Tag Archives: celebration

Birthdays Aren't for Whimps

Let’s be honest. Nobody likes birthdays. Seriously. You’re either dreading the birthday calls, hoping you don’t have to be the center of attention at the monthly birthday gathering at the office or crossing your fingers you don’t have to pretend to LOVE what your mate gives you. Wow, thanks. I’ve always wanted a Big Foot Chia-pet.

Truly, the only one who enjoys a birthday with authorized reckless abandon is a 1-year old. Cake in the hair. No problem. Take their clothes off. No problem. Scream and yell. No problem. Throw the gifts on the floor. No problem. If I did that on my birthday at the kitchen table, I’m pretty sure they’d consider it a break down. “Well you know, she’s not a spring chick anymore.”

I believe I missed the governmental memo on extended birthdays. When did it become the norm to celebrate your birthday for the whole month? I’m going to let you in on a secret, nobody is excited to celebrate your birthday for longer than a day. And that’s pushing it. It’s exhausting. Hip, hip, hooray…let’s do another toast to the birthday person who is turning 22, 34 or 42 and break out the next wave of mandatory gifts and festive attire. This stuff wears down one’s soul faster than an eraser on the SATs.

Don’t get me wrong, I did like birthdays when I was a little kid. Deciding who to invite, dressing up in my fancy dress, having cake and of course, the presents! But at some point, I realized I was just glad to make it through another year. Oh look, where did that body creak, age spot, facial hair come from? It’s par for the course as I successfully roll the stone one revolution up the hill each year.

Speaking of bodily changes, exactly at what age do your toenails start to resemble cat claws? My toenails are two things…thick and sharp. It’s gotten to the point where I’m considering using a Dremel for maintenance. If I’m not careful, I’m going to be like the cats and start snagging the carpet if I go too long between trimmings. A few weeks ago I changed the sheets on our bed and to my surprise there was a tear towards the bottom of the flat sheet.

On my side.

Well, how did that get there I wondered? Maybe the cats were burrowing. Did it happen last time in the wash and I didn’t notice? How old are these sheets? Then it dawned on me. My toe nails.

What is truly horrifying about birthdays are the restaurant celebrations. We have all been witness or unwilling victim to the restaurant fiasco. One of two things happens:

  • A troupe of overly enthusiastic singers arrive with your dessert. It’s obvious they love celebrating birthdays, evidenced by their harmony singing, wide smiles and wild clapping. If you’re lucky, the performance comes complete with confetti and colored lights at your table. It’s such an outstanding performance, you’re left wondering if you should tip them.
  • The other option is where the fearless leader, who has the undignified task of celebrating a birthday in their section, grabs unobservant servers as they cross the room with your cake. Heaven willing, they will NOT be the solo birthday singer today. (Servers who have an eye for avoiding awkward situations have already high-tailed it to the walk-in freezer.) By the time they reach your table, the group looks like they’ve been told to lick the underside of the dining table. Down comes your cake and a hurried “Happy Birthday” is shouted before they retreat.

My husband is not fazed by anything. I could walk in with a face tattoo and he’d simply say, “if that’s what you want.” I could tell a cashier that I would like my groceries wrapped individually in plastic bags so my cats can’t see what I bought….and he would add on to the storyline. “It’s only because we taught them to read and they’re currently the number one You Tube video”, would be one of his potentially added lines.

Awhile back for his birthday, my mother thought she’d get one over on him. We all went to a nice restaurant for dinner. (The kind with table linens.) Somewhere after salad but before entrees, a lady came in with a radio and made a bee-line for our table. I didn’t know what was coming and braced for impact.

A belly dancer.

Hired to dance for my husband.

At our table.

Ching -ching! Ching-ching!

Hip wiggle. Hip wiggle.

My husband didn’t blink. Instead, he moved his chair out so he could participate in the hand gestures. Ching-ching. Ching-ching.

I, on the other hand, didn’t know which way to look. I hate birthdays.

I always feel bad when someone knows it my birthday and asks what the plans are for the big day. It’s such a let down for them. Who knew people lived vicariously through other’s birthdays? My big plan is to go scoop poop at the farm sanctuary I volunteer at, make pesto for dinner and read my murder mystery novel before bed. Although this year I did splurge and picked up a tiramisu for dessert. When you tell someone that, you loose them the moment you say, “poop.” Meh, whatever, it makes me happy.

That’s what it’s all about. Be yourself and be happy. You don’t need the extravagant celebrations to appreciate and acknowledge your accomplishments or who you are as a person. Love yourself every day, not just on your birthday. Be proud of all your creaks, hair in unusual places, gray highlights (Now people pay money for gray hair!), stress lines and laugh lines. It means you’re a survivor and you’ve got this.

Oh yeah, after the belly dancer episode, The Mother and I signed up for belly dancing classes. We lasted 3 classes. Honestly, I only went so I could get a pair of the ching-chings.

Miss Kona: Pride Parade Adventure

Check that off the list: Marching in a Pride Parade.

A friend of mine called and asked if I was interested. Well, let me see….
It’s fun.
I can be silly.
I’ve never been in a Pride Parade.
I get to ride in a trolley.
Yes! I’ll do it!

For the weeks leading up to the event, I was pondering what I would say to the spectators. You see, we were going to be on a big trolley and handing out Hawaiian leis. So the possibilities are endless, but generally came back to the one comment, “I wanna lei you.” Terrible. But funny.

I, however, can’t say it with a straight face.

Three nights before the event my friend calls. “What are you dressing up as for the parade?”

What?

“Aren’t you dressing up for the parade? You did all those Wearable Art Shows….you have to dress up.”

Juneau Arts & Humanities Council Wearable Art Show 2011.

Juneau Arts & Humanities Council Wearable Art Show 2011.

Well shit. I didn’t think about it. Then it smacks me in the forehead, like a mosquito, this is a perfect excuse to dress up! How could I have not realized this? I love to dress up! What the hell am I going to do? I can’t believe I almost went as a normal person!

I pressed the urgent button. Must. Get. The. Creative. Juices. Flowing.

Now, I don’t have months to prepare, I only have two nights. This is going to be a mess.

We’re doing leis, so Hawaiian would be good. That’s a no-brainer. What kind of Hawaiian stuff do I have on hand? Nothing. Not a floral shirt. Not a lei. Flip flops. I have flip flops. Well that’s not very Hawaiian.

Where are my wigs? In the storage closet. UGH. I don’t have time. Do I even have a long black wig? No. Eyelashes! Has anyone seen my eyelashes? I know the little box they’re in….but where is that box? I’ll worry about that later.

To the drawing board I go….which in this case, is the party supply store.

Lo and behold, they have a big selection of left over Halloween items. Thank you! First I pick up a cool mask, with giant beak and feathers out of the top. I find different colored table cloths to match the feathers. Then I look and say to myself….THIS is NOT Hawaiian themed. This isn’t going to work.

I put everything back…then stumble into the Hawaiian section.

Two grass skirts.

Four pretty silk flower leis.

No, they had NO coconut bra tops. Trust me – I was looking. I did flirt with the idea of using real coconuts but the thought of trying to successfully crack it open and then drill holes for a string to hold it together….was too much comedy of errors for me.

And on the way out…one last pass through the Halloween section. YES! A long black wig. They call it a fashion wig, I’m thinking…seriously? Whatever, it’s long and black. When I check out the cashier advises me there is no returns on the wig. Okay, she doesn’t know me, but I NEVER return a wig. Miss Kona Supplies

Next stop. The Dollar Store. Yep. I hit the jackpot! Pink flamingo plastic table cloth, fishing nets, sequined butterfly things and clip on flowers.

I go home and assemble the costume.

The next night I realize, I didn’t have a headpiece. You always need a headpiece! So using a headband, some shells and glitter…I fastened together a sea princess crown.

I also realize I can’t find my eyelash box. Yes, besides wigs, I have an assortment of eyelashes. I look in the obvious places. Nope. Nope. Nope.

Then, literally, while I”m on my hands and knees looking under the bed….(side note, we just moved into this little place…which causes me to still not remember where things ended up. It is plausible the eyelashes ended up under the bed, not likely, but possible.)

Yes, I’m on my hands and knees when I break out my Catholic education and say a prayer to St. Anthony.

“St. Anthony, please can you help me locate my eyelashes? Thank you. You know it’s in that plastic box. Please help me find them.” St. Anthony never fails me. Whenever you lose something – pray to St. Anthony.

Tah-dah! Try the bottom dresser drawer.

I did and under a bunch of other stuff….there’s my eyelash box! YAHOO!

Now that I have my outfit assembled, I fall to sleep as a big day is coming tomorrow!

Rise and shine at 7:00AM. I have to be at the trolley by 10:00AM. I’ll be driving into Boston, parking at work and then taking the subway to where the trolley is staged at the Copley Center. I’ve written down my subway directions…..have them in my pocket. I’m ready to go.

I put on the top of my outfit, which consists of a white flimsy tank top blouse thing, aqua colored bra and sequined butterflies. My eyelashes are on. Big glittery eye make up is on. Lip stain is on. Body glitter is on….of course!

I look like a drag queen stuck in a disco ball.

Before I leave, I decide I better wear a zip up hoodie. I’m taking the subway after all. I grab my sunglasses, tote bag with various paraphernalia and my grass skirts in a big trash bag.

Okay, now I look like a hobo in a disco ball.

The transportation adventure begins. I zip right into Boston – SWEET! Every day should be 20 minutes.Park the car and walk to the first subway stop, which is three blocks from my office.

Silver Line to South Station….I’ve done this lots of times. No sweat.

South Station, I hop over to the Red Line going to Alewife. Okay, got this. I’ve been to South Station lots of times. Just have to look for the sign for this particular line. Easy. I get to the platform 1 minute before the Red Line arrives.

Next, I get off at Park Street and have to transfer to the Green Line. Well, this is an experience. Never been on the green line. And I need to find the C Berth for the train that goes to Connelly Circle. That’s what it said on the website for the transit system. A berth? That’s for cruise ships. Why not call it a platform? A berth? Okay, whatever. C Berth.

I still have my sunglasses on and hoodie zipped up.

I arrive at the Park Street station and feel like I’m wandering through purgatory. Dark, old, hot and fierce. At any moment I fully expect to see an elevator that says Hell? With an arrow pointing down. The signs here say C berth is also track 1. I’m at track 4. Well where the hell is track 1? I see a little old man walking across the tracks and I’m thinking, “that’s not the smartest thing to be doing….”

Then I see a sign that says C with an arrow down. There’s more layers? Or is this the elevator to hell I’ve been expecting to see here?

I hit the elevator button and wait. Nothing.
It finally arrives and the door opens. Apparently, lions have been using the elevator as their litter box. The smell curls my eyelashes even more. I turn around and look for stairs.

Down I go, along this hallway that could have been in a hospital horror flick from the 50’s. Then another sign says to go up for my berth. I truly am a mouse in this labyrinth.

I pop up and there I am on the opposite side of where I started. Four tracks, yellowing light and stale air. Big industrial floor fans running to try and keep people cool. It’s old. Old. Old. Some of the lines coming through are only 2 cars. People run and push to get on the car.

Dear lord. Please don’t let this be a long wait.

I see on the transit map I could take lines C, D, E to get where I’m going. However I stick solidly to my C plan as all these tiny cars….and I’m hoping C is multiple cars.

People are coming in obviously going to the parade, which makes me happy to know. I’m not lost.

Unfortunately, I’m sweating like a banshee. I don’t know, do banshees sweat? I’m still wearing my glasses and zip up hoodie. I’m dying. I can imagine the tank top is plastered to my back. Sweat is breaking out on my upper lip. This guy in front of me won’t stop pacing….like a caged animal. Okay. Enough.

I unzip my jacket and put my glasses on top of my head. AIR. Sort of.

Within a minute a big guy comes over and asks, “How did you get your eyelashes to do that?”
They’re fake.
“Oh. Are you with him?” (There is a young guy with a pull cart filled with signs about gay rights standing next to me.)
No, but we’re going to the same place obviously.
Then guy then says something and more about his wife….not sure what he was saying…as the noise from trains, fans and people were deafening in this crowded subway pit.

Another train comes in and he walks away to get on one of the two cars.

I put my glasses back on and patiently wait.

Hark! A train on my track! It says Connelly Circle! Thats’s the one I need. Whoop Whoop! AND it has a bunch of cars! I jump on the first one and get a seat. I sit down and immediately want to hug the conductor….the A/C is on high and I feel like I’ve walked into an ice box. Thank you, sweet fairy godmother of the subway system. And whoever invented A/C.

Three stops later, I hop off and continue to wander the lackluster white tiled subway….(which note, some people actually put this tile in their house….why?) I continue to follow signs that say, “Exit. Street.” I climb the stairs and pop out into the sunshine, like a mole who has been underground too long. To my surprise, I am actually where I should be. I didn’t get lost!

I walk 1 block and there’s my trolley, waiting in line with all the other vehicles, for the parade to start. Yahoo! It’s a small miracle I didn’t get lost. Or loose my patience and hop in a cab. Yeah me – high five!

My friend is waiting for me at the trolley and I think may be surprised I made it as well! I’m thinking, I needed a shot after that. Not a vodka shot but a tetanus. And I didn’t bring any handiwipes!

I pull up my glasses and SURPRISE! Hope it’s okay that I’m planning to dress up!

Then I start to pull my outfit together. Skirt on. Wig on. Crown on.

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Tah-dah! Two people, that I’ve met before, didn’t recognize me. It was great!

One of the guys looks up my Hawaiian name online. Apparently it’s Kona. Okay then call me Miss Kona.

I walk off the bus and a lady approaches me, “Are you going to do the hula on top of the trolley today?”

Ahhh no, but thank you.

If I had a dollar for every time someone took my photo, I’d have enough to buy a round of drinks in the bar. I walked down the street before the parade to see the floats and people were stopping me left and right. I didn’t think my outfit was that amazing, but apparently it was different enough.

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The parade starts and our music on the trolley was the best. We were literally dancing in the street. I spent most of the time walking in front of the trolley, which was great, so I couldn’t loose the trolley. And they couldn’t loose me! Win-win on that one. We were handing out leis to anyone who wanted them. Must have handed out thousands. I decided to aim for kids and people in wheelchairs along the route. I also asked many, many police officers if they wanted one – all but 6 declined. Those who did take them, gave them to the people next to them. Of course, when someone mentioned that was a Congressman in the suit standing over there, I immediately ran over. He didn’t want a lei either. Well, I tried.

One lady, who obviously was a parade organizer, due to the enormous headset she was wearing and clip board she was carrying…said to me, “You better move over to the sidewalk, there is a trolley behind you. You don’t want to get hit.” I told her I was with the trolley and I’m pretty sure they’re not going to run me down.

What a great time. Miss Kona had a hoot. I was exhausted and slightly sunburned when I got home. The energy of the crowd, the excitement of being in a parade and running from side to side wore me out….and a 4 hour nap was enjoyed when I got home.

Let’s do this again next year! Game on!

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