The continuing extravaganza

By Mir
August 18, 2011

Dude. Otto proves to be a hard act to follow. I feel like I have to have something extremely MEANINGFUL and HEARTFELT to share after he hijacked the blog yesterday and was all “My love will go oooooooooon!” while he stood at the prow of the HMS Woulda, hair streaming back in the wind. (Sometimes I get him confused with a movie I once saw, but I’m pretty sure that’s very close to what happened.) And now I should be able to show up in a corseted ball gown and tell you how turning 40 changed my life, and I had a deep personal revelation yesterday about the nature of the human experience.

The truth is that I’m still in my pajamas, and while I felt very loved yesterday, the deepest epiphany I had ran along the lines of, “Yum, cake is delicious.”

Sometimes shallow is deeper than me, it’s true.

I am generally not one to fuss over birthdays, and after many years of living with the day-before “I have to… ummm… go run an errand” which then resulted in some gift that was either 1) the wrong size 2) not anything I ever would’ve wanted, or—my favorite!—3) something the gift buyer really wanted for himself, my expectations for the whole gifting experience tend to be low. VERY low. Too many years of disappointment kind of does that to a person.

[To clarify: I think that gift-giving is something of an art, and not everyone is good at it. I get that. I totally believe in the whole “it’s the thought that counts” thing, but I guess my issue is that at a certain point, repeated offenses say to me “Not only is this nothing you want, but I have willfully chosen to put very little thought into this.” So I am much more willing to graciously accept the “oh-dear-lord-why-in-the-world” gift from someone I don’t know terribly well, for example, than from someone I am married to who theoretically should not find this experience so challenging.]

All of that said, Otto happens to be an extraordinarily thoughtful gifter, and after knowing him for 22 years and being married to him for over 4, I am still always surprised by how awesome he is.

So yesterday morning I woke up to his blog post, and I thought that was perfect and sweet and darling and warned him that women all over the Internet were swooning and fanning themselves. Then we went out to my favorite swanky restaurant last night and I thought really, that was more than enough for me, both in terms of food and company. Also, there were many comments about what monsters we’d just created by taking Monkey and Chickadee there, because it turns out that my children have VERY sophisticated palates when it comes to dining out. Neither of them really want to go to McDonald’s, but here was Chickadee with this vegetable plate that was a veritable work of art, urging me to “Try this shiitake slaw, mom, or the roasted tomato salad, or wait, here, you have to scrape some of the eggplant off this crostini, it’s SO GOOD!” and Monkey scarfing down an adult portion of striped bass asking “Why can’t we eat here all the time?” (Answer: Because we haven’t won the lottery yet. But I’m glad you enjoyed it.)

But we came home and there was more, really an embarrassment of more, with the kids each presenting me with certificates so that I could go on dates with each of them to their favorite restaurants (a seafood one for Monkey; the vegetarian joint for Chickie); a certificate to my salon (which I’m sure had nothing to do with the three inches of gray roots I’m currently sporting, ahem); and then lovely earrings from my stepmom and another pair from Otto (his came complete with an explanation of how actually my birthstone, peridot, is very difficult to find in its pure form, and sometimes it comes from meteorites, and I’m sure the explanation was fascinating and I would’ve enjoyed it if I hadn’t been so busy going “OOOOH, PRETTY!”).

And after all of THAT, there was flourless chocolate cake.

Earlier in the day, Monkey had presented me with a coupon book he made for me, loaded with offers for things from compost runs to “no complaints dishwasher unloading.” I couldn’t help remembering, as I paged through it, that last week when I took him out for lunch, he got a fortune cookie that said, “The current year will bring you much happiness.” We were so delighted, we brought the slip home and put it on the fridge. He’s such a good sharer, I think he’s happy to share his good fortune with the rest of the family.

Yesterday, it certainly was hard to feel anything other than loved and lucky. Which is probably the best birthday present ever.

Really, today I am happy to return to Regular Life, but GUESS WHAT! It’s Licorice’s birthday today (she’s 5, though I swear she doesn’t look a day over, um, 4), so the revelry shall continue. Although Licorice and Buddy may be expecting squirrel pops or something, so I should probably get working on that….

In conclusion: My family is nice, and my birthday was lovely. Also, thank you so much for your kind wishes, too. (I am sending every one of you a piece of cake through the Intertubes. Check your DVD drive.) (Because that stands for “Damn, that’s Very Delicious,” right?)


  1. Beth R

    It’s only right that you should have such an awesome day – because you’re AWESOME!

    So, when you figure out how to make squirrel pops, don’t forget to post the recipe :)

    Hugs and welcome to the 40’s (don’t tell anyone, but they’re actually pretty cool!)

  2. Megan

    Sounds a perfect day (although I’m not convinced by the eggplant on the crostini since I was raised to believe that was The Vegetable of Evil). I think the whole bunch of you deserve a share in Monkey’s Year of Happiness, and it sounds like you’ve made a perfect start!

  3. Sheila

    Oh, my- that WAS delicious! Thanks for sharing.

    I hope you get to revel in Birthday Afterglow for a good long while.

  4. Kelly

    So glad you got treated to the shiny pretty birthday you deserve!

  5. Lori N

    Sounds like a more than perfect birthday! Best wishes for the year (and years) to come.

  6. RuthWells

    Awwww. Sweet.

  7. ben

    So. Awesome.

  8. Lynn in Mass

    You are so lucky to have a wonderful and thoughtful family.

  9. bonuela

    the dvd drive? is that the cup holder thingy in my computer? ’cause mine is still empty. :-(

  10. Heather Cook

    Squirrel pops? I don’t want to type out what just popped into my mind on that one… it involved frozen squirrels and sticks… stuck somewhere… ew.

  11. liz

    It sounds like your birthday was all birthdays should be!

  12. Natasha

    That sounds like a perfect birthday, which you most certainly deserved.

    Now I have to make sure this page stays open until my husband gets back into town…

  13. Lucinda

    Sounds like a birthday spent in the style you deserve. (Hopefully you get used to it because I suspect there are many more to come). Happy birthday to Licorice.

  14. Aimee

    Sounds like a very lovely birthday, indeed — and I’m so happy for you!

  15. Becky

    You do not want to know what the Internet tried to show me when I Googled “squirrel pop.” Such a flawed plan.

    Happy Birthday to Licorice!

  16. Kira

    Glad you were treated right, dear. And thank you for the cake. Just what I needed to round out breakfast.

  17. addy

    just about anything frozen inside an ice cube – Dumb Ass thinks they are the best doggie treats ever – really eats them all the time. Happy Day Licorice!

  18. Katie in MA

    Is it wrong that when you said “flourless chocolate cake,” I thought “Mmmmm…hershey’s syrup in a bowl…”?

    Glad you birthday was everything you deserved. I hope this year bring everyone all the happy they can handle. And then some! :)

  19. Jessica

    #3 irks me more than anything else, although #2 bothers me with close friends and family. I keep telling people that I’d rather get NOTHING at all over something that shows that all the thought they put into it was the bargain bin at the local dollar store. (Seriously, some family members give you stuff that you know cost them two whole dollars, which if it were two dollars well spent wouldn’t mean a thing but when it’s two dollars because they just don’t care? Please just don’t get anything. Nothing is better than thoughtless. It really IS the thought that counts — but only if there was thought there in the first place.)

    *steps off high horse, trips, laughs half-heartedly* Yeah.


    Happy birthday to little Licorice! I hope the stress of that other dog doesn’t make her birthday any less happy. I’m also glad to know that you have the husband you deserve (you know, the one that cares if you’re happy — especially on your own birthday).

  20. MomCat

    Made me smile! *sniff*. And tear up a little!

  21. Midj

    @Heather Cook, your version was better than mine as I had just popped over here after reading about Kitchenaid Blenders (of which I have, and LOVE) over on Mir’s other site Want Not… :-P Sorry, Mir, delete my comment as necessary… :-)

  22. Scottsdale Girl

    Welcome to 40! Ahhh yeah, I actually DID have some enlightenment my 40th. Like I lightened my load by about 220lbs of jerkoff male counterpart and then BOY was I light. ENLIGHT even.
    And there were other things, like making sure I take care of me first then others. Not really caring about being a size 12 (AS MUCH). Friends, family, priorities yadayada…but mostly it was the first birthday I truly felt like a bonafide ADULT.

    Yay for a wonderful birthday for you! And Happy Birday to Licorice *woof woof, snuffle*

  23. hollygee

    It was the comment about you in the skirt that caused my sigh. I think I would get that I carry a nice cup of coffee.

  24. laura

    Happy 40th birthday! My birthday is today and I am….morethanforty. I received a lovely cobalt blue propane camp stove for my birthday. Ahem. I wonder if someone is going on a camping trip at my house?

    Hope you have a truly awesome year!!!

  25. Another Laura in the Comments

    Happy Birthday!! It sounds like you got the day you deserve and I love it!! My birthday is looming (not quite 40 but it’s gaining on me) and I suspect my gift will be along the lines of hmmm…I need to go run an errand ;-) That Otto, he’s a keeper isn’t he?!? Love it!

  26. Katherine

    Otto is really great in the gift giving dept! My DH is a wonderful guy, but not so much on the gift giving… One year for my birthday I got nothing. Nothing from DH, nothing from kids. My mom had gifts for me and had baked a cake. I let DH know that was not ok, and now I postpone my birthday about 2 weeks, into spring break so he has no excuses about time so he can realize he needs to shop or order and can fix me dinner.

  27. Tracy B

    Yummmm, I love flourless chocolate cake! ♪♫♪Happy Birthday, Licorice!!!!♪♫♪

  28. Heather

    Mmm cake. Otto wins at presents. ;)

  29. The Mommy Therapy

    Happy Birthday Mir! Sounds like a great day!

    Also sounds like a very delicious day.

    I missed Otto’s post so I am defintiely going back now.

    Happy belated!

  30. Karate Mom

    I was WONDERING what that gooey stuff oozing from my CD drive was! Thanks for the cake! It was yummy, even without the flour!

  31. Cheryl M.

    Happy belated birthday! I have to go read Otto’s post now because I was in study mode yesterday, lol.

  32. Angela

    LMAO at “Intertubes!” Sounds like a great time! Flourless chocolate cake IS truly the bomb. My husband is also a fantastic gift giver, one of those who pays attention to things I like or don’t like and tries to make me happy with his present, which always lands perfectly. YAY for awesome MEN!!

  33. Amanda

    I’m glad you had such a wonderful day! I’m now going to promptly hide this from my husband who also turned 40 on that same day, but we ended up spending the day running to and fro to various doctor and therapy appointments before everyone goes back to school. (He’s getting a make up day)

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