25 March 2008

49 for 49

Today’s my 49th birthday, so I guess it’s time to face the fact: I’m nearly middle-aged.

That's right, I’m going to live and go to concerts until at least my 100th birthday, so I’m not officially middle-aged until next March. Please humor me.

It’s a strange thing, facing the fact that you’ve officially completed the growing-up process and are now headed on the downslope. Will I ever feel grown up? Does that mean I have to start listening to adult contemporary radio?

Let’s not get reflective and doomsdayable. Instead, let’s celebrate with a self-indulgent list.

1. I don’t work on my birthday. I believe it should be a national law — hell, a commandment.

2. I did work once on my birthday, in 1993, as I was flying to San Francisco the following morning. Miserable. No parades, no applause, no balloons, nothing.

3. I will never work on my birthday again.

4. I may forget your phone number, or the type of car you drive, or to get your package to the post office — but I will never forget your birthday.

5. When we reconnected after twenty years, Filegod1 was surprised to learn I still knew his birthday.

6. I quietly celebrate the birthdays of my beloved rock stars by wearing outfits that reflect their personalities and listening to their music throughout their special days.

7. (Why, oh why, hasn’t my neighbor Paste hired me yet? Josh Jackson, please call.)

8. One regular commenter — Renae, the cutie in the blue plaid dress — was at my eighth birthday party.

9. Except for this lovely shot (thanks to the hat and the glasses), I take horrible photos.

10. That’s why you only see the top or back of my curly head.

11. Gawd, I hope I’m really not that washed-out and pie-faced.

12. Nick Lowe and I share a birthday.

13. Favorite Boy and Elvis Costello were born on the same day.

14. If you’re a fellow music geek, you’ll think that’s totally cute, too.

15. I don’t feel old.

16. I feel younger and happier than I did at 39.

17. I guess fifty really is the new thirty. I’m actually looking forward to that decade of my life.

18. Four regular commenters — HollyC, RCofCHS, Filegod1, and Renae — and one (very) occasional commenter (Janice) were at my “surprise” 18th birthday party.

19. Those quotation marks are necessary. My mother let the surprise cat out of the bag because I was moping around over getting dumped.

20. My eyebrows are more gray than black. They’re grayer than the hair on my head.

21. We won’t discuss the gray-to-black ratio on other body parts.

22. Most of the women in my family tend to go blonde instead of gray.

23. I don’t think I can pull off blonde, though, unless I decide to embrace the wallflower side of my personality.

24. I’m currently hoping for the Susan Sontag/Bride of Frankenstein look: a shock of white on the black mane.

25. I have to admit, I like the gray shooting through my hair.

26. So far.

27. I have no desire to be younger, or to go back to a younger phase of my life.

28. I love my age and what I’ve lived through.

29. I just wish my a** had the firm strength of my adult personality.

30. I threw myself one kick-ass thirtieth birthday party. I remember parts of it, too.

31. I ended the party in a completely different outfit — which is interesting when you consider that my duplex apartment had an open floor plan.

32. (Lucky partygoers.)

33. I think I love R.E.M. more than I did most of my lovers.

34. Yeah, I know I’ve written that once or twice (or eighty-three times) — but you should never miss an opportunity to shout about the great love of your life.

35. Their new album — Accelerate — comes out a week from today, so be sure to check in for album updates and tidbits.

36. My 36th birthday was spent with Nick Drake, several bottles of wine, some goat cheese, and meandering drives through the North Georgia mountains.

37. It was my one quiet, reflective birthday — a birthday that marked a new direction in my life.

38. I’ve been at peace and I haven’t been lonely since that March of 1995.

39. I may be 49, but I've lived during six decades.

40. My fortieth birthday was spent in New Orleans — the best place for your fortieth.

41. We dined at K-Paul’s and Emeril’s … drank hurricanes, a lot of wine, a little champagne … hit the voodoo museum and the Blue Dog Gallery.

42. And, appropriately, spent hours snapping photos at the Lafayette Cemetery.

43. (If I were organized, I would have scanned some of those photos for this post … the key word being “If.”)

44. My lips are now enclosed inside parenthetical grooves on my face, as if my mouth is a facial aside.

45. Why do I continue using a magnifying makeup mirror at this wrinkled age?

46. As forty-eight counts out its final minutes, I realize how lucky I am to have my group of loved ones …

47. … the experiences I’ve lived …

48. … true joy for life.

49. Forty-nine is here. Favorite Boy will be here soon. Happy birthday to me!

* * * * * *

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At 3/25/2008 12:15:00 AM, Blogger chez béziat said...

Happy birthday!

And how do you like Accelerate? I've been playing it all night long here. It's pretty short, but fantastic.

At 3/25/2008 12:27:00 AM, Blogger Barbara Bruederlin said...

If you are anything like me, the answer to #45 is because you also can't see anything anymore.

I hope you have the most wonderful birthday EVER, which of course will merely be a preparation for the big glorious one next year. A whole year to get excited!

At 3/25/2008 01:40:00 AM, Anonymous paul said...

Happiest of B-days. As in birthdays. Not the French hiney cleaner thingy.

At 3/25/2008 02:33:00 AM, Blogger Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Happy birthday sweetie.

At 3/25/2008 03:39:00 AM, Anonymous m said...

#6. now that peter buck has finally come out as a heterosexual, what pray tell will you wear in his honor on his next birthday?

what should i wear to honor you on your birthday? sorry, hon-i won't be caught dead in a 'bo-ho' skirt. perhaps i will just walk around backwards, greeting everyone with the back of my head, a la coffey?

At 3/25/2008 06:39:00 AM, Blogger jasonfred said...

Happy Birthday! I hope its a wonderful one indeed.

At 3/25/2008 07:25:00 AM, Blogger Dale said...

I'm not working today either in honour of your birthday, that's just how I roll. Hope you and Nick Lowe have a great day. I can't stand another heartache!

At 3/25/2008 08:20:00 AM, Blogger Marni said...

Happy birthday, dear cousin. I think this is the best list you have ever done. I can only hope to be as satisfied, grounded, and happy when I turn 49.

Hugs to you!

At 3/25/2008 08:38:00 AM, Blogger Nadine said...

HAppy Birthday Beth!

At 3/25/2008 08:56:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Happy Birthday Beth! Like you, I wouldn't go back for the world...well...maybe only to NOT break up with Rick Brown!

I hope you have a great day and the best is yet to come!


At 3/25/2008 10:00:00 AM, Blogger Keith Kennedy said...

Happy Birthday Beth!!!

At 3/25/2008 10:15:00 AM, Blogger Gifted Typist said...

Happy Birthday Beth.
50 isn't the new 30. 50's the new REM!

At 3/25/2008 10:54:00 AM, Blogger BeckEye said...

Happy Birthday!

At 3/25/2008 11:35:00 AM, Blogger landru said...

Happy Birthday.

Yes, sure, in ye old days you'd be wisewoman of your village by now, but ... at least you still have your teeth. Trade offs of modern life. :)

At 3/25/2008 11:50:00 AM, Blogger Some Guy said...

Happy Birthday Beth!

At 3/25/2008 11:51:00 AM, Blogger Jewgirl said...

What a flawless and festive post. Your birthday should be a national holiday! You do it right, celebrating every nook and cranny of your history--love that.


At 3/25/2008 12:13:00 PM, Blogger coffeypot said...

HBD, Sweetie! I wish you 49 more. Okay, 51 if you want to keep going to concerts at 100.

At 3/25/2008 12:21:00 PM, Blogger Moxie said...

When we met in January, your positivity about the post-30 years really made an impact on me. I still think about what you said and it makes me not fear the big 4-0 as much. Happy birthday fabulous one! I'm looking for your number right now so you can get the birthday medley treatment...

At 3/25/2008 02:18:00 PM, Blogger Mathdude said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 3/25/2008 02:21:00 PM, Blogger Mathdude said...

You're only 31 in Base 16. See - knowing lots of math can come in handy!!

At 3/25/2008 03:03:00 PM, Blogger SkylersDad said...

Happy Birthday Beth, I can tell you that 50 really doesn't suck - much...

At 3/25/2008 04:10:00 PM, Anonymous Bluez said...

Happy Birthday Beth! 49 is a good thing! Any age is better than the alternative!

At 3/25/2008 05:43:00 PM, Blogger Splotchy said...

Happy Bday, Beth!

At 3/25/2008 06:35:00 PM, Blogger Tanya Espanya said...

Snappy birthday, Beth. Did anyone else send you an e-card?! Eh, did they? I did!!!



At 3/25/2008 06:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Beth!!!!

Be sure to join AARP when you hit 50. The discounts are worth it!

At 3/25/2008 07:51:00 PM, Blogger Allison said...

Happy Birthday, Beth!

Hope your day is lovely. :)

At 3/25/2008 08:12:00 PM, Anonymous Obama said...

50 is the new black, bitch!

P.S. Remember to vote!

At 3/25/2008 08:15:00 PM, Blogger Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

From one grey-eyebrowed chica to another, may you have the happiest of days.

At 3/25/2008 08:37:00 PM, Blogger Scott said...

Happy birthday! Here's to not working on birthdays!

-Scott (October 16)

At 3/25/2008 09:07:00 PM, Anonymous Glassmeow said...

Happy Birthday!

Are you really waiting a whole 'nother week for Accelerate?!

It's up on ilike for the streamin'

=^,^= (January 26)

At 3/25/2008 09:20:00 PM, Blogger FranIAm said...

Hi - Happy Birthday!!! It is a holiday, isn't it?

I actually suck at remembering anyone's birthday, even those close to me. I never forget my own of course, but then again I don't care too much if others forget as well.

I turned 40 on a business trip to Chicago. My good work friend there salvaged it for me quite well, but... I turned 50 with friends including handsome blogger and real life friend Distributorcap, as seen in photo.

Life is sweet indeed, I will turn 100 first and will fill you in on it then!!

At 3/25/2008 09:36:00 PM, Blogger Earl Cootie said...

Happy Birthday!

For what it's worth, I won't work on my birthday either. I think it should be a paid holiday to all who want it.

At 3/25/2008 09:39:00 PM, Blogger mellowlee said...

Happy Birthday You Phenomenal Woman You!!! *many hugs*

At 3/25/2008 09:55:00 PM, Blogger Mathman6293 said...

For you birthday, I will listen to Happy Birthday To Me by Cracker.

Happy Birthday!

At 3/25/2008 11:07:00 PM, Blogger Sean Wraight said...

Happy Birthday Beth!

To one of the most youthful, free spirits I know! You're an inspiration to us all.


At 3/25/2008 11:20:00 PM, Blogger Artful Dodger said...

Happy Birthday to a most awesomely awesome person. Hugs from us too.

At 3/25/2008 11:33:00 PM, Blogger Pezda's Ghost said...

I almost missed it! Happy Birthday. You truly rock!

At 3/25/2008 11:53:00 PM, Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...

Happy Birthday! You still have three hours and six minutes left on this coast...

"I don’t work on my birthday. I believe it should be a national law — hell, a commandment."

You are preaching to the choir, Sister Coffey! Nothing but bad things happen while working on one's birthday.

At 3/26/2008 12:06:00 AM, Blogger wapentake said...

Happy Birthday, Beth! 7 x 7 - couldn't be a luckier year in my book. Enjoy!

At 3/26/2008 08:32:00 AM, Blogger pjazzypar said...

Happy Birthday, heres hoping you had a great day.

At 3/26/2008 10:56:00 AM, Blogger BeckEye said...

Hope you had a good day. And I'm only leaving another comment because I think you should get exactly 49 comments for this post. C'mon everyone, do your part! Only 8 more to go!!

At 3/26/2008 11:08:00 AM, Blogger Erik Donald France said...

Indeed, happy birthday to you, Beth -- from the Carolina Blue skies to Detroit gray, from Atlanta to Memphis, from Athens to Chapel Hill, from Elvis I to Elvis II, from REM to DBs to B52s -- oorah!

At 3/26/2008 11:46:00 AM, Blogger Michael K said...

Emmylou Harris is way older than you and is super hot.

At 3/26/2008 01:09:00 PM, Blogger Moxie said...

It worked out that I picked up Love is a Mix Tape from the library on your b'day and ended up reading most of it on your b'day too. Just finished it...and I get now why you love this book so damn much. Awesome, awesome stuff.

At 3/26/2008 04:11:00 PM, Blogger Christine said...

I've come out of lurkville to say happy birthday and many more...returning to my hole now.

At 3/26/2008 05:51:00 PM, Blogger Wyldth1ng said...

Happy Belated Birthday.

At 3/26/2008 07:43:00 PM, Blogger Mountjoy said...

Happy Birthday Beth.

On my playlist for today, Stevie Wonder's "Happy Birthday", just for you! (and I might sneak in The Beatles "Birthday" too!).

Hmmmm. Birthday songs with groove. That's a good thing.

Hope you have many, many more, and each is better than the last.

At 3/26/2008 08:19:00 PM, Blogger BeckEye said...

Ok, kids...this is #48. Just one more and we're there!

At 3/26/2008 08:59:00 PM, Anonymous filegod1 said...

hope I get to be # 49 on your 49th.
I am after all the alpha and omega of Birthday celebrations.

At 3/26/2008 11:45:00 PM, Blogger Eebie said...

A very happy birthday to you!

At 3/27/2008 02:23:00 AM, Blogger lulu said...


At 3/27/2008 02:51:00 AM, Blogger barista brat said...

happy belated!

you're the coolest 49 year old i know!

At 3/27/2008 09:31:00 AM, Blogger gizmorox said...

Yay! Happy Birthday, my lady!

At 3/27/2008 10:14:00 AM, Blogger BeckEye said...

So much for my plan. Too many people love you. Dammit!

At 3/27/2008 02:05:00 PM, Blogger pistols at dawn said...

Well played, miss. It almost made me hope to see 49, but then I remembered how delicious ice cream is, and how my rapacious sugar consumption and long life are poor bedfellows.

At 3/27/2008 06:29:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

CHEZ BÉZIAT: Thank you! I am loving Accelerate! I haven’t been this R.E.M.-excited in years!

BARBARA BRUEDERLIN: I have the worst eyesight you can imagine! But do I really need to stare deep into every pore? I think I prefer the blind beauty of the regular side of the mirror. p.s. You must come to my birthday party next March — it’s gonna be fabulous!

PAUL: I love both days!

DR. MONKEY VON MONKERSTEIN: Thank you, you sweet simian doll.

M: I love the Coffeywalk! Please video it for me, M. Don’t know what I’m going to do for Mr. Buck’s birthday next year. Can’t believe he’s straight …

JASONFRED: It was beyond wonderful — it was fan-f*cking-tastic1 — and you can put that on a T-shirt.

DALE: Reason #73 why you’re still my favorite blog crush: your priorities are in check. I hope you enjoyed your champagne while toasting Nick Lowe and me.

MARNI: Thank you, dear cousin. Your birthday card is still on my desk, so we need to reschedule lunch. Very soon.

NADINE: Thank you — it was a happy one.

JANICE: Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm — Rick Brown. Now I’m gonna drool all over my desk. I hope he’s still cute. Looking forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks.

At 3/27/2008 06:40:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

KEITH KENNEDY: Thanks, doll!

GIFTED TYPIST: I love that! Jasonfred, will you make me a T-shirt that reads: Fifty is the new R.E.M.? p.s. Gifted, is your kitty wearing a party hat in my honor?

BECKEYE: Thank you, young one!

LANDRU: I’m a wisewoman … in the village of drunken concertgoers.

SOME GUY: Thank you, Chris!

JEWGIRL: Damn right, girl! You have all the connections; get that holiday into action, okay? p.s. My nook and cranny were quite celebrated on my birthday — and I loved it!

COFFEYPOT: Thanks, sweetie! Wanna join me at some concerts in ten years or so?

MOXIE: I loved your message! I played it for friends today. I’m glad our chat made an impact on you. You’ll be amazed how great your forties are.

COMMENT DELETED: You gotta stop writing those nasty words, Genius Level Boy.

MATHDUDE: I have no idea what that means … but I’m liking it!

At 3/27/2008 06:51:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

SKYLERS DAD: See — I thought you were younger than I. Fifty is gonna be grand!

BLUEZ: Good point!

SPLOTCHY: Tyou, Splotch.

TANYA ESPANYA: You’re my only e-wisher in the blogworld, doll. You are too smoochy!

DCUP: Thank you! Peter Buck got his AARP packet when he turned fifty, so I’ll happily rip my envelope open.

ALLISON: It was lovely … fun … champagne-soaked … and giggly.

OBAMA: I will, sir! And I love it when you talk dirty to me.

BARONESS VON BLOGGENSCHTERN: These gray brows wiggled and danced with happiness all damn day — hell, all damn week!

SCOTT: I’m taking off October 16, Scott. I hope you feel all the toasts coming your way.

GLASSMEOW: I’ve had the album in electronic format for a week, so I’m not officially waiting — but I’m going to the listening party in Athens the night before the release, and I can’t wait to lovingly hold the CD in my hand.

At 3/27/2008 06:59:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

FRANIAM: Yes, dammit, it is! I must check out the photo — to see your happy celebration and the handsome, real-life Distributorcap! I’ll come to your 100th birthday party, and you’d better make it to mine.

EARL COOTIE: You are such a smart man.

MELLOWLEE: *hugs* back!

MATHMAN6293: I think I’m going to cue it up myself. I have a large playlist of birthday songs; I should mixtape that some Friday. When’s your birthday?

SEAN WRAIGHT: You make me blush and giggle — in the best possible way.

ARTFUL DODGER: Quite flattering from such an awesomely awesome couple. Kisses, AD + MTG!

PEZDA’S GHOST: I roll, too!

WRITE PROCRASTINATOR: I extend my birthday all the way to Hawaii time, so you made it! I hate working on birthdays. If someone asks you do to something lame and you tell them you’re not gonna do it because it’s your birthday, they get all offended. Corporate weenies.

WAPENTAKE: WOW — it IS a lucky year!

PJAZZYPAR: I did. Boy, did I.

At 3/27/2008 07:05:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

BECKEYE: Thank you for taking up the cause. How much do I owe you?

ERIK DONALD FRANCE: How perfect! I was in NC for my birthday (Asheville, not Chapel Hill).

MICHAEL K: My goal is to look like Emmylou with all that lovely white hair.

MOXIE: Isn’t it the best book???

CHRISTINE: Slink back out again and again!

WYLDTH1NG: Thank you! I’m taking wishes and cocktails through the end of the month.

MOUNTJOY: This birthday a** is grooving as this curly head sings those birthday tunes.

BECKEYE: I owe you a comment-stuffing day; just tell me when.

FILEGOD1: 49 on the nose! You are the Alpha and Omega of many things, FG1.

EEBIE: Thank you, sir.

At 3/27/2008 07:07:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

LULU: Thank you! I hope you cocktailed in my honor.

BARISTA BRAT: Favorite girl!!!!!!!! Thank you so much, dear Brat!

GIZMOROX: And did you cocktail in my honor? I’m assuming so; that’s why we hit it off.

BECKEYE: It’s tough, being loved and adored.

PISTOLS AT DAWN: Ice cream is more than delicious; it’s a must for many things. Eat a bit of celery, and you’ll be fine.

At 3/27/2008 09:58:00 PM, Blogger chelene said...

I knew it was coming and I am still late! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Sounds like you had a wonderful day. :)

At 3/28/2008 02:04:00 PM, Blogger Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

Happy Birthday (belated)! Hope you're still celebrating!!!

At 3/28/2008 05:30:00 PM, Blogger Grant Miller said...

You? 49? No way. I don't believe it.

At 3/29/2008 11:00:00 AM, Blogger Coaster Punchman said...

What a sweet post. Happy Birthday!!

At 3/30/2008 01:08:00 AM, Blogger Johnny Yen said...

Most people aren't as young as you when they're 19 and most people haven't lived as much as you when they're 79. Stay young, wise, lovely and yourself.

At 3/31/2008 10:10:00 PM, Blogger thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

Happy (Belated) Birthday!

At 4/03/2008 12:12:00 PM, Blogger Red said...

I'm good at remembering birthdays, too. I still know the birthday of every guy I've ever had it bad for.

The only celebrity who's birthday I celebrate has been gone these 47 years, but I try to watch a Clark Gable movie every Feb. 1. Sometimes I also bake brownies.

At 4/03/2008 05:34:00 PM, Blogger Tony Alva said...

Go on with your bad self Beth! Happy B-Day!!!

At 4/29/2008 12:45:00 AM, Anonymous dayle said...

Happy (belated) birthday Beth! I hope I can be as hip as you are at some point in my life! You were the first person to turn me onto REM - you made me memorize their names while we were in the car on the way to Athens (my first trip) where we went to a fun thrift shop and you drove me around town and pointed out places of interest to you. You also intriduced me to Little Five. Love those shops and loved the place you lived in there. Good times with Coffey. See if this scares you (cause it scares me)-I am going to be 32 in just over a month. I think I was 14 when we were cruising Athens. OMG.


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