18 January 2008


I am of the mind, here in my old age, that the celebration of one's birth should not be limited to just one day. I think there are a few folks who would agree that a week is much more reasonable. Especially as we grow older, wouldn't it be true that the attributes, characteristics and happenings surrounding the birthday girl or boy would exponentially accrue along with the years and therefore warrant more and more celebration? So, I will be chronicling the week before my actual birthdate and shall record every celebratory occurrence from now until next Thursday. I'll start with today...

FRIDAY, JANUARY 18: There's a cake, tender yellow butter cake with rich caramel frosting that would rot the teeth of a dinosaur, in the teachers' lounge with beautiful, wispy, pink speckled meringue roses on it. I splurged and ate a tiny portion (in comparison to the gigantic piece I would normally consume) and, as the buttery-salty, candy-like frosting melted slowly in my mouth, I pretended it was for me. Also, a little girl in the third grade asked when my birthday was and when I told her, she closed her eyes thoughtfully, hummed a little bit, and then opened them bright and wide and said, "I'm going to bring you something. But I'm not telling you what it is!!"

When we arrived at The Happy Castle in Monteagle for my birthday [long] weekend, my family had flowers, music, promises of manicures and pedicures, and an extensive menu of tastes for our evening meal. It began with a glass of Lillet, a French aperitif that is perfected with just a squeezed slice of orange.
The menu was as follows:
goat cheese-filled dates wrapped in basil and prosciutto
blanched asparagus with lemon mayonnaise
endive with goat cheeese, mandarin oranges, and toasted almonds
stuffed mushrooms
caviar roll with pita chips
seared sea scallops with sauteed spinach, cauliflower, capers and dried cherries (the strangest combination but SO tasty)
We licked our fingers quite often. And I got a new camera!! Celebration has commenced.

Things considered celebratory...
- Waking late at 9:30 to a hot, rich cup of coffee delivered into my hands by mom
- Champagne with breakfast
- A manicure/hand massage given to me by my sister
- The arrival of two good friends at the Happy Castle, bringing with them considerable cheer
- Staying in our pajamas until at least 1pm
- A Gimlet cocktail handcrafted by my brother-in-law (YUM)
- A festive dinner at Pearl's Foggy Mountain Cafe including a bottle of St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc, a fine bowl of bouillabaise, and a birthday crème brulee (everyone had a bite)
- Mom's bread pudding and rum sauce (our second dessert) and Joshua's Manhattans, good music, and gifty time
- I could list all of my gifts but that seems boastful and a little rude -- I'll just say I'm rich in friends and family who really know me
- Falling into bed in the fun bunk room upstairs with my goodgirlfriends

More things considered celebratory:
- More champagne with breakfast
- The arrival of yet another lovely friend (one of those with whom I feel a deep, belly-level camaraderie) at the door of the Happy Castle (they just kept coming!)
- French press coffee
- A gift of pretty little bauble earrings which I quickly donned
- Rousing rounds of both Yahtzee and Scrabble
- A family walk out to the point and beholding the vast view of a very chilly valley
- 3:10 to Yuma. Enough said.
- A cozy roast chicken dinner
- Late night conversation and magazine-perusing

(coming soon)

Oh see, now look what I've done. It's now the 31st and I can't remember, for the life of me, all of the celebratory things that happened during the last half of my birthweek. Crap....but I'll try.....



- Our lower school head whom I love very much, had crosswalk duty early on this morning and as I crossed (further down) he cupped his hands around his mouth and hollered in his best playground voice "HAAAAPPY BIRTHDAY MISS COOOOOATES!!!"
- One of my co-teachers made a big hallway banner for me, and another colleague had left a sweet little gift on my desk, and all of the kiddos are hugging me 'round my middle and ..a school is just a good place to be on one's birthday.
- Dinner with my favorite family (besides my own, of course) wrapped up the real day. We all hung in the kitchen and talked, laughed, cooked, philosophized, and drank wine. I stayed sort of late, even though it was a school night. Now that's celebratory.