Friday Five: Maligayang kaarawan!

Today’s Friday Five from the RevGals is a spectacular birthday edition! The greeting there is “Happy Birthday” in Tagalog, which I learned from this Barney birthday video (yes, it’s in three parts), which was a favourite of my kids when they were teeny, and which I’ve watched many many many times. But it was neat to learn the words in Tagalog, because my ex’s father came from the Philippines. He never spoke the language, preferring to leave his former country behind, but it was neat to have that nod to the kidlets’ heritage. So this week, Mother Laura writes…

My forty-third birthday next Wednesday will inaugurate the “Birthday Madness” season in the Grimes-Honkanen household. (snip of details) We will be doing a trip to Disneyland to celebrate them all in a couple weeks; in the meantime I offer this birthday-inspired Friday Five.

1. When is your birthday? Does anyone else (famous and/or in your own life) share it?

My birthday is March 4, which I share with Antonio Vivaldi, Thomas Moore, and Chastity Bono. All the saints with feasts on my birthday are boy saints, except for St. Placide Viel, who I’d never heard of before I looked up my birthday just now. But she sounds pretty cool. 🙂

2. Do you prefer a big party or an intimate celebration for the chosen few?

I’m an introvert, so definitely the intimate celebration.

3. Describe your most memorable birthday(s)–good, bad, or both.

Hrmph. The worst birthday I remember was in 2003. I’d lost my job 10 months before, and my unemployment benefits had just run out. I’d considered finding a new job to be basically my full-time work during this time, but I was also taking care of the house, taking care of the lawn (in southeastern Virginia, this is for 10 months of the year), taking care of the kids during the summer, and working out every day to try to lose weight. Over the 2002-03 winter, I’d embarked on a project to write a book of meditations on selected psalms, and it was the first winter since 1997 that I did not have a depressive episode. For my birthday, my then-husband came home from work to have lunch with me. And after lunch, he spent 45 minutes lecturing, haranguing, and shouting at me about how everything I’d been doing for the last ten months had been a failure. I spent the rest of the day in tears, unable to do pretty much anything. TBTG, I got a job the next month – three offers on the same day, in fact. Of course, he doesn’t remember this at all, but I will never forget it.

One of the best birthdays I’ve had was in 2004, when I took the day off from work and devoted it entirely to myself. My car was in the shop, so I couldn’t leave the house. So I relaxed, read books, took a bubble bath, drank a little wine, had my favourite foods delivered to me for lunch, and since it was about 78F that day, napped in the sunlight and the breezes through the open windows. It was heavenly, and with the hecticness at the office, I desperately needed that break.

More recently, I had the privilege of sharing my fiancé Scott’s birthday with him. He flew down from Canada in October. For the weekend, we drove up to Monticello and Skyline Drive. And on his birthday, we worshipped at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, before driving back home. For a gift, I had a wooden box that I finished for him, and then filled with little treasures, including candy bars that he can’t get in Canada. I have a special wooden box that holds letters and cards from him, and little mementos from our times together, and I wanted him to have a treasure box, too. He says it was the best birthday he’s ever had, which makes me grin like the silliest girl in love.

4. What is your favorite cake and ice cream? (Bonus points if you share the cake recipe). Or would you rather have a different treat altogether?

Hmmmmm….. it’s hard to choose! I love devil’s food with fluffy white icing. And cherry chip cake – do you remember those cake mixes? Lemon cake with chocolate icing is good, too. And one of my favourite family recipes is to take a white cake mix and prepare it, but before putting it into the oven, sprinkle the cinnamon “red hot” candies over the top. As the cake bakes, the red hots sink to the bottom, leaving red cinnamon trails through the cake – yum!

5. Surprise parties: love ’em or hate ’em?

Yes. 🙂 My baby shower was a surprise party. But the problem was, I was 8 months pregnant, and the cover story was that mom was having me over for a spaghetti dinner…. but there wasn’t any real food there! I was starving! We had a great time, though.

Bonus: Describe your ideal birthday–the sky’s the limit.

Hmm… quiet time with the people I love most. A nice meal, and the true and intentional presence of my family and friends. What we actually do matters far less than being really present for each other.

P.S. Happy Birthday, Mother Laura!!!


9 thoughts on “Friday Five: Maligayang kaarawan!

  1. Wow…that worst birthday memory sounds pretty bad…but the good one is much better =) I love the box that holds letters and momentos–what a beautiful gift. With you on the introverted thing =)


  2. That 2003 birthday sounds too awful. I hope you don’t remember it too often. I’m also introverted, so I appreciated your story very much.


  3. The bad birthday does sound dreadful. So does the surprise shower with no food for the 8 months pregnant mommy-to-be. But the box sounds touching and I have to try the red-hot cake.


  4. tis good to grin like a silly girl in love, put redhots in the cake, and to value presence over presents!


  5. hedwyg, so glad you have these new and wonderful loves happening in your life, that 2003 is just terrible…so, a little balance now!


  6. Amen Hotcup! A wonderful aunt of mine was also born on March 4, with is 2nd best b’day of the year (March 11 is #1 -:)


  7. Ooh, the bad was very bad…but so happy to hear the joy now. The red hot cake sounds like one to try! Great play.


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