I got many phone calls, emails and even comments on my blog yesterday from people wishing me a happy birthday and I wanted to thank you ALL for making me feel special!! Complete strangers wishing me well. What a great group you all are!
I really do look forward to my birthday every year. I get tons of phone calls, cards and gifts and look forward to being fawned over most of the day. My Grandmother used to call me every year at 10:49 am, the exact time I was born...to the minute. No one does THAT anymore, but I still get calls. If I were home, I'd be spending it going out to dinner with my friends and having a weekend of family celebration. But, since I'm out on the road, things were a little different this year.
My first phone call of the day came from my best friend's husband, at 6:42 am Pacific Time. He is in the Central Time Zone, which is two hours later and I figured he had no idea where I was, just knew that he wanted to call. I saw the name on my phone blinking "Honey" (which is what we call him - her AND I) and I just couldn't bring myself to answer it. I was both surprised and not so surprised that he would be my first caller. After over 18 years of friendship, I fell back to sleep with a smile on my face, basking in the fact that I'm special enough to him to get a phonecall. I made a mental note to call him when I woke up, which wasn't at late as I would have liked. The phone started ringing less than an hour later. Blast! Damn East Coast family.
My Aunt called, my father, my nephews, my mother, my cousin....there was no way I was going to sleep through these calls, so I just got up. Almost all of my friends and family wanted to know what I planned to do for my birthday. Am I going to dinner at a nice place? Am I going anywhere? What is my plan? And on and on...
This morning, while talking to a friend of mine who asked if I was planning a nice dinner out, I found myself pausing to think about her question. I thought about how most people only go out to a "nice" place for dinner to celebrate certain events; birthdays, anniversaries, job promotions, etc. A nice place might be anything from Outback Steakhouse to the new expensive trendy restaurant in your town.
Then I thought, I eat out all the time. Outback, Olive Garden, Vinnie's Italian Restaurant in Tacoma, cute places in Little Italy in New York City, BBQ joints in Dallas, Macaroni Grill, Johnny Carinos, Gavi for Italian food in Tucson, AZ, Applebees, Orso in Anchorage, Sullivan's Steakhouse, etc. We have paid anywhere from $25 to $130 for the two of us to eat dinner out and most of the time, it's worth every penny. Our "dining and entertainment" budget is huge!
With that in mind, today was not going to be very much different than any other day in the dining out department. I'm not saying we didn't go out for my birthday - we did. But we went out Thursday night instead of tonight. The reason for this, will be explained a little further down.
Since we were in Kennewick, Washington our choices were a bit limited. The first place we came across was Olive Garden, the second, Red Lobster. Since I'm Italian, I know how to cook AND I've eaten in some of the best Italian restaurants in the country, Olive Garden is a last resort for Italian. And I knew that Red Lobster could in no way compare to the scallops I had in Gloucester, MA or the Alaskan lobster tail that was the size of my HAND when I dined out in Anchorage. But, since these were my choices, I decided I wasn't in the mood for Italian, so settled on Red Lobster.
Dinner was quite tasty and after passing on dessert, we decided to take in a movie. Lord of War with Nicolas Cage. Good movie, just a little too political reference filled for me. Don't really follow that, don't know the history of other countries and typically find that kind of talk very boring. But, it was thought provoking and made you think about how screwed and corrupt our goverment has been and still is. So that was my birthday night out. Dinner and a movie.
Today....on the actual day of my birth, 38 years ago, we didn't really do much of anything. I decided that I wanted to start my 38th year by eating better and exercising. That was going to be my gift to myself. So that's the reason we didn't go out to dinner tonight. I wanted to indulge the night before the birthday, so I could start with a clean slate on Friday. Which I did.
As for what Ed got me: our weeklong trip in Alaska, a few Jade rings from the Cassair Mountain Jade Mine in British Columbia, dinner and a movie and the promise to be my kick ass Marine-style personal trainer.
And that is how my day started. Exercise. Talk about ruining a birthday. But, I did it. Ed's Tae-Bo style workout, which is certainly going to be the death of me, is how I started my morning. I think I cried. But, it's a necessary evil. I'm old now. I need to be in shape. So I ate well (grilled chicken and vegies) and got in my workout today. Keep your fingers crossed that I make it past day two and that I don't kill Eddie.
After the workout, we went and bought a new mattress for the truck. The foam mattress we had was getting a bit worn. I was feeling like the Princess and the Pea for a few weeks there. I would lay down and literally feel a speck of dirt under the mattress. For some reason, I kept getting poked with something in the hip. Each time I went to investigate, I found nothing. The last few nights I've been telling Ed that I felt like I was sleeping on a straw mat in China somewhere. I would have had better luck in the grass outside of the truck than on this bed that was bruising me in places I didn't even know a pea could reach. So the new bed in FAAABBBUUULOOUUUS! I wanted to sleep immediately, but it was 10 in the morning and I had just gotten up a few hours before. I can't wait to try it out tonight. If this doesn't help and I wake up tomorrow feeling that damn pea, I will know that my father was right - I am a true Princess. And that means, I will have to move out of the truck and into a castle. Hmmmmm.
Later in the day, my nephews called for my birthday. I was telling Nicolas how I am 32 years older than he is. He said, "Wow! That's really old Aunt Salena" Thank you Nicolas, thank you very much. Then Joey got on the phone and sang me the "Happy Birthday to you, You live in a Zoo, You look like a monkey and you smell like one too" song and then broke into hysterical laughter. When he was done and handed the phone back over to Nicolas, I asked him, "How does Joey know I smell like a monkey??" He comforted me by saying, "That's just an expression, Aunt Salena, from the birthday song. You don't really smell like a monkey...or look like one." Thank you Nicolas, thank you again. And Jake, at two and a half, sang a brilliant rendition of Happy Birthday but quickly transitioned into asking about Eddie and the truck. All he cares about is Eddie and the damn truck!
So there it is, the boring details of my birthday. As the darkenss fell, so did the snow as we drove through Montana. Yes, snow! What's up with that? That was actually the perfect way to end my special day. Anyone who knows me will confirm how much I hate the heat, so to be blessed with a day in September cold enough for snow? I am truly blessed. Here's to another year!!