A few weeks ago, on August 12th to be perxact, I had one of the happiest days of my life. Most of my birthdays, over the years, have ended in tears because I’ve felt unloved, unknown–all that negative stuff that arises from placing expectations on loved ones, mostly that they should read my mind and/or know what I want even when I don’t. Every year one of them would ask, “So, what do you want to do for your birthday?” and I’d abdicate all responsibility and mew, feebly, “I don’t know…” and then get incredibly depressed because, it would turn out, neither did they.
Well, this year I determined TO know so as to avoid my typical birthday pillowfest-sobbery. I’ve been loving on all things Asian for quite awhile now–even my house decor has made a distinct shift in that direction–but, despite having been an Oregonian for fully half of my life, I had never made the trek to the Japanese Gardens. It was time. So, like a hobbit, I treated my family instead of waiting for them to treat me, and took everyone to the gardens. Wow, they were gorgeous. Van took a squillion pictures; in fact, while most visitors were snapping shots of the ‘big events’–you know, the waterfalls, the towering pagodas, the quaint tea house–I’d turn around to find him crouching on the path, taking a picture of a blade of dew-covered grass or a spider’s web…
Meandering along stone paths through mossy gardens featuring koi-filled ponds and waterfalls and towering pagodas and quaint tea houses, as well as beautiful zen sand gardens and bamboo fences and fountains and trees with twisty branches and a million little sequestered areas for sitting that were off-limits (“please stay on the path at all times” “すべての回でパス上に滞在してください”)… I was in heaven, sheer heaven, and being there with my family was the equivalent of also getting the seventy virgins. (Okay, but not in that way, you sick, sick person.) They all loved it too, or pretended to for my sake, and we were there for a good chunk of the afternoon. I don’t know… I felt I could breathe there. I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to run away when everyone had their backs turned and make a home in the squatty oak with the arms that curved up to the sky like a perfect bowl of comfort just for me. But I got in the car like a good girl instead. sigh.
We went to Starbucks after that (chai lattes you so totally rock) and then on to my new favorite restaurant in the world, Pho-Viet Noodle House, right here in our little town of Sandy, where my parents joined us. Dinner and Starbucks were also the hobbit’s treat, and I’m telling you, taking the proactive approach made me feel amazing. I felt the love so much more than if my family had poured all the special on me!
(But there was also some special from them, so yay! Particularly in the morning, when my mom treated me to breakfast at the ZigZag Inn and a massage. Here’s Mom and me being happy at breakfast. My profile pic is also from the same day, at the Gardens. That’s Amber peeking out from behind me, the silly. :)
After dinner, Amber, Torie and I booked it to Vancouver, WA where Scott’s sister Peri lives so we could have a sleepover at her house! When we got there, she had snacks galore and wine and presents and we stayed up in her family room watching movies and talking until five-thirty in the ay-em, when we finally fell asleep for a few hours. Needless to say, we were all pretty spent the following day but oh, was it ever worth it.
Yep, I’ve definitely lit on the way to go from here on out–the hobbit’s way or the highway–and am already planning next year’s birthday. I think taking everybody whitewater rafting would be amazing, don’t you? The majestic Deschutes is only an hour or so to the east of us (one of our favorite motorcycle rides!) and there are oodles of rafting tours available. Woo-hoo, who knew? Birthdays can be so much FUN. :) Love to all!