Monday, March 24, 2014

My 40th Birthday Week

For my 40th birthday Brad had us go ahead with the house-front and boys'-room remodel that we have been planning for about 8 years. Windows and doors are ordered and construction starts next week! The week before my birthday our friend Meagan (who part-time nannied for us right after Thea Belle was born) babysat for us so we could see the matinee of the newest Cohen Brothers movie, Inside Llewyn Davis. Then we went out to eat at our local grill, The Lowbrow, because Cohen Brothers movies need hashed out and verbally fought through, at least for me. Most of their movies are difficult for me to watch partly because they have such a cruel and stark view of God, but also because of their similar view of humanity:Their characters usually deserve whatever God hands them. That makes it hard to root for any of the characters; pretty despicable. So far, their movie A Serious Man, which is basically their version of the Book of Job, has been the movie I consider the most well-written and thought-provoking (and also the hardest for me to watch). This new one is about a 1960's folk singer. Everyone in the movie is loosely based off of real folk singers from the 1960s. Though the main character isn't based off of Bob Dylan, I sort of felt like there was something in there asking the question: What if Dylan received the storyline he deserved according to how he treated the people in his life? There's also the exploration of the idea of why we make art and what makes success and in what ways do we/should we? change our art so it can be received by others and so we can have a roof over our head and food to eat. (p.s. The soundtrack was produced by T. Bone Burnett and is excellent.) Thank you, Meagan! The next morning I spent my monthly Patisserie 46 chat-fest with my good friends Vicki and Shannon. Then Sunday night my mom and dad came for a 36-hour visit bringing bright yellow tulips and piano music books and a fancy cake stand. So that was the weekend before my birthday.

And then on my birthday, I had a plan. But it was a Wednesday; and it was the last swim lesson for the younger kids; and the older kids had school; and the museum I wanted to go to was only open from 12-4 and so on and so forth. So everything kinda switched around. I was totally okay with it -- just wanted to spend the day as much with Brad and the kids as possible and have it end with Indian food (had planned take-out with Papa John's pizza for the kids!) and low-key-stay-at-home time with Brad. But when I woke up that morning, Brad leaned over and whispered that he had got me a half-day at a fancy spa downtown (thank you for conspiring with Brad for me, Shannon!!!) and arranged for our friend Liz to babysit the kids that night so we could eat out at the Indian restaurant by ourselves. And he would be home at 11:30 when I got back from swim lessons, so I could go early to the spa and work out for an hour! So how about that!? So I left early, worked out in a brightly-lit, quiet, clean exercise facility and read part of two wonderful books (How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn and The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature by C.S. Lewis). Then I enjoyed the hour-long body massage Brad had scheduled for me; Sat in an enormous, quiet hot tub/pool; Spent some time writing and reading some more; Took a long shower and came home. By then it was nearly time to leave for dinner. Thank you, Liz! We ate a delicious, conversation-filled dinner at Ghandi Mahal and then came home to put our kids to bed. Then like the 70-year old souls Brad and I are, we put together a new 550-piece jigsaw puzzle while we drank hot tea and talked. Mmmm....perfect. (In the photo: I decided to make myself an angel-food cake because it was my hands-down favorite birthday cake choice growing up -- always served with neopolitan ice cream; The cherry plates are part of my grandma's china set so I could pretend she was with me to celebrate.)

Then the Friday after my birthday, my sister came and ate dinner with us and put the kids to bed while Brad and I went to see the new Wes Anderson movie, Grand Hotel Budapest. I am still processing through the movie. All of his films are just visually lovely and satisfying, but I usually need to see them a few times and definitely need to think about them for a few months before I know what to say about them. I think most of his movies have something to do with finding a home, finding a place (or finding a person/family) to belong to. This one definitely has that but I am still sorting through it. Thankful to have been able to see it on the big screen and with Brad. Thank you, Bekah! And I did get to go to the Swedish Museum to see the paper cutting exhibit. But I will show you that in the next post! (The video below has some scenes from the newest movie but mostly I put it here because it shows some of why I appreciate the aesthetic of Wes Anderson so much. The music is from the soundtrack of Grand Hotel Budapest.)

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