Friday, March 20, 2009

Birthday Memories

I can't believe it's been almost a month and a half since I've posted to my blog. I have definately not had enough time to just sit, relax and write.
Today is my 44th year of life. And just a day after the talented actress Natasha Richardson died in a tragic accident at the age of 45, I am again reminded that no one knows how long a lifetime really is. For her, it was just 45 short years. It makes me want to continue to live each day that I am on this earth to the fullest, in the best possible light and with the most love that I can give.
I'm going to honor my birthday today with a walk down memory lane...a lane scattered with cake, balloons, family and friends, song, travel and in some cases, too much booze! :)
My childhood birthdays were always a celebration of friends and family. Parties at my house or my grandmother's house. There were always great grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings and lots of little friends around. The cakes were always unique and baked by my mother with love. Presents most of the time were Barbie related...and, I still get those occasionally 40yrs later! :)
5th Birthday party...known as "The Big Dance".

My 7th Birthday party with my friends

My 7th Birthday party at my Grandma's house

My 8th Birthday Party at my Grandma's house

Playing games at my 9th birthday party

16th Birthday Party

18th Birthday
The birthday's in my early twenties consisted of being at a bar or club somewhere. These were always with lots of friends, lots of dancing and way too many shots. Thus, I don't have many memories of those or even pictures! The best birthdays have been those I have spent delving into someone elses culture. The first of these, one of the most memorable and by far the craziest was with my friend Jackie in the South of France for my 29th birthday. We stayed at a Club Med near Grasse. That night was filled with champagne, laughter, dancing and a wierd-ass cake made of who knows what! I never laughed so hard as I have on that trip!
The most romantic birthday was my 34th, spent in Venice, Italy on my honeymoon. Since I was thirteen I had always wanted to partake in the Italian legend: "It is said that if two lovers kiss in a gondola, under the Bridge of Sighs, at sunset when the bells of Le Campanile toll...they will love each other forever." Charlie made it was everything I imagined and more. So romantic, so sweet and perfect. Afterwards we had dinner at a cozy restaurant overlooking the Grand Canal. A very special birthday that stands alone for the true happiness and joy it brought me.
The next birthday was such a wonderful one, filled with adventure and spent with my lovely mother in Dublin, Ireland. It was my 36th birthday and we had to alter our plans to visit Blarney castle due to a breakout of Hoof and Mouth disease. The Irish countryside was now off limits so we had to make do in Dublin. Now, that's not a bad place to be stuck...expensive, yes but full of fabulous sights, shopping and the greatest restaurants ever! We spent a rainy day shopping before heading to Jacques on Dame street. A cozy French restaurant that had the inside decorated so that you felt like you were at a sidewalk cafe OUTSIDE in Paris. It was quite amazing. The food was amazing but the best part was the complimentary shots of Flaming Sambuca they bestowed upon us as a birthday treat. The smell alone flipped my stomach so for my birthday, I watched my mom do double shots...hilarious! Needless to say, she was giddy all the way back to the hotel.
My 39th birthday was a rockin' girls trip to London. We started the evening with a pub crawl and ending at the Bull and Staff pub in Leicester square where a pub full of gay French football (soccer) fans bought us champagne and led the entire pub in singing Happy Birthday to me! It was quite the sight. Afterwards, we grabbed a bite to eat and I had the biggest Fish and Chips I had ever laid eyes on! We finished up the night by taking a red London bus back to the Oxford...laughing and just enjoying the atmosphere and good times. One of the reasons I love traveling with my friend Loran so much on my birthday is we end up celebrating for three days. The first day is my birthday, the second day we celebrate "Tween Day" (also known as "The one day Laura is older") and on the third day we celebrate Loran's birthday. For our 39th's, we celebrated TWEEN DAY at a pub where we indulged in Chocolate Pudding Pie and then her birthday was drinking champagne at sunrise in the middle of Stonehenge.
Tween Day! Loran's Birthday
My 41st birthday was spent with Loran and Kelly in Tuscany. We were staying in Florence and for my birthday we took the train to Siena. We had a fab lunch which included, this time, the biggest Calzone I had ever laid eyes on. We then climbed the bell tower to the top to take in the the amazing Tuscan views and the "Siena" colored rooftops of Siena. My birthday dinner was at this amazing restaurant in Florence where I had a Medici meal of Roasted Boar in a Chocolate Raisin sauce. This Italy trip we had my birthday in Siena, TWEEN DAY was spent roaming around Rome and Loran's birthday was spent touring the Colosseum, drinking wine next to the Pantheon and being serenaded by a wonderful Italian guitar player! This year, we will be celebrating a bit late but will be in the UK together and I'm sure we'll toast a few glasses to each other!
The view of Siena from the bell tower Tween Day in Rome!

Loran's Birthday dinner in Rome

Finally, my 42nd birthday was indeed the most adventurous. Two months spent in the UK with my mother! On my birthday we were in Somerset, England in the famous village of Glastonbury. It was the Spring Equinox and the TOR had the most magnetic lay lines running through it at any other time of the year. I took advantage of the energy levels by climbing to the top of it and sitting in the TOR for about half an hour, soaking in the views and recharging my body with the healing powers. My mom said I came "bounding" down the tor almost as if I were flying,lol. Afterwards, we had a wonderful afternoon tea spread at the Abbey Tea Room, across from the ruins of the Glastonbury Abbey.

As I fondly recall all the wonderful birthdays I have had, I must thank my mother for choosing to bring me into this world and for all my loyal and dedicated friends who make these birthdays ones I will never forget.