4.22.2004

A few recollections

Birthdays are one of the times that we really stop and acknowledge the fact that time is passing. Of course, it never stops, but we often ignore the fact until we wake up and it's time to write a different number on the forms under Age:_______. Here are a few of the memories that pop into my head first when I think about my birthday.

- the smell of the homemade butter frosting, colored blue with food coloring, covering the Cookie Monster birthday cake my mom had made. The frosting just tasted like sugar, but it turns the tongue a great blue color. I have no idea how she got the cake into the shape of Cookie Monster. A cake mold probably, but it was very impressive. Looked just like him.

- a party at Aladdin's Castle arcade in the mall. I must have been pretty young, as this is the first co-ed party I remember having. A boy from my class who I had a crush on gave me a little stuffed zebra, which I treasured for years, even though I'm sure his mom picked it out and made him give it to me. It was a cool party, because they had a back room for birthday parties that we had reserved, and they had a big cake. And we played Pole Position. I guess that kinda dates me, eh?

- a softball game in Stevensville. It was raining and I was so pissed off to have to play softball in the rain on my birthday. I was in left field, and I wore glasses so I couldn't see anything because they were covered with rain droplets. Then, the rain stopped a bit, and the sun came out in that brilliant way it does when the rest of the sky is dark, and a big rainbow appeared out of nowhere. And I remember thinking it was so brilliant and magical that the sun and a rainbow had come out just for me on my birthday while I was stuck out in left field. No one ever hits the ball that far in 4th grade softball, so it was a pretty boring position. But I still remember that rainbow.

- my 16th birthday party at my house. I had a new cool boyfriend who dressed like he was in the mafia in the 1920's and wrote me poetry and brought me flowers. For some bizarre reason, I invited his entire drama class to a birthday party at my house (I wasn't even in the class, they had just shanghaied me into playing piano for the Pink Panther play they were doing at the time). It didn't really occur to me that all 20 or so of them would drive 15 minutes out of town up the hill to my house, but they all did. Many dandelion fights (they turn someone's face yellow if rubbed on it) and other insanity ensued. And some girls I barely knew gave me earrings with little pink dinosaurs with white spots.

- dinner at Shadow's Keep in Missoula, a restaurant far too fancy for two teenagers who had to split a dinner in order to afford eating there. It's on top of a big hill with an incredible view of the lights of town below. And we got lost on the way up there, due to my incredible navigation skills, which are still with me today. We were giggly because we were about to spend more money at one time than we ever had before, especially on something like food. It felt like we were pretending to be James Bond and his girl. That was my first experience eating snails - they're good with garlic butter sauce. They taste like garlic butter sauce. We split the steak and lobster, which was incredible. That was also my first experience with lobster and it was good. Dessert was a chocolate cake with Jack Daniels sauce, and I was sure we would get in trouble for ordering it, being too young to drink JD and all. Absolutely delicious though. That was a pretty incredible experience for some kids accustomed to McDonald's and the local mini-mart for our meals out. I remember feeling like we weren't really supposed to be there, and even though we were dressed very nicely, somehow they'd figure it out and kick us out or something. They didn't. Our charade of being all grown-up was probably pretty funny for the waitstaff though.

- more recently, on a girls' night out for my birthday, standing against the wall at the Back Door (Back Alley? something like that) club in Seattle, fighting off scary men by flashing my wedding ring (god I love being married) and consuming a long island iced tea the size of a 7-11 big gulp. You think I'm kidding - it was at least 36 ounces. I remember the walk from the bar to the car being completely hysterical, and I was so impressed that someone had remembered where the car was parked. How can someone remember such a thing in a big city like Seattle? Walking was also an impressive skill, that I had some trouble mastering. What a great bar, you only have to buy one drink and you're done for the night.

- every year since I've met that guy who's now my husband, he's managed to hide something somewhere, make up some story, or surprise me a day early with a birthday present I wasn't expecting. He keeps life fun and keeps me looking forward to the next birthday (even though he called me an old woman this year, which I will forgive him for I suppose). And he keeps me stocked in lotions and things that make me smell good, since he knows smell is not only my favorite sense, but I could probably be a professional perfume tester, I have such a sensitive sense of smell. He is my favorite person in the whole world, the best person ever to grow up with, eat lobster and snails for the first time with, move away from home and go through college and then that first real job with, and now to move across the world for more adventures with. And there will be many many more to come.

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