Wednesday, September 23, 2009




Two. Five.

So here it is.

My birthday weekend was delightful, with old and new friends visiting from DC. Ashlee (who is making a run at most NYC visits to the Riley ghettostead), Ali and Joy came for a weekend of thrifting, NYC sites, a visit to the temple and funky vegetarian mediterranean food.

Thanks to their knowledge of all the good flea markets and their sweet generosity, the piece of mirror I got out of the garbage four months ago (I knew there was a frame out there waiting) now has a frame. And I now have ideas... Expect this project to make a few blog appearances and please disregard my leg in the reflection:

My actual birthday came and went a little more quietly than in years past (except last year, when I was alone in a hotel room in Charlotte. Or the year before that when Noah was in Minneapolis so my mom and I got a pizza and rented New York Doll. So maybe this is a trend...?), when our day filled up with the usual and some extra Sunday meetings. But I got what my sisters with kids say they wish for every year - a completely quiet afternoon to myself.

It was the perfect day in NYC, the kind of day where it's a shame to ride underground. So after bidding farewell to our weekend guests at Penn Station, I decided to walk home along 8th Avenue and enjoy the city.

Three blocks into my walk, I passed Gilbert Gottfried. Is it ironic or just sad that no lie - two days previous - I had Iago's lines from Aladdin stuck in my head? I'm afraid I'm revealing too much...

Shortly after the celeb spotting, 8th Avenue was closed to traffic for a huge street carnival. I didn't see any banners or signs or anything, but I'm pretty sure this was in my honor.

I walked until 86th, when the ice cream I knew was at home in the freezer became too much to resist (another birthday miracle: Blue Bunny Ice Cream = $2.50). So I ducked into the nearest station and within 15 minutes I was home, in my shorts and favorite t-shirt with a book and a bowl of Rocky Road.

Don't think that's all I did. I also talked to my sisters, straightened up the house and played Scramble on my iPhone. Then when Noah got home I ate another bowl of ice cream while we watched the Office and he gave me a foot massage.

It was the perfect day. And now I think I need one of these low-key birthdays at least twice a week.

I thought I was out of the clear until Noah got a little twitchy smile on Monday evening. He came into my office at 6:00 anxious to see if I was ready to go. I told him I was wrapping up a release and would be just a little while longer and he replied that he'd just start heading home then. Since we're ALWAYS together, this was blatant suspicious activity - prompting this response from me:

"Oh, crap. On my ugly day?"

I should work on my gratitude, but truthfully - Monday was a really ugly day. Earlier that morning, I'd rubbed my right eye with jalapeno hands (oh. my. goodness.) and resorted to glasses once I could finally pry my contact lens from my puffy red eye. Plus, I had become so complacent by Sunday's non-events that I elected for the no-shower Monday. Yeah, you're picturing it.

But surprise he did, and we enjoyed the evening with old friends (=9 months) and new friends (=2 days) and everyone in between.
Welcome, 25.


Drae said...

Oh. That sounds like a wonderful birthday! I'm so jealous of the walk down 8th. I wish I could have been there to share in the perfect New York weather. You're such an inspiration! I live vicariously through you.

Ashley said...

I'm so glad NYC stepped up and threw a carnival for you. I need more info on Noah's surprise and your thrifting experience! We'll talk. Happy 'quarter-of-a-century', I LOVE you!!!!

allyn said...

i did have a thought about you on sunday as we were celebrating emma's day in a very non-orthodox way, as well. i almost called you then remembered that your phone number was in the phone that doesn't work anymore. glad you had a relaxing day, though. those are the best.

also, never rub your eyes after chopping garlic. just in case you never have, youknow.

Claire said...

I simply love you. I'm so glad you had a great birthday - both solo, and with friends! And yes, of COURSE that street parade was for you- I phoned it in :)

Melissa said...

Al...I missed your big day! Happy happy happy birthday! Wish I had been there with those three "new and old" friends that weekend (all of whom I have the pleasure of knowing), wish I could have attended Noah's surprise, and mostly wish I would have sent you a card or called as friends do! I'm so glad it was well spent though, and that you hit 25 with honors. You know how to live it up. The happiest to you!

here's to the Rileys gracing DC with their presence soon!

melissa o said...

Well I couldn't miss saying happy birthday on your blog too! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I'm so glad Claire called in her favors and had Gilbert there AND the street closing in honor of you.

I miss seeing your smiling face.

Whitney said...

first off, happy b-day! you are a quarter of a century old. i loved 25, it's a great age to be. second, i have totally done the jalapeno in the eye situation and it kills! third, i loved the sound of your b-day! and i am glad you got your party. so fun. wish i could have been there!

cacrowell said...

Happy 25th! Way to celebrate! Those mirrors ARE way cool!