I turned 40 earlier this month.
Some of you may have thought that I was well into my 40s, possibly even approaching my half-century mark. I blame my gray hair, sun-damaged skin and general gravitas.
My college students are wondering how I manage to walk around and drive myself places, now that I am so old. Those older than me are telling me to live it up while my knees still work. My own children keep pointing out that I am now the oldest sentient being in the house.
I'm fine with all of this. Turning 40 certainly beats the alternative, which is being dead. Besides, I can now officially not care what anyone thinks if I wear comfortable shoes to formal functions.
Because these milestone birthdays only come around every 10 years, we tend to go all out in our house. My husband threw a surprise party for me when I turned 30. But I did not expect him to do the same this time around. Surprises are harder, now, what with the everyday business of having two younger kids.
On my big day, which fell in the middle of the week, we went out to dinner at Boudreaux and Thibodeaux on Main Street. Partly, it was because we kept meaning to eat there. Mostly, it was because they had a couple of things on the menu we thought the kids would eat.
After we'd eaten, my husband and I did that thing that most parents do after a meal, which is give a brief run-down of how the rest of the evening will play out.
"You guys are going to get baths," I said, "then it'll be time for bed."
"But what about the surprise?" the Boy asked.
My husband's face froze.
"We're supposed to go to Michael's house and have cake and a surprise," he insisted.
"We decided not to do that," the Diva countered. "Remember?" If she could have kicked him under the table, she would have.
"Yup," my husband said. "Change of plans."
"But there was going to be a surprise," the Boy said, and mumbled about how he was told there would be a surprise. He kept this up for a few minutes. Then, we thought, dropped it.
Until we were driving past his much older buddy Michael's house, which reminded the Boy that he'd been wronged.
"Daddy lied to me," he groused. "We were supposed to have a surprise."
For the next couple of days, he did this every time we drove past the house in question. Each time he sounded more betrayed by the lies his father had told him.
I may not be the most observant crayon in the box, but I did clue into the possibility that plans were afoot. I went so far as to ask my husband the next day if there was a surprise planned. To which he responded: what surprise?
While I don't want to suggest that denial about every aspect of the relationship is the key to a happy marriage, I would like to point out that sometimes a little informed denial isn't the worst thing ever. I did my best to play along.
Since we'd planned to go to a late birthday dinner with Michael's parents on Saturday, I figured any surprise would happen after we'd dined.
Which is why on the Saturday in question, I hadn't planned on getting out of the car when we drove down to pick them up. I intended to stay put to get the Boy's booster seat out of the way so that two adult-sized people could sit in the back. Also, I was starving and ready to get to the restaurant as quickly as traffic laws would allow.
"You should come in," my husband said, looking a little defeated.
And so I did.
And their living room was full of people, all of whom I knew and quite a few of whom I hadn't seen in quite some time. There were plates full of barbecue and homemade sides and a cake with black frosting to signify my incipient decay. We had margaritas and a bonfire. Almost all of us were wearing sensible shoes.
It was marvelous and wonderful.
But, no, the party wasn't a complete surprise. What was a surprise was how loved it made me feel.
The next day, my husband did explain to the Boy that he hadn't been lied to.
The Boy remains unconvinced.
Adrienne Martini is a freelance writer, instructor at the State University College at Oneonta, mom to Maddy and Cory, wife to Scott, and author of "Sweater Quest," last year. Her columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/parentingimperfect.
I turned 40 earlier this month.
Carving a new Thankgiving tradition: Readers share holiday recipes
The menu of the first Thanksgiving in 1621 is much different than that of the traditional meal today.Continued ...
It takes a village
Amid the rural setting snuggled in scenic beauty bustles the Hobart Book Village.Continued ...
Stories to be told: Experts offer tips to capture veterans' tales
Veterans Day is a time to honor all those who have served our nation. Take time on Monday to honor them by learning from their experiences.Continued ...
Get creative with costumes
Halloween is right around the corner. As the leaves dry to a crunch and spooky decorations spring up around the neighborhoods, many people begin to imagine what they can become for that one night.Continued ...
The romance of a good rivalry brings butterflies to the stomach. During the football season, intense loyalty and equal skill levels make for exciting games. For players and spectators alike, adrenaline flows and interest heightens. Sometimes bringing about unforeseen results.Continued ...
- Carving a new Thankgiving tradition: Readers share holiday recipes
- Around The Arts
Opportunities abound for career in the arts
I was recently asked to speak at a local high school about my career path and how I came to work in the arts. It was interesting speaking with these seniors, and discussing their hopes for life after high school.Continued ...
The art of the appraisal explained by one who knows
So often in this column my co-writer, Brittany, and I talk about how art is everywhere and can be appreciated by all. Perhaps because of my passion for everyday art, there is one part of the art world I just cannot grasp -- art appraisal. How can you put a value on something so seemingly subjective? So, I set out to learn more about this industry.Continued ...
Flash mobs more theatrical production than dance
Most people are familiar with the term "flash mob." It's associated with groups of people congregating briefly to the surprise of the surrounding public, and often incorporates a choreographed dance. You've probably been witness to one, or you've probably seen one online, as they are extensively documented -- there are more than 10,000 results on YouTube if you search for flash mobs.Continued ...
Art found in the foods at local road stands, markets
Artisanal foods have become quite popular in recent years, with some abuse of the term by mass-retailers and fast food restaurants.Continued ...
'Record Breaker' exhibit to be at Orphic Gallery
"Record Breaker," featuring the work of Greg Frederick, will open Saturday at the Orphic Gallery in Roxubry.Continued ...
- Opportunities abound for career in the arts
- Music Beat
Hairstylist finds balance through playing cello
Catch 22 is a successful American ska/punk band that has released several albums and has a record deal with the Chicago-based label, Victory Records. Although the band has its roots in New Jersey, founding member Ryan Eldred has friends with whom he produces recordings in Walton During one of Eldred's visits to Walton, he met Ann Jones, a home-schooled native of Walton, an enthusiastic cellist and successful professional hairstylist.Continued ...
Music Industry Tips
Here are some of Ann Jones' guiding principles:Continued ...
Do everything you can to show your support of all arts
Last week, a small woman of modest demeanor and appearance walked quietly on stage at the Glimmerglass Festival Theatre and seemed pleased but genuinely surprised when the standing room only audience rose spontaneously to its feet, expressing their respect with thunderous applause.Continued ...
Many things go into choosing, protecting a band's name
Musicians who are trying to build the popularity of their band have an almost unending list of responsibilities. They need to keep their musical skills strong, take care of musical equipment, and if they are really thinking about a future career, they should also write their own music.Continued ...
Music Industry Tips About Professional Musicians
Musicians know that every performance they play is an audition for their next engagement.Continued ...
- Hairstylist finds balance through playing cello
- Parenting Imperfect
A Halloween message to my future self
I'm writing this column a few days before Halloween. And I'm writing this mostly for my future self, as a reminder of the lessons learned this particular last week in October.Continued ...
My brain is losing its connection to eyes, teeth
I'm beginning to have grave doubts about my brain's ability to remember things.Continued ...
Celebrate small accomplishments of best laid plans
My summer plans always seem so reasonable when I make them in May. Come late-August, I wonder what the heck past-me was thinking.Continued ...
Vacation was great ... until today
Up until today, our family vacation has gone much better than expected. Today, however, was a high entropy day.Continued ...
Eight simple goals for summer
After a spastic end to the academic year, summer is finally here.Continued ...
- A Halloween message to my future self
- Senior scene
Looking Back: Pinch your pennies, especially by reading the fine print
Penny pinching is just that -- pinching pennies. The worsening economy is something that is reflected on so many, many faces: Unhappiness, irritability and just plain "I don't know what to do … what's next? All is so unbelievable!!Continued ...
Social Security: Start an online holiday tradition at www.socialsecurity.gov
As we approach this holiday season, I want to share an informative article written by a fellow Social Security employee. I hope you enjoy it.Continued ...
As Time Goes By: Fuggedabout 'tempus fugit' in not-so-fun times
Someone recently asked me if I had one wish, what it would be?Continued ...
From the Office: Don't put off getting ready for winter any longer
We've had a beautiful fall and I, for one, have been tempted to put off thinking about winter.Continued ...
Looking Back: Focus on the positives to help overcome limitations
"It's great to be young and energetic," I was thinking out loud as I fondly watched several youngsters enjoying the bight sunny and still warm day. There they go scooting down the sidewalk on their skateboards. Remember when? Whoops … no skateboards "back when" much less smooth cement sidewalks to zoom down.Continued ...
- Looking Back: Pinch your pennies, especially by reading the fine print
- Tech, GP
Thankful hard-disk shortage is about over, and counting my blessings
Well, I'm almost ready to let out a cheer.Continued ...
Businesses need backups for their computer people, systems
In the interest of full disclosure, I want to let you know that I have taken a new position, professionally. I recently joined Eastman Associates, a local general contractor, to do its IT work, as well as taking care of some other functions of the business.Continued ...
Windows 8 seems to be made for the good of Microsoft, not the user
By Bruce Endries The software company everybody loves to hate, Microsoft, recently released what it calls a "consumer preview" of their next operating system, Windows 8.Continued ...
The Granite State got it right on software purchases
Believe it or not, I have found a bright spot in the political landscape, amid all the vitriolic partisan fighting.Continued ...
Visit a construction site and you'll probably find an iPad
It was just about two years ago now, that the iPad came out, and I wrote a column about it. At that time, I went out on a limb and said that thought it was a product which would fill certain niches very well, but that it wasn't very likely to fill in for what is normally considered a computer.Continued ...
- Thankful hard-disk shortage is about over, and counting my blessings
- Teen Talk
On the Go: We need to rethink holidays' meaning
The end of November smells like comfort. Our bellies are full and our wallets are empty.Continued ...
Weekend Reviews: 'My So-Called Life' mirrors real teen life
I think that everybody has that one thing, whether itâ€™s a book or a movie or a band or anything else, that they are so deeply infatuated with they simply canâ€™t contain themselves.Continued ...
Teenhood Today: We can take message of 'The Wizard of Oz' to heart
As I'm writing this, I'm about to get ready for opening night of our school's production of "The Wizard of Oz." By the time you read this, the play will have been over for about two weeks. So it will be ancient history. But for the time being, it's a pretty big part of my life. I am, or was, Dorothy.Continued ...
A Word of Advice: Used properly, the power of persuasion is strong
Persuasion is often viewed as a dirty thing in our modern-day society, like you’re being unhonorably sly by trying to get someone to do something or think a certain way. However, in the modern, world it’s typically the best and most efficient way of getting what you want. There are do’s and don’ts to persuasion and coercion just like anything; lines you can’t cross and whatnot.Continued ...
On the Go: Don't be afraid of the 'what ifs'
You've heard all the sayings, from "Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game" or "you miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take" to "just do it."Continued ...
- On the Go: We need to rethink holidays' meaning