Remember when you were 9? That last single digit, man. You spend the whole the year waiting for the Big 1-0! You count the day of your birth each month, and the half year is a stepping stone. You’re not just 9. You’re 9 1/2! Almost 10!

I still do half birthdays. (If you don’t know what number this is, I’m not saying. If you do know, you’ll hush your mouth and know I love you.)┬áSometimes, if I’m not too busy to notice the date, I’ll do quarterly birthdays, too. If nothing else, it gets my hubby to shake his head. It seems to be how I mark the passage of time. I get distracted with every day life and need to stop a few times a year to acknowledge the days that belong to me.

Of course, every day I wake up is a day that belongs to me. Every day should be celebrated, but that’s not how real life works. We have deadlines and car pools. Sometimes grief makes us ambivalent or hostile to joy. Worry steals our sleep. Lack of sleep undermines our creativity. The world passes in a blur of gray.

That’s why we need half birthdays, so we can stop for a minute, put on the blinking tiara that came with the Mother’s Day card from the favorite daughter. Mark the day. Add a punch of color. Count our blessings.


Birthday Misadventures

My birthday was Monday, and I planned to spend the afternoon at the Chicago History Museum. As I usually do, I did some online research on parking in the area and compared public transportation routes. I decided to take the bus–there was only one interchange.

Like half the nation, it was cold here on Monday. I put on what I thought would be enough layers given the amount of time I anticipated walking and the desire to not need a sherpa in the museum. Dressing for Chicago weather is tricky, and even though I was here for most of last winter, I haven’t quite got the hang of it. I should have worn a heavier coat.

Then I left late. And the bus was slow. I realized that I hadn’t coordinated a meet time with Eric for our early dinner. (If you get to Flat Top Grill before 4, they charge lunch prices!) He’d planned to stop work at 3:20. That’s when I realized I wasn’t going to make it to the museum. Instead, I stayed on the bus a few more stops and waited in the warm building about 20 minutes for him to get off work.

Dinner was good, though, and I heard from my kids, so it wasn’t a total loss. When I do make it to the museum, I’ll get back to you on how wonderful it is.

Random bits

Today is the 39th anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. For some reason I never realized it was the day before Veterans Day. I found this video on YouTube among several others, but I chose it because it has video footage of the dive when they found her in 1995 as well as the names of all the men who perished. I don’t remember the wreck myself. I was too young to take an interest in current events in 1975, but Gordon Lightfoot’s song has always resonated with me. I can’t help but feel sad when I think of the 29 families left behind. Rest in peace, lads.

In happier news, I’m plugging along with NaNoWriMo. Word count as of last night was 18,491. That’s almost 3,500 ahead of the minimum. There’s a method to my madness this year. I’m trying to front load as much as possible because The Boys will be here in two weeks for Thanksgiving. If I’m going to finish on time, I need to work ahead, but frankly, if I don’t finish, it’s not a big deal. This year it’s more about getting as much as I can as quickly as possible, to power through to avoid getting stuck in the middle. I hope if I can get through the middle before they come, I’ll be able to finish it after they leave.

One thing I will be doing is taking next Monday off. It’s my birthday. I’m going to do something fun. I’m not sure what yet, but I’ll be turning off the computer for the day. Actually, I might turn it on in the evening so I can report on the fun I had, if I’m not still having fun.

So that’s what’s been going on here. What have you been up to?