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Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

Last September, I made a list of things to do before my next birthday. I turn 29 in just over a month, so here’s a final progress report.

tea books balcony garden

Tea, books and balcony gardens: always on my list.

Finished items are crossed off; items begun are starred*.

1. Try the Project Life system to document either my time in Oxford or our first year in Boston (No scrapbooking, but I did make a photobook of Oxford colleges.)
2. Go to New York to see Ben in The Lion King and visit friends (Fabulous weekend – and the show rocked!)
3. Plan a trip to Europe/Oxford
4. Hang out with my family in Texas (So. Much. Fun.)
5. Dig into some classics I’ve never read (so far, Murder on the Orient Express, Essays of E.B. White, Letters to a Young Poet, A Christmas Carol, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, The Great Gatsby, Northanger Abbey, The Writing Life, And Then There Were None)
6. Visit a place I’ve never been (Portland, ME; Marblehead, Amherst, Hingham, Newton, Newburyport, Northampton and South Hadley, MA; Bar Harbor, ME; Alexandria, VA)
7. Clean out my desk at home*
8. Visit my loves in Abilene (pure joy)
9. Go apple picking again (it was delectable)
10. Knit some swoon-worthy autumn accessories (Done.)
11. Buy a new pair of black high-heeled boots (Bought riding boots instead.)
12. Keep in better touch with far-away friends (stolen from Bethany’s list)*
13. Explore more of New England (see #6)
14. Try at least 2 new recipes a month (I’ve tried so many that I’m calling it done.)
15. Visit half a dozen area bookstores I haven’t been to yet (Done! Longfellow Books, Porter Square Books, Artists & Authors, Spirit of ’76 Bookstore, Amherst Books, the New England Mobile Book Fair, Newtonville Books…)
16. Go see The Civil Wars in concert with my Jeremiah (a lovely evening)
17. Take another writing course (I took Alchemy Daily with Jenna)
18. Take a financial management course with J (we learned a lot)
19. Put together new outfits from pieces I already own
20. Schedule a checkup (it’s been far too long)
21. Start or join a book club (Five meetings so far.)
22. Buy a sassy red handbag
23. Drive up to New Hampshire or Vermont to see the fall foliage (We drove to western Mass.)
24. Fill a new notebook with a super-secret writing project* (Lots of new files on my new computer.)
25. Get a Massachusetts driver’s license
26. Learn to pay attention to one thing at a time*
27. Send 28 handwritten letters* (Not keeping an exact count, but I’m nearly there.)
28. Go to a literary festival/conference/event (Boston Book Fest, many author readings, Newburyport Literary Festival, Glen Workshop East)

Overall, I’m pleased with my progress. Lots of travel, lots of reading and writing, some fashion triumphs, a new book club, some lovely experiences. That driver’s license needs to happen soon, and I am determined to get back to Oxford before I turn 30. And #26 – well, I’m always working on it.

Do you make lists like this? What’s on your life to-do list right now?

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happy birthday mom

She’s awfully far away today, too far for me to take her out for a birthday lunch at Rosa’s or Taco Villa or Graham’s Pharmacy. She came, with my dad, for four days in mid-November, to see my new house, my new church, my new city, my new life. (And to walk around some of the old graveyards and historical sites she’s long wanted to see.) She’s coming back this summer, and I am determined to spend next Christmas with her.

When I look in the mirror, I see her green eyes, her facial expressions, her spirit looking back at me. When I speak, I hear her inflections in my voice, her phrases, her worldview, mingling with mine. She gave me so many important things, including a sense of fashion, a love of reading, the courage to speak my mind (even when she didn’t agree with me). She cried when I left home – for college, for Oxford, for graduate school, for Boston – but she let me go, over and over, with a hug and a prayer.

We clash sometimes, more because of how similar we are than how different. But we love each other too, with a fierce, deep, often unspoken kind of love.

Happy birthday, Mom. Hope it’s wonderful.

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As you may remember, I turned 27 a couple of weeks ago. J and I celebrated with a dinner date in the North End – pasta and some yummy pastries – but I wanted to have a party too, a chance to gather with friends and play games and laugh. It’s what our House 9 crew did in college, what our Abilene crew did every time it was someone’s birthday. And I miss having people over to our house – it’s been a rare thing so far in Boston, since we’re still getting settled and our friends are scattered all over the city.

So we threw a party. A Tex-Mex festival, actually. With chicken burritos and my guacamole, Nate’s homemade salsa and lots of tortilla chips. Daniel brought seven-layer dip, Shanna brought queso and everyone brought chips. And Abi made decadent chocolate cupcakes, frosted with cream cheese icing, each one topped with a single raspberry. (She knows me so, so well.)

It was a curious but wonderful mix of old friends and new ones, friends from Abilene and friends from Boston. It felt, as Abi said, like old times in Abilene – and yet it felt new too.

We missed the rest of our party group from Abilene – Kelsey and Jake and Sarah, Bailey and Luke and Bethany, Lawson and Morgan and Drew, and others. But it was such fun to have Daniel and Isaac and Shanna, and Beth and Scott, with us.

Everyone hung around the table, dipping chips into the four dip bowls and talking and laughing. We devoured burritos and chips and cupcakes and Beth’s chili-powder-laced brownies. We played Encore (always a gamble with a new group of people) and sang crazy song lyrics and hooted with laughter. And when it was over, I had that warm glow that comes from spending time with good friends.

We’re still adjusting to life here in Boston, still finding our rhythm and settling in. But I am so glad we’re already finding our people. We brought some of them with us, of course – but it’s great to be living the Boston life together, and making new friends along the way.

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happy Boston birthday to me

I’m 27 today. And the day – with a good-morning kiss from my husband, two cups of tea, dozens of Facebook birthday wishes, phone calls and birthday mail from the parents and the in-laws – has definitely started off right.

I’ve been doing a little housework and a little freelance work, and this afternoon, I’m going to do a little browsing and shopping and wandering and cafe-sitting. And maybe a little of this:

Yes, those are my feet on Boston Common, this past Saturday. I still find it hard to believe that Boston is my city now – but it is. And since Boston Common belongs to the people, it also belongs to me.

Happy Wednesday, everyone. I’m off to enjoy a birthday lunch, and then to wander and browse to my heart’s content.

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1. A job.
2. A trip to Oxford. (Always.)
3. Some friends in my neighborhood.
4. Motivation to go back to yoga.
5. Phone calls (and visits!) from far-away friends.
6. A chicken fajita with queso and a large chips & queso from Rosa’s Cafe.
7. A way to scrapbook/organize/sort through all the random memorabilia and photos in the guest room.
8. An iPod nano.
9. The Swell Season’s self-titled album (I have Strict Joy, and oh, how I love it).
10. Pies & Prejudice, the newest Mother-Daughter Book Club title. Yes, I am addicted to young adult fiction and I don’t care who knows it.
11. A dinner date with my husband.
12. Nichole’s red Paris color story.
13. My Oxford map, framed.
14. A small red teapot.
15. Dark chocolate (the good stuff).
16. Natalie Goldberg’s book about writing memoir.
17. A license to go shopping, just a little bit.

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happy birthday Dad

(photo by Tammy Marcelain)

He’s 54 today, though he’s about 12 inside. He’s funny and sweet, caring and sentimental, a zero-handicap golfer and a skilled griller and pancake maker. He loves his three girls more than anything else in the world. He’s one of the two most important men in my life.

Happy birthday, Dad.

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Some of you may remember my previous list, made in March halfway between my 25th and 26th birthdays. I’m happy to report that I made it through 18 of those items, and started two others. Not bad, in a little less than six months.

I’m more on the ball this year, and here is the brand-new shiny list of 26 things to do before I turn 27 (in semi-order):

1. Go to BlogHer ’10 in New York City
2. Write part 2 of last year’s NaNoNovel and revise what I’ve got so far
3. Take Ali Edwards’ Yesterday and Today online class through Big Picture Scrapbooking
4. Go see U2 with Jeremiah in Dallas (Oct. 12!)
5. Take the Mondo Beyondo e-course with Andrea Scher and Jen Lemen
6. Pay off at least 10% of the principal on my student loans
7. Take Jeremiah to Neosho to visit my dad’s extended family, and see the house where Dad grew up
8. Teach at ACU this spring (if we stay in Abilene)
9. Have my office painted (if we stay in Abilene) – it’s currently orange and yellow, not my choice
10. Make plans to travel to Europe again
11. Visit a local yarn shop, somewhere (they are sadly lacking in West Texas)
12. Go to Kerrville at least a couple times to hang out with my mom’s parents
13. Start my Oxford memoir
14. Complete at least one volume of the Oxford 2007-08 scrapbook
15. Learn 15 new main-course recipes (I’ve already learned one!)
16. Buy a new pair of high heels
17. Go dancing
18. Plan and take another field trip with the coffee-night ladies
19. Take on the lingering boxes/clutter in our home office
20. Start exercising regularly
21. Frame and hang more photos of Jeremiah & me, and of Europe
22. Organize my scrapbooking supplies
23. Read a literary classic (or classics) I’ve never read
24. Save up for a digital SLR camera
25. Visit the Pacific Northwest, or somewhere equally new and exciting
26. Wear red lipstick (or gloss) and rock it

Some of these are big, I know; some are small, but all of them are things I want to do, and many are things I’ve been putting off, for whatever reason. So – here’s to a year of dreaming big!

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birthday goodness

katie on bridge

I’m 26 today.

This morning a friend joked on Facebook, “How does it feel to be closer to 30 now than 20?” Since he’ll soon be turning 29, I responded, “Maybe you can tell me.” So far, at least, the answer is that 26 doesn’t feel a whole lot different than 25. But I’m hoping for good and great things from this year. And it’s already begun.

Jeremiah made me breakfast in bed (a yummy omelet, and fruit), complete with his solo rendition of “Happy Birthday” and a hot cup of ginger peach tea. I have so far received three bouquets, two of flowers and one of cookies, with some extra cookies from Abi, who brought the red Gerbera daisies. My sister sent a pair of adorable coffee mugs in the mail; the clothes I ordered from J. Crew’s final sale came today. I’ve gotten birthday cards from relatives, a check from my grandparents, a cake from Drew at Lifeteam on Sunday, and am eagerly looking forward to a birthday party AND coffee night tonight.

It’s good to be reminded that I am loved. And to make a new list for the year ahead – which I hope to share on this blog sometime soon.

(photo taken by Jeremiah, in University Parks, Oxford)

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