The morning after 35

Birthday cake on Wednesday mornings

Birthday cake on Wednesday mornings

Forget about taking the day of your birthday off work.  Take the next day off.  Bring the last piece of birthday cake back into bed with you.

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Bring some coffee, too.

And then think about what the year ahead brings.  Cheers.

I’m almost 35. And I don’t know how I feel about that.

Editor’s Note: Nostalgia and some angst ahead.  Proceed with caution.

Underneath all the fun of birthday month shenanigans is the true story that I’m another year older.  I always use my birthday as a great time to look back, reflect, make plans, get excited, measure up, compare needlessly, etc.  There’s something extra for birthdays that end in 0 and 5.  I don’t know why, there just is.

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That was the alternate title of this post.  I’ve got plenty of people telling me I’m not old.   But most of those people are older than me.  It just feels like age became a real thing all of a sudden.

Thinking about the last five years – it’s been a pretty amazing, actually.  For sure the most significant personal growth, and maybe that’s the good part of getting older – wisdom.  I see clearer, understand more, worry less, pay less attention to stupid, and generally contribute more good than bad to the world.  Tomorrow I’ll post about birthday fun and hopes and dreams and wishes and the future.  Tonight I get to take a minute to think the last 5 years, as measured by birthdays.

How 31 was done:

I had been at River City Casino just under a year at this point and had finally relented and befriended the four crazy women that made up our HR office.  I walked in the day of my birthday to find cake and decorations.  It was really sweet.

See the tiny spoon?  I'm pretty sure that was a gelato tasting spoon that we had in the HR office for some reason.

See the tiny spoon? I’m pretty sure that was a gelato tasting spoon that we had in the HR office for some reason.  Ahh, casino days.  

Angela threw me a perfect party: Turkey burgers, pumpkin beer and s’mores for dessert.  It was exactly what I wanted.

I may have made a little Dr. Seuss-style speech to thank them for the party and their friendship.  But mostly to make a rhyming speech.  Also - how much do I miss my super long hair??  Grow faster!

I may have made a little Dr. Seuss-style speech to thank them for the party and their friendship. But mostly to make a rhyming speech. Also – how much do I miss my super long hair?? Grow faster!

These girls.

These girls.

Meg is there on the left, she’s the one getting married in Virginia in a few weeks.  Angela is on the other end, holding George (the dog).  I emailed her a few days ago to tell her I can’t believe this years ago.  Since then she has had two baby girls!  This was just a minute ago!  This was the group that brought me back into the world.  I had come home from Chicago the day after my 30th birthday feeling lost and defeated.  If there had ever been a time for me to focus on me and figure my crap out – it was that time.  And when I was ready – so were these ladies.  My divorce was final 4 days after this.  And so I entered 32…

31 Birthday recaps here and here

Boo to 32…

Yeah.  Mostly the last several years have been a roller coaster that only goes up, but my 32nd birthday came right in the middle of a super yuck time.  I “resigned” from the casino at the end of August and was once again lost and sad.  Meg had moved in with me for what we thought would be 6 months while she looked for a job in Virginia, and good for her and all for finding one after 6 weeks.  She moved out just a few days prior to my birthday.   All I wanted for my birthday was Indian food with my sister for dinner.

What’s great about forcing myself to look back is that I’m so humbled by how people showed up for me.  This blog may be ridiculous to everyone else, but I might have forgotten that Angela showed up to my house the morning of my birthday to go for a run and a workout with me.  Claire met me at my favorite Mexican restaurant.  When I stopped in to see Brian he made it seem like I was doing him a favor by working for him that fall, when I’m sure it was the other way around.  My sister did go get Indian food with me for dinner.  Cyndi continued her tradition of being the most thoughtful gift giver I know.  Man.  I have tears streaming down my face.  I’m sure I took all of this kindness for granted in the moment.  I’m sure I couldn’t see beyond my terrible, no-good time.  I’m going to immediately send so many people flowers after I publish this.

Birthday recap here…

I look back and know that it was a hermit-y kind of birthday – but what I couldn’t have known is that three weeks later I would get the call that told me I was accepted into the BGSU grad school program.  And that friends, was a choice that made all the difference…

33 – being as old as Jesus

I was really happy that my birthday was falling on a grad school weekend.  These were the people I was closest to at that time and I couldn’t imagine spending my birthday with anyone else.  I requested that we go back to Jed’s, and sit on their patio and drink the night away.  And we did.  What makes me smile about that night when I look back is it’s also the night I told, well, everyone really (including D) about my crush on D.  It was this very grade school like plot to try and sit next to him or have a reason to talk to him.  Our classmates weighing in on whether they thought this was a good idea.  And me finally just telling him it was now officially the worst kept secret in the cohort.  It was the first time there was any flirting and it was fun and exciting.  Ahh, early romance.

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I made the rounds that night taking selfies with everyone… Kristy – who lives in Columbus now and I just had Girls Day for this birthday with!

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Just an hour or so before the crush confession.

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And with Steve – class clown extraordinaire.

The next morning in class I had some ‘splaining to do to poor D who may have been caught off guard by my admission.  I spent the plane ride home crafting a really long email explaining how it had all come to be and what I was thinking, etc.  It’s one of the emails I’ve kept – it was a really fun time.

Emilie, my favorite sister, always made sure she was around to celebrate with me as well.  We went to a Slow Food St. Louis fundraiser and then drank Rumchata at my favorite neighborhood bar.

My sis and I celebrating pre-birthday with Rumchata.

My sis and I celebrating pre-birthday with Rumchata.

Birthday recaps here and here …

The first link was actually a post a few days before my birthday.  And one that was really great to read right now.  It was about the amazing and thoughtful people I have in my life (seriously Cyndi with the crazy thoughtful gifts) and the people that I’m so close to and that in this moment I’m not sure I deserve.  I’m all wrapped up in break up angst (yes, still, a little – I know).  I think that may be one of my favorite posts ever.

34 in paradise

This one is a little tougher to write about.  Last year I ended birthday post with this paragraph:

I had no anxiety about this birthday at all.  I don’t care that I’m “mid-30’s” now, I don’t mind another year.  I have decided it’s a function of being very content.  I don’t feel I should be somewhere else, someone else, something else.  I’m actually quite happy with where everything in my life is right now.  

I spent 34 in Mexico with D.  It was a perfect trip.  We were celebrating graduation which had been a month before, we got to spend real quality time together, he gave me two birthday cards because he couldn’t decide and I remember thinking that was adorable.  It was just this really sweet and romantic trip.

34th Birthday dinner

34th Birthday dinner

All over the resort we were referred to as Mr. and Mrs. D.  Except it's in quotes.  I never did get it.  Maybe his last name was just easier to spell than mine.

All over the resort we were referred to as Mr. and Mrs. D. Except it’s in quotes. I never did get it. Maybe his last name was just easier to spell than mine.

I went into this post thinking about that last line from last year’s birthday post.  My intention was to then say that not only did things not change – everything changed.  I think during the course of writing this (incredibly long) post I’ve realized that actually, maybe not as much has changed as I think.  I’m still incredibly lucky.  I’m still surrounded by amazing people – many of the same.  Cyndi is still an insanely thoughtful gift giver (Thanks, Cyndi!) and Claire is still checking in with me and Ann still likes every picture I post on Instagram and I’m in Meg’s wedding and Angela and I have dinner when I’m back in STL and Colin still texts me a random Sorkin quote…  I feel a little like Ebenezer Scrooge with the ghost of Christmas past…  These last few  years have been amazing.  It will only get better.

To 35 and beyond…

Tomorrow a group of colleagues will meet me for birthday happy hour.  With the exception of two people, it’s a group I didn’t even know a year ago.  And now there are some new favorites, friends I hope I have for many more birthdays to come.

Wow.  Maybe the best gift (outside of the book and calendar Cyndi sent me!) is the always appreciated increased self awareness.  It’s amazing how I came into this with a sad tinge.  And I’m leaving with a list of people to send notes to, and be grateful for, and send love into the universe for.

I’ll save the article and Year 35 resolutions for another time.  This became a whole other thing tonight.  I wrote the title of this post first.  I would have to say I do know how I feel about 35… fan-freaking-tastic.

Inspired by Friday Night Lights, I embrace hot chicken

I’ve been binge watching Friday Night Lights over the last couple of weeks.  It’s soooo good.  If you haven’t watched it, remedy that as soon as possible.  I love so many things about it: Coach and Tami’s marriage, the way Tami says “hon”, Tim Riggins, Julie’s real struggle to get what being an adult is all about…

I finished the last couple episodes earlier today while reading the paper.  I’m not afraid, and surely  not alone, to admit I cried several times throughout the series and these last few episodes were no different this morning.

The last few episodes also made me really pumped about the idea of community.  You watch what Coach Taylor does to East Dillon, the way he creates something to rally around and support, they way they come out and root for the Lions and tell me you don’t want to be a part of something.  Inspired by that feeling I took a little lunchtime field trip to Hot Chicken Takeover.

This place has had a bit of press – when they first launched and then with their kickstarter campaign.  Jeni of Jeni’s Ice Cream has tweeted about them even.  I watched their Kickstarter video a couple weeks ago and put it on my list of things to get around to.  That time came once I was all riled up by the last episode of Friday Night Lights – I wanted to go out and be part of the community.  So I got Hot Chicken for lunch.

The place is exactly as described in the articles and Kickstarter video.  It is a walk up window with a long line  and a few tents with community picnic tables.

I waited about 20 minutes until I got to the window - then another 10 after I ordered.  Not bad.

I waited about 20 minutes until I got to the window – then another 10 after I ordered. Not bad.

I love that the window sign is partly made of tape.  A true start up on a budget.

I love that the window sign is partly made of tape. A true start up on a budget.

Their entire menu.  Free sweet tea and ranch dressing.  Community.

Their entire menu. Free sweet tea and ranch dressing. Community.

I was cautioned by reviews that they are not messing around when they say “hot.”  I started off with “cold” which just means no heat from spice, it’s still hot, fresh fried chicken.  People in line are chatting, the owner comes around asking if anyone is there the first time and thanking people who are wearing Hot Chicken Takeover shirts that indicated they’ve donated to the Kickstarter.  The neighborhood this is in is very “transitional”.  One of my favorite breakfast places is just down the street, but there’s not much else here yet.  The two houses across the street from HCT are boarded up.  One of their hallmarks is that they hire the “harder to employ” individuals.  Everyone there was awesome.  And I got the dose of community I wanted.

My carb-tastic lunch.  I'm glad I went with the "cold".  I'm not sure I could even handle Medium.

My carb-tastic lunch. I’m glad I went with the “cold”. I’m not sure I could even handle Medium.

It was really, really good.  It’s a perfect meal, even the way pickle juice soaks into a bit of the chicken breading, the ranch dressing that came from no bottle, and yes, really good mac and cheese.  I also happen to love non-mayo based cole slaws, so this light and vinegar-y one was perfect – and I can tell myself that was the right amount of vegetables for lunch.  So, thanks Hot Chicken Takeover for giving me what I needed today.

My new man…

Isn’t he adorable?

Oktoberfest 4 miler medal

Oktoberfest 4 miler medal

Oktoberfest 4 miler medal

Oktoberfest 4 miler medal

Tonight I ran the Oktoberfest 4 miler.  It started at 6pm after the official tapping of the keg.

My first OH Oktoberfest

My first OH Oktoberfest

The race shirt features my man as well

The race shirt features my man as well

The race course looped around the Ohio State fairgrounds.  I knocked 3 minutes off my OSU 4 miler time from last week.  That part was good.  My times are getting better.  I’m getting better.

I did not dress up as much as some... maybe next year.

I did not dress up as much as some… maybe next year.

There were a handful of runners in full on German costumes.  Maybe if I run it next year I’ll embrace the full spirit of the run.

Post run treats!

Post run treats!

The race entry included a free bratwurst, beer and cream puff from the mainstay of German Village and Columbus – Schmidt’s.  They’re quite an institution in this city.

Me, my beer, and my new little man.

Me, my beer, and my new little man.

Happy Oktoberfest and happy start to the weekend!

OSU 4-miler: then and now

Last year was the inaugural OSU 4 miler Finish on the 50 (yard line) race.  I signed up for it just for fun and it was a good race.  9,999 other people also thought it would be fun.  According to race officials it was the largest inaugural race ever.  We Buckeyes turn out for stuff.  Last year the race was in November and it was coooooold.

Brrr.

Brrr.

Moving to the race to September was great for weather!  It was a great day to run!

Finish on the 50, 2014

Finish on the 50, 2014

There are several Buckeye football players, past and present, hanging around, posing for pictures with people… that is less of a draw for me as I couldn’t really pick them out of a crowd.  As I ran towards the finish line I high fived two current players.  Which is fun, but I have no idea which two.

Finish 2013!

Finish 2013!

Finish 2014!

Finish 2014!

I looked around for Brutus (the Buckeye mascot) to get a selfie with him.  I figured that would have Christmas Card written all over it.  No such luck.  I did find this funny game in the kids area.  Kids stand on those pedestals and try to knock each other off with the giant Buckeye on a rope… something about this game seems off.

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Questionable

Posing with the medal, 2013

Posing with the medal, 2013

Posing with the medal, 2014

Posing with the medal, 2014

Last year my photos were better because D was with me and cheered from the stadium stands and took better pictures.  This year, I’m left with just some selfie shots.  Selfies and a cool series of medals!

Stadium, 2013 //  Helmet, 2014

Stadium, 2013 // Helmet, 2014

Going Coastal.com

I mentioned I lost my glasses a couple weeks ago dancing it up at Ladies 80’s night (worth it).

Even with my insurance, I’ve noticed that the cost of getting glasses has been getting astronomical.  I was interested in trying one of the online glasses sites: Warby Parker, EyeFly or Coastal.  I asked the people of Facebook if they had any experience and heard bad things about EyeFly and good things about Warby.

I heard nothing about Coastal, but I liked their selection, loved their prices and decided to go for it.

And I’m so happy I did!

With the awesome prices, I decided to get two pairs.  One pair that is traditionally like what I have worn in the past, and one pair of trendier, hipster-ish frames.

Here is the reliable pair…

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They are a medium to dark purple on the outside with pink on the inside.  They look great, feel great on and I’m happy to have purple glasses again!  I had a pair a few years ago and purple works for me.

 

Here is the trendier pair…

Me wearing them in Anthro while trying on scarves and headbands.

Me wearing them in Anthro while trying on scarves and headbands.

Me wearing them while i'm writing this post.

Me wearing them while i’m writing this post.

They’re black, from the Alyssa Milano collection (which I thought was fun), and a little larger than I’m used to wearing, but I’m happy with the new look.

I would absolutely recommend Coastal! My glasses were here in 3 days, great prices, solid cases came with each pair, and you can’t beat the price!

Girls day out

I woke up when I felt like it and laid in bed petting the cats for a while.

I made a delicious breakfast of duck and pork sausage, tomatoes, potatoes, eggs and Boursin cheese.

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My pal Kristy came to play! We went to the flea market where I found the bench I was looking for (pics tomorrow).  We went to the big outdoor mall, Easton, to pick up my Sephora birthday present, and went to Costco to load up on paper towels.   We also stopped by Anthropologie where I had to stop myself from walking out with these new treasures:

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I loooved the sparkly headband and scarf.  Alas, I don’t need either of them.  When does one wear a sparkly headband?

Kristy picked up an adorable birthday treat for me while we were there…

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It’s so me, and so perfect! Thanks, KM!

We dashed back to my house to change for girls night dinner out at Barcelona, a tapas restaurant in German Village. 

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Dinner was excellent! Cheese and tapas and paella and sangria… Of which I got the lion’s share since Kristy had to drive all the way back home.   Delish!

Thanks to KM for perfect early birthday celebration!