I’m 50

On Flag Day, I turned 50. (Did you hear?)

The first thing I thought when I woke up the morning of my birthday was, “I’m 50.” I wish, like Tim McGraw, I could say that it felt good on my lips, but it did not. Not that it felt bad, just weird. Like it did not belong to me.

I’m 50.

I had a lobster dinner the night before my birthday to celebrate my best friend, Dale’s 50th birthday. She’s two days older than me. We’ve been friends for 44 years, and she rubbed it in my face when we were kids –I’m two days older, I’m two days older! Funny, she doesn’t do that any more. (Pssst. Hey Dale, You’re two days older, you’re two days older!)

lobster-dinner
I ate every last bite!

 

It was so lovely being with Dale and her mom and three other friends of hers. She told us we the most important and influential in her life. Dale is one of the best people I know and I was honored and touched to counted among this group.

The day of my birthday I slept late. I probably should have gotten up early to run -that lobster made me gain three pounds (I’m not even exaggerating) but I didn’t feel like it. So I didn’t.

Dave brought me coffee and breakfast in bed. Then I went bikini shopping. (Because that’s what you want to do on your 50th birthday.) Fortunately it was for Marley and not for me. Or maybe it is unfortunately. I’m not sure what’s more unsettling – seeing my 50 year-old body in a bikini or her 15 year-old body in a bikini. We’ll call it a draw.

We went to my mom’s for dinner. The weather was beautiful and we ate outside. Barbecued tri tip, roasted asparagus, sauteed mushrooms and onions, salad, potatoes and garlic bread. I never eat garlic bread anymore. It was delicious.

barbecue-birthday-dinner
A birthday dinner fit for a 50 year-old.

 

My mom gave me my grandmother’s candy dish. Inside was my grandmother’s heart diamond necklace. These are two items I have always hoped I’d get someday, but someday far, far away. So to say I was surprised would be an understatement. I was moved beyond words.

The day after my birthday I got some good news. Excellent really. I’m not ready to share it, but I will say that it just might be the best birthday present ever. (Well, next to the candy dish.)

A few nights after my birthday I went out for happy hour with my girlfriends from the gym. They pitched in and treated me to a gift card to Lululemon as I am one of three people at our gym who doesn’t own any Lulu. Or rather didn’t own any Lulu. It was a very generous gift and I am extremely grateful, but also a little resentful, because how can I go back to wearing my Old Navy leggings now?

lululemon
The place where expensive habits are born.

 

The weekend after my birthday my friends threw me a surprise party at Ladyface Alehouse. My sneaky husband was a big help. Were you surprised? Were you surprised? everyone wanted to know. The answer is YES! What surprised me the most was how many different groups of people there were there – my family, friends from different walks of life. I felt so honored. So blessed. So loved.

Oh, and I had a lot of fun!

birthday-celebration-beer
Yes, I am wearing the same Winnie & Kat shirt I was wearing at Dale’s birthday celebration. It’s my new favorite shirt. So?

 

Because, as you can probably tell, I really like to celebrate, two weeks after my birthday me and a few girlfriends snuck away for a girls’ weekend at my friend Lisa’s beach house. Lisa is so lovely and generous and truly the hostess with the mostest. It was a mellow weekend that consisted of long walks on the beach searching for sea glass, wonderful dinners cooked by the awesome Chef Lisa, quite a bit of vodka and wine (not mixed together), a harbor boat cruise, a couple of trips to the dive bar, my first attempt at karaoke (um, I’m really bad at it) and big breakfasts at Mrs. Olson’s that looked like this:

Mrs. Olson's Breakfast Oxnard
Breakfast heaven! (Why yes that is a Bloody Mary you see!)

 

So I was starting to think that 50 might actually be kind of fabulous.

50-and-Fabulous
I’m 50 and I’m Fabulous!

 

Then I got this in the mail:

AARP-membership-card
WTF?! Wait… Free travel bag! Hmmm…..

 

Grumble.

Sigh… I might as well embrace it. As they say, it sure does beat the alternative.

I’m 50. It’s starting to feel good on my lips. And I’m going to make damned sure it’s fabulous.

 

The First Day of my 49th Year

On the first day of my 49th year I woke up early like I always do. But I did not write. I was not productive. Sometimes I wonder why I get up before the sun only to be lazy. But because it was my birthday I allowed myself the indulgence of Facebook and Pinterest without guilt.

At seven o’clock I went for a three mile run. It’s been a while since I’ve run that far. I never stopped to walk, but it was hard. Really hard. The last minute was especially brutal. I end my run on an uphill. I felt dizzy. Like I was going to vomit. I’m pretty sure that’s not what they mean by the term “runner’s high” but if it is then I want no part of it.

You might wonder why I chose to run on my birthday if I hate it so much.  I had friends coming over that night for appetizers and wine and knew I’d be eating a lot of cheese. A lot of cheese. Call it preventative maintenance.

I treated myself to a pedicure -after a shower of course- and then drove to The George Michael Salon in Beverly Hills. (No relation to 80’s pop star/90’s park bathroom lurker.) I’d won a long hair treatment worth $195 from a #Fabchat session on Twitter and my birthday was the perfect day to treat myself to such a luxury as my hair was definitely in desperate need of a little TLC.

Hair before George Michael Hair treatment
This hair is in some desperate need of a little TLC. (BTW – can you tell I’m not very good at selfies?)

 

Salon owner, Jessie Martinez, definitely gave me that. She washed my hair and put on an intense moisturizing treatment and then sat me on a comfy couch for an hour with a heating cap on my head. I sat and read my new book for an hour. (Talk about indulgent!)

Afterwards she washed my hair and set it in big rollers and I sat under a hairdryer that looked like it came out of the Jetson’s for another 45 minutes and read some more. Oh yes, it was a very good day indeed.

hair dryer
It looks like something Jane Jetson would wear doesn’t it?

 

The result was smooth, gorgeous hair without the harmful chemicals of some other hair treatments (ahem, I’m talking to you Brazilian) or the drying and damaging effects of a blowout.

I left the George Michael hair salon looking like this:

Hair-after-george-michael-hair-treatment
Please ignore my lack of make-up and focus on my gorgeous hair!

Jessie Martinez might just be my new best friend.

I stopped by Costco on my way home and battled the Father’s Day shoppers to pick up my favorite cheap wine -only the best for my friends- and returned home to  a clean house (best birthday present ever) and our Happy Birthday sign on the wall. (We have a Happy Birthday sign that I hang for everyone’s birthday every year, but mentioned last year that it never gets hung for me.) I’m not sure what made my heart sing more – the freshly vacuumed carpet or the sign, but the combination made me so happy that I didn’t even get crabby when I saw the dust rag carelessly left in the corner on the living room. (Isn’t that what you do when you’re done dusting – just drop the dust rag at the bottom of the last thing dusted?)

I made fried olives, a recipe that I found here, and have been wanting to try for a year. They did not disappoint. I set up for the party, put on a dress that I haven’t been able to fit into for years, and welcomed my closest friends into my home.

Fired-olives
Mmmm fried olives – delish!

The men went into one room and the women went into another. We drank wine. We laughed. We ate a lot of cheese. My friend Arlyne baked me a carrot cake from scratch. It was heavenly.

As birthdays go, it wasn’t anything grand, but it was quite wonderful.

Every day should be filled with recognizing the joy of simple pleasures…

Shirking off early-morning productivity to “catch up” on Facebook.

Feeling strong (albeit vomity) after a hard workout.

Taking the time to pamper oneself.

Reveling in the serene beauty of a clean house.

Enjoying time spent with close friends.

Indulging (okay, over-indulging) in wine and cheese.

The first day of my 49th year? No, it may not have been grand, but it was a damn fine day indeed.

The ABC’s of Keeping Score with Middle Age

Last Friday was my birthday. My birthday is on Flag Day, so I hope you hung a flag in my honor. Or in honor of our flag. Whichever.

American-Flag-unicycle
Now this is how I like to see Flag Day celebrated!

To celebrate I got my butt out of bed at 5AM even though I didn’t sleep well the night before and went to the 5:30 Boot Camp class at my gym to prove to myself that I wasn’t old. (And so I wouldn’t feel guilty about eating whatever I wanted that day.) At the end of class the instructor had everyone sing Happy Birthday to me. I’d be a liar if I said I hated that. It wasn’t a scary milestone birthday, but it’s two very short years away from a scary milestone birthday, so I did some serious reflecting on my life -where I’ve been and where the hell I’m going- when I went on my morning dog walk. Then I had a mini-mid-life crisis, got a spa pedicure and had my toenails painted blue. And then to stick my tongue out even further to this thing called old middle age I got my hair colored so I could say buh-bye to my gray roots (until they pop back up in about three weeks a week and a half, sticking their middle finger up at my stuck out tongue in rude defiance). Me: 1 – Middle Age: 0 (At least until my roots come back!)

blue-toe-nail-polish
Don’t my feet look youthful?

In the late afternoon I went to a party for Chandler’s cross country team because even though it way MY birthday, I’m a mother first. (Plus I heard there’d be wine.) It was the track coach’s wife’s birthday too and some of the kiss ass very nice track moms got her a cake and had everyone gather around to sing Happy Birthday. She insisted that they sing to me too. I like the track coach’s wife. We got home from the party around 8:00 and Dave and I watched a DVR’d episode of Mr. Selfridge. Or rather Dave watched it. I was asleep (and probably drooling) by 8:30. Me: 1 – Middle Age: 1. (Dammit!) On Saturday morning I took the 9:30 kickboxing class at the gym a little terrified that Chris Stevenson would pull me on stage as he tends to do on birthdays. I really didn’t want to go on stage because A.) my normal workout pants were dirty and I was forced to wear a pair that screams, “Yes, my ass really is that fat” and B.) Even though I’ve been going to Boot Camp regularly, I haven’t been to kickboxing in a few weeks and wasn’t sure how well I could keep up with the intensity of the class. Chris was feeling unusually generous because he tried to coax me onstage, but didn’t pick me up and place me there like he’s done in the past. (He was probably afraid he’d hurt his back when he saw the size of my ass in above-mentioned workout pants.) Saturday night it was time to celebrate my birthday properly. I met my friend Cindy at Latigo Kid in downtown Agoura Hills at  my bedtime  8PM for a margarita (or two) before heading over to The Canyon Club to relive my youth and see 80’s New Wave/Pop/New Romantic sensation ABC. (Take that middle age!) Oh yeah, when I live it up, I live it up big. And if you’re going to live it up big and relive your 80’s (or 90’s) youth in this town, The Canyon Club is the place to do it. The club’s got a great ambiance and it’s all 80’s/90’s music all the time – Psychedelic Furs just played there (so bummed to have missed them), Courtney Love is coming, The English Beat is coming, Rick Springfield  plays there all the time.

Canyon-Club-Agoura-Hills
The coolest club in Agoura Hills through the blurry lens of my cellphone

ABC’s lead singer, Martin Fry may be 55-years-old, but he has definitely still got it. He shot his Poison Arrow straight through my heart alright. (See what I did there? No? Did you say #epicfail? Sorry!) In all seriousness, the band was fantastic. Martin looked very sharp dressed in a suit and his voice sounded great – amazing actually. Cindy and I smashed up as close as we could and danced and danced. The Look of Love, When Smokey Sings, Be Near Me – we sang along at the top of our lungs to all of them. They rocked the house. 80’s Music Rockstars: 1 – Middle Age: 0

ABC-Martin-Fry
These blurry pics are as good as it gets with my cellphone camera!

Although I will admit, the band went on exactly at 9:00 and was off stage by 10:15. (Probably when they used to start playing in the 80’s.) Because even though Martin Fry is a rockstar, he is even older than me. (I wonder if he ever falls asleep on the couch at 8:30 when he’s not performing.) 80’s Music Rockstars: 1 – Middle Age: 1. Yes, that damn Middle Age even sticks its middle finger up at rockstars. The only thing to do is keep rocking and stick up your middle finger right back. (You know, when you’re not asleep on the couch.) *Flag on unicycle photo courtesy of Mike Baird