Yesterday was my birthday. There were so many highlights… here are some…
• Riding on the back of a tandem bike to work… drinking a delivered latte.
• Birthday pie.
• A phone call from Italy that included three renditions of adorable little-girl Happy Birthday singing… in Italian, Spanish, and Chinese… ah-mazing.
• Great news at work… that I will tell you about soon.
• Drinking dark and stormys made from home-brewed ginger beer…
Even though he brewed ginger beer for me in the years before, I really didn’t expect it this time.
• Dinner with Missoula loves at the best pizza place ever.
• Hall and Oates.
• Temporary tattoos. [“how trampy do you want your stamp?”]
…and so much more.
But what really takes the birthday pie [get it? instead of cake.], was all the mail I received.
For over a week before yesterday, I started getting letters marked, “DO NOT OPEN UNTIL MAY 16.” I grew insanely curious.
I would get a letter in the mail, see the front and go, “YESSS!” and then I would turn it over and see that I couldn’t open it yet and go, “DAMMIT!”
I honestly had no idea what was going on… nor did I know who was behind it all… all of this…
So, when I got home from work yesterday, Evan said I could open the letters. It was an overwhelming experience. Each one was a puzzle piece.
And the first one I opened, Emma’s, I was kind of blown away… did not expect it… she was telling me about why she was so happy I was alive… in her life…
It was a lot to take in… wow.
And then they just kept going.
25 people wrote [or shared a photo, a poem, a drawing] and told me why that were glad that I was born. It was incredible. There were many times that I had to stop, breathe, got choked up… started crying… had to stop, settle down.
Evan made a little stop-motion video of me opening them… I was about six or seven letters in when he started…
[that video does not do the experience justice… at all… but it is precious for me to watch it and relive it.]
I didn’t know who did this all, organized it… I had my guesses. And I opened them in an order where I would find out quickly who did all this… or so I thought. I got down to four letters: my mom’s, my dad’s, Evan’s, and Lisa’s… and I still had no idea who was responsible.
I opened Lisa’s, sent from Italy, and it said, “OK, so by now you are on to my plot.”
I just cried. Had to take a second. I didn’t expect her. We’ve been friends for 25 years now. She could say to me, “Hey, I forgot your birthday, sorry.” and I would say, “That’s okay. I love you.”… but she didn’t. She contacted TWENTY-FOUR of my friends… most of which she does not know… also, FROM ITALY… and made this happen. Made me feel like a princess on my birthday. Amazing.
Multiple drinks into my celebration last night, I kept saying, “Lisa is like Oprah… No, she’s better than Oprah… ‘YOU GET A CARD! AND YOU GET A CARD!'”
It was the most beautiful birthday gift I have ever received. Hands down. When I finished reading it all, I put the pieces together and this is how it read…
Right? Tears. Of joy. So special. So sweet.
And I wanted to try to repay you all with a little bit of something special… so I did an OH-MY-GOODNESS THANK YOU radio show. A song dedication for each of you.
Click on the photo to download. Or right here. The radio show is a better story of all of the cards… I try to do them justice, but it’s so hard… they are all so wonderful.
I love you all.
I’m exhausted from your love… which is the best kind of exhaustion.
This weekend has been brutal.
Why? Oh, because my whole Texas-dwelling family was privileged enough to attend the Austin City Limits Festival.
Brutal? Because I couldn’t be there with them.
Convincing my brother to go see Pretty Lights:
…and getting back a rave review.
Having texts sent throughout the days of favorite songs by favorite artists and then at night, being sent videos from “the youtube” to show just how incredible certain shows were… painful. I love my family so much and I love Austin so much and I love live music so much… aww, man! [bratty pitty party going on here.]
And though I was bumming, I smiled all weekend at the thought of how much fun my fam was having. I loved every little bit of sharing they did with me… helping me feel like I was there… like I was remembered/loved/there in spirit.
My favorite thing that I got from my family this weekend was an email from my dad, received last night, that hardly mentions any music… but, somehow, he captures a music festival [the joy] perfectly…
“freebie field trench reporter:
It was a perfect day, no hypebole intended. We all had free ACL passes, Stevie Wonder & 25 other major acts in attendance. We had clouds, a miracle in itself, then RAIN: are you kidding? My oldest & dearest Tx Chainsaw Massacre house roomates/friends (77′) let us park in their driveway 4 blocks away from the entrance. They are so dear & kind & just returned from a badly needed vacation in Maui where Mom&I honeymooned/recovered in 81′. We embrace our love/friendship and go.
Walking downhill in that wonderful old S Austin neighborhood with various parties ‘goin’ on’ ,10 minutes later we are going thru the front gate in a lite rain & its NOT 105 degrees under unmerciful sun hoping that someone doesn’t throw a butt on the ground to start a fire. Miraculously pleasant compared to the last 6 months of biblical Drought.
We hook up with other couple whose kid also ditched ’em, and have a great & wonderful time. 10hrs later our kids decide they need a ride home. We reunite & head out with 60,000 other people walking down the street, goin home, shuttle, aftershow, bar, club, or wherever.
We take a right uphill turn apart from the herd. Its been a long & glorious day with less than usual severe physical demands under the elements, but yet we are tired & we trudge to return to our car, uphill. Mom has been doing fantastic all day with her leg endurance but now she voices concern as we go straight uphill. She takes my arm for support.
“I have some good news & some…….” Good news is the1st part is straight up & the hardest, Bad news is its all uphill. We trudge.
We crest the hill to take an immediate left turn & there is a party ‘goin on’ at the first house we see at the top of the hill. As we turn, on the curb on the right is a group of people mostly young women holding a bottle of whiskey saying ‘show us a tit & get a sip, men included’.
I immediately lift up my bright yellow tshirt & get my sip and Mom & Ry move over to the other side of the street & don’t talk to me for the next block.
It was a great hike back & so much family fun, how many times can you say that. A pleasant drive home with a phone call from you to add to that.”
And in about ten minutes, they’ll be watching my all-time fave, Arcade Fire, and I’ll be listening to “The Suburbs” in my kitchen, drinking wine, being there in spirit, dancing, singing, embracing the love/friendship.
In case you’re wondering, DJing in Jackson, Wyoming looks a lot like [what my friend described as], “almost looking down your shirt all night”…
…whoops. I should stop wearing potato sack-ish shirts every time I’m asked to play tunes.
And me DJing sounds a lot like playing this song on repeat…
[you’re gonna wish you… never had met me.]
Crazy awesome weekend.
Will tell you all about it sooner than later.
Until then, listen to my radio show from Thursday that I forgot to post:
And help me find where I can buy these:
And, okay, I’ll give you a little sneak-peak of The Eye Patch Olympics:
During the Second World War, Winston Churchill’s finance minister said Britain should cut arts funding to support the war effort. Churchill’s response:
“Then what are we fighting for?”
I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately. What I’m doing. What we’re all doing. What’s worth fighting for. What fighting looks like. What government looks like. What this shut down will look like. [ugh, headache… i digress.]
My friend, Colleen, says she’s “Saving the world through Community Radio”… and she’s dead serious.
I don’t know if I’m saving the world. I will always speak up for the rights of women, of people in love, of children, of workers, of educators, of artists… And that might not be saving the world… but I’ll do my best to do my part in making it worth saving.
My radio show from yesterday:
[a few more of them found here: http://soundcloud.com/wullhay]