Wednesday, February 24, 2010

There once was a girl who got older.

There once was a girl who got older,
(She certainly couldn't get bolder.)
You might think all your shine,
Fades past twenty-nine,
Not true - but you couldn't have told her.

There once was a girl with a great shoe passion,
She says “Goodwill” wouldn’t accept my foot fashion.
No, I didn’t invite my sister,
But s’pose I would’ve missed her.
She fixed that with some party crashin’.

“Are we There Yet?” led this conspir’cy,
Watch out – she’s clever, gorgeous and (ha!) shifty,
I send thanks my dear Friend,
We must do this (in Vegas?) again,
No rest ‘til we’re flirty and fifty!

There once was a girl wanting no fuss.
Traded her red sports car for a nice micro bus.
But - Oh my! What do ya know - a !
She dances fine with a pink feather boa!
Society will never forgive us.

Thanks for the boa Indy - watch out when you finally turn 40!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mommy has Milestones too - a look back in time

With my birthday fast approaching, I probably ought to wax poetic. The truth is, it just isn't working. How important is a birthday anyway? Do you remember yours? Let's see . . .

For my childhood years, we always had simple at-home parties. My parents would take me out for crab, which was my favorite food. Often, we would lump my brother and my birthday together and go somewhere especially awesome for dinner (like a dinner theatre, for example).

At 15 years old, I had a bunch of my girlfriends over for my party. My brother had a few of his friends over too. (Were my parents crazy? He is three years older than I am). Anyway, being the dangerous type of high school freshman girls, we challenged them to Trivial Pursuit. Yeah, the girls won. Girls rule. Boys drool.

At 16 years old, I was completely snowed in by myself - parents made it to work, but school was out for the day. My high school BFF (who just sent me a card - smile) arranged for a clown to show up at my door. The clown was wearing a heavy overcoat on top of her costume and the helium baloons drooped down to her waist in the cold air. I spent the day writing a paper for school. (My BFF was the lynchpin for the Entertainment category in Trivial Pursuit, by the way).

At 18 years old, I recall standing on the sidewalk in Georgetown (suburb of D.C.) in the snow eating ice cream. Why was that a good idea?

At 19 years old, there was a blackout in Cambridge. Some seniors rewired their stereo through the emergency exit and we had cake and the party by flashlight. When the lights remained off, we decided to all go over to Boston together. MIT disappeared as we walked across the Harvard bridge (which was a pretty amazing gift to this not-so-brilliant freshman chickie).

At 20 years old, I was in the hospital recovering after having a very prolonged high fever. My hospital roommate had been admitted for depression. My dad and sister showed up, washed me like a car wash and asked one my friends to invite more friends to come to the hospital room. They brought in a cake and take-out Chinese food, and made the room feel as crowded as a Tokyo subway. My depressed roommate had such a good time, she was released the next day having been cured of her sadness.

At 21 years old, I was taken "bowling" in Harvard Square. Enough said.

At 22 years old, I went out to dinner in Boston and Julia Child sat a few tables away.

At 23 years old, I moved to Japan a few days before my birthday with three empty holes in my mouth where my wisdom teeth had been the day before I left the U.S. Undaunted, I walked around my new office asking strangers to go to dinner with my on my birthday. Not surprisingly, I ended up with a very rowdy group of young Australian men who revelled in the strange request - and knew the underbelly of Hiroshima far too well. I must have paid that cab driver who took me home. I probably paid him 10,000 yen, who knows?

At 25 years old, Setsumi threw a huge party for me in Hiroshima. She rented out a whole bar, arranged for food, and invited 50+ of the people who in two short years had become family. THAT was a fabulous birthday.

At 26 years old, two days before my boyfriend became my fiance, I told him I wanted to go ice skating on my birthday. We went to the ice rink in Hiroshima, where I met a woman from the Hiroshima Collectors ice hockey team who convinced me to join their league. What a blast.

At 30 years old, I was interrupted from studing for a finance exam for my MBA to attend a surprise lunch held for me by the wives and girlfriends of my husband's friends. I didn't have much time to make friends those years in Michigan.

For most of my thirties, I have made my own cake which my children decorate. I'm guessing that after awhile it will look less like a pile of frosting, M&Ms, and sprinkles and more like a cake. Or, maybe they'll make it like that even when they are in their 20's because they know I can see the love in it. I also made it a point to sneak away with girlfriends after the children were tucked in, and my hubby and I have gone out as well (all fabulous).

At 39 years old, my girlfriend gave me my birthday party.

At 40 years old, well, I'll make the most of this one too.

I am told it’s my 40th year,
And perhaps there is something to fear,
But I haven’t the time,
To waste on the sublime,
Instead join me for some birthday cheer.

For entertainment, I’ll give you this clue,
A great band will be playing for you.
We’ll dance and we’ll twist,
You get the gist,
With luck our husbands will join us too.

Please leave your gifts at the store,
I am too old to accept any more.
I drank your bottle of wine
When I turned thirty-nine,
This time please just walk through the door.

This is the big 4 – 0h,
You have no choice but to get up and go.
Without you, my dear friend,
I might not dance to the end,
And pretend that it just ain’t so.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Gladys' 5th Birthday

In this picture, Gladys is hugging a naked Kewpie doll that was given to me by Kawa-san's mother. The pictures of her after she was asked to put down the naked doll and look at the camera didn't capture her raw joy in quite the same way - although, they are much better pictures in the usual sense.

I let Gladys plan her own birthday. She just turned five. It is a very big deal.

"Do you remember what you told me when I turned five, Mom?" Andrew asked when we talking about it and making paper snowflake decorations - we had weeks of preparation.

"No, Andrew, what did I tell you?"

"I can't believe you are a whole hand!" I laughed.

I do remember telling him that now. And, frankly, I still can't believe it.

Gladys wanted a "sledding birthday." I had never heard of anyone doing that before, although I suspect it isn't that terribly original - perhaps just a little old fashioned. She also wanted to play 'pin the carrot nose on the snowman.' She explained that she played a similar game with a jack-o-lantern at Halloween and it was sooo fun.

I wish I could take credit for the idea, but I would have never suggested it. The kids, however, loved it. I had trouble bribing them off the hill with hot chocolate. Even Gladys took three or four "last runs."

"After sledding," Gladys explained. "We have to have hot chocolate."

"You mean, hot chocolate with whipped cream, marshmallows and sprinkles?" I offered.

She grinned. Apparently she was pleased that her mother wasn't entirely daft.

I thought when I took this picture, that George was checking to see how many marshmallows his friend had in her cup. I found out a second later that she was actually spoon feeding him her hot chocolate - in trade for his marshmallows. They both seemed happy with the deal.

Gladys also required that the cake have a sledding hill on top of it with kids sledding. At Andrews birthday, he had a camping party and a campsite on his cake, so I am assuming that this is analogous in her mind.

Yes, I hand piped frosting onto squares of Hershey's chocolate and used different colors of pearl dust to make their shiny snowsuits. Their 'boots' are large sprinkle sugar, heads are M&Ms and hats have a sprinkle for a ball on top. The kids each had their own sledder on their piece. It wasn't hard - and I didn't buy anything new, just used what was in my cabinet.

Of course, I keep an unusually well-stocked cabinet. I never really know for sure what might come out of it. It really depends on the kids. My favorite part of this picture is my MIL sitting calmly at the table amidst my carnival of activity.

Oh, yeah, and the parents had a good time too. (big, cheesy grin)

Happy Birthday, Sweet Gladys!
I hope you are always as fearless and creative as you are at five.