Not the most glamorous of numbers. It sits me firmly in my late twenties; I can’t claim mid-twenties anymore. But, I did have the most glamorous of birthdays. We celebrated until we couldn’t celebrate anymore. There were so many surprises that I didn’t, couldn’t have, anticipated. I knew Judy and I were going to the Red Sox game on Saturday, July 4. I thought it would be nice to have people over to watch the Women’s World Cup final on the 5th. I thought I was all set to have a pretty fantastic birthday weekend. Then, Friday morning July 3rd, Judy cooked breakfast for me. What? I was beyond impressed. She also told me to wear comfortable clothes and bring sunscreen and get ready to stay out for the day. After a series of long and incorrect guesses, I finally squeezed it out of her that we were going on a Boston Harbor Islands cruise!
We took the T down to Long Wharf and cruised out for a beautiful view of Boston. The boat took us to Georges Island, where there is an impressive Civil War military fort, Fort Warren. Judy and I explored the fort and the island for about two hours. It is visually stunning and creepy, and I loved it. Judy even brought games and we threw down a picnic blanket and sat in the sun for awhile. Here’s Judy and I on the pier. You can just see wee Boston in the background behind Judy to the left.
View from inside the fort.
The public could walk around the perimeter of the very top of the fort, and there were chimneys and air shafts situated all along to remind you that you were in fact on top of this massive structure. Little did I know, that the rest of my roommates were on their way to spend the last few hours with us touring the fort! They brought a picnic (complete with many cheeses and prepared cocktails!), and we found a gazebo! So we used the crazy timer feature on my camera and we took a couple of far-away group pictures.
From the left: Judy, me, James, Jackie, and Erin.
There might have also been a bit of graffiti. We were fond of this one.
After a solid day of exploring, picnic-ing, playing games, and seeing the sights, we hopped back on the last boat to Boston. Erin suggested we take the long way home to see the art installation on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. It’s a giant cable sculpture by Janet Echelman suspended between buildings high above the greenway.
You can see a little bit of the colors in the middle of this picture (also, little bird in the corner!). In person it almost shimmers like a mirage; here, it looks small, but it actually contains over 100 miles of rope and spans about a half an acre. Pretty impressive.
The next day, on July 4th, Judy and I went to the Red Sox game! She had gotten the tickets from a softball friend who has season tickets. They were pretty amazing seats, but at first I was afraid because we were up so high and right next to the railing. It took me a little while to get acclimated, but by the end I was leaning over looking for fly balls. Also, they won 🙂
On the way back from Fenway, we decided to go to dinner. We wanted to go to Rudy’s, a Mexican place with really good margaritas that is back up in Teele Square, but they were closed. I think I had forgotten it was the 4th of July. We went to Pj Ryan’s, an irish pub down the street, and James joined us to watch the Women’s World Cup consolation game between England and Germany. I was completely unaware that they were both conspiring to keep me out of the house until later… They convinced me to walk down to Davis to get ice cream (which we hardly ever do without Jackie). I got sriracha chocolate – they called it la cocoa racha, like the song – and it was probably the best ice cream I have had in a long time. I like ice cream, but I never think I really want it. My roommates always want it and it seems like we always have some sort of frozen treat on hand, but I’d rather just have chips or something salty/crunchy. This ice cream, though, was definitely worth it. Way to go JP Licks!
Long story short, they threw me a surprise party. (!!!) When we got home friends were waiting upstairs and they had decorated and cleaned and gotten balloons….it was overwhelming and wonderful. You know how sometimes you know when someone has planned a surprise for you? Or your significant other has gotten you a gift, and you sort of figure out what it is ahead of time? This was not like that. I had no idea what was coming and am still completely floored. My friends Mareike and Rachel brought me a 3 pound bag of gummy bears. They made up a signature cocktail. They even made up a game about me! I didn’t deserve it, but I took it, and loved every minute.
I was unsuccessful at taking pictures of this event, because I was so caught off guard. I don’t think I picked up my camera or my phone the whole time. The only thing I have is this picture of James trying to feed me patriotic jello. It may have had vodka in it. It’s also very attractive.
A magical, magical evening.
The next day, we mostly recovered. I received a present in the mail (a Harry Potter themed cookbook from Melissa!) and we had a few people come over to watch the Women’s World Cup final between USA and Japan. A crazy game, to say the least. The USA scored four points in the first 18 minutes, making World Cup history.
On my actual birthday, Monday July 6th, Judy took off work and we went to the Isabella Steward Gardiner museum. Isabella Gardiner was an art collector who built and opened her museum in the early 1900s. She constructed the museum as an historical cathedral, with a courtyard in the middle and views down into the courtyard from every window on every floor. The gardens on the grounds are one of the most impressive features, and change with the seasons.
Though most of the galleries themselves were somewhat dark, to preserve the artwork, there are ornate windows into each of them. I overheard a docent telling a tour group that ISG wanted the walls to look weathered and old, so she demonstrated how to paint the mottled pink onto the facade herself. The long drip marks were also painted on – over 100 years ago.
Judy and I spent almost 4 hours wandering around the museum. I don’t even think we saw everything as closely as we wanted to. The trip to the museum was a beautiful end to a truly magical birthday weekend. Some people will think all of this celebrating would be a bit irresponsible; while I don’t disagree, for most of the year I run non-stop reading, writing, tutoring, teaching, grading, thinking, disciplining, organizing. So for this summer, I will take all the time I can get to wander and explore and celebrate and live.