Birthday 54

1) I wish I'd thought of "Birthday 54" earlier than today. It would've made a great theme. Powdered donuts for all! I can just hear the late John Belushi saying "And this whole thing was going on right under our noses."

2) By circumstance this was a more low-key birthday for a few reasons: two early-morning days working Family Weekend, the absence of some dear friends and the scheduling of others, and the fact that the Saturday before Hallowe'en just seems to pull people in more directions than hitherto.

Gray is so surprisingly slimming.

Gray is so surprisingly slimming.

3) This year for FW I had rather light duty at registration - stand in one place for five hours one day, sit at one table in another place for three hours - and was not staffing events. Easy to have good conversations with colleagues, but I must say it was startling to be the man on the staff NOT wearing a tie. #standards #tradition #dontyouknowwhoiam

4) Taxi from Kendall Square to Oak & Rowan in the Seaport, where four very dear friends hosted me to an intimate luncheon. Aperol spritz, kale salad, a superb lobster roll. Interestingly, their dessert menu included nothing baked - only ice creams and pudding. So a candle was stuck onto my dessert plate of chocolate and smoked sea salt ice cream, and my that was tasty - the ice cream, that is, not the candle.

That's some sort of wafer thingy on top of the ice cream.

That's some sort of wafer thingy on top of the ice cream.

5) A friend generously drove me all the way back to JP, marveling at the absence of the Casey Overpass and lamenting the allée of trees planted by Olmsted that was cut down to make way for the Franklin Park Zoo.

6) A necessary NAP, followed by a wonderful 45-minute call with my sister.

7) As I was left to my own devices for the evening, I dressed in my best and sallied forth with The Lacquer Lady for company. Having thought of dinner at B******** J*, as the Ligne d'Orange shuttle had let me off on Columbus, my steps took me to "Little Bobby's" for a good French dinner: vieux carré cocktail, leek and potato soup, and coquille Saint Jacques.

7a) Thank goodness the dessert menu did not tempt me sufficiently.

8) At the table in front of me (I was sitting outside right by the door) was a young couple with a child of certainly less than 18 months who had a few - how shall I say this? - Moments of High Volume. A boy, blond, and enormous blue eyes, he maybe reminded me of myself at that age. For a long while he and I just stared at each other - silently - and I played peek-a-boo with my book.

9) Halfway through dinner I suddenly remembered dining alone at this very same location on my 39th birthday, when it was a different restaurant. Was it Bluestone Bistro then, or something else?

10) After that excellent little dinner, I drifted over to Jahdan Hawl with my ticket to the chorale concert. I love Jahdan Hawl, and sitting in my front-row center balcony seat I remembered well seeing the pianist Annie Fischer perform there when I was a college freshman. (She played the Kinderzenen (sp?) and Chopin.) Truly, it's one of the most beautiful concert spaces in the city.

11) The first half was great - Mendelsohn and Schubert - but during the intermission I became overwhelmed by the stuffiness of the hall, the ill-fitting nature of my suit (let's just say I've put on some weight this year), and the sudden realization that I would be starting the next year of my life listening to a funeral mass while surrounded by old ladies. So I bolted for home.

12) Sunday, the afterbirthday, was spent quietly - one might almost say lazily - at home, and I didn't leave the house until 5 PM to meet friends from VT at M*** Ch***;s in Central Squayah for an early dinner. Of course I brought Weeping Baby Pumpkin Head, who was ready for an order of Grandma Pie - made with real grandmas!


12a) The big surprise en route was a series of texts from [Insert Drumroll Here] . . . Niece Who Must Not Be Tagged! You cannot know how happy that made me.

13) So that was Birthday 54. I am trying to be optimistic about Year 55 now. Knowing so many wonderful people makes that easier. Love you, thank you! <3