So, tomorrow is my birthday. Which means that this weekend was Birthday Weekend. Capitals required.
We had a big, Wakeman family birthday party on Saturday night, so I requested the morning shift on Saturday so that I could have the evening free. Why does there have to be a five in the morning as well?
Wakeman party was fun, even if I did start to tucker out from my long day around 10. It was a joint party for my birthday, Jer's birthday (which was in December), and a great aunt's birthday, which is also sometime around nowish. We played Things in a Box, which pleased me greatly. I'm so glad I found that game again. It had been hiding behind another narrow game on my shelf all along. Stupid non-uniform game boxes.
Among the gift awesomeness was a fancy edition of the board game El Grande, complete with all the expansions. We gave it a go today, and it's really fun. Like a mix between Puerto Rico and Risk without the dice. And if you understood that comparison, you've probably played El Grande, too. We can be board game geeks together.
Sunday morning was church, and it was a doubly awesome service. Some of you may remember me blogging about my church's need for heat, and the prayer vigil I participated in last September. Early on in the campaign, we managed to raise enough to install a one-room heating system for the reception hall downstairs, where we have been meeting for the winter months. But we had a long way to go in order to heat the sanctuary. And then, all of a sudden, several large checks came in, one right after the other, which put us over the threshold needed to hire the contractor. So, we had a brief ceremony in which the treasurer wrote a check, and the chairman of the board signed the contract, and we spent the rest of the service in thanksgiving and praise. And then, if it weren't already an exciting enough day, we had two new members join the church, one of whom just happens to be married to me.
And the weekend wasn't over yet; it was still my Birthday Weekend. Rachel and I both have variable work schedules, so planning events usually involves us lining up our two schedules and figuring out where the blank bits overlap (thank you Google Calendar for making this process so much easier!). It just so happened that this week, the only time with ample blank overlap was Sunday night. So, Sunday night it was. And, since Jon's new apartment is mostly assembled now, and since he missed most of his housewarming party last weekend, we decided to do it at his place.
It was a fun evening. And, at the risk of sounding gushy, I really felt blessed by my friends. I've always said that I don't care all that much about gifts, and honestly, with a hastily assembled, low-key party, I wasn't really expecting gifts at all, and I was okay with that. When Jeremy and I worked through The Five Love Languages, receiving gifts always ranked pretty much last for me. But I think that's because a gift, standing alone, bereft of significance, is just a thing to me. And I know there are people for whom a gift is a gift is a gift, the pricier the better, and that's fine for them, but it has never really said much to me. But Rachel managed to find a lap-sized down duvet, identical to the one we had both coveted on the Yarr trip to the cottage in Olean. And Dan bought me an album by one of my favourite Canadian bands, which he remembered me raving about when they happened to come on the radio one of the first times we hung out together. And the photo on the card from my church friends was one of the ones I had been admiring at Christy's art show, and it had been taken in the town where we both went to college. And actually, I could go on, but I don't want to get repetitive. Literally every gift had a story behind it, and it made me feel so loved. So, I guess gifts may be one of my love languages after all, but only inasmuch as gifts are a concretization of memories. Maybe that's why I like photographs so much.
And, in case the evening hadn't been awesome enough, it was topped off with some great conversation in the car on the way home, and doing donuts in an icy parking lot at midnight. Perfect.
P.S. In unhappy birthday news, my laptop may be dying. It does this thing where it randomly shuts down, and the power cord light, which has only ever glowed green or not at all in the 6 1/2 years that I have owned it, will start blinking orange. Then I need to unplug the computer, leave it alone for a while, and pray for the best when I come back to it later. I know she is old for a laptop, but funds for a new machine are very much not in our budget right now. And I know it's silly, as there are several other computers in the house that I could use if my laptop died, but she is comfortable and familiar to me, and I'd rather not have to use someone else's machine right now.