Saturday, December 24, 2011

Of birthdays, baba ghanouj, and bibs

So yesterday was my birthday, but technically I celebrated it on Thursday. I knew we would be traveling (and packing) the day of my birthday to go to my parents' for the holiday and I wanted the entire day to myself.

Ornament= shitty gift
My birthday has traditionally been kind of sucky- two days before Christmas, everybody's busy with their holiday preparations and people try to cheat and give you Christmas-themed gifts. (Let me state for the record that the worst present you can give a small child is an ornament that goes straight to the tree and gets put away for the year once the tree comes down.)

I've only ever had one birthday party, the year I turned seven, and even that was fraught with mishaps. The week before my birthday, I'd been playing out in the back yard, climbed up a tree after my hat that had been tossed up in the branches, and fell. A branch tore a jagged cut in my upper thigh. Never tore my corduroy pants and never bled. I only knew that my leg hurt and when I went inside and went to go to the bathroom, I saw the gaping wound in my leg and started screaming. So I went to the ER and got a bunch of invisible stitches, as well as seven that would need to be removed. So, get this: 7 days before my 7th birthday, on a day where the temperature was about 7 degrees, I cut my leg, needed 7 stitches, which were removed 7 days later and left me with a scar 7cm long. Spooky!

Anyway, so that particular year, when I finally had a birthday party, I was laid up with stitches in my leg and couldn't really move around much. So much for fun.

So since then, I take it upon myself to have an adventure day for my birthday. In years past, I've gone for massages, pedicures, outings to places only I'd like to visit to take photos. It's always a solo excursion- I like to have the time to myself and more often than not, no one is free to go with me anyway. My favorite book when I was real little was by the author of Good Night, Moon called Mister Dog which was about a dog named Crispin's Crispian who belonged to himself. It pretty much explains just about everything about me, especially my adventure days.

This year, I went to the Division of Rare Books & Manuscripts at Cornell University and faked a research project to look at E.B. White's first draft of Charlotte's Web, one of my very favorite books.
1st page of 1st draft. Note picture of Charlotte in corner.
I spent about two hours with the manuscript, which was just awe-inspiring- written on plain unlined yellow paper in pencil, with all his scratchings and notes. My favorite was where he drew a bracket around a small paragraph and in the margins wrote, "Fix. Make better."

After I was done there, I went to Collegetown for a much-needed hair cut, then I took myself out to lunch at a middle eastern/mediterranean restaurant called Aladdin's. (Unfortunately, they were out of tabbouleh, which is my very favorite, but the baba ghanouj, hummus, felafel and spanakopita were delicious.)
Still giggling because I spent the day at the Kroch Library,
followed by the Johnson Museum. Say it out loud. You'll get it.
After that, I went back to campus and visited the Johnson Museum of Art. Besides this really cool and incredibly old cuneiform tablet that was found sealed in a terra cotta envelope, I was mostly impressed with the view from the 5th floor. I swear I could almost see my house.
Love to eat those little claws ...
And then later, the coup de grace- lobsters at the Antlers! Always fun to dine with friends when you're all wearing bibs.

So, now I'm back in my hometown, at my parents' house,  the dogs anxious that this is where we live now (Frances will not let me get two feet away from her) with Christmas almost upon us. But I'm more excited for New Year's, not necessarily for the party we're planning on having, but for the start of resolutions. I love the fresh start of a new year, even though New Year's Day is almost always written off as a day to rehydrate and laze off a hangover.

My resolution for the coming year is to write every day. Hopefully, through this I will finally finish the book I have been working on FOREVER, but also to become more disciplined at this game. I've signed up for a 750 Words A Day challenge, which shouldn't be too bad, considering it's about half the daily word count that NaNoWriMo was. I'm also going to try posting on here everyday. May not be good, but hopefully it will be consistent.

So happy holidays to you and yours (unless you're one of those people who get pissed off at folks for saying something other than Merry Christmas, even though these same people's idea of "keeping Christ in Christmas" is to buy a 500-inch television at WalMart on Black Friday and litter their lawn with plastic reindeer).