Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A Happy Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday.  While I'm not particularly *thrilled* to admit that I've turned 43, I'm not one to lie about my age, either.  I figure I've lived, experienced, and earned all of the joys, tears, laughs, meals, chores, events, mistakes, excitement, monotony, pleasures, fears, decisions, and dreams of each of those years, and I wouldn't deny any of them. 

I don't mind the laugh lines that are starting to develop (hey, they just show I'm a fun-loving gal, right?)  The only thing I tinker with is my hair, because I've been the victim of genetics to inherit premature graying from an all-too-early age.  It's kind of fun to change the semi-permanent hues or hennas for different highlights or seasons.  (Looking for a bright side to pitiless genes.)

No, I don't mind birthdays.  They usually entail a nice dinner out and a decadent dessert, the likes of which I don't usually indulge in most of the time.  I received lots of cards, emails, and Facebook greetings (I could feel the love!)

Yesterday was special because I was able to spend my birthday with one of very best friends.  We have been buds since freshman year in high school, so a history of nearly 29 years ensures an ease and good time whenever we're together.  It was a wonderful surprise to learn that she and her husband would just happen to be in town for a convention.  We bopped around Georgetown, had lunch at an outdoor cafe, and watched the time zip by all too quickly.

I received another special gift, too.  This past summer I helped a family friend arrange a trip to Ascoli Piceno for her 65th birthday.  She took her entire family - 4 kids and their spouses, 7 grandkids, and her husband - to celebrate the big event.  I booked them in a wonderful villa, set up a personal chef, arranged for tickets to La Quintana, and reserved some very special restaurants, in addition to sending them to all our favorite spots.  She returned and raved about the trip and has continuously thanked me whenever I talk to her.

She visited this past week and presented me with a thank you/birthday gift that really touched me.   She had collected and pressed leaves and flowers from plants around Ascoli Piceno, and framed them in a pretty arrangement.  What a thoughtful thing to do!  (She also toted a delectable cake along with her from South Carolina.  Have cake, will travel.)  

The frame is on my desk and I think of my beautiful city and wonderful experiences whenever I look at it.

There's no denying...a happy birthday, indeed.


Vicky said...

Happy birthday indeed, from one November baby to another! We'll have to toast each other on the 15th. Buon compleanno!

barb cabot said...

Happy Birthday Valerie! You have experienced so many wonderful adventures and you are still so young. I wish you years and years ahead of many more lovely times all over this beautiful world.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Happy Birthday Valerie!! Glad you had a great one.

Valerie said...

Vicky - Thanks! We will definitely toast our brithdays (even if it's with green tea ;) See you then!

Barb - Thanks for your sweet words. Youth/Aging are all perception, I think.

Ragazza - Grazie tanto!

Karen (South of Rome) said...

Buon Compleanno!!-- K

(BTW, You're only now getting laugh lines? What's my problem?? Mine hit years ago!)

janie said...

A very, very Happy Birthday to you! How wonderful to be able to spend time with old friends.

J.Doe said...

Happy Birthday. I'm in shock that you are the same age as me because from your pictures you looked so much younger!!
I'm glad it was a great day.

Valerie said...

Karen - Grazie! I think it must just mean that you're more jovial than me! :)

Janie - Thanks! Yes, it was a real treat.

J. - Thanks, twice over! Everyone thinks I'm ten years younger than I am. That's the positive side of the gene pool, to offset the gray thing.

leslie said...

awesome valerie! i am one year behind you. that trip sounds amazing and i would love your expertise if we get a chance to travel to italy someday (soon i wish!)
happy belated birthday!!

Anonymous said...

What a great gift idea! And what a treasure for you. Belated happy birthday.

Jane said...

Hi Valerie, the last anonymous comment was actually from me.