Tag Archives: birthday

Friendship & Gratitude, Updated

So it was my birthday weekend. I decided to go up to Camp D, essentially a plot of land where a bunch of people show up and camp. And drink. Mostly drink.

The ride up was on my birthday. We left the city hours later than I’d expected and I was vaguely annoyed to be spending it a car. I remedied it by drinking a six-pack I picked up at a bodega. But about half-way up, my friends Dede and Dre surprised me with a party. IN the minivan! Yup, they strung up twinkly lights, made a cheese, bread and salami platter, had wine and beer, and played “cool jazz.” Or was it smooth jazz? Teeny tiny cupcakes — one with a birthday candle — were dessert. It was awesome!

We arrived at our camp site too late to do much more than pass out. But the whole weekend was my celebration. I got another cake and a cupcake on Sunday night, after multitudinous beers and a beautiful day spent at a swimming hole with a waterfall.

There was an interesting dynamic among the somewhat fragmented campers. Some were old friends (of each other, of mine), some I’d never met before and, most peculiar, some seemed to have no interest in becoming friends with anyone they didn’t already know. I mean, I wasn’t expecting the Welcome Wagon — or even “Greeters,” who welcome you to Burning Man (and have, in the past, apparently, welcomed people to Camp D) — but introducing themselves might’ve been a nice gesture, me (and a few others, I’ll assume) being the newcomer. At least a couple people reached out and “friended” me on Facebook. It wasn’t the best bonding experience but it was a warm weekend of co-habitating in a cluster of tents. Right?

In the end, it just made me more grateful for my friends. For the people I love.

I just spent the past two hours thanking everyone who sent me birthday wishes on Facebook. I realize that the site makes us pretty lazy about these things; we can click on someone and instantly connect but there really doesn’t seem to be that much of a connection. So I wanted to close the communication loop. One friend actually wrote back, saying “Aw, a personal thank you? How un-Facebooky.” um, yep.

Which takes me back to…the people I love. There’s no possible way anyone can spend time with everyone they love if they love a LOT of people. Which I do. Many of them live far away. Some I haven’t seen in years. So I’m grateful for Facebook, as much as I hate it most of the time, for offering me an easy way to stay in touch with all my favorite people, peek into their lives, “like” their posts or wish them a happy birthday.

So I’m feeling grateful. But I’m not feeling very eloquent! I’m still dazed from the three-day drunk-fest. Oh, and the three hour Figment meeting. Ack! I just wanted to post, get back in the saddle, so to speak. I’d better get back to the blind date horror stories, though, or I’ll lose all my readers! We’ll see….

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my 52nd birthday. It’s a pretty happy one, even though my life is missing a few key ingredients. It has been just over a year since I last had sex. That makes it the longest I’ve ever gone without sex since I lost my virginity. Ack. This afternoon I’ll be on my way out of town to go camping. Should be a humid, buggy, drunk and entertaining weekend with the chances of getting laid somewhere below zero. Sigh.

At some point I’m gonna need to get back on the horse and ride that motherfucker. Believe me, it can’t happen a moment too soon! I’m either gonna have to be blackout drunk, madly in love or just at my wit’s end. Not sure which is more likely to happen first. Um, okay, the likelihood of my being blackout drunk first is probably the highest. Like, this weekend. Even though there won’t be anyone to “get back on and ride.” Hah! Anyway…

Facebook and email make birthdays more fun. I’m receiving wishes from friends, acquaintances, people I haven’t seen in years. Even from Jet Blue and my insurance agent are sending me greetings! I was offered a free Tarot reading from Tarot.com and it was surprisingly insightful!

My “challenges/opportunity card says:

It is possible that you have a hero latent inside you who is being called forth by current circumstances. If that is the case, don’t resist; accept the invitation. It’s not often that we get a ready-made opportunity to be gallant. It’s to everyone’s benefit that you think of yourself as a person who is able and willing to make a positive difference.

My “question” was about money/career…Hmm, in reference to my preference for volunterring…maybe I’ll come back in October and work for some big non-profit. We’ll see!

The “advice” card read:

Fundamental change is imminent. The positive benefits you gain during this period could last a long time.
The card in the Advice position suggests a course of action which will harmonize what you want with what is currently possible. 
The Wheel of Fortune in this position indicates a period of sweeping changes. It could come in the form of a physical move, a spiritual awakening or dramatically changing social patterns. The placement of this card is an encouraging sign. The season is right for transformation. 
It is now safe. You are watched over and protected as you go round and round the Wheel. You will learn a lot. You will also learn it quickly, and what you absorb will benefit you for a long time to come.

And check out my “long-term potential” card! It sounds awesome!

You have no choice but to ride the currents that are about to sweep you away.
The card in the Long-term Potential position points to unknowns still taking shape. It is the “wild card” yet to be played. 
With the Moon in this position, there is a potential for an absolutely unpredictable situation. This is a time of unstable currents and weather patterns, record tides and eclipses, strange storms. Let go of goal setting for now. 
The adventure and experience before you are truly open ended. It will cleanse you of the wounds from the outside world, the world of culture, time and space, and leave you utterly wide open to the great mystery. You are driven toward this depth of insight by a force beyond comfort, beyond ego. Here is where you find out what you are made of. You can master this realm and go on to help others get over their fear and misunderstanding

For now, I’m headed to lunch with my sister, my cousin, my aunt and my oldest friend in New York. Thank you to everyone who has sent me happy birthday wishes! You know how much I appreciate it! Mwah!

Baby Sophie Turns Two

January 17

Today was my niece’s second birthday. She’s the fourth child; there’s a five-year span between her and her youngest sibling. She was sort of a surprise. But because of my itinerant wanderings, I was around more for this baby’s first days.

I was there in the delivery room a few hours after she was born. And after my sister fired the crazy Trinidadian woman she’d hired to be her baby nurse, I stepped in, with my boyfriend at the time, to take over. Up until then I’d never changed a diaper. That’s right, I’d managed to survive her first three kids without every having to wipe shit off a baby’s ass; it’s nice to have hired help. That all changed with Sophie Isabella, when I became the hired help!

The job of a baby nurse is to be with the newborn overnight and bring the baby to the mother to breastfeed when it wakes up. The goal is to get the baby to sleep through the night, ideally within eight weeks. It’s a position with rich people, primarily, since most new moms get up and feed their babies themselves, without any in-home assistance. I gotta say, out of all the crazy jobs I’ve had in my life, it was the hardest — a huge responsibility and sleeplessness like I’d never experienced (as I’m sure any parent can attest) — but before the eight weeks were up, baby Sophie was sleeping through the night. And I’d come as close to experiencing parenting as I ever will.

Now that Sophie is a toddler, she’s walking and talking and cracking everyone up. She’s a precocious kid, likely due to her older siblings. She can speak in complete sentences and socks ya one when you tell her “No.” She loves to use my “pone” and knows how to select the games she wants to play. She is truly a joy.

The birthday celebration was a somewhat awkward dinner at the Rainforest Café, with one set of grandparents and the nuclear Conte clan, in the midst of their divorce proceedings, plus moi. My parents would be in attendance at the following day’s celebrations, which wouldn’t include dad or his folks. But the baby enjoyed herself, fascinated by the robotic animals and rainforest mists.

January 18

The second celebration was at my sister’s new (rental) home with all the kids, my parents and some extra Conte-connected relatives. Dinner was delicious and Sophie blew out a lot of candles on both a cake and a collection of cupcakes. The vibe was much less stressful and there were a bunch of hilarious gifts: a kitchen and cash register, a step-on piano (a la “Big”), a pop-up play fort and a toddler-sized roller coaster. All the kids enjoyed the toys, especially the roller coaster, everyone sailing across the enormous entryway and into the living room. It was chaos. And I’m glad I was there to help celebrate.