Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Another birthday? Sure! (Any excuse for cake...)

To continue with the Team WestEnders celebration season, we moved straight from Derek's birthday to mine. Although unlike the teenager, I tend to somewhat gloss over the whole "turning a year older" thing, we do still acknowledge the milestone--in-house, as it were. First, and most amusingly, my work mates weighed in with a...unique...tribute. You see, each Thursday, anyone who's in the office and available participates in a 15-minute Mini Boot Camp, to socialize, get out of our chairs, and move a little bit all at the same time.

Last week the person who usually puts together the playlists for our sessions (because trust me, planks are soooo much more enjoyable...or at least less onerous...with a fun, distracting background soundtrack) stopped by my door at some point in the morning and without preamble asked, "So, what's your favorite band?" Confused by her question, I stammered something along the lines of, "Er...I don't really have one..."

Still without clarifying her intent, she tried again, "Well, what type of music do you like?" Suddenly it dawned on me: since it was the week of my birthday, she was going to choose our inspirational workout tunes based on my preferences! (She ended up going with a theme of "Women Who Rock", by the way, which was super-cool to listen to...and definitely made the time pass more quickly while trying to hold good form on those planks...)

A short while later, our resident Fitness Guru (the woman who plans what exercises to include in our quarter hour of strengthening) also paid me a visit. "Not for any particular reason," she threw out in an oh-so-casual tone, "but is there a specific body part you feel like targeting today, or any of our routines you especially want to do?"

Okay, I'm sensing a conspiracy, here (of the nicest kind, of course)...and can I just say, that has to be a first--having a health interlude dedicated to me. Yet, it also seems exceptionally appropriate, as I'm, ahem, "no Spring chicken" anymore, and therefore should be focusing on maintaining my...youthful vigor...or whatever. After all, who needs cake when you can have pushups and triceps dips, I always say! (Oh wait, I NEVER say that! What I meant was: let's work the muscles, so we can have our dessert...and eat it, too! Am I right? Yeah, I thought so...)

And since we're on the subject of...frosted delights (mmmmm), Husband brought home a gluten-free chocolate-on-chocolate concoction that he'd purchased for the occasion. He laughingly admitted, "The boys and I discussed it, and we decided you'd be much happier if we DIDN'T attempt to bake you something!" Um...yes, I wholeheartedly agree that's for the best! Also, let's not forget to mention the lovelies pictured at right:

As for presents, when queried for ideas several months ago, the only thing I could come up with was an add-on rack for my Subaru, so I could theoretically put an end to the sweaty battle that transpires each time I have to wrestle my bike into the car to take it out of the neighborhood for a trail ride. However, this idea--while brilliant and practical--proved difficult and expensive to actually pull off, so I had to give it up as a lost cause.

Which led to the following entertaining exchange, a couple of days before my birthday:
Riley: "Oh my gosh, Mom, you never told us what to get you for a gift!"

Derek: "Yeah, and we're running out of time! What do you want for your birthday? And how are we gonna pick it up before Saturday?" (I swear, straight from the "spoiled by 2-day free shipping with Amazon Prime" generation...oops, I was responsible for exposing them to that...my bad!) I assured them that all I needed to be happy was their love and respect and devotion, blah blah blah. But then I was struck by a brainstorm, "OR, when we go to the Bulls game tomorrow night, you can get me a shirt!"

They quickly accepted this suggestion, so during our pleasant baseball outing (on a stellar April evening when we were thrilled to observe that we were neither freezing...as we have experienced on more than one early-season occasion both here and in Maryland...nor boiling...as we can expect later in the year) I was treated to the charming team apparel you see pictured above. And finally, to round out my special day, I received a surprise from some of our best Maryland friends, who sent an Edible Arrangement. Wow--fruit and chocolate...my two most beloved food groups! (It's like they've known me...for decades...or something...)

And with that, another year's festivities come to a close. Oh, except that we still owe both Derek and me a dinner out on the town...in a few more weeks, when the UNC students finish up and clear out for a while. I think we've settled (tentatively--these things can definitely change, depending on the whims of the honoree) on Al's Burger Shack for Derek's meal (They do feature a homemade black bean burger...and sweet potato fries!) and the new Chopt eatery (Salads galore! Some even with meat!) when it opens, supposedly sometime in early May. So really, the birthday hoopla is going to continue...right up until Mother's Day. Whoo hoo! Keep the chocolate comin'! (And maybe some extra-intense Boot Camps to balance it out--ha!)

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