It was birthday week, so, of course, there were good things!
- Birthdayfest – It is hard not to like birthdays when you’re me. From the Sunday before to the Sunday after, it was the celebration of Birthdayfest. During that timespan, Dan made me some great dinners: grilled steak, lobster rolls, Pasta Amatriciana. I got some sweet cards from friends and co-workers. Facebook filled up with greetings. The actual day of my birthday, I spent the day organizing and putting together my year’s resolutions. Both kids called and chatted. I got to meet Barb for a beer, followed by an amazing dinner at Novel. It is true that the birthday buildup is different as you get older. There are days that I think that the years go by too quickly and I want them to slow down. When I look at the number of years tick up, it is weird. But regret is useless, and I do my best not to do that. I enjoyed my Birthdayfest greatly and I thank everyone who helped make it a special one.
2. George Saunders – On a number of “Best of” lists for 2013 was the short story collection Tenth of December by George Saunders. I had not read it, but when I found out that he was coming to town for a reading, I wanted to go. That was because of the widely circulated graduation speech that he did at Syracuse University for the class of 2013. It is a beautiful piece about personal failures of kindness. Everyone should read it. I will help you by linking to it right here. Anyway – I got tickets for us to go see him read. In the meantime, I read the collection of stories. They are kind of dark and a little odd. Some I had to read over to figure out what he was talking about. I liked them, but it was not what I expected. Tuesday night, in a pretty full big venue, he read a section of one of the stories. When I read it, it wasn’t very funny. When he read it, it was. When he finished reading, he answered questions for about 45 minutes. He was so kind. He was so engaged with everyone who talked to him. When he talked about his wife and his daughters, the words that he chose kind of melted my heart. Afterwards, we got in line to get our book signed. When it was our turn, he stood up, shook our hands, thanked us for coming – by name (it was written on a sticky on the book), and signed our book as shown below. I am charmed.
3. Reading Reptile – This is another book thing. On Saturday we were going to a birthday party for a baby friend and we wanted to get a present. I knew just what we should get. She was turning one and I wanted to get her the same poetry collection that we had for Sam and Ali. Running into a local shop that is devoted to children’s books is a pretty awesome thing. That is what we have with Kansas City’s Reading Reptile. Amidst the displays of handmade art projects and eye catching wonder, I was able to go directly to the book that I wanted and make my purchase. At the counter, it was lovingly gift wrapped in a roadmap of Europe. I admit that I do not go to Reading Reptile as often as I should – although I am kind of out of the kid’s book world, they still sell some specially selected adult selections. Maybe this year I will do better. It is an awesomely good thing!
4. Mignon Faget, again – I wrote before about the wonderful customer service from Mignon Faget when a beautiful glass pitcher that Ali got us for Christmas weirdly shattered. When I let them know, they apologized and sent me a replacement. When I received that, I opened it up, only to find it also shattered. I wasn’t sure if I should, but I did let them know. I was assured that I definitely should have reported it, and they were sorry for the inconvenience that this had all caused me. Third time is the charm. Last week, I got a beautiful pitcher and a sweet note. That is customer service!
5. Movie Night – Good friends moved back into town during 2013, but we have not done well as far as getting together and seeing them. When we had dinner at the end of the year, we decided we just needed to set a date. We now have a recurring calendar event to go see a movie together once a month. This new tradition started this week. On Thursday, we met for dinner and then we went to go see Nebraska. I really can’t put into words what fun it was to have a pre-movie chat with people that mean so much to me followed up by a really great movie – and knowing that I get to do this every month! Yep – that is a most good thing!
Here is to another week of good, better, best things for all of us. To those of you who read, I wish you a wonderful rest of your week. Tell me something good if you care to!