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2006-08-21 - 4:13 p.m.

..another birthday in a strange new place..

Another birthday has come and gone (this weekend), spend in yet another new and strange place where I know essentially no one who could help me celebrate. I am now....a more mature person.

This year I've been too discombobulated to give all of my friends fair warning, so that they knew to say HB to me...and still I got birthday wishes from about six people: hubby, hubby's brother, hubby's parents - who count as one - my parents - who also count as one - my only BC friend A, and of course B from Britain (who masqueraded her call as excitement over newly acquired guinea pigs - so in a sense I now share a birthday with her furry pet rodents who go WEEP WEEP WEEP all the time.)

And since then I've gotten one belated greeting from a German in Sweden (belated being perfectly okay, because I always forget her birthday until my birthday passes, so it has become a joke of writing to each other and saying, "didn't you have a birthday?").

Interestingly, I didn't receive a single greeting from NYC, my previous home of 2 1/2 years. Says something about the ties that I left behind, no? Anyway, nothing like living in a new country to make you feel a little bit lonely, a little bit out of sight, and a lot out of mind. My brother accidentally drove that point home when he asks, "so have you made any friends yet?" Here's hoping that Vancouver does not become a repeat of NYC.

But hey, thank goodness for K. He kept me awake until midnight on Friday so that he could be the first to wish me a happy birthday. And then he looked a bit sad and dejected...because all but one of his birthday surprises for me are buried somewhere in some box he has yet to identify. So I had my first birthday wishes at midnight, and my first dose of looking at the bright side of things:

1. Presents missing. BRIGHT SIDE: I will experience numerous gift surprises throughout the month of september.

2. First phone call: automated computer message from the phone company at 8 in the morning on a Saturday, telling me that my voice mail will be out of service next week. BRIGHT SIDE: K had already wished me a happy birthday the night before, so it didn't matter.

3. Coffee: impossible to make because the coffee grinder went KAPUT (yes, in capital letters). BRIGHT SIDE: I hated that coffee grinder. And now I am free to buy myself a new model which we did (see 4).

4. K dragged me to a miserable mall. BRIGHT SIDE: Now we know never to go to that mall again, and I have achieved the inner wisdom that I am just not a mall person.

Other than that, what did I do? A and I went shopping for kitty litter. I did a lots of sudoku training. And we ended the evening out on my favorite beach for sunsets in Kits. It was lovely.

And because K felt a bit guilty for inflicting the mall on me, I got to REDO my birthday on Sunday!! which started with pancakes and strawberries, continued with a drive around N. Van., dinner at a cove to the NE of Van, and then a quiet movie at home. It was quite pleasant.

And then I arrived at work today to learn that: (a) my computer has been ordered, (b) my phone has arrived, and (c) my keys are ready. Things are beginning to happen. Which it means it's time for me to get out there and meet some of the people in this department. Perhaps a sign on the lunchroom door, inviting everyone for a coffee/tea and cake on Friday...

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