Monday, July 30, 2012

Was I surprised? Oh yes.

At 7:15 Saturday evening, my friend Kelly called.

I'm sorry but we're running a little late.  Stef isn't ready yet so I'm going to pick you up and we'll come back here and get her.

I worried if we'd make it to The Lion King on time because that is what I thought the surprise was.  Kelly and Stef has asked me months ago to reserve Saturday the 21st for them for my birthday but they would not tell me what we were going to be doing. The day after their request, I opened the newspaper to a full page ad for The Lion King coming to Houston in July, and knew, just knew, that was what was up their sleeve.

I was wrong.

As we were driving, Kelly told me about the changes Stef had recently made to the house.  She told me how much Stef had been doing lately, the new painting and new curtains, the DIY curtain rods from copper piping, some furniture rearranging.  I wanted to take a look but didn't dare ask, because, you know, tick tock tick tock, THE LION KING!  Kelly seemed to tap into my curiousity though not my tapping we are going to be late for opening curtain feet. She called Stef to ask her if it was okay that I come in and see.  Stef said it was fine, but to come in the front door because the kitchen was a mess.

The kitchen? Not a mess.

Kelly and I walked up the sidewalk, just chatting away.  She opened the front door for me and when I walked inside, I saw her Aunt Dorris sitting on the couch and her lovely mother sitting on a chair beside her. For a fleeting second, I thought Dorris and Lyndy are going to The Lion King with us!  Then I saw the wall of friends standing in the dining room yelling, SURPRISE! 

I looked at Stef, now standing lovely and smiles in front of me, and I looked back at Kelly who was in full face Cheshire Cat grin.  I put my hand over my mouth. No way.  NO WAY!  In that room and into the kitchen and down the hallway were the faces of many friends and loved ones I have known for years, friends like family, all smiling and happy and there because they had been invited by Kelly and Stef to celebrate my birthday.  I was definitely surprised, shocked even, and soon in the joyful embrace of so many hugs, so much love.  I couldn't believe that several friends drove in from Austin, I was so touched, so delighted and so pleased to see them.  The tears were pouring from my eyes at this point when I turned my head to see the one who by far travelled the farthest distance.  I saw him standing in the kitchen while I was hugging my friend, Beth.  I noticed him but it took a moment for my brain to register what my eyes were seeing. My Personal Hurricane was standing there in the kitchen, all smiles and happy, having flown in from London the night before. 

There were balloons of gold and white and black, and streamers throughout the house. There was an awesome spread of food in the dining room that could feed a kingdom, and there was a bar set up in the back yard on a table draped with a white tablecloth. There was even a bartender.  She kept the champagne chilled and well poured. There were candles hanging from the umbrella over the picnic table and bright flowers in small jars hung with wire from the covered pergola.  White beach balls floated lazily in the pool, illuminated by the pool light, looking like a handful of full moons in the water.  All of it beautiful, just beautiful, and no doubt the result of a lot of planning and work.

What a fantastic and generous suprise it was, I am still floating from the high and love and generosity.  The evening was filled with conversation, smiles, champagne, laughter, and me answering over and over again the question, Were you surprised?

I didn't open a single gift until the next morning when I hauled them upstairs and opened them in bed with a cup of coffee.  One of those gifts, fittingly and amusingly, was a pair of tickets to The Lion King.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Gah! Where do I begin? It was a surprise party.  And I was oh so very surprised.  And so very happy.  I still am. 
And now I'm off to Cozumel for the rest of the week. 

Happy birthday to me!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Oh look! 50 is on the horizon!

On Wednesday, July 25th, I turn the very even and enviable age of 50. I say enviable  because by the time you reach 50, you've lost friends who never will. I will not deny there is sadness with each birthday I have that those I have loved were not able to reach.  I carry them with me in a pocket in my heart and share my special day with them.

Beyond it being an even-numbered big birthday, as my mother called the preceding four, I've not given the number much thought. At least in my awake mind. For the past six to eight months though, I've had some strange time plays in my dreams.  For months and months now the age comparison of where my parents were at my age and where I was at their age. I've dreamed of memories and celebrations and my parents (and me) so young.  When those first happened, I was unsettled.  But after the familiarity, I calmed down and gained some awesome insight to my parents lives, and clues to this new age I'm about to reach. 

I may cringe sometimes at the rapidly passing time, but never the age.  I have been blessed on this journey.

Would you like evidence?  I have that.  My dear, dear friends texted me earlier this year (January? February?) and reserved the date of Saturday the 21st. They would not tell me anything beyond to save the date.  I wondered, I imagined.  I still do. 

This evening, I got this email:

Attire for Saturday: dressy casual. You know...get dressed up like you're going out for a great night on the town. You may see people you know, you may not. You might meet new people, you might not. You may be somewhere you've never been, or you might be somewhere familiar. Either way...LOOK GOOD!!! But not "formal" good ;o) and bring an extra pair of shoes in case you fall (just kidding) or in case you just need to get comfy.

Bathe. Shave. Brush your teeth. Floss. Put on make-up. Get your nails done...and your toenails.

Be ready to LEAVE YOUR HOUSE @ 7:15 p.m. SHARP!!!

Be prepared for might need an overnight bag, you might not. Okay ~ you don't need an overnight bag, but you do need to make sure dogs are cared for so that you do not need to be home at a certain time.

You might be at a new restaurant, or an old favorite. You might not be at a restaurant at all. You might be at our home, or you might be at your home, so they both should be presentable for guests. Or not. I'd say yes...everything should always be presentable for guests.


I can't wait ~ stef

See that?  Definitely blessed.  Who knows what's in store for me or what I'll be doing this Saturday, but I'm pretty darn sure I'll be among friends who I'm so happy to be sharing this journey with.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


These sandals, oh these lovely sandals, are destined for the trash bin today.  These sandals have been my go-to shoes for six summers. They came into my life in April 2006 and I wrote about them when I bought them. I didn't need them at the time but they were such a good deal. They were $60.00 (original price, $150.00), which turned out to be $10.00 per year of wear.  Fair enough.  Two years ago, I had new heels put on them.  Earlier this year, I had one of the straps fixed.  Alas, I've been caught walking in the rain and the strap has broken again. Time for them to go.

I will miss you, oh lovely pair of sandals. 

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Raise the flag

One of the appreciations my father passed on to me is that of flying the flag. That man respected the US flag and he flew it proudly from a flag post on the front of every house we called home.  He flew the Texas flag too.  He had Olympic flags, US Equestrian Team flags, nautical flags, and all sorts of colorful wind socks in his collection. 

If my mother would have let him, I think he would have flown every sort of flag and wind sock that caught his eye. On the Fourth of July holiday weekends spent at the family cabin, he would just go ahead and do that. Oh the sound of all those flags whirling and whipping in the wind or lazily flapping atop the breeze. I would stand on that porch, close my eyes and just drink that sound. Such a beautiful sound!

Happy 4th of July to all those proud flag flyers out there.