Friday, August 24, 2012

reaching the speed limit: a birthday party

"Tonight I'll go get dinner at The Drive-In," I thought Sunday, hatching a plan to do one fun thing each day this past week, my birthday week. "And I'll tweet about it!" (Uh-oh.)

Well, I'm lucky I still have all 14 of my followers, as one tweet a day turned into many more as my plan morphed into: Maybe I'll tweet all week long about stuff I'm thankful for, things that make me feel good, stuff I enjoy ... and so started a little list. Then ... the list grew, and I thought: Oh boy! What if I tweeted 55 things that make turning 55 absolutely worth it, absolutely preferable to the only alternative which is to stop right here, right now, and not turn 55?

Throughout the week the list ebbed and flowed. Simple things became great things, and snippets of my life started appearing before me, saying "Hey! Include me!" Now, here's my list.

Welcome to my 55th birthday party!

1. Had dinner from The Drive-In. Fish sandwich, fries with catsup, and a root beer float.

2. Thankful for those who respond so rationally, with the lightest brush of humor.

3. Cool mornings in August!

4. The fact that beeswax makes a mouthpiece for a didgeridoo and that there is such a thing as a didgeridoo.

5. That the sun moves across the sky without moving at all.

6. At this time last year so many pressures coming to bear. Now they have passed.

7. That I make my living, tenuous as it is!, making candles and fun stuff like Psychic Beeswax Charmers.

The Psychic Beeswax Charmer. Available on Etsy!

8. While letting Elliott in for the night, catching sight of a sliver of moon setting in a huge, dusky, western sky.

9. A few years back I realized: I don't have to spend my whole life being a Cubs fan.

10. That I can ask "Should I try to use duct tape on this thingy that fell off the ceiling of my microwave?" and get an answer on YouTube.

11. Well, how could I not mention love?

12. I have two sisters, and they just happen to be the two best sisters in the world.

13. The nearing of autumn.

14. And it's about time to start stacking wood, preparing for winter.

15. That one of Buster's favorite treats is garbanzo beans.

16. Living alongside a river called The Otter.

17. Going out to the garden for broccoli for dinner.

18. Knowing that at least once I've wakened to the sound of my own laughter.

19. My 19th birthday. Living in a tent in a campground on Cape Cod. I cleaned rooms at a motel. On my walk to work I saw a family of foxes.

20. Sitting on the porch after dinner, listening to crickets.

21. TV on Netflix!

22. The Twizzle!

23. When 21, hitchhiking with my friend Isabel from SF to Olympia, Washington. We set rules, we broke rules, we lived on.

24. A few months later wintry night, hitchhiking solo, Appleton, WI, to Chicago, most of it then via engine of a freight train.

25: Being an ex: smoker, drinker, wife, hitchhiker.

26. Being with my dad at a Cubs game, heads bent over scorecards.

27. That I've seen the Northern Lights.

28. Listening to Ella Fitzgerald on scratchy records my parents did their best to wear out.

29. Being 10 or 11, at Ravinia Park, sitting on a blanket eating fried chicken. Later, Ella Fitzgerald takes the stage, sings.

30. Oh my gosh. I've always wanted to live in a field of wildflowers. Now I do.

31. Pick a day, any day, with Bud.

32. One hot July 4th holiday Lorel and I rescued a guard dog who'd been left with no food, no water. He was a cupcake.

33. Writing in and holding on to my journal, which is a handy reference and eternal source of embarrassment.

34. So many books. So many realities.

35. You know, I have all my own teeth, except for the ones they called "wisdom."

36. Hot day, candles made, new product on Etsy, dip in the river.

The Wild Fern Beeswax Ball Candle. Available on Etsy!

37. Soon the mornings will be cold. I will start a fire and huddle under a blanket with tea.

38. Every night, I sweep the kitchen floor.

39. Maybe I'll watch an episode of The Andy Griffith Show. Maybe the one with that half a boy, Horatio.

40. All the dogs.

41. All the cats.

42. Just watching the clouds.

43. That when the words weigh me down, I can stop (not that I always do), and when I need the words, call them back.

44. That I don't envy youth.

45. The feel, look, and smell of beeswax.

46. Friends who come and go, seeming to magically reappear just when ... you need a friend.

47. Rain! And washing my hair in.

48. No doubt about it - Snow!

49. I got the sun in the morning ... Beeswax Sun Plaque with Beads

50. And the moon at night ... Beeswax Moon Plaque with Beads

51. Silly musicals, especially from the 1960s. Bye Bye Birdie comes to mind .

52. My mother's piano.

53. Quiet.

54. Knowing that this, too, shall pass. Every last bit of it. Some times too soon, other times not soon enough.

55. Reaching the speed limit. Perhaps going past it ...


  1. Leslie:
    You have thanked me several times for reading your journal. It’s more appropriate that I thank you for writing it and for allowing a bit of your soul to reveal itself. It’s just really cool that you would do something like this. You and I have tramped and traipsed though much of the same time and space, including Dylan concerts, hitchhiking across the country, shows at Ravinia (brought my mother to see Pavarotti there), spouses leaving… and now coexisting (for 6 months a year) in the U.P. It’s wonderful to read your observations and thoughts on it all. Anyway, your journal “talks” to me, so, thank you for telling your story!

    By the way, your father really hit what it’s like to be a true baseball fan. Thank you for sharing it with me. I brought my kids to see dozens of games on the South Side. The suffering for us stopped in 2005 when the White Sox won the World Series. As the final out was recorded we hugged and cried. Boy was it cathartic!!! 2005 was a very tough year for us and our beloved team, and the Baseball Gods, came through when we needed them most. These days Maria goes to Dodger games in L.A. with her husband and friends, and Dante could care less about baseball. All things must pass, I guess. I’m sorry the Cubs never won for you. It would have been a great thing to share with your father. Perhaps one day...

    Hope to see you at the market tomorrow!