I received the following email today from City Wendy:
Hi Katie, Happy, happy belated birthday! I saw on twitter that you're starting your third decade and I hate to be the one to break it to you, but you're actually in your fourth decade! But don't worry -- it only gets better!! Hope you're doing well, Wendy
"By golly, you're right," I replied - because that's the kind of corny lingo I like to throw into conversations with friends. And because I'm an obsessive-compulsive, semi-perfectionist, I'll be revising any erroneous "third decade" references in previous blog posts. Standby for said corrections.
I closed out my third decade with an intimate evening among girlfriends at Brasserie 8 1/2 on Sunday, January 17 - my last night in my 20s. I had received a 50/50 offer from the Patina Restaurant Group, which you can also (currently) obtain by clicking here or here. The birthday gift certificate entitles the bearer to spend $50 and get up to $50 (alcohol excluded, of course) at a variety of Patina Group restaurants (some location exclusions apply). One hundred dollars-worth of food for $50? Yes, please. I made reservations for a party of six in Brasserie 8 1/2's lounge area and we ordered $100-worth of table shares from their Bar & Lounge Menu. At $25 for any combination of three table share items, we enjoyed a pretty nice spread. The Mac & Cheese and Goat Cheese Croquettes were strong favorites.
On Monday, January 18 - the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Observance - more widely-known as my birthday, I treated myself to sleep-in until 11:30am, went to the gym with my roommate Bianca, and then dragged her to Brooklyn for my second trip to R&A Cycles, where - with the assistance of an Al - I may have narrowed down my bicycle selection for a final purchase! After leaving the bicycle shop, with much of my burden of indecision lifted, we hiked (literally) to Grimaldi's, where my pre-determined birthday eating route was foiled by the two-hour line outside of the famous pizzeria. We settled for Water Street Restaurant & Lounge and were pleased with the overall selection, though I did continue to pout through the appetizer course about not having my favorite pizza. The day was redeemed, however, when a stop next door at Jacques Torres and Bianca's birthday-date-drop to the sales clerk, resulted in five free chocolates.
Throughout the course of my day, I also vowed that I would celebrate my birthday in days, moving forward and moderately inspired by something a recently-partially-paralyzed Orson Hodge said on last Sunday's episode of Desperate Housewives:
"Please roll me over! Please help me off the toilet! Please! Please! Please! That's the life I'm facing now; having to ask people for help, for everything. Do you know how hard that is? Every morning I wake up at five; you get up at 6:30. For an hour and a half, I lie there, staring at the bedroom door, fantasizing about how lovely it would be - how excruciatingly lovely it would be - to get up and make myself a cup of tea one last time. No 'please'. Just hot water and tea."
Later, I learned that I am not the first to embrace this philosophy of formally celebrating my birth and my existence by the day. It made it a lot easier to wake up at 5:40am for my weekday six o'clock gym session this morning. To get up and yawn through the fatigue and get going ... because I can.
The highlight of my birthday - while I regret that the highlight had to be significantly monetary in nature - was several donations from family and a close family friend - the latter being one who is practically family. Given the rate that I have been burning my metaphoric candle (a.k.a. my body) at both ends, their financial contributions toward my cycling tour were received with immeasurable gratitude and immense relief. I spent three-and-a-half days out of the office last week [job #1], trying to recover from a severe cold. And - given the fact that I had grossly overestimated how much I would make cocktail serving in the poor state of the economy [job #2] - I've been stressing over my need to scale down my evenings at the lounge to one night per week. Between two jobs, I am considerably behind in finalizing my bicycle purchase and heavily committing to the physical training and conditioning for my transcontinental ride.
So the best birthday gifts of all came with zeros this year ... or rather, on my 10,958th day - but I also know that those zeros were motivated by love.