Sunday, March 20, 2016

My Birthday Weekend (2016)

 Let me just start by saying last week was an excellent week. For starters, the weather was pretty nice (mostly sunny and unseasonably warm). Sometime around midweek I was going through some of the e-mails in my Goodreads folder and saw one marked, ‘Comment from Lisa.’ When I opened it I was pleasantly surprised to see it was a comment from the author of a book I had written a review for last autumn.

Here’s my review for Five Days in November (by Clint Hill and Lisa McCubbin):

I was surprised by how much this book moved me. This happened 7 years before I was born, and all I have as a connection to it is stories told to me by various baby boomers who remember where they were when it happened. My dad's proudest memory is getting to shake Kennedy's hand when he came to Willoughby (OH). This is a book I can definitely recommend as it's an easy read (mostly pictures), but one best to be taken slowly as the tragedy is certainly overwhelming emotionally. Even though it can easily be read in a day, I found myself having to set it aside numerous times so I could process the depth of emotions I felt when reading it.  

Here’s Lisa’s comment:

Thanks for taking the time to write this heartfelt review, Cindy. I too was born after the assassination and yet I felt the same emotion you did. Glad Mr. Hill and I were able to convey it to you as well.

When I saw her comment I was absolutely over the moon that a real live author actually took the time to write to me (and to do so favorably) about my review. I eagerly texted my best friend and sent an e-mail to my dad and uncle. All three sent me back notes of congratulations as well.

That’s the best birthday present I could have received.

A few days later a coworker was kind enough to bring me a hot fudge sundae from McDonalds when he went out at lunch, which was nice and totally fitting with the theme of my work B-day card (a cat doing yoga while eating a pint of ice cream).

Later after I finished eating the sundae, our substitute mailman, a young chap probably only in his mid 20s asked me, “Didn’t you used to have braces?” Surprised that he noticed since I don’t see this young man very often, I eagerly answered, “Yes, I did.” He answered, “You look good.” He also told me he was supposed to have braces as a child, but then didn’t end up needing them. I told him he was lucky to dodge that bullet since I had also had braces as a teenager. When he left I eagerly grabbed my phone to send a text to my friend telling her all about how the cute mailman noticed I no longer had braces. BTW, I told him he really made my day. I am just grateful I didn’t have chocolate on my face like I had a couple days earlier (after I had my midafternoon snack - a cup of pudding). Hence, even though it wasn’t Good Friday (that’s a week from now), it was definitely a Good Friday for me!

Sunday March 20, 2016
Even though it was a somewhat cold day (mom said it was actually warmer than this on her Jan. 9th B-day this year), we at least had sunshine for most of the day, so it didn’t turn out to be as miserable a day as I thought it would be (weather-wise).

My only plans for the day were to go out to brunch. We had originally planned on going to Super Chef (there’s a branch in downtown Columbus), but after I saw a commercial for IHOP (International House of Pancakes), I totally changed my mind. Andrew was just as happy since it’s a lot closer (near the Sawmill exit of 270).

I had the Brioche French Toast with bananas and peanut butter, which was good, but I think I would have liked more of a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup experience (which was more similar to what I was going to order at Super Chef). Andrew seemed to like his Strawberry Cheesecake pancakes which had chunks of cheesecake in the batter. Since we got in and out in under an hour we definitely can’t complain about the service and I’m sure we’ll go back sometime.

After brunch we made a stop at the Kroger marketplace (like a super-sized Kroger with a mini department store inside) to pick up a couple ingredients we needed for dinner (since I forget to pick up some stuff at Walmart yesterday). Having not been there for ages I had forgotten how big (and nice!) it was inside. It’s too far to do our weekly shopping, but still fun for the occasional visit.

When we got home I made a point of opening the presents from Andrew’s parents, Uncle Russ and Andrew leaving all the misc. items I had purchased/ordered for myself until later. Andrew’s mum had left a birthday greeting on our answering machine, but when we tried to phone them they weren’t home (Colin was apparently at church playing the organ). Mom phoned me at noon and we ended up talking for about an hour and a half, during which I opened what she had bought me (from the Madison Historical Society). She purchased a couple Christmas ornaments for me – one is a little porcelain girl on ice skates and the other is a (female) head surrounded by lace. Both will look lovely on our tree next Christmas. She also bought me the Golden Book called, “Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book. Funnily enough I had bought that very book in the e-book version several years ago, but I always enjoy having a hard copy of a favorite book, so I will treasure it as much as I enjoyed the Golden Books we had growing up.

After I got off the phone with mom, Andrew and I took a walk to see a Nextdoor Ridgewood neighbor who was selling a store-bought painting she received from a friend, but had no room to hang it. We both enjoyed talking to Beth and commiserating about the problems that come with owning a post mid-century modern home (like her front garden that was a bit clumpy from the grub problem she had last year). Beth said her parents built the house across the street, and she had spent many happy days over at this house (which she now owns) where her childhood friend once lived. I love that story! I hope our paths cross again because Beth seemed like an interesting person (and a fellow “Downton Abbey” fan).
When we got home I took down the picture which had been hanging in our library (probably for 7 or 8 out of the last 10 years) and put the one from Beth in its place. It’s nice to breathe a little new life into the room.

We finally managed to reach Andrew’s parents and talked to them for nearly an hour – about the weather, my birthday, politics (how scary it would be to have Donald Trump as the Commander in Chief), and Tamsin’s constant run-ins with our neighbor cat, Izzy.

After hanging up the phone I finally got around to opening the rest of my presents (to myself) and was pleasantly surprised by the cameras I had ordered off of E-bay. The Pixie is so much smaller and cuter than I thought, and I really like the freebie they enclosed, which is definitely a more solid miniature camera. If I had the time and inclination I wouldn’t mind trying to adapt a roll of 110 film to fit inside it, but I think that would take more time and effort (not to mention $$$) than I am willing to put forth. I love, love, love the Olympus Ecru. Now I just need to figure out how to adapt the strap (I purchased separately) to it since it needs a bit of wire or something fine to fit around the little knobs. I’m sure Andrew and I will figure out something.

Having not shot film in awhile, I had forgotten how satisfying the sound of the “click” can be. The Ecru is somewhat motorized, so it sounds different from a more manual camera, but is definitely a cool piece of craftsmanship. [Too bad the self-timer button doesn’t seem to work, so I guess I won’t be shooting any selfies with it.]
These are the four cameras I purchased between 3/20/15 & 3/20/16
Andrew opened a bottle of Prosecco (and shot the cork halfway across the room) to have with our 3 Beef Cheese casserole followed by a couple cupcakes (one chocolate, one Red Velvet) we split. If I had remembered I would have gotten out the Lego candles I bought last year, but I guess you get forgetful when you get old!

Have a good week everyone!

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