Kisses, kisses. And lots of thanks. [ 2004-05-28, 11:35 p.m. ]

Yíall. I am supposed to be packing for my trip to California and reading my book club book but I have to take a few minutes to tell you how lucky I am feeling right now.

I have never been a big ďItís my birthday and weíre gonna celebrate it for daaaayyyys and hey, give me attentionĒ kind of gal, which is fine. The last 10 birthdays (give or take) have all been spent quietly, usually with family in some sort of birthday-slash-graduation-slash-engagement party-slash-Memorial Day-slash-eighteen other things type of party. And itís fine and I have never ever wanted anything more.

But this year? This year I felt like a full-blown Birthday Princess of Specialness and Sunshine. Seriously. I turned 29 in style. Kent and I had dinner on Wednesday night at a truly fab downtown sushi restaurant on East 5th street, and we spent oddles and oodles of money on an eight-course tasting menu which was worth every penny. Lots of pennies. The owner of the restaurant even took me to meet the sushi chef, which delighted me. Dinner was perfect, but the day itself was like one giant hug. I got so many well-wishes that I was blushing continually. And Kent gave me the greatest gift Ė Sex and the City on DVD! Iíve already forced him to chain-watch most of season three. But Iím getting ahead of myself; before dinner on Wednesday night I sat at home and had a cold beer and watched a movie and read magazines that my friend BritGirl had delivered, tied up in a big pretty bow. Oh, and before that my friend Pastry had delivered cupcakes to me which I scarfed, pre-beer, while watching the movie. Then I wiped the frosting off my face and cleaned up for the aforementioned Sushi Dinner of Wonder amd Extravagance, which involved an amazing bottle of wine and a pair of very, very pointy shoes that need to sit in the corner and think long and hard about what they did to my poor feet.

But that's not it! Because I am the most special specialer that ever specialed! My friend Suz had a party Thursday night and HANDMADE about a million delicious Mexican dishes, and all my friends from work came and people brought me PRESENTS which made me cry and cry, and Suz made me a birthday cake with candles and everyone SANG and I cried some more. I donít think Iíve had a birthday party since high school. Not because Iím a friendless loser or anything dark and sad, but because my birthday always coincides with about 94 other things, and I have never been one to play the Birthday Bitch role. At least, not so far, but after this birthday, I might start milking the day a bit more! I had cake and margaritas and more cake and more margaritas and the FOOD! Oh, the food was amazing, and my friend Amy came late with CHEESE for me, which is maybe the coolest birthday gift Iíve ever received. I felt so, so special, and that should be read without even a hint of sarcasm, because I mean it in all sincerity.

Itís now Friday night and I really, really should be packing. Or cleaning or reading or doing sit-ups or something. Tomorrow night Kent and I are flying to California for a quick visit with my family which I am hoping will include a trip to Napa and perhaps some hiking. Our puppy is heading to the local doggie day care facility for a weekend of barking, gettiní dirty, and romping with big dogs. Our household is breathless with anticipation.

Mostly, I just want to send out a big thank you to everyone who made my birthday so special. Schmoop, schmoop, I know. I canít help it.

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