Day 54 of Project 365: Birthday treats.

2016-02-23 20.49.10-1

Right now I am so sated that I am having a difficult time coming up with something to write. We just got home after dinner at le Bistro Montage where I had gluten-free mac and cheese with roasted garlic and bacon. Mac and cheese is my favorite comfort food, and this version was particularly excellent.

I love my birthday. I always have, ever since I could remember, and aging hasn’t dampened that at all for me. I’m proudly one year older because it means I still get to go on adventures and write more stories and spend time with wonderful humans like you. Yes, you!

FunkyPlaid took a photo of me today that is one of the me-est photos ever taken, so it is today’s bonus photo.…

Thank you for the birthday wishes. <3 They made my day!

Writing from: a cozy living-room in Portland. Listening to: Spotify’s “Electronic Concentration” playlist.

A line, a wrinkle, a sigh, a sign.

FunkyPlaid at Barcelona Cathedral You genuflected outside the gothic cathedral the day after I got officially old. My nose was running and cold and I turned from the great grey edifice to see the only familiar face for miles. On that face, the expression I tried to capture: irreverent yet strangely penitent, maybe just tired from walking or overwhelmed by unfamiliar vowels or musing how new it feels to feel this old.

That birthday lip dub again.

I learned a new acronym today: ICYMI (In Case You Missed It).

For FunkyPlaid's birthday last year, I enlisted the help of his wonderful friends and family all over the world to create a lip dub to Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'". ICYMI, here it is!

[vimeo 23097121 w=500 h=375]

It is a wet and chilly evening in Edinburgh, but we are warmed by birthday wishes and belly laughs.

Virtual Birthday Party Redux

Since I had so much fun doing this last year, I’m holding another virtual birthday party with streaming webcam and live chat starting at 10:00 GMT today.

Hope to see you there!

Don't stop believin', a lip dub for FunkyPlaid.

After 299 emails, 5.09 GB of movies, weeks of very little sleep, and so much iMovie-bashing, I present my birthday gift for FunkyPlaid, a lip dub of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’”.

[vimeo 23097121 w=450 h=253]

Thanks so much to everyone who participated, who lent moral support, who tolerated my dithering over the choice of song, and especially to the Gamescape crew who stealthily set everything up to show him the video at the store tonight.

(He was floored.)

I regret not being able to include more of everyone. There was just too much rock for one video.

That's just nuts.

Thank you, virtual birthday party attendees. It was both a hoot and a holler to celebrate my thirty-mumbleth year with you. Seven straight hours of cam-streaming and IRC-chatting, not to mention the rampant Facebook-wishing.

But the party did not stop there. On Friday, my friends threw me a surprise party. Offline, even! It was glorious. I got to play You Don’t Know Jack and Qwirkle Cubes, which qualifies the amount of fun as an entirely dangerous amount of fun.

I also received generous and thoughtful gifts. I know, I keep adding things onto this list! Will I stop? Will I ever stop?

I am stopping. Now I am back to regular non-birthday life, which is less shiny but still pretty great.

(Pic via Courtney.)

Virtual Birthday Party!

It is my birthday today, and I would like to spend it in the company of my friends. Current technology can only go so far, but I am leveraging that little bit of it to celebrate it virtually with as many folks as possible.

Since I am old, this is going to be old-school: starting at 14:00 PST, my webcam will be streaming and I will be in my IRC channel, #cygcam on Hop on over to my birthday page (and give it a while to load) to join in the fun.

birthday gift

After most of a year of debating the exact method in which I would get in shape I was no closer to choosing one, let alone sticking with it. I had sampled a few different options and discarded most of them as impractical, prohibitively expensive, or both. All I could decide on was the fact that I hate the popular usage of “regime” for “regimen”.

Last summer, after a friend mentioned Jillian Michaels’ “30-Day Shred” workout DVD, I read some reviews, mostly favorable, and decided to buy it. I managed to stumble my way through the first level a few times, following the modified exercises for beginners, and thought it wasn’t bad. Then my illness interrupted my routine, as was the case for much of 2009, and the DVD and hand-weights went untouched for the rest of the year.

While I skipped the jumping-jacks, time marched on. I felt lumpier and weaker than ever. During our Portland vacation, I went on a 5-mile hike with moderate elevation and thought I was going to die. A friend and I talked about running, but I did not see myself as a runner. My trainers were ancient, purchased long ago on deep discount during another fit of athleticism while I still had my bicycle. I tried a few times to go running but winded myself almost immediately and, dejected, walked around the block a few times before returning home.

I could not tell you why Monday the 28th was any different. Perhaps I was finally fed up with hearing myself make excuses and then feel sorry for myself. Perhaps I was simply too tired of spending so much time thinking about it. Whatever the case, I got home from work, ate a banana, read email for a few minutes, and then I went into the living room and flailed awkwardly for a while. Calories were burned. Epithets were hurled. Push-ups, even “modified for beginners”, were barely pushed up.

Heady with my sweat-soaked achievement, I decided that the next day I would go running. The Couch to 5k program had intrigued me when I first heard about it, so much so that I promised myself I would do it if I ever got back in shape. But I was tired of waiting for that, and the program is for beginning runners. So I downloaded the nifty C25k iPhone app and set my alarm for 6:00 the next morning.

Surprising myself, I didn’t hit snooze. I staggered out of bed, ate a bowl of cereal, and stared at RSS feeds for about twenty minutes. Then I donned my sad old trainers and what passes for “exercise clothing” in my closet and went running. Well, heavy walking with brief flurries of jogging. And I have done so six times now. The second week was less painful, thanks to new trainers, but was far from easy. Good thing I am stubborn, and also newly addicted to endorphins.

For someone who doesn’t see herself as a runner, it is strange to be excited about running. I am far less excited about flailing with Jillian Michaels, but I am doing that on the off-days for lower-impact cardio and strength training. And I still can’t do more than a few push-ups, but changing that is my next fitness goal.

The last week of C25k begins on my birthday. All I want is to wake up on my birthday and run 5k. Wish me luck!

a letter to the reason

Today, years ago, in a place I have never been, a woman I never met did something remarkable. All mothers do something remarkable, it is true: that violence absorbed, accommodated, relinquished is nothing if not remarkable. As a result, and despite that, you exist.

When I met you, that first day in your store, I knew you were more than just a passing acquaintance, more than a bit part on my stage, even though our orbits were mostly separate. Each time after I saw you, I knew you less; not for any obfuscation on your part, but because there was more of you to which I could not be privy.

cappists, a photo by thalamus on Flickr

How could I realize that my dull little email four years later would spark the beginning of the most important friendship of my life? That summer, as you were preparing to change your entire life, mine changed alongside it. Your openness to the world, your sheer breadth of knowledge, and your inimitable passion for living taught me that amidst all these bitter, jaded people, I was not wrong for anticipating goodness and light.

Back then, I couldn’t have done what you did, no matter what you might have believed about me, and you always believe the best. I couldn’t have uprooted my sense of self, my home, and my comfort to achieve a goal. I would never be so arrogant as to say “I let you go” because you had to go. My hands released yours easily so you would never doubt your path away from me.

Even so, when you left, I wanted to be so much stronger than I was. I wanted not to grasp desperately to catch you again; I wanted to be the effortless support I strove to be with you in my midst. But miles apart, I could only see not seeing you. I could only think of you in my own terms: mine, or not at all.

So many lessons in those interim years I learned the hardest way. Time and again, I tricked myself into lessening you. As you reached and grasped and succeeded, I learned the most important part: you exist not for my sake. And I promised myself that if we were ever able to be friends again, I would not forget that.

So here we are, my heart, on your birthday, the first we celebrate together, and all I know is that all my words fail me in the utter presence of you. With your own hands you built your life, your support structure, your home, your business, and your education, and I am lucky to witness them all from so close. Your humility throughout all your accomplishments is my touchstone; your resilience unmarred by disappointment or rejection is my inspiration. My lesson to learn is how to love you for who you are, because you are the greatest person I have ever known.

Happy birthday, D. And thank you for persevering through so many hard times on your own so that we might share whatever is to come.

(photo by s.)

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