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I am very bad at updating this, but it is difficult to write about the same things all the time. I mean, it’s not like my past two months have been uneventful, there are just so few big things happening.

So, let’s see, where have I been?

After my last post in December, things were pretty good. I still had my crappy job, but I was riding high on the holiday festivities. Goodies to bake, presents to buy and make, presents to wrap, things to plan. Alex and I went on our first big date in a while and went to Basbeaux’s pizza and then the zoo, where we got to admire the pretty Christmas lights and see what little animals were out.

Then, there was Christmas. Mom flew down to Texas to visit her side of the family because for the first time ever, they had everyone down in Texas for Christmas – except for me. I had to work on the night of the 23rd. I got off work at 5:00 in the morning on Christmas Eve and drove the three hours down to my dad’s house. I nearly passed out on the front porch because I was so tired. When I went upstairs to sleep, however, that didn’t go over so well. I felt bad because my brothers and my youngest cousin were playing and they had to be told multiple times to be quiet because I was trying to sleep. Of course, with fifteen other people, two dogs, and two cats in a house, sleeping during the day just doesn’t work. I somehow made it through Christmas Eve without passing out, though.

Christmas overall was good. I wished that it had lasted a little longer, as the day after, everyone left my dad’s house – including my brothers. I had originally wanted to stay and hang out with them, but with that news, I decided to leave as well. Presents were fine, though sometimes I wish my family understood me more. I’m not the kind of girl who needs or wants two televisions in her house, nor am I the type of girl who needs the newest and best everything. My phone isn’t a smartphone, my laptop is going on five years and it might be on its last legs, but I’m not rushing out to buy a new laptop…

Anyway, so yeah. There was some awkwardness, to say the least. After leaving my dad’s, I drove up to Alex’s house and celebrated Christmas with him and his parents. I had to go back to work on that Tuesday night, so it was quite the whirlwind Christmas visit and it hurt. Yes, I know I’m a young adult and this is a part of growing up, but still. I don’t want to be lonely.

I was actually lucky to get the night off for my own birthday party. Two weeks beforehand, she had put me on the schedule for the 31st when I had been planning this party a month beforehand. I know that bosses don’t have to ask to schedule your times, but when I had previously been under the impression that I would have that night off (it was a voluntary sign-up sheet and I hadn’t signed it), I was greatly annoyed to see that I was scheduled. Lucky for me, the part-time guy wasn’t a jerk (for once) and took over for my shift. I was so happy. I didn’t have to ring in the New Year and my birthday in a place I hated with all my being, and I had one awesome party. It was such a good night, even though the oven went out the night before and I had to run over to Nick’s house and bake my birthday cupcakes at his house. Yeah, that was a fun story. Our garage door and the opener went kaput the day before that, too.

Anyway, so January was okay. My birthday was fun, we finally had our Secret Santa exchange, I got sick with what I am pretty sure was the flu, and Mom and I went over to Ohio to see my grandparents. That was a fun visit, let me tell you. I got home at 6:00 in the morning and we had to leave two and a half hours later. I basically went for twenty-seven hours on two hours of sleep. However, it was actually a great time. We went to an art museum and saw a huge exhibit on Norman Rockwell, and then ate dinner at an Irish pub where I had the best beef stew in a bread bowl. I seriously wish that place wasn’t hours away, it was so good.

This month is shaping up to be pretty good so far. We watched the Super Bowl and bored the crap out of my boyfriend. We ate good food, though! I’m reading more, writing, working out. I’m happier. I can breathe easier. I can’t remember the last time I cried. Seriously. It’s been so long since I had that uncontrollable wave of sadness.

You know why?

Because I left that horrible job.

No, I don’t have another job lined up, but I’m searching. There was only so much I could take. Driving for one and a half hours a night, paying at least fifty bucks, if not more, a week for my gas (and that’s only if I drove to work), and a few other factors worked into my decision. My family and friends have been pretty supportive about it, except for my grandpa. I mean, I know where he is coming from, but he doesn’t understand the magnitude of anguish I had been going through these past few months. He was there for Thanksgiving, he should have had some idea.

Sure, I wish I had some form of income right now, but my mental and physical health is not worth ten dollars an hour. Either that job had to go, or I am pretty sure I would eventually have had either an aneurysm or a heart attack at the age of 23. I know it was a risk to leave, but I am confident I will find something better.

Happy New Year! It’s unbelievable that yes, another year has gone by. Part of me is saying, “Hey, slow down, world, let me enjoy my time!” and the other part is saying, “Slow down after my graduation! I want graduation to be here as soon as possible!” No, but really – I’m 22 now. It’s weird. I mean, not like it matters much, anymore. I think the only memorable birthday after 21 is probably 25 – because isn’t that the age when you can rent a car? Anyway, it’s still weird whenever you turn another year older. Sometimes, I slip up and say I’m the wrong age – not because I want to lie about it, but because I forget how fast time has passed.

Whatever. Not griping. I just didn’t want to have a big celebration. I didn’t even want to do it last year, but Alex thought that since I was turning 21, it would be important for me to have a birthday party.

What happened was that Alex came up to visit, we had fancy chicken-cranberry-Brie pizza and taught my mom how to play Settlers of Catan. Much to my chagrin, Mom beat us. I was sincerely hoping I’d have a chance of winning a game.

Scott came up after his shift, and then we proceeded to get drunk. We had those silly cracker things that have toys in them, and we wore the crepe paper crowns from them all night. We watched the ball drop, toasted with Champagne, and we had birthday cake – homemade triple-layer funfetti cake with buttercream frosting.

Oooh, doesn’t that look lovely? Yes, it was definitely as good as it looked.

Of course, something went a little awry. We popped our second round of crackers, and I began to feel sick. Not nausea – it wasn’t related to my drinking, surprisingly. No, I’ve had this feeling before – when having an allergy attack. I’ve had two notable allergy attacks (to some sort of spice, we’re thinking, but we really can’t be for sure). In the past during this attacks, my eyelids and lips have swelled up and I can’t breathe, among other things that happen to my body. In this case, I definitely couldn’t breathe. I kept coughing and wheezing, but there was really nothing I could do except drink water and struggle through it.

That is how my 2011 began. Despite the fact I couldn’t breathe, it was good. I got to celebrate with the love of my life, my mother, and one of my good friends I hadn’t seen in a while. Like I said, we had cake, and I opened up the majority of my gifts. I only opened one of Alex’s, and saved the other one for the next day. The one I did open that night was a book – a graphic novel, pop-up version of Dracula. It is seriously cool, and as weird as it seems, very fitting for me. I had never seen it before, and it made me laugh so much I was gasping for breath, thanks to the allergy/asthma attack. Additionally, Scott got me this terrible, not even considered B-movie called The Corpse Grinders II. Oh, dear. My friends do know me well for my fondness for bad movies.

We went to bed shortly after. I was still sick, and nearly frightened that I might die in my sleep – but too inebriated to stay awake.

I woke up feeling better. We had a nice breakfast and then bummed around for a while. Scott left around noon, I think. I opened up my other gift from Alex – The Third Season of The Venture Bros. We watched two episodes and then he left.

My birthday remained quiet. I read more of The World According to Garp; I had been reading it all break and not getting much accomplished. I began a new goal for the year – to add to my 101 Goals, or well, to help some of it – and that is to write each day. I’ve picked up my habit of writing at 750 Words again. Let’s hope it lasts.

Mom and I watched When Harry Met Sally and Love Actually after dinner – which was spaghetti. I felt a little kid again. It was just nice to relax, though.

Yesterday, Mom and I went to see Black Swan. It was much more compelling than I originally thought. It was equal parts beautiful, insane, and terrifying. After dinner, around 9:00, I went over to Jennifer’s and hung out with her, Austin, Nick, Krista, Robin, and Chris. It was nice to see everyone again. I enjoy the fact that now I can actually go visit my friends and have a lot more freedom thanks to my driver’s license and car. Just think about all that I had missed before! Anyway, we played Telephone Pictionary, and it was hilarious! I was reduced to tears laughing so hard.

I came home around 2:00 am and had a slice of funfetti cake. Because I could.

Today was another quiet day. I finished reading The World According to Garp, finally. I have many more books to finish reading before I go back to school. Only six days left until my return. I will enjoy it as much as I can.

Here is 2010, another year fresh and ready for me to make it beautiful. I, like many other people, had a rather unpleasant past year. Unemployed family members, unexpected moving on my dad’s side, overloaded schedules, lots of tears, and changes in my life in general.

I am making this promise. No matter what type of shit comes my way in 2010, it will be better. I will make it better. When I look back on what I did in the past year, it is hard for me to discern the good things and things I accomplished. This will not happen in the next year. I will accomplish things I need to do (like get a driver’s license) and things I want to do (fly kites and play video games).

I will be true to myself, and I will be happy.

Let me tell you, we’re two days in and I think 2010 is off to a great start.

On New Year’s Eve, I had some friends over. Originally, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, since New Year’s Day was my twenty-first birthday. Yeah, that big birthday where I am legal to drink. I knew many people wanted to party with me, but I didn’t want to have a big party. And since many of my friends don’t exactly get along with each other, it’s hard to plan any sort of party. I eventually gave up hope on my New Year’s plans, in a way.

Alex came to visit a week or so ago, and over lunch he asked me about having a small party. He was going to surprise me, but he wasn’t sure how I’d feel. I agreed to it, as long as I could make the cake, and it was a small gathering and there wasn’t an emphasis on alcohol.

The night was good. I missed having some of my good friends there, but I at least could see some people I hadn’t seen in a while. It was just what I needed, and what I asked for.

I kissed Alex at the stroke of midnight and I bubbled with joy. I felt the excitement and the opportunities this year would bring.

We were up until 4:00 a.m. I haven’t stayed awake that long in years. We slept until 11:00 and had sausage gravy and biscuits for breakfast. My mom gave me a present – a 50-piece set of animal cookie cutters. It might sound silly, but even though I’m twenty-one years old, I thought it was the coolest thing. It has an octopus, and a giraffe!

Even though my birthday/New Year’s Day was quite lazy, it was filled with warm wishes and lots of love.

Then today, Mom and I went to see the Princess and the Frog. I grew up with Disney princesses and all the animated classics, so I was excited, even though I was the oldest “kid” there. The previews were terrible, but the movie was decent. I wasn’t too thrilled about the ending, but it’s better than most children’s movies these days. Later, we watched Julie and Julia. I loved it, and it made me want to cook. I might just try my culinary skills out in the lovely kitchen we have at home before I have to go back to school…

So here we go – deep breath – 2010. I’m optimistic and ready for what life has to throw at me. I already know there will be some challenges ahead, but it’s also going to be beautiful. I can already feel it.