Monday, October 11, 2010

The Number of Candles Remains A Mystery

The day after my parents found me under a cabbage leaf.  Or so my sister said.
The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly and lie about your age. - Lucille Ball

I woke up this morning and checked my phone like I always do.  I do it mostly in case Chloe has sent some overnight angst-o-gram, a wish goodnight or photos of a mysterious rash she wants me to diagnose using my super special mom powers.  Instead, I was overwhelmed by a number of Facebook text messages from friends wishing me a happy birthday.

While MathMan burrowed deeper under the covers and gave me a good morning grope, I read the messages and wondered how I could be so lucky.  In a year that has had its ups and downs, the human connections have been the highlight.  There's no question about it.

MathMan and the kids presented me with cards before racing off to school, leaving me to thank the cats for not spelling out Happy Barfday in hairballs this year and to contemplate what to do with my day.  Write?  Read? Work out?  Accept that invitation from the Queen to come for tea? Don my tiara reserved for special occasions and strip the bed linens for laundry?

I'll probably do all of those things.  Except the Tea with the Queen thing.  She's so needy.  It's my day, you know?  I don't want to talk about her favorite Corgi's "nasty habit" or how one can't find a proper set of gloves at WalMart these days.

I looked for my tiara, but couldn't find it.  Instead, I put on Sophie's headband with the devil horns, some matching red lipstick and got busy vacuuming.  One of the nicest things someone like me can do for herself is fix it so that she doesn't think "Dear lord, why do I bother vacuuming on a Friday?" every time she strolls through the living room on her way to fill her coffee cup.  Self-care can too be practical.  It doesn't have to be all spa and chocolate, yo.

The doorbell rang and I went to answer it.  The UPS guy stood there smiling.

"Sign here."  He glanced at the top of my head.

"Okay."  I'd forgotten the horns.

He cleared his throat.  "So Halloween's coming early at your house?"

I blinked at him, then my hand shot up to my head. My fingertips rested on the satiny horns with feathers. I had a choice here, didn't I?

"Actually, it's my birthday," I said, bringing my hand down and resting it on his chest.  "And I couldn't find my tiara."

He looked down at my red nails drumming on his brown shirt and shifted the electronic signing thingy under his arm.  "Well, happy birthday." he smiled and swallowed hard.  I could see his Adam's Apple play up and down.

I patted his chest and then removed my hand.  "I suspect this package is the rest of the costume."  I held up the small package and smiled my sweetest Blanche Dubois smile.

"Are you going to try it on now?" he asked, suddenly eager. So I hadn't lost my touch.

I weighed the package in my hands.  I knew that it was really the book I'd ordered as my birthday gift.  "Well," I drawled.  "Maybe later.  Right now I have some vacuuming to do.  Unless, you'd like to come in and vacuum while I change...."

I shut off the vacuum and went to the door.  A package rested against the porch railing.  I looked up and waved to the UPS driver who was swinging up into his seat.  He gave me a wave and put the van in gear to drive away.  I reached up and patted the satin horns.

Live honestly, eat slowly, lie about your age.

I try to live honestly, but there's always room for improvement in that department.  I will dedicate myself to slower eating and savor the flavors of the birthday cake MathMan will pick up on his way home. And as for that last one, remember how I said I was half way to ninety?  A lie.

Thanks to all who've wished me a happy birthday already today.  It's a great day to turn 29!

Party games are over here at Black Magpie Theory.  No gifts, please.


  1. Happy 29th, Lisa. Today, I'll celebrate the day you were born. I'm not surprised to learn you're a Libra, always balancing reality with a delightful sense of humor.

    I love you, Lisa.

    Happy Birthday!!

  2. Hey, hey! Happy birthday, sister! I can't imagine you've lost your touch!

    I'd love for you to come hang by the pool with me today. What time shall I expect you?

  3. Happy Birthday!

    You wicked fantasist, you!

  4. I liked the fantasy story with the UPS driver much better. Besides, I almost believed it.

  5. Happy birthday, mama! You don't even need candles – once you own a pair of devil horns and a tiara, what else is there to wish for, really?

  6. lol Happy birthday. it's a wonderful day to be 29.

    and I think horns are an adequate substitute for a tiara.

  7. My cut-off birthday was my 39th, so this summer I celebrated the 24th anniversary of my 39th b'day.

    I wish you many more anniversaries of your wonderful 29th!

    (Write more of that UPS-guy story, would ya? I can't let this heavy breathing go to waste, even if it is wheezy asthma stuff.)

  8. Birthdays~ Beats the alternative!

    Signed 39 & holding.....

  9. I wish you the happiest of birthdays, my friend. I would have sent the greetings sooner but I'm still shy about fb. Nevertheless, it's a good day for one since if I remember my history, it's the anniversary of the day Columbus discovered he preferred being a girl, turned his fleet around and returned to Portugal to practice baking custard tarts.

    My trick has always been to lie about my age in the opposite direction so people are forced to say I look really good for someone who's 90.

  10. Happy Birthday! I know how many candles, but I ain't a-gonna say.

  11. Happy 29th, Lisa! You're awesome. :) I wish for you to continue to wring all the amazing life out of every single day of this next year -- and to keep writing about it for us, and to start getting paid well for your incredible work.

  12. HA! Brilliant! That poor UPS guy should have just sucked it up and vacuumed for you--probably it would have killed him to see you just wearing a book with your horns.

    Happy Birthday!

  13. Ha ha My grandmother was also 29 every year. Because her birthday was on the 29th. Happy birthday!

  14. Happy Birthday, Lisa. so, didja wear your horns all day? have a wonderful day~

  15. Happy Birthday young lady, I am 29 with 21 years experience at it.
    I hope ya get a little nooky for your Birth day too.


  16. Well Happy Birthday, Dammit! (I'm practicing to be Gumby this Halloween. On second thought, maybe a UPS outfit would deliver more in the way of excitement...)


  17. Lisa, you're a brilliant writer--and hilarious, to boot! :)

    Happy Birthday once again, my creative, funny friend. :)

  18. Happy 29th to one of the best gal bloggers on the web, and ultra sexy to boot! :)

  19. Happy 29th. Hope you had a relaxing birthday.

  20. 29? you are just a young thing. Hope you had a great day.

  21. Fine, I'll just take this brand new car back to the showroom.

  22. Happy LATE birthday! I love it each and every time I turn 29. :)


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