At Some Point There was a Birthday

On June 6th, I turned 35.  I’m still not sure how I feel about that.

The gifts from my husband arrived early, so he let me have them early.  Partly that was a reward, I think, for not opening the parcel the minute it arrived to see what it was, since he wasn’t home.  It is not every day that one’s husband receives a parcel with the return address of one “J. Newmar.”  But I put it aside (well out of Baby’s reach) and went to the gym.

An autographed photo AND a signed/dedicated copy of her book!

An autographed photo AND a signed/dedicated copy of her book!

I was completely blown away by this.  I have adored Ms. Newmar since I was a little girl.  I’m not sure how he made it happen…but he did.  Right now, both are hidden on a bookshelf way out of Baby’s reach, but I am going to frame the photo so it can be displayed. I  also got cards in the mail  from his Dad and his Grandmother…who I won’t even meet until August.

I took the day of my birthday off, since I have a history of sucktastic birthdays and I learned long ago that working doesn’t help.  I’m really glad I did – I awoke at 6:00 a.m. with a really bad headache.  I managed to doze back off, but that only made it worse.  At seven a.m. it had become a migraine, so I got up to take meds and chug water.  Then I went back to bed and lay with a cold washcloth on my head until time to get up.

I had spent a couple of weeks trying to decide what to do with my day.  I had the option of going around to all the Smithsonian Museums and having lunch at the Mitsitam Cafe; going to the outlet mall at Potomac Mills; shopping at Tyson’s Corner (I’ve lived here two full years, and have never been);  going to the Smithsonian National Zoo like I did last year; taking a “spa day” and getting a massage and mani/pedi; or lazing by the pool with a stack of books.  I had reserved the right to, whatever else, dinner at Honey Pig.

In the end, the Zoo won out, since it frankly seemed like the easiest option and one that (unlike a shopping trip) my husband might actually not hate tagging along for.  Even though traffic was horrid and the GPS managed to take us on a detour to Rock Creek Park, I’m still very glad I chose the zoo. It rained off and on all day, and it was cool enough that all of the animals were out and about, unlike last year.  I got to see all  the cats (the Clouded Leopard was sitting on the same damned tree branch as last year, asleep), though the “baby” cheetahs I was so excited about are all grown up now.  I got some decent video of the lions and tiger, and some video of the harbor seals playing*.  We went under the seal tank this year – really creepy-cool, without making me feel claustrophobic – and watched them swim and play.  We even saw Pandas for the first time on this trip!  I was starting to believe they were a hoax!

The Great Cats got enrichment items right before we got there.  We parked near the Great Cats area, so we can visit going in and coming out.

The Great Cats got enrichment items right before we got there. We park near the Great Cats area, so we can visit going in and coming out.

On the second trip to the Great Cats, the lady lions were out with their enrichment items.  I think she has a large joint.

On the second trip to the Great Cats, the lady lions were out with their enrichment items. I think she has a large joint.

Look at that FACE!  I was so glad when he woke up and turned his head.

Look at that FACE! I was so glad when he woke up and turned his head.

OMG, the National Zoo does have a panda!

OMG, the National Zoo does have a panda!

The big tiger.  He was feeling pacey on our second trip to the Great Cat area.

The big tiger. He was feeling pacey on our second trip to the Great Cat area.

There are a ton of places to eat at the zoo, so we picked one.  It was, of course, the wrong one, as my husband wanted to eat at the sit-down style Panda Overlook and I managed to find a sandwich place with Panda in the name instead.  My shrimp po’boy and grain salad were still delicious.  And it’s not like there won’t be a next time.  I plan on going at least once more before summer’s over, if I possibly can.

It was very crowded with children, and I wound up having to take more meds when we sat down to eat.  But it was a good trip over all, and I left with not one but two stuffed animals:  I bought myself a snow leopard (they didn’t have any clouded leopards at all!) and my husband bought me a tiny harbor seal because I liked their spots so much.  I wore my hiking boots, since we were doing so much walking.  They performed wonderfully!  They were definitely a good purchase.

After the zoo, we headed to the Arlington Animal Welfare League to look at kittens. Husband really took to a tortie girl dubbed “Cinder.” I was smitten with a five year old stray with no name (they’ve since dubbed her “Brittany’), but I had some misgivings about adopting an older stray without knowing anything about her history.  She’s obviously a runaway, since she wasn’t afraid of us and was, in fact, very friendly.  It’s hard to know how an adult cat will react to a rabbit, and just because things have went well in the past doesn’t mean that every cat will take to/ignore her.  A kitten may be taught early that Baby is not prey and doesn’t like to be chased or batted at, where an older cat may not.  Which is too bad, because there are a lot of older kitties out there looking for forever homes – so many that, in June, the AWL of Arlington lets you “name your own fee” for any cat over eight!

We did not leave with a kitten (well, you have to fill out an application and there’s a 24-hour waiting period anyway).  I’ve had a couple of opportunities since then to get a kitten/cat, but something is holding me back.  Shelly is doing well, but the truth is, I have a terminally ill cat – it’s not a question of if, but when it will take her.  Baby’s not exactly a young bun either, though she does seem to be healthy and have a lot of energy.   I don’t think I’m ready yet, but I also don’t want to risk bringing in someone new only to have one of The Girls get really ill (Gods forbid!!).

For dinner, we went back out to Annandale to Honey Pig.  If I have a favorite food (and I do like food a lot!), bulgogi has to be it.  There is no going to Honey Pig and not getting bulgogi. We also got prime rib, and I’m fairly certain I ate the better part of two servings of spicy kimchi by myself. It’s funny how I can seemingly eat so much at Honey Pig, but not feel like I’ve overeaten.  I also remembered to get myself an I Love Honey Pig T-shirt – probably because there was a little girl at the zoo wearing one.  They were out of black, of course, so I settled for purple.

We didn’t do a birthday cake or cookie for me.  So we went to Baskin Robins after dinner and I had chocolate chip ice cream in a chocolate-dipped waffle cone and we got half a dozen donuts so that I could have a cruller for breakfast Friday morning.  I must say that while the chocolate-dipped waffle cones look like a great idea, they lack something in the execution.  The bits that were chocolate dipped were soggy and flat tasting.  Not worth the extra calories, in my opinion.  I’ll definitely stick with a sugar cone from now on.

The intermittent rain had turned into an all-out downpour by this point.  So we went home and spent the rest of the evening relaxing with Arrested Development.

Not a bad day, especially compared to birthdays of prior years.  Even considering the terrible migraine and the persistent rain.

*Unfortunately, WordPress won’t let me upload these.

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