I highly recommend turning 50. It’s like showing up at your own wake as people share their thoughts about you, only better – you get to be there, eat all that great food, and end the day on the couch holding your love ones and sharing your steak sandwich and Fritos with your dog. How fantastic is that?
Someone asked me lately if I was freaked out about hitting the half century mark. Au contraire, I’m so grateful!
I know how many people are unfairly denied the privilege of making it to this milestone and I’m so lucky that stupid things I have done in the past haven’t prevented me from standing here right now. So hell ya, I scored. Time to celebrate, double chins and weak feet be damned!
A shout out to all those who made it such a magnificent weekend.
Because my birthday fell on a Sunday, I got to start the morning with a stack of papers. And my brilliant hubby had an op-ed in the Oregonian (you can read it here), so it was fun to re-read that. And because you only turn 50 once, I sneaked a piece of white chocolate from the freezer while enjoying the Sunday Styles section of the NYT. It was just a taste, and enough to get the old bones moving.
Next up my dear buddy Elona threw a party of my dearest and dearest in the neighborhood. It wasn’t the time to cast the net too far — we wanted to keep it intimate and fun. Elona has the coolest post-modern pad filled with so many interesting things to look at and a large open living/dining room, making it the perfect place to celebrate. And she is the consummate hostess, so everyone immediately felt at ease.
I have so many amazing cooks and bakers for friends, so it was quite a spread. Every Sunday brunch should look and taste this good! Henry Higgins bagels. Two kinds of frittata made by peerless Mary Ann. Scones courtesy baking goddess Beth. Lox and homemade schmears and gorgeous fruit. And Elona’s deservedly famous lemon bars and Florentine crispy cookies. And mango Mimosas.
And because it was my day, I got to say how I wanted to roll.
It rolled with a game of charades with fourteen women, some of which had never played before. What? Did I hear correctly? Never? You know that means not even once, right?
I have broken up with boyfriends over how poorly they handled the competition in Scrabble and charades, so it was almost inconceivable to me that there are those over ten years old who have never played the latter game before. We remedied that cosmic oversight. And those who professed to be poor actors or lousy at guessing proved to be the ringers, the ones who surprisingly got the really tricky clues first. Ladies, you know who you are. Stand proud. Form a team. I’ll be your cheerleader/snack provider.
Watching Amy act out Sea Biscuit was so funny that one more booty slap would have resulted in a necessary panty change for the honoree (yikes, wouldn’t that have been a party ender?).
Many presents followed, and each one came with a beautiful card. I received so many wonderful things, and every single thing will be put to use or enjoyed with abandon.
Cookbooks, pearls, apron, an olivewood bowl, a subscription to a beauty gift subscription service, old LIFE magazines, salts from The Meadow, a poem, journals and art books, a vintage Deco necklace holder, and an Anthropologie jewelry holder, everything robin’s egg blue: washi tape, pens, muffin liners, bandaids, straws. Kindly forgive me if I left anything out — it was an embarrassment of riches.
Aren’t I so lucky to have such thoughtful friends?
Next up, one-third of the group went with me and we hit the Airport Goodwill bins. We spent an hour or so flipping through, and miraculously everybody found something.
A vintage camping book for Kim.
Don’t you love the author photo that is clipped to the back? Lucy, you look like a bad ass and I wish I had known you. And I bet you would have been a hoot playing charades.
Come check out time, there was a polka dot dress for beautiful 13 year old Sophia. A trio of blankets and red cardigan with over-sized buttons for teacher Chrissy. A DKNY jean jacket for Amy and two t-shirts for Noah and Talia. (Only Elona got the short end of the thrift stick with a couple t-shirts she was only mildly enthused about).
I spent less than four dollars, and I had stuff I was excited about, too.
It was like my guardian thrift angel wanted me to especially happy on my 50th. Polka dots, plaid, navy cashmere sweater AND vintage cards? Be still my heart!
What, now you are going to throw my way the most pristine retro pot holders in delicious sherbert flavors?
Okay, now you’re spoiling me. But wait til you see what was waiting for me at home.
Two amazing gifts awaited me. I will show you one now, the other in my next post.
Turns out Amy’s husband Jason is not only a hugely talented teacher, animator and illustrator, he is also a massively impressive painter. My husband saw an email of his work and he contacted him privately and asked if he could make me something special for my 50th. We have been looking for years for a way to capture our kids in something other than a digital photo, and he thought Jason could help out.
Turns out they met at a park, photos were taken, and then Jason went back to do his magic.
It is so beautiful and thoughtful and well-done I could cry. This photo doesn’t begin to do it justice.
It captures Oliver on the edge of adulthood, watchful, introspective, protective of his younger sister. It depicts Charlotte in a dreamy moment, probably remembering her favorite Gilmore Girls episode and enjoying the proximity of the brother she reveres. The painting now resides opposite the kitchen island at which I stand a good six to eight hours a day, and because I miss my babies when they’re not at home, seeing their faces helps.
Thanks, Jason. I love it. Like love love love it.
At this point I still had more packages and cards to open, and my weekend ended with a familiar sandwich (you can read about my love for it here) and curling up with loved ones on the couch.
So thank you dear friends and family — there wasn’t an hour that went by without some kind of treat. There were always flowers and packages being delivered, cards to read, spontaneous hugs to be shared, deliciousness everywhere and familiar faces at the door. All throughout, telephone, Facebook and email shout outs popped up.
My gratitude fills the cup, spills over on the counter, floods the floor, threatens the woodwork.
Being 50 rocks.