I had such a great birthday weekend, it almost made me forget my newly acquired age! And, because there are so many things to share and so many different things that made it special, I'm going to break this entry up into parts:
The Birthday Wishes
What can I say? It is really nice to be remembered on your birthday. Last year, my birthday was very much downplayed because Tito, my grandpa, was at the end of his life and all attention was on his care--as it should be. I didn't mind. He ended up passing on March 13th. My birthday consisted of my mom and me having a quiet dinner in her family room, watching a movie, and my blowing out a candle on a little cupcake.
Like I said, I didn't mind. All of us were focused on Tito at the time. But at the same time, it sure was nice to receive so many birthday wishes this year! Cards, emails, about 35 "Happy Birthdays" from different friends on Facebook, and 2 song dedications. I'll talk about those in a bit... :-)
The Family Party
I have made no secret that my family is, well, AWESOME. We have made it a tradition over the years to rotate homes every month and celebrate the birthdays in that month. Whoever can make it, can make it, but we always have a good time. Sometimes we sit around the fire pit outside, sometimes my uncles will bring their guitars and we'll sing, sometimes we'll have deep discussions about life. With the passing of both grandparents last year, our conversations have often turned to some of life's deeper subjects: mortality, the importance of family, the transitory aspect of material things, always trying our best to uphold the traditions our grandparents began and honor their memories.
This past Saturday we gathered at my Uncle Ruben and Aunt Alicia's house. Their house is awesome...all spread out and filled with Uncle Ruben's art. The group was small, only 9 of us, but we had fun. At our biggest, we number around 18 people. The dinner was yummy, we had pie a la mode for dessert, and we hung out in the kitchen and living room. Baby Alexander was the star of the show. I can't think of a better way to spend my birthday evening than with family like that.
Here are some pictures:
By the next morning, I lined up some of my birthday gifts and took a picture, still feeling the love:
Left to right:
A card from my good friend and co-worker, Nancy (accompanied with some chocolate chip cookies--yum!), a card and a really pretty anklet from my dear friend Eric, a card from my Grandma Chevalier, a card from my mom. Also, a gift card to Borders bookstore from my brother, flowers from my mom (also theater tickets and a visit to the mechanic,) and a reproduction of a painting by Uncle Ruben.
Like I said, I'm really feeling the birthday love this year! It's been very nice and I feel so fortunate.
The Song Dedications
As I've posted here several times in the past, one of my relaxing hobbies is karaoke. It's a lot of fun for someone like me who really enjoys singing and doesn't have a lot of opportunites (or time) to perform in public, which I'm not really interested in doing anyway.
My friend, Eric, who also does karaoke, and I have birthdays one day apart, and we were thinking, wouldn't it be fun to each request a birthday song of the other person? As it turns out, we each chose a song that the other did not know. He wanted me to sing To Sir With Love from the Sidney Pointier movie, and I requested an Elvis song called A Thing Called Love, because I knew that it would show off his very nice lowwww voice, which it did.
And, since MySpace and Blogger links don't gel very well together, all I can do is post the names of the songs with links attached to them.
So...click on the song titles if you wish to hear them...
Eric's birthday song request, sung by me: TO SIR WITH LOVE
My birthday song request, sung by Eric: A THING CALLED LOVE (and I'm just going to do a little PR for him here and encourage you to click on some of his other songs, because he is an excellent singer...)
Fun! We are arguing about who did a better job, but since this is my blog I'll take the lead and say that he did awesome!
And then, out of the blue, my friend, Steven, (my duet partner on You Don't Bring Me Flowers,) did a birthday song for me too--a great surprise. He did Barry Manilow's Mandy. You can click on the song's title and see it. Yes, "see," because he does the whole video singing thing (very well, I might add.)
Some additional fun and misc:
The weekend was so good and fun that, in the process, I sort of shelved the fact that a cold was coming on. Last night with the lost Daylight Savings hour I could not fall asleep. That, coupled with the fact that I'm sick, was too much. I awoke feeling l-o-u-s-y this morning. I hadn't really planned to call in for a sub today, but it was necessary. I hope my kids are kind to her and that the plans I emailed to our secretary at 7am this morning were easily understood and followed.
And, let's end on another fun "note..." On SingSnap, which DOES let Blogger embed their codes, Steven and I did 2 more duets these last couple of days. They are too fun, even though the sound quality isn't great. We each picked a song and, poor guy, I ended up picking one that he didn't know, but he recorded it anyway, like a champ.
So, we did A Little Fall of Rain (my choice) from Les Miz:
And We've Got Tonight (his choice.):
We're both pretty happy with this one. All in good fun!
And, in the words of Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride, "Let me esplain...no, there is too much...Let me sum up..."
Naturally, there are some people who I especially miss at a time like this who are no longer with us: Tito, Tita, my dad, and Brad, but I could almost feel their love trickle down through everyone else's. I get a little misty looking at all their names in that list--and I don't want to end on a depressing note, because this weekend has been anything BUT depressing. :-)
I'll just recap by saying what a great birthday weekend this was--one of the best in recent memory. I've been very honored and humbled at the attention I've received. I have felt truly, truly blessed, lucky, and happy.
Thank you to ALL who had a hand in making this a very special birthday. You're very important to me. Love and gratitude to you all!