Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Forty 2 (thank you)

Birthday banner hung across my living room wall, courtesy of Ward.

The day before I turned 42, I found myself overwhelmed. I received way more candle orders than I expected (it's a good, but busy, thing), and was hand delivering, hand pouring, and shipping all week. My nails hadn't seen a manicure in God only knows how long, and two of those days that week, I got a maximum three hours sleep.

Just hours before I was to begin celebrating with W, a table I was building, for my son's bedroom, collapsed on top of me. It looked fully together until I tried to move it. I didn't know that one has to twist cam screws to lock them into place, but boy do I know now. The whole thing just fell to pieces on my crossed legs. I sat on the floor, covered in pieces of the table, crying. My mom and son experienced the meltdown, then sent me to get a mani/pedi before the earth's plates began to shift. I had just gotten a dozen long stem roses from W, delivered to the house along with a birthday balloon and a loving note, which was probably the only thing that kept me from going totally over the edge.

Roses from my man xoxTW

Later for dinner, W told me that we could go anywhere my heart desired, so I chose my favorite happy place, the Second Half in Denville. We are regulars there, and I knew we would have fun sitting and having dinner at the bar. One of the bartenders who'd just gotten off duty, Laura, gave me a gourmet chocolate bar, and a cool bobble head pen. It was so sweet. Later, after we'd eaten our dinner, the pub's owner, my friend Diane, came walking out the kitchen doors with a giant cowbell, waving it in the air, with a crew of waitstaff behind her. She took the long route and walked through the restaurant, so I didn't think that she was coming for me. (She was.) They raised the lights in the bar, and then Di made an announcement that it was my birthday and everyone sang, even people who were walking in the door. I got a pink candle in a decadent chocolate spoon cake (worth every calorie) and my night was made.

I wish I had a photo, or a video, from that night. 

The next morning, my actual birthday, W and I did our favorite morning routine which includes breakfast at Pete's Denville Diner on Broadway. Last year, we went on my birthday and Mina, the owner, brought me a Greek dessert with a candle in it (I blogged about it - see archives). This time, we sat quietly but amongst a packed diner, drank our coffee and ate our breakfast. Afterward, Mina, her mom, and the waitresses came to our table with a giant, perfectly made Belgian waffle, topped with tons of fresh fruit, nuts, sprinkles, and whipped cream. A pink candle (once again, my color) was atop the whole thing, and I watched and laughed while they sang "Happy Birthday" to me. I was full from breakfast, but this was so good that W and I finished off the whole thing.

Omigod. Mina sure knows how to make a birthday special. Check out all that yummy fruit!

Beautiful Mina and me. She's my favorite Greek Goddess!

Later that day, after making a candle delivery, I arrived home to a bag on my front step, from a spa called the Urban Muse. My darling friend and partner-in-pedicure, KT, had left me a very special gift. A gift certificate for a facial. I've never gotten one, so I was very excited to receive this gift. And how thoughtful of her to bring it to my house! I love that girl more and more each day.

W and the kids came home and told me to go sit in my office with the door closed. While I did, they blew up tons of balloons and decorated them, hung a Happy Birthday sign (see top of blog), set the table with birthday plates and napkins, and brought in their homemade cards. They hid the cake, a Denville Dairy ice cream cake, in the freezer. JH had given me his card and gift earlier in the day, drawing his dogs on it, and a bunch of flags (Russian, Japanese, and American) with a soldier. Very cute, very him! He loves his war games, that's for sure. He also got me a gift card for movies for two, which I love because I am so into going to the theater! 

All three cards were amazing, and Mol's and Em's were HUGE. Em's was waist high! They are too personal to share, but I will say that I was balling my eyes out the minute Em started reading me hers, and it only got worse when I read Mol's. They were the most touching cards I've gotten, probably ever in my life, and I will keep them forever.

While we were celebrating, our little buddies from next door, Gavin (3) and Colten (1), came with their parents to bring me some presents, flowers, and a cake. We got their parents beers and invited them to stay and have pizza with us. Along with our usual brews, we tried one that my ex-husband and his wife got me (they know their beer). I have to get you the name because it was really delicious. It was a super Belgian ale (my favorite style of beer) that's got 8.5% alcohol. It had an orangey sort of flavor to it. I loved it. This birthday turned out to be the most heartwarming one ever. 

Before bed, we had the Denville Dairy cake.  The kids and I all sat around the lit candles, made our wishes together, and then blew them out. Since W was taking photos, I made a wish for him as well as one for me.

One big, collective blow to bring in forty two.
The next morning, after my two cups of coffee, I made a big breakfast: pancakes (made the batter the night before) with mini chocolate chips in the kids', bacon, taylor ham and orange juice. We all ate together, then split the cake that our neighbors had brought over from the night before. It was incredible!

Later that night, my parents took me to dinner so that I could celebrate with them. They brought me a basket of flowers that was so big, it didn't fit on the table! We had a lovely dinner, and while I tried to get out of another "Happy Birthday" songfest, they did sing to me... in Spanish, which was really pretty cool. And I got one last candle, in my perfect Calandra's cannoli.

What beats a cannoli? A cannoli with a birthday candle!
Thank you all, so much, for making this such a special birthday, including those who called me, sent me texts and messages, and who gave me free stuff while visiting their store (Lisa). I feel very blessed.


  1. Awww, so so so sweet

  2. wow! that sounds like the best birthday ! I am happy for you DG you deserve every minute of it (and more)