Strike while the iron is warm

Illuminasia at the Calgary Zoo, pandas amidst bamboo

I think everyone should have a blog. I never used to tell people about my birthday and now I shout it from the rooftops. Birthdays are the best reminder that I’m still here. Thanks to each and every one of you for the good wishes. All were deeply appreciated.

The birthday itself was fairly uneventful. I had grand plans but I got the timing wrong. That’s because the day prior I did everything I had intended to do for my birthday. It’s been a long time since this iron’s been hot, so I’ve learned that I have to strike when it’s warm, or even barely turned on, which it was the evening prior. So, thanks to J.’s flexibility after a long work week, we jumped on the birthday plan a day early.

For a long time now, going out in the evening has been the exception rather than the rule. Evenings aren’t my strong suit, as you might have inferred. If I had a choice, I’d be under a blanket on the couch every night and no one would expect me to conduct a coherent conversation. I can’t even remember the last time J. and I ate at a restaurant for dinner. Needless to say, an evening out was long overdue.

For weeks I’d been craving a high-sodium burger and fries, carnivorous vegetarian that I am. And so, first stop, a burger and fries at a hole-in-the-wall spot that has earned top burger honours in Calgary for the past few years. I ate all my fries and even dipped them in regular, i.e., not low-sodium, ketchup. I did not, however, douse my fries with extra salt like J. did. (I must have retained water just watching J. with the salt shaker.) The meal was delectable and exactly what I’d been craving, and now I can stop fantasizing about a burger.

Then, like any kid turning 5–or is that 52?–I wanted to go to Illuminasia, a special evening exhibit at the zoo. It’s a stupendous display of animal lanterns, which are life-sized fabric animals and plants in vibrant colours that light up from within. The show ends on November 1 and is worth going to if you haven’t yet been. If you can negotiate your way around all the overexcited children (I blame the parents for buying them candy floss after dinner), you’ll have a wondrous evening.

By the next day, when my birthday rolled around, there was nothing left to do but eat cake. We ran out of time to bake cake, and M. wasn’t available to deliver her home-baked specialty, so we bought vanilla cake with mocha icing from a bakery. I had celebrated my 30th birthday by inhaling exactly the same cake. Frighteningly, despite 20 years passing, this cake tasted identical.

So next time you’re feeling like you’re not up to going out, make yourself go. If I can do it, surely you can. You’re never too old for childlike joy and wonder. The birthday was perfect, except for J.’s salt-shaker incident. That was scary.




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