Bringing in the New Year with My Birthday Buddies

When your family recipe for Hurry Up Chocolate birthday cake is the most delicious ever, with its pink frosting with a few drops of Nana’s ancient almond extract, well, the cake is a thing. The thing you really look forward to and savor for dessert and breakfast the following day(s).

When your tummy finally calls Uncle and asks you to eliminate sugar, eggs, flour, butter, milk, and more, there isn’t a lot of cake you can make. There is that sugar-free aquafava chocolate mousse from Lazy Cat Kitchen, which is pretty great, but this year, after a year of quarantine, we had an even better idea. 

Let’s make a sandcastle at the river-beach, light a candle, and have a birthday playdate, sans picnic.  The sand was too rocky to hold a cupcake shape, but the River’s frozen snow-ice was an even better cake-and-frosting alternative.

The Candle took fire-breathing lessons from the dragon and the West Wind must’ve been having a birthday too, because she kept blowing it out. 

My birthday buddies have plans for 2021, coming to books for you with their creative courage.

The Dragon figures in a fairy tale I’m calling “Once Upon a Heartstring.” It was in the last chapter of Damocles’ Wife, chapter 55, and now that I’m turning 56 it makes perfect sense to finish the story. Winter winds had brought a mean and terrible dragon that ravaged the village and farms, wounding the boy’s father who is barely beginning to heal. When the grownups can’t decide what to do, the boy decides to leave his village to go put an end to the dragon. Does he slay or befriend it, or does he learn something else entirely true? I wrote the beginning and end one starry night in 1998 but couldn’t imagine the middle back then. The middle has finally made itself known, and an illustrator is standing by to bring the story to life. This dragon is standing by as inspiration and model. 

The tortoise and the big elephant are also on a journey, having met each other one day in the jungle when the little tortoise was lost. How will the poetry of their unfolding friendship help them find their way home? Dr. Mukta Panda, author of Resilient Threads, is birthing this children’s book to reimagine a path to living with joy and meaning. She and I are co-leading an online retreat together in March on Reframing Resilience, Renewing Leadership.

Emotikin is going through her archives of adventures since 2003 and deciding which ones to turn into storybooks. If you didn’t see it on Solstice, you can find her first offering, Eleven Brave Pinecones, here. 

Later that 56th birthday day, by the way, my mom and dad got creative and made me a broccoli birthday cake!! It was the sweetest cake ever! Turns out you really don’t need chocolate to sing Happy Birthday to You! 

I’m already feeling the creative expansion of 2021 and hope you do, too! 

Spring Break

Today was the day I thought was the equinox, where at 10am Mtn time, Spring would begin with a day equally balanced. I celebrated with Terry over our first lunchtime picnic of the year, 65 degrees of sun warming bare feet, shoes kicked off, laying back on the Mexican blankets (damp from melted weekend snow). We ate peanut butter & honey on thick white bread from Heidi’s Deli—drenched so it felt like eating honeycomb—and then PB&strawberryJam. It was the 2nd year we’ve been lunching in the old Louisville cemetary, surrounded by ghosts of couples from the 1800’s who danced, lived, ate and died together. Welcome to spring!

No emotikins were present, unfortunately. But if they were, you would have seen a bright sunny day, brown grass trying to be green, blue sky knowing it is turquoise, and a Red Delicious looking better than it tastes. (I think I will start a “Photos Not Taken” page with only word-pictures instead.)

Three years ago, I celebrated spring break with a sister’s vacation—a week in South Beach with Jenéne, a week before I knew I was going to get a new job at Sounds True.  Here’s to Not Knowing, to wondering what was next, where I’d choose to be, and trusting that the Universe knew and I didn’t have to…yet.  Here’s to the balance of days, light & dark, longer days on the way. (Tonight, Jenéne reminded me that the Spring Equinox was actually Saturday.)

The Life Guard

South Beach, swimsuit optional