So, I had a milestone birthday last Thursday. I took that day and the next off from work, and celebrated my birthday during an extended five-day Labor Day holiday weekend.
I threw big parties when I turned 30, and again when I turned 40. I had no such desire this time around. The trip to Ireland with Tim, back in May, was an early 50th birthday present. That was the “big” celebration. I’ve learned enough so far to know that I’m better suited to smaller, more intimate gatherings. I like to think that my focus on writing, especially in the last five years or so, has had the beneficial side effect of an improved awareness.
The short work-week leading up to my birthday, and the extended holiday around it, afforded the opportunity for multiple mini-celebrations. Here are a few of the highlights:
- My friend Carol was in town from Milwaukee, and we went to dinner at Meril. It’s one of Emeril Lagasse’s newer restaurants, in the Warehouse District. I’d been wanting to try it out, and both the food and the company provided an exceptional kick-off to my birthday week.
- I had dinner with my Godfather at Superior Seafood the night before my birthday. Superior Seafood is in Uptown New Orleans, and it’s where he and I usually eat during our occasional lunches. We almost always say we should go during a time when we don’t have to go back to work, and this was the opportunity. We split a bottle of rosé, something we never do during lunch.
- The night of my birthday, I had dinner at Tavolino Pizza and Lounge, in Algiers Point, just across the Mississippi River from downtown New Orleans. My good friend Hillary opened the restaurant about two years ago, and I’ve been wanting to get there ever since. The food was AMAZING: handmade pizza, fresh toppings, an extensive wine list…I’m already planning my next visit.
- Yes, there was a lot of eating and drinking — this is New Orleans, after all. But I also worked in some exercise. Saturday morning, I ran my favorite route: a seven-mile round trip to the Lake Pontchartrain lakeshore and back. It was the first time in years I had run that distance. I had thought age, and wear-and-tear, had closed it off to me for good. I was delighted to learn otherwise.
And so many other great moments, that I’ll keep a little closer to the vest (Nicole, Cece, and Sue: Godzilla; Julie and Jim: Sid, gnats, and the Mandela Effect).
Finally, on my birthday day, several songs entered my consciousness, ones that reside far down in the way-back. The one I’ll note here was in heavy personal rotation during my teen years.
For whatever reason, I really had a yen to hear the funky rhythm of Led Zeppelin’s “Misty Mountain Hop.” Maybe it was because of what Rolling Stone describes as: “Jones’ humid electric piano locking in with Page’s headlong riff and Bonham’s slippery avalanche of a groove…”
Or maybe, just maybe, it was because I could offer a (mostly) unequivocal “yes” to this question from the lyrics:
Why don’t you take a good look at yourself and describe what you see
And baby, baby, baby, do you like it?