Monday, January 24, 2022

A Happy Birthday

The original plan for celebrating Geoff's birthday was a picnic, which, unfortunately, we were compelled to postpone. Now I think on it, I am not sure how we were going to pull off a picnic, even without COVID meddling, because it's the busy busy busy season at Geoff's work, and he is at the computer 7 days a week, usually for 12-15 hours a day, including his birthday. Late Saturday night, Maria sent me a text... the invitation.
I wouldn't miss this for the world.

The first year of lockdowns, and staying home was hard, but it was novel, and we often said things like, "Well, we will make up for this, later." We will celebrate, or do-over, or try again, later. Now, staring at the prospect of going into a third year, and no one is feeling like we can ever make up for any of this, like one big party or trip, or celebration will compensate for what we've missed. I'm not whining, or feeling sorry for us. We have had our fun, and made the best of strange times, had great resources and opportunities to gather, play, engage, and thank goodness for the friends and family we have been able to connect with.

Maria's invitation was special. Extra so, because she took the initiative. She made a plan, and gave it a noteworthy boost. I probably take too much responsibility for making a success of events, and occasions, and I feel (way too much) responsible when the plans fall apart. And! Isn't it lovely to be invited? Ah, I love how this made me feel!

Maria was up early, to bake. I asked Geoff for any special requests for dinner, he had none, except "No beans." Fair enough. When the cake was out of the oven, and we had our tea, Maria and I hit the market, and the nursery. On the way home, we saw there were more birders on the street. This is the second group, this time from Iowa, and I helped them find the Grace's Warbler, too! While I was out birding, Maria finished the cake, with a lemon glaze, berries, and from the garden, calendula blossoms. Maria and Bambi discussed more teas and settled on four different ones to serve with the cake.

Bambi brought out her smallest tea cups, so we could sample each tea. After we finished the Advent calendar of teas from Adagio, we switched back to loose teas combined to make Dungeons and Dragons inspired mixes. The little rose tea cup? It's the first set Bambi received, from her Mom, when Bambi was five years old. I love that she was having tea parties as a child, and at the same time, Alex and the rest of us were enjoying tea parties, too.
Sunny and clear! Oh, it would have made a really lovely picnic day. With everyone. We had to wait for Geoff to finish up a work meeting, and when he joined us we tried all the teas, and ranked them. We relished Maria's lemon poppy seed cake... made with Jennifer's poppy seeds from Penzey's, which I am convinced made the cake taste even better. For lunch, I made fish tacos, with mango salsa, and no beans! Then Geoff asked if we'd like to take a walk, and after he worked a few more hours, we all went on good stroll. And, I apologize if blue skies and birdsong, gardens in bloom, etc, is torture to our friends in snowy climes! We really are fortunate, I know. Later, we had a fireside dinner. Paul and Janece brought their dinner, and we laughed. We talked, and laughed. Laughter can feel like a complete meal, like a present, like a long therapy session that leaves you recharged, healed. We counted stars, and named them, too. We sang Happy Birthday, and made some wishes.

Happy Birthday, Geoff. Thank you for making everyday a celebration, small moments big, and life better, with you in it.

From BirdHouse Notes: I am thinking about Maria... about how much her hair has grown since it was cut in Lockdown 1.0, about her Paradox T-shirt design being chosen for the team's shirt this year, about winter formal, and having to take another COVID test before school, since she was exposed last week. I am thinking about her mismatched socks, and how she carries three bags to school, and always a book. She just finished reading Piranesi, (Susanna Clark) the book William gave her for Christmas. I am thinking about the colors she would like to paint her bathroom, her bedroom, and whether she will go away for college, or be able to live at home. I am thinking I was sure I wanted her to go to one school, but now I feel very anxious and eager and want her to get into another, and we won't know what her options will be until March. I am thinking how things can take a seemingly long time, but then are actually moving much too quickly. I am thinking about how much I love her. January 25, 2022


Nicole said...

You are such a talented photographer. These pictures are just beautiful, and what a wonderful idea and invitation. I know what you mean - "we can make up for it later" was how I felt at first lockdown. And, sigh. Here we are. But! It looks like you have been able to still have wonderful times and to make great memories. Happy birthday to Geoff!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Thank you, Nicole! I still remember the first time I was aware of photography, of the *something special* about a camera... my cousin had a 35mm, and he was taking photographs. I was barely six, but I recognized the difference between what he was doing, compared with the occasional snapshots people took. He was framing his shots, and turning his camera at things around our home, not posing family for portraits to commemorate an occasion. Ever since then, any chance I could get to think about photography, to capture moments in time, places, people, even feelings... it's felt like a privilege. I love it... having a camera(s) and film, now endless endless digital capabilities. It's all so dear and special to me, and something I hope I can always enjoy. Your compliment means a great deal to me, because of how much I love taking pictures, and how much I feel for those moments, for what I want to communicate, so when people like them, or see something worthwhile in them, I feel an extra measure of success in expressing myself.

Oh, let's still hope, as best we can, that later we will make-up for all of this, that we will have space and energy to celebrate and feel free, effusive, and safe! One thing I feel thankful for is that I have always enjoyed making much ado of nothing... any theme or occasion could be enough for me to make a party, to commemorate, with whatever I had on hand. This has helped a lot in the last two years. Happily, this time Maria stepped up, and helped save the day! I will share your sweet message with Geoff... thank you.

Janece said...

Gah! I love Maria's creativity and inspiration for Geoff's birthday! And her cake looks like delicious perfection!

It was so good to visit with you two! We love our time with you!

Happy Birthday to Geoff! He's such a good friend and an amazing man!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Thank you for the birthday wishes, and for being with us, to celebrate. Having friends that can change up their plans and be flexible has been a real gift in the last two years... it often feels like we are having to adjust our sails with cancellations and postponements, but you two are always obliging.