a birthday for the books

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The 24th one.  A day of hugs and smiles and warm wishes and tea.  After work I skipped my workout (BOOM- BIRTHDAY SWAG), showered and actually put on normal human clothes.  And red lipstick- on a Thursday.  I know.

I took myself down to Dave’s on South Main, where the wide windows were nearly opaque with steam from the inside and cold February wind from the outside.  They seemed wholly unsure of whether to freeze or sweat.  From where I stood, awaiting my matcha-latte-with-almond-milk-to-go, the escaped vapor of coffee beans turned to beverages ran down the windows like wax down the sides of a burning candle.  Happy Birthday to me.

I walked myself (briskly with the setting sun) up to Benefit Street and right into the peaceful Providence Athenaeum.  The historic library is one of the most breathtaking in Rhode Island, if not the entire country.  I sat myself in one of their windsor chairs, reminiscent of my childhood in an 18th century home, pulled The Intimate Journal of George Sand from the shelf and began writing in a brand new journal of my own.  (Happy Birthday to meeeee.)

When the Athenaeum closed and I returned to the east side, my favorite cousin M was awaiting with a bevy of glorious gifts- including a cheese-cake consisting of my favorites: brie, smoked gouda, and a cute, stinky, delicious little round one to make up the top tier.  We lit the beeswax candles (dang, isn’t she cute?) and I made a wish before blowing them out.  A cake of cheese was all I truly wanted for my birthday.  Apparently it took me 24 years to figure this out.  #wisdom

Friends filtered in one by one, all of them bringing presents with their presence (see what I did there?) and showering me with all of it quite righteously.  We sipped Cliquot, nibbled cheese and I unwrapped and unwrapped, giddy as, well, a birthday girl.  We headed out into the cold night under a slivered moon, which resembled- with almost eerie similarity- the very earrings decorating me, the ones A had just gifted me with.  Birthday magic.  Next it was off to The Grange (of course) to meet with even more friends and drink a flaming cocktail.  Yes, the drink was on fire.  Yes, it was cool.  There were also brussel sprouts and pomme frites and potato croquettes.  There was joking and cheers-ing and merriment all around.  It was birthday with, for, but certainly not by the books, and I’d like to do it all again next week, pleaseandthankyou.

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hours in a day, meters in a slinky, carats in pure gold, years in my life…

Today is my twenty-fourth birthday and I can’t quite decide how that makes me feel.  At once it’s confusing (how in the world did I get to be this age?  I started this blog when I was EIGHTEEN), scary (does this mean I’m in my “mid-twenties” now?), and exciting (after all, nobody likes you when you’re 23).  The confusion is a bit of a comfort, though, as it seems these days indecisiveness is both my practice and my police.  There must be something about this between-the-early-and-mid year that has made the decisions feel bigger and more important, but my intentionality in making them (and waiting for the proper time to actually make them, letting them go when they don’t matter quite as much as I thought they might, etcetera) seems to have developed with an equal and opposite fervor.

This year I’ve learned the beautiful art of treating yourself, I’ve started- at least trying- to reduce my consumerist footprint, and adopted a much more conscious approach to living.  I’m a clutter-arranger inspired by minimalism, a crafter with no free time to create, and a student of the universe.  I make sugar scrubs (well, plan to), compost tea bags and kill plants (though I’d love to keep one living sometime, just to mix things up).

When I look at the photo above (taken on a recent collaborative photoshoot), I see crow’s feet- GAHHHH- and happiness.  If every belly laugh like the one captured above means I deepen those crinkly little bird prints just a tad more, well, bring it on.

photos by Kelly Louise Photography