I can't believe I actually did it. I had to battle the guilty feelings pretty hard. I felt like I was abandoning my family a bit and I felt like I might have accidentally sent the message to my family that what I wanted for my birthday was to not be with them. That wasn't it, and I believe they understood. I got a great hotel deal through hotwire.com and found myself at the Sheraton down town. I admit that I was in a room with a sort of stinky view of 4th south instead of inward at the pretty courtyard, and I was way in the last corner of the building so that I was right by the custodial closet, but who cares. I was in a very pleasant and comfortable little room and I pretty much just kept the blinds closed and soft lights on. I got into pajamas and stayed in them for a major percentage of my 2 night stay. I enjoyed some very comfortable beds and pillows and big cushy comforters. I just totally made a nest for myself - I even brought my own food so I barely left the room, except for two lovely long walks through down town Salt Lake. I brought with me a book all about recovering creativity and just gobbled that up and have since been working through the twelve week program of creative restoration. That has been wonderful. Here's a little snapshot of my bedside table and all the happy things there. Journals, pens, novels, writing books and...yup, diet coke.
I also took....I think...FOUR baths. And read half a novel. And wrote things I felt proud of.
It was a GREAT weekend.
Troy was wonderful and the kids all reported also having a wonderful weekend with their dad. Here he is taking the girls on a Saturday hike with friends.
He even braved church all by himself; our friends snuck this funny picture of Skippidy all zenned out on her daddy's lap:
I came back on Sunday afternoon, the day before my actual birthday, and I felt so peaceful and centered. It was lovely to be back with my sweet little family, and I was even home in time to celebrate my actual birthday with them. Since Memorial Day fell on my birthday this year, we got to have Daddy around all day, and we made a day of it. I thought it might be fun to hit the zoo first thing. It was pretty darn crowded, but we still had a good time. The kids wanted to see the dinosaur exhibits that are there this summer and it seemed as good a day as any to do it. We may have been wrong about that - even getting in the gate took some effort. Once we were in though it wasn't so bad. Do not ask me why Bitty was wearing her winter hat. I do not know.
In the afternoon we headed to a gorgeous hillside park to enjoy the wafting clouds and the company of more friends. The kids played and I kicked back on the grass while we munched on a slightly meager picnic. Granola bars do not a luncheon make, but it was enough to keep everyone's energy up.
After the park we headed home and I got ready to go out to dinner with Troy. A good friend had offered to watch the kids so he and I could go eat. Troy and I spent a long time discussing where we'd like to go and finally started heading up to Ruth's Diner - or at least that's what I thought. Troy dropped kids at our friend's, came home and picked me up, and then he said he needed to grab something from the church. I am a total idiot, in case you weren't already aware. I was clueless. I was just like, whatever, ok, let's go grab whatever it is you need from the church. I even told him I was going to stay in the car and he said, "Oh, come with me." Not even then did I have a hunch that there might be more than Troy's missing set of scriptures waiting in the building. I just thought it was sweet that Troywanted to be with me on my birthday. So we walk in the church, start heading up the stairs when I hear a very quiet thud above my head. Wait a second....
Yep. My first ever surprise party. I walked in that door and saw a dozen dear and beloved friends all standing there and shouting surprise and felt....really silly. And really loved. What a nice nice thing to have happen. I'm very very blessed in friends.
I won't deny it. That was one fantastic birthday. I feel very grateful.
Here's one poem I really enjoyed writing while in my cave/hotel/trance:
Approach of the Romping Husky
I see you coming
Yes, you, the trim little lady
Out on your brisk walk
I see what you have there
At the other end of that leash
Which is frantically taut
So tightly clutched in your grip
I see those pointed ears
And smiling maw,
Tongue wagging in daffy delight
The prancing paws
Urgent in their quest for forward! faster!
You do not know what it takes to hold me back
Had I my choice
I'd be kneeling in the sidewalk's center
Nuzzling my face into impenetrable fur
Hands buried wrist deep in the stuff,
Scratching in all the right spots
A wild roving beast of the arctic
Whose inner eye points only north and away
If you tempt him with enough rubby love
Or possibly a sausage
He may deem you worthy of a quick lick
Before tugging ahead again
Ma'am, I'll try not to gush upon you
The tales of my own one-true-husky love
You're walking too quickly to want to hear
A thousand words or more of
Alex Cornelius, husky extraordinaire,
Houdini of canines
A 14 year love story
Hairy and wiggling and wonderful
So just pass on by, my friend
You'll never know my restraint
Until you too one day
Must stand in your yard,
Holding back the rush of stories
Watching a husky trot by