Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Birthday "Week" Celebrations

Whilst attending a concert of the illustrious Derek Webb and Sanrda McCracken on Saturday night, Derek mentioned that Friday, June 16th was Sandra's birthday (she admitted to being 29-- but she always seemed so much older to me. I wonder if she said this because she really is 29 years old or because so many women get "stuck" at 29 and just stay there?). In honor of the occasion, the person hosting the event brought out a plate of candle-adorned doughnuts (with sprinkles!), and Derek took that as an opportunity to remark on how really it should just be a "Birthday Week" anyway.

My birthday was Sunday, June 18th. (Yes, it was Father's Day as well, but I'd like to think the occasion of my birth anniversary should get a little more reknown on my blog. Besides, Father's Day isn't a real holiday anyway. *wink*) Although technically Sunday is the first day of a new week, the birthday celebrations started a bit earlier, last Tuesday, and extended into this week, so I will nominate this timespan as my birthday week, even though it has been a little bit longer. And as far as I can tell, a grand time was (and wil be) had by all.

On Tuesday, Chandra and I spent over three hours painting pottery at All Fired Up in Emory Village. I enjoyed the experience itself more than anything. It took me forever to get my plate of "TECH Tower" just right, but it was also nice to relax and spend time being arts and craftsy with a good friend.

Wednesday, my good friend and former maid-of-honor Jennifer came to spend the night. Not only was she willing to help me clean behind my refridgerator, she also helped me clean the kitchen. God bless her! We also had quite a bit of fun (though sadly, no win) while playing Team Trivia at Diggers with some various and sundry friends that evening.

Thursday, Jennifer again helped with my productivity factor, as we bagged up over 70 items from my closet (this is just mine, not Gaines'!) and an additional 18 pairs of shoes to take to Goodwill. She was like some fantastic What Not to Wear host, helping me sort out stuff that I just did not need to keep anymore. Of course, we rewarded ourselves with some shopping! I replaced those 18 pairs with just one new pair, which will be great for teaching-- comfy, yet stylish. (Thanks, Mom!) That evening, our small group Bible study had a cake for all the June birthdays (and there were quite a few!) which we all thoroughly enjoyed, including Jennifer. I knew there was something good about having a June birthday.

On Friday, we loaded everything up and deposited it at Goodwill, which was a present in itself-- our apartment is so much less cluttered now! We couldn't let the opportunity pass us by, so we picked up a few books at Goodwill's 3 for $1 paperback sale -- I got Dawn by Elie Wiesel, The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper, a Mary Higgins Clark paperback I hadn't read yet, and Reading Lolita in Tehran (hardback, $1). Then we ate yummy Mexican food and went to a matinee of Cars, which I have now seen twice and would recommend to anyone, young or old. Even if you aren't a racing fan or car fiend (of which I am neither), you will laugh your head off at all the over-the-kids'-heads jokes and celebrity voices. Trust me, it's hilarious. Not quite my favorite Pixar, but it's up there.

On Saturday, the birthday craziness continued... I spent most of the day at Callenwolde, learning and practicing Plein Air Painting at a one-day workshop. The grounds were beautiful, and mostly deserted, so the 6 of us in the class had the place to ourselves. We picked shady spots and completed two paintings, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. It was my first visit, but I have a feeling I'll be returning, even if just to explore the twelve acres surrounding the house.

Saturday was Chandra's birthday, and she had planned quite the adventurous outing. We didn't make it to Ben and Jerry's for the Vermonster, though I heard the twenty-scoops, four toppings, brownies, bananas, cookies, and fudge were wonderful. Gaines and I did show up for Fuddrucker's, and we enjoyed our ice cream in the form of a cookies and cream milkshake. Then it was on to the Matthew Perryman Jones/Sandra McCracken/Derek Webb concert at Christ Community in Stone Mountain. The concert was great, but I only wish they would have had a little more time to play. I thought both Matthew and Sandra's set too short, and I could've heard a few more songs from Derek.

Sunday was my actual birthday, of course, and most of the celebrations involved food. After church, twelve folks joined us for a lunch of soup, salad, and breadsticks at Olive Garden (yum) and someone *cough*Gordon*cough* let slip to the staff it was my birthday and they all sang the silly song and put a hairnet on my head. You just wait until your birthday rolls around again...

After lunch, we retired to the apartment where we watched a couple of episodes of Jeeves and Wooster and basically vegged out for the afternoon. Just what a birthday should be. Then, Gaines treated me to a sunset dinner on the patio of P.F.Chang's, which is one of my favorite restaurants and I hadn't been there in ages. It was a delicious way to end the day.

In addition to all the actual celebrations, I received some pretty sweet gifts-- including gift cards from Parisians and Target, a new journal, and lots of books. Jennifer got me The Roald Dahl Omnibus and On Paradise Drive by David Brooks, both impulse buys from the Barnes and Noble bargain table. Our philosophy is "The cheaper the books, the more you can buy." Gaines got me the best gifts (of course): a copy of The Complete Stories by Flannery O'Connor as well as a copy of Paul Simon's now twenty-year-old Graceland album (along with the painting class and the trip to the pottery store). I used to love listening to Graceland in college, but never owned a copy, and when we heard Caedmon's version of "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" a few weeks ago, it had me hankering for more, and he remembered. *smile*

All in all, it's been one of the best (and longest) birthday weeks I can remember. And now, I'm off to Lake Martin to stay for a few days with my mom at their lake house (though it's really on a golf course). I know I'll enjoy reading, and oil painting, and we plan to do a bit of shopping. One thing I won't have is internet access, so I'll say adieu to blogging until I return on Friday. Have a great week everone! I know I will!

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