I say "for the first time," as I plan to follow Jack Benny's lead and remain 39 for the next 40 years...
Am I the only one who thinks that maybe, just maybe, something magical will happen on my birthday? Even though I know it's going to be just another day at work? Well, nothing did. But I had a pleasant birthday, with some particular highlights.
My old boyfriend Tony (the one who invented "Stella Haven") took me to Le Central for dinner on my birthday eve, followed by drinks at John's Grill, both old San Francisco establishments. Le Central has a booth in the front window where storied columnist Herb Caen, clothier Wilkes Bashford and former Mayor Wille Brown used to eat. John's Grill is notable for having been mentioned by Dashiell Hammett in The Maltese Falcon. (The bartender told me they used to sell faux falcons for $39.95, but no more.) Tony dropped a lot of dough and was very sweet about humoring me and my various neuroses, then packed me off in a pre-paid cab at the end of the night.
Thence, having to take the bus to work the following day, I found that someone had abandoned two boxes of kitchen stuff and plastic toys at the bus stop. I had just enough time before the bus came to salvage a big plastic red "S" with a picture of Snuffleupagus -- my favorite Sesame Street character -- on it.
When I got to work, the couple at the coffee shop downstairs treated me to my drink, and my friend Suzanne gifted me with a whimsical feathered ceramic shoe bank.
Another colleague (and old flame!) stepped up with a box of Godiva chocolates. My former boss, who last year forgot to wish my a Happy Birthday, this year also wouldn't give me the satisfaction of voicing the sentiment, but occasionally broke into whistling the song under his breath. (Love him.)
For lunch I gave in to one of my guilty food pleasures and got McDonald's, and I followed that feat up when I got home by having chardonnay and Haagen Dazs chocolate-chip-cookie-dough ice cream for dinner.
I talked for over an hour to my best friend from childhood, M., who also sang the Happy Birthday song into my work voicemail, followed by the question, "Are you crying now?" M. has two gorgeous kids, Lyrissa and Nicholas, a 17-month-old handful. "You know how parents will say, 'My kid was hanging from the chandelier?'" she asked me. "Well, the other day, I came downstairs, and Nicholas was hanging from the chandelier in the dining room."
Big brother P. called and sent new Colorado quarters for me and Shaken Mama (ironic, isn't it, to be receiving coins from a convicted bank robber?) and an audio birthday card that sounds a fire siren when you open it up to a picture of a cake with hundreds of candles on it. Big sis D. called. The other three siblings were MIA, which was expected but sad. But not sad enough to ruin my day.
And as their contribution, my two cats did not pee on anything, or throw up.