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Birthday weekend 2005.

2005-10-10 - 10:55 a.m.

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving; yesterday was my 33rd birthday. I had planned to have a fairly low-key birthday this year but was pleasantly surprised when, not only did I get to see a few friends throughout the weekend (in addition to the usual Thanksgiving family crowd), several of Jís friends included me in the gifts and well-wishes at events that were ostensibly for him. One couple from my side and one from Jís attended dim sum on Saturday to kick things off (and isnít it great when friends from both sides are brought together and get along well?), then a crowd got together for watching the Senatorís first home game of the season on TV as a belated celebration of Jís 30th that evening. Yesterday we did the dinner at my momís and three of my friends made it out to her country place to attend. Tonight will be my dadís dinner and Iím anticipating more good food and comfortable family chit-chat.

Now to the loot update: normally I get money from my mom and ďstuffĒ from other people. Thanks to the fact that I actually thought of things I needed/wanted that could be passed along as hints, this year I got mostly stuff from my mom and gift certificates reigned when it came to gifts from friends. In addition to a couple of homemade certificates promising brunch and dinner, we got certificates for a few of our favoured restaurants around town, a Chapters certificate, a Thyme maternity certificate (both more for me), and certificates to electronics stores (more for J).

J got me some Lululemon wear (I was running out of clothes that I could wear to the gym and still look like an instructor vs. a gym slob in a 20-year-old, oversized t-shirt), and my mom scooped up the whole list of stuff and got me some Body Shop coconut body butter, Paul Simonís Graceland (which we used to sing along to in the car when I was a teenager and have been missing lately), and a note to pick up the brand-spankiní new 2006 Writerís Market*, which will be arriving in local stores this Tuesday. She also got me a couple of things I hadnít asked for but were very welcome like a new white maternity dress shirt to wear to the office and a copy of the latest Western Interiors** magazine.

J got some good stuff from my mom, which will offset the fact that my dad traditionally does not come through for J in the gift-giving department. Fortunately, my mom usually equals the gift I get from Jís dad and then my dad usually gives J some token ten-dollar item. When he found out J wasnít coming for dinner tonight (one of Jís gifts from his friends was a ticket to go to the hockey game tonight and I told him he should go and skip dinner at my dadís) Dad actually said that that meant he didnít have to give J anything for his birthday! I told him that I didnít think so, Jís dadís out of town this weekend (in Quebec City) and still left gifts for both J and I before he left and that his gift to me had been very generous. I hope he gets the message Ďcause J really couldnít be a better son in-law to that man. He helped him find used car (including picking it up and bringing it out to my dad for a test drive), he uncomplainingly help Dad haul the 400+ lb boat hoist in and out of the frigid slimy Ottawa river every spring and fall, he drives the Ĺ hour out there to water Dadís garden and grass when Dad and the family go out of town in the summer, etc.

I donít really care that much if I get a lot for my birthday, but I am not impressed if anyone slights J on his.

Our gifts to each other were supposed to be restricted to going in on a trip somewhere this November to get away before my third trimester, but of course we both cheated: J with the Lululemon gear and me with the promise to buy a snow blower for this winter. It really would make our lives easier and, as an occupation for his time, little delights J more (other than maybe hockey) than weighing the pros and cons of various gadgets and bits of machinery. I gave him a price limit and set him loose on the internet.

Next journal entry, back to Grommet-related news.

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* Iíve made a vow that, if Iím going to be home for an entire year, Iím going to at least start exploring my more creative bent a bit. To that end, I want to do more painting, photography, and writing, and trying to sell at least a piece or two. I realize that Iím going to be crazy-busy with the baby, and that especially for the first few months Iím going to be utterly exhausted, but Iím hoping that by the time the warmer weather comes Iíll have the energy to set up the easel on the back deck, or get out the stroller and get out of the house and take some pictures. On those days when Grommet is down for naps I hope Iíll feel inspired to fire up the computer and write a bit, if only for the sake of doing an activity that makes me feel like an adult woman and less like a milk-producing machine. The beauty of these activities is that I donít have to devote long stretches of time at a time to them so I should be able to sneak them in here and there.

** I love that magazine. Its only drawback is that, every time I read it, it reawakens my longing to live in the south where I can have flat roofs and adobe and huge expanses of wall that open: all things that are totally impractical in my northern home.

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