After that last post, in which I was sick and whiny, I ultimately got well and had the best birthday (last Saturday) in recent memory.  Today, cold, dry, and gray, I’ve run a few errands and then Mom took me to Taste of Thai for a birthday lunch, where I had masaman curry. Now, it’s teatime, and I’m so very snug in this little treehouse apartment.

Last weekend, Marshall and I got all Christmassy and hung our two strands of colored Christmas lights up around the living room and kitchen. Since we alternate who gets to pick the kind of lights that go on the Christmas tree each year (I like white lights, Marshall likes colored), and this is my year for lovely warm toasty white lights, I felt it would be ok to put the colored lights up around the wall/ceiling corner, as Marshall had eagerly suggested. So we put them up and watched Christmas Vacation, underneath blankets and the soft circus glow of rainbow twinkle lights. I love Christmas.

Turning 28 as a married person is a unique circumstance.  Last Friday, Megan, my boss at Care of the Earth Community Farm, made me a birthday cake, and Lalo sang Happy Birthday, holding up their little baby like he was singing, too.  Megan and I have written a few letters to each other, and she sent me home—my last work day of the year—with another.  It’s wonderful to find a friend.  After losing several friendships that were very dear to me, over the past ten years, I’ve become a little more realistic about how often you can find a good friend, and how easy it is to be one.  My friendship with Megan is blooming, and it’s one of the loveliest things that is happening in this season of my life. I came home that day, took a shower, made tea, lit candles, and read the letter. Heart expanding palpably. My birthday weekend had begun.

Saturday morning, Marshall treated me like a queen: made me fried matchstick potatoes (one of his many specialties) and french toast, and then we put on boots and coats and drove around in the cold blue day, antiquing. After a lovely lazy afternoon of kicking through piles of coffee mugs, records, drawer pulls, and copper tea kettles, we headed to Marshall’s brother’s house, where I was hugged and kissed by niece and nephew and thoroughly loved on by brother- and sister-in-law. We made sushi: California rolls, spicy tuna, dragon. So awesome. I said (to myself), To hell with TTC! and had an entirely beautifully delicious Celebrator doppelbock. And that Magpie’s chocolate raspberry cheesecake I mentioned? They got two, stuck a large “2” candle in one and eight little birthday candles in the other, and brought them to me, singing Happy Birthday and pouring me a flute of champagne.

It’s odd how much it matters to find out that I’m loved/appreciated. Or perhaps not odd. But it’s large, fills rooms, which is why I want to say it fills chambers, like the small chambers of the heart. It gives me stamina. I vacillate between not believing it, and believing it. Accepting compliments is stupid hard, these days. I want it to get easier. Anyway, I’m not sure if it’s more exciting to put a lid on this past year and all its traumas, or to open the door on the coming year, unknowable and vast.