The Big 34

I just put up some captioned photos from my birthday party.  I was gonna write a big thing about it, but photos are far more interesting aren’t they?

I will say that when you have birthdays like this one, it almost makes getting older something to look forward to!  A small group of close friends laughing the night away.  Perfect.

The timing was ideal, because Italian Girl in Algiers was in a rather stressful stage at the time.  We were quite short on rehearsal time and about to launch into tech week feeling unprepared.  As it turns out, the production is great and the preview audience loved it.  That eased the stress considerably for tonight’s opening.

Anyway, back to the party.  Paul put together a great spread of food from the Austin Rib Co.   I love that place.  Not only is it a true mom-and-pop joint, but the grub is out-of-this-world good.  Not good for you, of course.  But then, what fun would that be?  Austin Rib Co. is located in a non-descript shopping center in Orange, a hole in the wall eatery you’d never know about unless someone tipped you off.

Lesley has always made me a cake on my birthday, and somehow she manages to outdo herself every year.  This year’s was no exception.  I managed to pry out how long it took to make the cake, and it was measured in days.  I’m not the only who thinks she ought to be working as a connoseur of fine desserts at some high end establishment.  Girl’s got mad skills, I tell ya.

After everyone else had gone home, Paul and I decided to play a few hands of poker.  Those of you who play Texas Hold’em are undoubtedly smirking, knowing that there is no such thing as “just a few hands” in this game.  We finished around 3 a.m. and I drove home $20 richer.  Woo hoo!

Little did I know that my aunt Norma was going to pass away that day from pancreatic cancer.  In fact, I didn’t even know she was sick.  Until a few days before, she didn’t know she was sick either.  Apparently Norma contracted what the doctors diagnosed as pneumonia.  Two days later, a different physician figured out that what first appeared to be fluid in her lungs was actually end stage cancer.  She died on January 14th — the same day as my mother, 27 years earlier.

The speed with which her illness progressed is shocking, because she seemed to be in such good health right up to the end.  Yet it’s also a blessing, as she was spared the long and painful denoumont so many cancer victims endure.

What can you take away from something like that, except the obvious?  Life is short, my friends.  Get out there and live each day like it’s your last. 

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