Saturday, February 19, 2011


Well, last Thursday and Friday proved once again that I'm the world's biggest baby about my birthday and that joy and sorrow are often strangely intermingled in our ordinary days.

Big things were planned for Friday, so I conducted myself on the official day, Thursday, as if it were a normal one. I should know by now that such a stoic plan never works for me.  Thank God for all those Facebook greetings to brighten up the day a little. 

In my defense, there were things that needed to be done.  I wasn't intending to play the martyr. And I was fine...until half of my Spanish tortilla ended up on the stove top when I attempted to flip it while making dinner.  Since it was a frittata by another name, I could have broiled the uncooked top and saved myself the mess, but one experiments, cries over spilled eggs, and learns. It still tasted good as a potato and egg scramble instead, but you will not be hearing any more about that.

After we ate our tasty mess, my sweet husband gave me an iPod Nano...

The size of a cocktail ring.  Holds 500 songs. Amazing.
and a card so sweet that I cried again in the good way.  He also texted my son to make sure the dear was going to call me, finished the dishes when my mother called to sing to me as she always does, and drove me to another town to find the good chocolate that I hadn't had sense enough to give myself this year.  I am a lucky woman.  The pendulum swung back to happy.

So the crucial day was survived, and now you feel much better about yourself compared to my pitifulness.  Just a part of my service here.

Friday was filled with an even more surreal pairing.  The first part of the day was spent at an out-of-town funeral for David's aunt.  I wore my dark clothes, shed tears, visited with grieving family members, some of whom I'd never met, and was forced to face the realities of mortality and loss.    

After saying that sad and unplanned goodbye to a woman who had been kind to me, I went straight home to prepare a planned dinner for three good friends.  Prepping for it was one of those things that unexpectedly had to be done on Thursday once the funeral appeared on the schedule.

Just hours after walking away from a gravesite with a heavy heart, I was dining by candle light with a full one.  We feasted on a thankfully easy menu of risotto with bacon and peas; pear, blue cheese, and toasted walnut salad with maple-mustard vinaigrette; and blondies with vanilla ice cream and home made caramel sauce. Good wine, laughter, and easy conversation all flowed.  One of the friends even brought me chocolate-dipped strawberries, rose water marshmallows, and the biggest box of chocolates I've ever seen.

And we weren't done yet. 

A violin-viola duo from the National Symphony Orchestra was playing our little town in the 1819 Presbyterian church whose inside we've wanted to see for years. Tickets were only $5.00, and the venue mere yards from our barn.  We strolled over under a full moon and sat on the original pews for a flawless performance in a beautiful white plastered space.  Real candles flickered on the windowsills and children leaned chins on hands up in the balcony.  My lips stayed upturned in a smile during the whole concert. The pendulum had swung to happy again. 

I would not have planned such pairings in those days or any days, but life doesn't often operate according to my plans.  Many days even my inner state shifts in ways that I don't want, let alone anticipate.  This year, I try to simply accept that changeability, in the same way that I accepted a funeral in the middle of a celebratory week because it simply was and had to be honored. It's the only sensible, factual thing to do.  The wise ones say that it will save me much heartache. 

But I'm still going antiquing or something on my real birthday next year. Just in case.  

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