Half

Write more, just start. Here goes…

It’s my birthday. Today I turn 45. 45.

Most people get freaked out when they turn 30. For me 45 has been the most contemplative. Not because I feel particularly old, although some days my body tells me otherwise, but it sort of feels like a halfway mark. I’ve heard people say they want to live to be 100 and all I can think of is “Why?” 100 seems fragile and rather lonely. Our bodies seem to absorb ourselves as we get really old. And while my current form with its excess could use less I don’t find this concept of desiccation pleasant.

Friends and family pass around us. Will my husband still be with me when I am that old? Who will find me if I die alone in my own home? How long will it take to make the discovery? Who will care? These are the things people without children worry about.

Maybe I am wrong about this.

Instead, a declaration. 90. That seems like a good year. As good as any. A long life filled and fulfilled.

Birthdays are special. I have seen a new phenomenon, or perhaps a new to me phenomenon, on the Internet lately. Of people celebrating “golden birthdays.” The year in which your age matches your day of birth. This seems like a fine idea.

April 12.

Although we didn’t know it at the time I celebrated mine with a trip to see the Beach Boys. My favorite band back then. My first concert. Or was it the that year I got to take a few of my friends to Bush Gardens? Was that 11 or 12? These are the things we lose. This accuracy of memory. Either way, doesn’t matter. Good times.

Perhaps more important than a golden birthday for someone born in mid April is the thought that your birthday could fall on Easter. This, I thought, would be like hitting the birthday jackpot. Birthday cake (I loooove cake) AND an Easter basket. Life doesn’t get better. This dawned on me when I was 8 at which point I decided to calculate when this synchronicity would occur. I don’t remember now (ahem) when I thought it was—sometime in my teens maybe—but it turns out it was when I was by myself in grad school. Completely bummed. But I went to the grocery and bought myself one of those cakes made to look like a bunny. You know the kind—single round layer cut in half then turned on its diameter, frosted and coated in colored coconut with a plastic bunny face squished on one end. It was delicious. It reminded me of the “coconut cut-up cakes“my grandma would bake for my birthday. One year a rocking horse, the next a butterfly. It is amazing the shapes you can get with a standard baking pan, a box cake mix, and a little creativity and food coloring.

Little did I know back then that Easter was a moveable feast. “It has come to be the first Sunday after the ecclesiastical full moon that occurs on or soonest after 21 March but calculations vary.” Note this is the Western Easter and not the Orthodox Easter. Damn schisms. Religion is complicated.

It happened again in 2009. We had dinner with family and I made my first “yellow cake with pink frosting.” It has been my go-to birthday cake ever since (except for trying that salted caramel buttercream last year which was not worth a repeat). Although truth be told I substitute a yellow cake recipe from this book which I like better, is moist and easy to make. Either way, this cake reminds me of the cakes my other grandma, my southern grandmamma, used to bake and that cake I had in New York City from Amy’s Bread on Bleeker Street.

I asked for the recipe. Turns out it wasn’t available but they had a cookbook in the works. I said I wanted to the recipe because this would end a quest to define my “perfect” birthday cake. When asked what my birthday was, April 12, they said that was Amy’s birthday too. A match meant to be. But maybe I’m remembering incorrectly (ahem). Either way, doesn’t matter.

45.

Best get to baking. Seems like a fine idea.

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My Tribe

Frankly, I don’t know when it happened, but slowly, over the course of several years I have found my tribe. My tribes. A Venn diagram of friendship. I have been thinking a lot about this recently, but even more so after receiving so many lovely and supportive comments on my recent post. But let me step back a little…

I have never (until recently) had many close girlfriends. I grew up in a weird neighborhood. The kind where the kids were of scattered age and from varied social/economic status. Our houses didn’t all look the same. We didn’t all click. In high school I had one “best” friend but even she and I grew apart after high school as our lives went separate paths in our college years (although I am happy to say she and I have rekindled our relationship). I was always a “cool girl” who had more guy friends, than girlfriends. A natural, but feminine, tomboy I guess. Frankly I just didn’t have time for the b.s. and drama of most female relationships. And frankly, guys were just more fun to hang out with. I had lots of “older brothers.”

But as I aged this bothered me. I would latch on to a close girlfriend in each of my college pursuits but as soon as that degree was over we would drift apart. I finally smartened up to my character flaw and began new relationships with women whom I thought had excellent friend potential with an honest disclosure, “I will be your friend for life so long as you accept that I won’t keep in contact.” ‘Til this day I am still friends with the first person I confessed that honest truth to. And we don’t stay in close contact, but we do periodically touch base and make time for a girl’s trip every few years or so. The most magical thing is that we just pick up where we left off. There is no judging, or resentment. Just staying up too late giggling and catching up, shopping for make-up neither of us needs, and spending too much time shopping at discount stores (#vivaROSSvegas). You know—girl stuff.

Fast-forward several years to when I found a new tribe, my first quilt tribe, of talented and caring women at a quilt retreat I ended up attending for several years in northern Michigan. The circumstances under which I attended my first retreat were either odd or serendipitous; you be the judge. We were all Beaver Island Quilt Retreat “newbies”—fifth weekers (and actually our small group grew over the course of a couple of years, but still, we don’t keep score). The connection was instantaneous; the relationships are gratifying. These are the women I reached out to last week to talk me off the “quilt ledge” so to speak. That is another story for another time. But these women offered me love and support, and solutions. They understood me and what I was going through, am going through. They sent kind words like “As the new day moves forward and life continues, I am still thinking of your heatbreak…Not forgotten.” [heart gushing]. My Ladies.

And when I moved to Utah, I found yet another tribe. This one took a little time, and has been refined even more in the last few years. The women whom I could call at any time of the day, for any reason, and they would come with open arms. The ones who will listen to my rants about this or that quilting issue du jour. My prosthelytizing about the tenets of liberated quiltmaking and breaking rules. My singer featherweight sisters. Some of whom, in a good year, will even pay to run through clouds of color or electric forests with me all in the name of fun.

And then there are those whom I have never met (although I have met a few) from the interwebs and social medias. Those whom I have developed a great love for their work, their writing, their unique points-of-view. Those people who offer words of support either directly through comments and “likes” or who don’t say a thing but who I know are there cheering me along the way because I am doing exactly the same for them, for you. For years I have heard people extolling the blessings of the internet and the “blogging community” but I felt like an outsider. Many of these relationships developed before “flickr was dead” and before I even “existed” in the digital sense of the word. I was skeptical because I reached out one time to a successful blogger thinking we had a connection, but I guess it was just one sided. A one-sided quilt-girl-crush and she broke my heart. But then I got better, and I rose above it, and I realized you were here, we were here, just waiting to find each other. And for that I am truly grateful.

Hypnotized

She’s my season and my reasons,

She’s my Summer,

She’s my Winter,

She’s my Spring.

I haven’t watched American Idol for a full in season in I don’t know how long. Likely since about season 2 or 3. Because of the type of quilting I do it can take me a bit to get “in the groove” and when I am in it I don’t want to leave. As a result, I rarely have time to quilt during the week after I have worked a full day +/- ran/cooked dinner/walked the dog/ate dinner/watched two episodes of Parks and Rec., etc. I go to bed relatively early, except on the weekends.

But last week I started watching the American Idol auditions. The talent that appears on the show seems to get better each year. Playing the guitar/piano/accordion is the rule, rather than the exception. But this week. MAN, this week. I saw a young adult that blew.my.mind. I can’t get his voice out of my head.

If I were a gambler, I would bet on him to win. In the mean time, I’ll be tuning in each week to listen.

Ladies and gentleman–your NEXT American Idol.

And for a full version of what he sang on the audition:

 

Offspring

20 years ago today…records were broken. This is the band responsible for the song that I consider my personal “productivity anthem.” The song I blared loudly in the empty halls of the geology department at the University of Idaho as I finished the day’s thesis writing. You wanna get pumped, and feel confident, you gotta keep ’em separated.

Rolling Stone–The Offspring: Smash the Little Punk

(Truth be told my anthem is Pretty Fly). Included for your listening pleasure.

I feel simultaneously young and old.

I’m going with young.