into my hands-free cell phone device. It was a very good Barbie moment.

There were a dozen more flashes before I pulled into my drive way. In the car I had been unable to hear the thunder, but after kicking off my shoes, I laid down on the porch swing of my deck and watched the weather. It was glorious! I watched until the flashes and rumbling were far away. Then I went into the house for a slice of chocolate-mousse-torte-something before I lay me down to sleep.

My daughter arrived home about then from an adventure in driving, in honor of her three month anniversary with her beau and asked me if I saw the lightening. She said she and J were going to go out to the deck and watch the weather. (The DNA apparently does not stray far from the Doppler Radar in my meteorological tree.)

I supported her plan but thought it was too bad she had missed the best of it. Then a renewed flash. Close and bright. Another storm came rolling over my house. I opened all the window of the house in the now dark night and turned off every noise-producing appliance device thing we owned to better hear and feel the thunder. She and her guy cuddled on the porch swing, even as the rain began. I ate my chocolate in the dark, better to see the flashes. The curtains blew freely with the damp warm summer breeze. It was the most perfect weather I could imagine.

After a bit, the weather passed and I heard the eighteen year old boy's car pull away. My daughter came in to say goodnight after she told me all about getting lost on the downtown streets of Tacoma, earlier in the evening. I read for a little bit, preparing to sleep, when it began again. Another storm. I was, by now too sleepy to stay up for the whole thing but thought rhetorically, "What better way to fall asleep." And so I drifted off. But the storm did not.

There must have been some type of wrinkle in the weather-time-space continuum directly over my house. Some kind of environmental loop.

All through the night, I would stir awake to rumbles of thunder, flashes of light.
All night.
I've never been given a storm that lingered over me all night long. It was sweet, sensual and surreal.
I think of myself as pretty articulate, but I can't accurately or adequately convey the wonder of the weather love I was granted as I slept, off and on all night. Each time I awoke, the weather spoke to me. And in between, I had the sweetest dreams. My sleep was disturbed in the most delicious manner possible, all courtesy of the Gods of Weather over Western Washington last night.