My D-Day.

My actual birthday, the day I turned 40, was a two-show day. My mom had been in town helping take care of the kids so I got to see her on my birthday for the first time since I don’t remember when. Both CC and I were working a lot of overtime so I wasn’t expecting a big to-do from anyone.

I was holding out a hope that at some point in the day, there would be cake. It was really all I wanted.

Right before I left for work I was presented with this cake, made for me by #1:

She also got me a gift certificate to MAC cosmetics which I plan on trading in for something extravagant.

So my day was already pretty great before I even left for work.

At the theater, we were programming the console, making changes, and all of a sudden some friends from my old show (across the street) came in.

Then some more showed up.

With cake.

And then more friends.

With gifts.

And I was in the middle of working but my bosses made me stop and open gifts and have cake while they kept working.

Now, nothing can truly compare to a dark chocolate box cake made by your eldest child topped with your age in bacon. But the cake that my friend Michelle made me is a close second.

She’s made this cake for me before and it’s nothing short of divine. I should also point out that Michelle is the one friend I will never bake for. That would just be embarrassing.

The cake:

Cinnamon cake, with  ancho chile chocolate butter cream frosting. You don’t notice it at first, but gradually you become aware that the piece of cake you’re eating is totally kicking your ass, and you want nothing more than to eat the entire rest of the cake and then roll around naked in the leftover frosting.

Well, maybe that’s just me.

Michelle also strong-armed our friends into chipping in on a gift.

 A really big, outrageously generous gift that I totally don’t deserve but happily accepted anyway.

So big, I was rendered speechless.

I’ll give you a little hint:


How about this:

Still no?


The Marlene Deitrich Mont Blanc.


I have really good friends. Who are afraid of Michelle.

So we shared cake and my amazed expression.

I look confused in the picture, but actually I was asking if I could stab somebody with the pen.

As a parting gift, I got a list of instructions from Michelle:

The list of what I was to bring continued:


Toilet Paper

Metro Card

1 can of tuna

Bus/train pass to get you back to New Jersey

An open mind

I was further informed that my husband was aware and in full support of these plans.

Any time someone is telling me to bring an open mind, that’s an automatic red flag. The whole Advil/can of tuna/toilet paper thing was especially disconcerting. I truly had no idea what I was in for. That’ll be my next post.

Oh, I nearly forgot the other big gift I got. When #1 had dropped me off at the train station that morning she was returning home to pick up my mom to take her to the airport. She got about a mile from home and the transmission on our twelve-year-old minivan went out.

Sweet. Sweat!

Anyway, it all got me thinking about birthday gifts. For #1’s thirteenth birthday, we wrapped up our shovel very elaborately and gave it to her. Then after she unwrapped it we made her put it away, where her real gift was waiting for her: a guitar. This year in December I called the school and told them that #3 had a dentist appointment that I forgot about, and asked them to tell her and get her ready for me to pick up. It was especially mean because she’d just been to the dentist like two weeks prior to this. When I got her out to the car I gave her a hot chocolate and then we went and got mani/pedi’s, followed by the eye doctor to get fitted for contacts, the ONLY thing on her Christmas list.

I have a couple months left to plan for a unique gift with clever presentation for #5’s birthday. Any thoughts?