Tag Archives: oak bay

the non-milestone birthday, continued

I generally try to keep my birthdays somewhat low key these days. While they used to be long-weekend all-singing-and-dancing productions, these days, they are more like me trying to hide from what I think is unmerited attention

After all, shouldn’t my mother be getting the credit for my birthday? I mean, it’s HER birthday tomorrow, and she likes to say I was her early birthday present, but honestly, she did the work to build me and should therefore get the celebration. (Ditto my son. Why am I not the one being celebrated every June?)

I thought I was getting away with a quiet birthday this year, with the celebration focus on my mother. On Saturday we all celebrated Mom’s birthday at the Oak Bay Marina restaurant, aka The Place We Have Gone On Fancy Occasions Since 1982. The big difference now, however, is that the kids meals are composed plates representing miniature versions of the adult meals, and not the dry hamburger I was so excited to get as a kid.

Ben and my niece Tate with their “kids” meals. I did check to be sure that was a kid sized fish and chips Ben is stabbing.

At the end of this delightful meal, we sang happy birthday to Mom, with only my son and nieces chiming in “AND YOU”, meaning me, at the end of each line. The focus remained on my mother and her milestone birthday!

I was also very quiet in my birthday party this year: I invited less than ten friends to just come get a drink at Bearded Lady around the corner. We had a really lovely time too: the conversation flowed well and the cocktails were exceptionally well crafted to match. But in my haste to get out of the office in time for said happy hour, I mentioned to my two group directors (with whom I form a triumvirate) that I was leaving early for my birthday. They asked why I didn’t say anything, and I grinned, and just explained that every year on a new job, I always manage to fly under the radar for my birthday. It was on Monday, but I thought I was safe!

Then today, I was dragged into what I thought was a Client Innovation Day planning meeting, only to be joyfully surprised by MY ENTIRE TEAM singing Happy Birthday…complete with Melissa’s Gluten Free Cupcakes and a birthday card and drawing:

I am sorry to say I was so surprised that I did tell the guys they were the worst for tattling on me, but I said it smiling. I really need to be more gracious when people throw me a surprise party. I did let them know I was teasing and then sent a separate thank you email telling them how grateful I was not only for today, but for every day. I do actually really love this team a lot – it’s a HUGE operation with no end of craziness but it’s really become a work family over the last few months.

So while I am no longer throwing crazy house parties, or taking a whole crew of people to Bats Day, I am still #blessed enough to have people who want to celebrate me even as I try to hide.

EDIT: I would have had this up half an hour ago, but I got distracted looking for Bats Day photos and ended up organizing Google photos instead for ten minutes, and then I clicked over to Facebook and ended up reading THAT aimlessly for twenty minutes. ALL THESE SITES ARE BAD NEWS.

back in the shire

I’m eating fresh bread, from the local bakery/cafe/gelato/cheese/pastry/European deli in the Village. I’ve covered it in a layer of Island Farms butter and locally produced honey. Next, I’m going to go demolish another pint basket of Saanich peninsula strawberries. For lunch, there’s Mom’s squash and barley soup. For dinner, there’s going to be Saltspring island lamb.

Fortunately, I don’t gain weight here for the same reason I didn’t gain it in Paris. I’m out walking a lot when I’m home. Especially since our golden retriever, without the neighbor walking him, has become a little chunky. By which I mean fat. He looks more like a small, golden brown bear than a dog now, due to lack of neck and waist. I have a fat orange cat at home, and a fat golden retriever here. But at least I can take the dog out for exercise.

But it’s very good to be back home in the Northwest. I went for a walk last night, a little after eleven, and the sky was still dark blue, not black, to the north. And I could see stars to the south! To see a blue-black sky, not an orangey brown sky, at night, is simply wonderful. I was listening to Ulrich Schnauss and skipping for joy as I dragged the dog along the southern edge of the Island. Home, clean air, no traffic, no freeways, just the overspilling English gardens and narrow streets of Oak Bay. I always want to move back to Seattle after I visit the Northwest in the summer, because I’m not ready to leave the States, but I miss living in a part of the world that for five months a year, is as perfect as anything I can imagine.

I’m going to go eat my soup and vegetate for a while now. I admit, I miss my life in Los Angeles when I have to leave it – especially since there was a Sing-A-Long mass bike ride last night, and tonight is the debut of Malediction Society on Saturday night, and I wanted to go to that party. But I need the time on the Island every so often. I need to come home to the Northwest. And someday, I’ll move back to this part of the world for good, when I’m ready to leave the big city. That just won’t be anytime soon.

going home

I’m packing to go home. My flight to YVR leaves in eight and a half hours, after all.

Usually, I count down to a trip back to British Columbia. But this time, I have been too immersed in my life in Los Angeles lately to do so. I almost forgot I was going home until the last minute.

And then I was folding a skirt, and a Doves track came on the rotation in my Rhapsody, and I burst into tears. I suddenly realized that, in fifteen hours, I’ll be back on the Island. I’ll be home. I can sleep, in my old room, in my parents house, with my dog outside the door. I’ll be a hundred yards from the clean salt of the Northwest ocean, in the quiet corner of the world I still dream in.

I think it was the sense of relief – I just started weeping. I’m so tired. It takes so much out of me to withstand Los Angeles, to see the damage and the poverty and the despair everywhere in this city, everywhere in America, misery brought in to replace the life drained out of thousands by a senselessly selfish society. I fight the war, I fight the system, I fight the cars…it takes energy, after all, to struggle. To be able to see the world like I do, and I wish, a lot of the time, that I didn’t.

I’m going home, and I can have my mother and father take care of me for a few days, and I’ll be able to sleep, sleep, without waking up to gasp for breath or search for clean water or hear the freeways every waking minute.

I’m going home now, to Oak Bay, to my Shire, somewhere off the edge of the maps. I’ll be back next week, and I’ll miss Los Angeles enough while I’m gone, but I just realized…I do still miss home. More than I realized.