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And now for a brief interruption……

About 6 weeks before my birthday, Chris & the girls start lobbying for a list. I’m a list person, so this shouldn’t be a problem — it always is.

I put it off, tell them I want peace on earth, a spot on the NYT bestseller list, to discuss my book with Stewart and Colbert (hey, a girl can dream). Finally, I send Chris a few things that I think are cool — and I always end with “surprises.”

Now, don’t get me wrong — I love stuff. It’s just I pretty much have the things I need — and the indulgences come when they should. For me, a perfect birthday usually includes champagne, strawberries/peaches/cherries/raspberries fruit with chocolate, music, and a gigantic rainstorm, not the scares you and passes in 5 minutes kind. I want it to rain all day, so you hear it on the windows and the roof. Being born in August, I don’t get a rainy birthday too often — so, when it happens, wow!!

So this year neither rain nor champagne made an appearance (unless Foster’s is the champagne of beers 😉 ). Nonetheless, I was spoiled within an inch of my life, as my mama would say.

First, the daughters plotted. With subtlety they are completely sure they pulled off, they bought me a pendant handmade by a friend in Gettysburg. Silver welded around a shard of pottery taken from the B&B we loved while I was pregnant — a true treasure!

The gift I knew about was a delightful find — a pair of bookends (and who ever has enough!!) made to honor the Eternal Peace Light, created only a year after its Dedication in 1938.

If you can’t have rain — then waterfalls will do quite nicely. Chris & the girls gave me hikes for the next six months with a wonderful little guide to the waterfalls of the Smokies. And the big surprise — drumroll, please… was a book Chris created using photos from all the waterfalls we’ve seen, and shots from friends of ones still waiting. It meant everything that he took the time to make this tangible object recording something I love.

After all that — I got lots of handmade love from the girls, a chance to work on an upcoming project (more on that) and a Friday night date night. Moving to Tennessee, and then being away for 2 months researching — Chris and I don’t get to go on many dates. What a cool evening — one of the highlights was going to see Tropic Thunder.

Whoa — you’re thinking I would be a Merchant/Ivory, Indie music movie (see Once or Swing), romantic comedy, lavish musical kind of girl. And I am. I also really love satire — and this movie revels in it. It’s smart, raucous and skewers the film industry even as it’s sending it kisses.

Here’s where today’s title comes in — back when Chris & I were dating, we went to lots of movies. There were some (Much Ado about Nothing, for example) that left me transported. Chris calls these my “hey nonny nonny” moments. It’s when every sense is alive and asking to dance — I would definitely say the ‘birthweek’ festivities qualify — now if it will just rain for next year!

birthday party music: Ain’t Nobody Here but us Chickens (Lisa Stansfield’s version from Swing); Que Sera Sera (listen to Sly & the Family Stone do this); Angel in Blue (J Geils Band); Cupcake (Nellie McKay); Box of Rain (Grateful Dead); Misguided Angel (Cowboy Junkies); Angel of the Morning (check out Carrie Rodriguez & Chip Taylor); Wild Night (John Mellencamp’s take); Fallen from the Sky (Glen Hansard from Once); We Didn’t Start the Fire (Billy Joel); Accidentally in Love (Counting Crows); Extraordinary (Liz Phair); Singin’ in the Rain (Gene Kelly — I love him); Cockeyed Optimist (from South Pacific); After the Rain has Fallen (Sting); You Can’t Always get what you want (Rolling Stones); Zip-ity-Do-Dah (Ric Ocasek has a kick-butt version); Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (from Life of Brian/Spamalot); Simple Gifts (Judy Collins); I’m Beginning to See the Light (Kelly Rowland); Diamonds and Pearls (Prince); Rain on a Tin Roof (Julie Roberts); Kisses Sweeter than Wine (Bonnie Raitt); Only One (James Taylor) and Dixie Storms (Lone Justice).

Every blade of grass has an angel that bends over it and whispers, “grow, grow” –> the Talmud

Take care,
Aly

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