Thursday, September 18, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me

September is my favorite month—always has been. I love the hot dry days: how the morning air takes on a hint of crispness and the late afternoon sun gilds Sonoma Mountain. Maples and Chinese pistache flame into color—giant matches igniting Petaluma’s neighborhoods. The Wednesday and Saturday farmers markets overflow with the bounty of harvest—pears start to come in! But September doesn’t just bring the rich tapestry of fall, it also ushers in the excitement of the new school year, fall clothes (I love sweaters) and for me, a new personal year.
Yep, I still love my birthday and the possibilities that come with it—not to mention the party! My husband’s philosophy about birthdays is,  “the bigger the age, the bigger the stage.” And this year I’m taking David’s advice. It’s a post-decade birthday and I plan to start celebrating early and continue celebrating, perhaps until Halloween. Is that the popping of champagne corks I hear?
I’m lucky, too. I have plenty of friends to celebrate with in September and October. Count the months backwards—Holiday season! How many of us are the product of an office holiday party? New Years Eve? I was an unexpected Christmas gift. I’ve got more friends with birthdays in September and October than days to celebrate.
My mother insists my birthday is always the hottest day of the year, although I’m sure she’s exaggerating. I remember one year, was I nine? She loaded eight little girls decked out in petty-coated-pastel-party dresses (think rickrack) and maryjanes (with white socks) into our apple-green wood-panel Ford station wagon and drove us to Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park to ride the peddle boats. It was 103°, or so she claims. The pink-iced cake melted, the 7-Up and Dr. Pepper were warm, and someone fell in the algae choked pond—a disaster. On the hour-long ride home, we bickered over who got to play with my new (original) Barbie in her own shiny black carrying case. She came accessorized with Ken but no outfits. (I wanted outfits, sweaters!) A lot of crying went on that day, including my harried mom. I vowed to make sure that if there was crying at my future birthdays, it was because we laughed too hard—and no, the clown when I was ten didn’t quite cut it.
One of my favorite celebrations was a sea cruise on Holland America Line’s New Amsterdam. I loved that 24-hour ice cream bar—too bad there wasn’t a birthday cake served with it. But that didn’t compare with the year Mexico and I celebrated El Grito together. The fireworks lit up the night sky for a week; the tequila ran like water. ¡Viva Birthdays!
But it wasn’t until I moved out of Marvelous Marin that I really knew birthdays. Sonoma County has it down on how to treat a writer girl on her special day! This year Petaluma kicks up the fun with the Petaluma Poetry Walk on Sunday the 21st then the party really heats up with Redwood Writers’ ( launch of its critically acclaimed anthology, Water, on August 28th. (Buy it and read my story, Jet Skis and Malathion.)
This year I may not be celebrating a banner year, but this is no zero celebration—and you’re all invited! I love presents and the best would be your presence at the anthology Launch where I'll read with an all-star line-up of writers. You’ll recognize me—I’ll be the one wearing the Birthday Girl tiara! Just toss roses…

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