Monday, January 14, 2008

Friday Five....on Monday!

I'm woefully inadequate as a participant in the RevGals blog roll, but I love reading other people's Friday Five comments....and this week's was such a fit. So today, on Monday, the actual anniversary of my birth, I'm joining the Friday Five.

1. When is your birthday? Does anyone else (famous and/or in your own life) share it?

Well, I suppose I gave that away with my sentences above! While I don't know off-hand of anyone who shares my actual birthday, I've had two lifelong friends with January birthdays--one on January 9th and one on January 21st. I can't have my special day without thinking of them. I also have a couple of friends with birthdays exactly six months later, so we share birthdays/half birthdays in a special way. Today I'm thinking of them, too!

2. Do you prefer a big party or an intimate celebration for the chosen few?

Of late my parties seem a little too intimate--just the immediate family: me, Matt, the kids, and occasionally my sister. I like the idea of having a birthday celebration with this group, but then something special with a group of women friends--perhaps a dinner party or a pot luck lunch.

3. Describe your most memorable birthday(s)--good, bad, or both.

Oooooo....this is tough. Winter has been hard for a birthday season. I've had ice storms, snowstorms, and everything in between. While I suspect there are a few all-time lows (more than I care to recount), I remember well the year when we were on the verge of the first Gulf War. My father, a pastor, had a peace service at the church. Forever lamenting his call to serve the world and how it sometimes conflicted with being present for our family, I remember feeling (hear the irony/sarcasm in my tone) as though my day could never compete with world peace....and it wasn't a happy thought. This year has been a good birthday, in part because I'm slowly letting go of expectations. Fireworks don't need to erupt over the downtown skyline....surprise visitors from afar don't need to drop in. An ordinary day with some special moments can suffice--and today they did just that.

4. What is your favorite cake and ice cream? (Bonus points if you share the cake recipe). Or would you rather have a different treat altogether?

Hmmmmm....I don't know if I have a favorite. This year I made my own cake--an apple nut cake from a Moosewood cookbook. Yummy. I love anything with almond, and the catering service at a college where I once worked had an almond bundt cake to die for. Perhaps if I could find that recipe, it would become my favorite! And of course the ice cream should complement the cake, so usually I make my way to vanilla.

5. Surprise parties: love 'em or hate 'em?

When I was younger, I loved them--I had one surprise going away party, and one surprise birthday party. Now I'm wary, to say the least!

Bonus: Describe your ideal birthday--the sky's the limit.

WOW--I don't know where to begin! I suppose having a week's vacation right around my birthday would be spectacular. We're someplace warm--the Southwest, perhaps, or Hawaii, and friends are staying at the same resort or home. We all have our own living area, but shared space where we overlap as well. We walk the beach, ride bikes, hike, and the day is a sensory delight--vivid colors, luscious tastes, delightful smells. The kids are there, but I have time both with them and apart. Time alone with Matt is a must, as is time simply by myself.

Even as I'm typing, I'm aware that the ordinary day without "ideal" anything holds a real pull. A heavy, heavy snow fell last night and our front hedge was showing great damage, with more damage possible if the snow wasn't removed quickly. I raced out, pulling boots over my barefeet, and I spent a good half hour shaking snow from branches. With the vivid white all around me, and the sensation of the cold snow clinging to my sleeves and hair as I thrust each branch back and forth, I felt so wonderfully present and aware and alive--and isn't that what a birthday is all about? So ideally, I guess I show up for what is....

Happy birthday to me.