Best Birthday Month Kick-off EVER

I'm turning 40 on June 15th. Do I feel that this is an occasion for stock-taking, soul-searching, and various other compound terms that start with the letter 's'? Do I feel that it is a cause for mourning my youth, regretting the things I haven't done and other general mid-life crisis-type hand-wringing? Do I worry that life has passed me by and that maybe forty isn't, in fact, the new thirty, that the best years are behind me and I've wasted too much time being anxious and neurotic and shy?

Hell no. What I feel is that this month I am going to party my forty-year-old ASS OFF!

My friend Anne Marie obligingly flew in from Halifax on Monday in order to be poised to help me start celebrating on June 1st. Okay, there was this tiresome little matter of the exams she had to do first, the ones the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada insist on if she wants to proceed with the actual business of practicing medicine, but that was incidental.

You know that friend? The one that you meet early in life and share innumerable trials and humiliations and absurdities with, the one with whom you were loud and shrieky and giggly with until your Dad looked at the two of you and shook his head and said "poor Canada", the one who watched porn with you and declared that she was never ever having sex ever, the one who you can be totally honest with, the one who you turn out the light and crawl into bed with and keep talking until you both fall asleep mid-sentence? You get one, two, MAYBE three of them in a lifetime if you're really, really lucky? This is one of those friends. And it was a mid-week oasis of escape, silliness, wandering, saturated fats and mojitos. I crashed with her at her hotel Tuesday night so we could go swimming (by which I mean standing in the pool waving our arms around and wracking our brains for every conceivable bit of gossip about both our families and all our mutual acquaintances), have dinner (by which I mean ordering so much food in the hotel restaurant that the really sweet but scarily thin teen-aged waiter goggled comically at us while trying to fit all the plates on the table), and watch the news (by which I mean drinking pre-mixed strawberry daiquiris and doing Google research on the sexual orientation of our favourite sexy CNN reporter (oh shut up, my friend Elaine thinks Spencer from iCarly is hot). And talk a lot. And laugh until my face felt dangerously blood-congested while discussing America's Funniest Home Videos and all the morons who send in videos of themselves trying to dive off a collapsing diving board or being pecked half to death by deranged ostriches or being otherwise grievously injured, and how they probably have to use the prize money for reconstructive surgery.

Wednesday we wandered around the market, basking in the foliage, thus:

And also thus:

I bought a couple of plants from a thin, leather-tanned, gray-haired woman who was smoking a cigarette which she graciously held out of the way as she took my money. I asked her what the orange flowers were. She said "ah, something in the daisy family, I think. Maybe miniature strawflowers. I don't know, but this one's three dollars and this one's four. She charges more for this one because she grows them herself, or something. It's not my booth, I'm watching it for a friend. Some lady this morning was giving me grief about the price, I said, what do I know, that's the price. She said can't you make a deal, I said they're already on sale, if you don't like it go somewhere else. So she did! Then she came back to show me the cheaper ones! I said what do I care, there's a phone number on the side of that box of plants if you want to take it down. And she did! And I said, what the fuck do I know, I don't need this grief, take your flowers and fuck off. Thank you dear, have a lovely day." As we walked away I said to Anne Marie 'you know, you just don't get that kind of experience at the nursery at Canadian Tire.'

We went into Lost Marbles and asked the Decision Maker if Anne Marie had passed her exams:

It said 'definitely'. Yippee.

We went into a store that had a gong you could bang if you paid a dollar that would be donated to charity. So, like, duh. It was the most amazing sound -- low and deep, like music that was singing to the earth through your bones (that might have been the second-hand incense, now that I think of it).

We went into another store and admired these angry finger-puppets:

I didn't buy any, though. Wouldn't you be scared knowing one of those suckers was somewhere in your house?

We found an amazing Indian buffet for lunch, and we ate on the patio. It's sort of a weird feeling to fill your plate with food and then leave the restaurant: 'thanks for the curry, Dude, I'm off!'

Wednesday night we came back to hang out with my husband and kids (we all did one year of University together before she took off for B.C., and my husband has this tiresome habit of insisting she's HIS friend TOO, and the kids love her, because she buys them presents and lets Eve read to her for hours on end and professes to ENJOY it). Today we watched some daytime tv and had lunch with Pam before I drove Anne Marie to the airport so she could go home to her husband and kids and get on with the business of healing people (like THAT's more important than me).

It was perfect.

Also, on the theme of friends and things that make me happy, three of my kick-ass blog friends (blfrogiends) have given me awards, which I am now going to stack up like birthday presents because it pleases me. Thank-you, Pamela, Tracy, and Mom of the Perpetually Grounded.

Without all of you, I might be susceptible to some of that frightened-of-forty age-angst bullshit. As it is, I figure if these badass mothers think I'm okay, I must be doing something right. (Yeah, it's a little cheesy, SO WHAT? I'm TURNING FORTY, and I'll be cheesy if I GODDAMNED WELL FEEL LIKE IT, so PIPE DOWN and DEAL WITH IT, OKAY?) Mm. It's gonna be a good decade.


Mary Lynn said…
I turn 40 this month, too! I am a mere four days younger than you (but I will cherish those four youthful days like the brat that I am). One of friends just so happens to be having a Summer Solstice party at her place on my birthday, partly to celebrate her 40th which is two days later. A bunch of our mutual friends are going to be there and I am over-the-moon excited to party and have a wonderful time.

I'm not overly introspective about turning 40, either. Frankly, I find it hard to believe. I don't feel particularly mature or matronly or any of those other things that I used to think a 40-year-old would be.
Mary Lynn said…
Oh oh--and so glad you had such a wonderful time visiting with your friend. What a great way start off your celebrations.
The Mayor! said…
Forty & Fabulous Allison!! Trust me, it was easy, no skin off my nose at all...though quite a bit off my hip with that tattoo I got myself...but it's all good!! And I totally have "those" friends!! FOUR to be exact! Yep, I'm one lucky gal!! So glad you've been having such fun!

Pam said…
Awesome kick-off Allison! As some brilliant unknown once said, "I'm not 40, I'm eighteen with 22 years experience."

Enjoy this milestone. Having a chance to visit with friends who are a part of you and beyond "best" is like extra fudgy chocolate icing on the cake. You don't even have to pretend you are not going to lick your plate. They "get" you just the way you are.
Shan said…
Okay that is the most awesome thing I've read all day! And I totally get the iCarly/Spencer thing. He is a cutie!
Amber said…
I want to say Happy (early) Birthday! I will be out of town on your birthday and while I'm never actually IN your town in the first place this means I'll also be away from computerland so won't get to give a proper Happy Birthday. Coincidentally, I'm heading to Wisconsin for a 40th birthday bash and will be spending time with my friend who is that friend for me. The one who knows it all but loves me anyway. Loved reading this post!
Anonymous said…
I love that you're all-out celebrating your birthday. I admit, I become morose when my own personal odometer rolls over, but I would rather not. Your way is better. Also, much more evolved and badass.
Anonymous said…
I love it when you get all excited about things! I totally am lucky to have two friends like that (we met in gr. 7 while hiding out in the bathroom because it was too cold for recess and we were too cool for toques, I know toques are totally cool but I had yet to find that out)in addition to the university friends (we all had babies together, that is closeness!)Also reading you and Capital Mom always makes me homesick for Ottawa. -sniff-
Pamela said…
Welcome to the club!! Yes, hard as it is for me to admit sometimes, I turned 40 this past October. But, it's cool & you're right - it IS the new 40!
That is so awesome that your friend flew in to see you! I also have a friend like that back in N.S.:)
Pamela said…
Oops, I meant 40 IS the new 30! Must be the wine;)
Nice effort, very informative, this will help me to complete my task.
Gifts to Philippines
Tracy said…
That's awesome! I'll be 40 in a little over three years. I hope you have a total blast!!!!! Definitely party your bootie off :O) I'm from NS and we can definitely par-tay!! PS: I think Spencer from iCarly is hot in his own way too! no, really I do!!!!
Rosemary said…
See, I'm not the only one that thinks he's hot. :) You have to be into the geeky goofy type to appreciate him I guess. Take notes on the 40 thing for me, get a book started. I'm going to need a tutorial in 2.5 years. That was a great post!
Lynn said…
Just getting caught up -- I have Garage Sale Blog Backup. This sounds like the awesomest weekend ever. I am envious. I'm turning 40 in November so tell me of all your adventures...and I will shamelessly rip them off!
I suggest this site to my friends so it could be useful & informative for them also. Great effort.
Marvelous Garden..
i really love it..
Unknown said…
Enjoy this milestone. Having a chance to visit with friends who are a part of you and beyond "best" is like extra fudgy chocolate icing on the cake.

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