Monday, October 19, 2009

A Woman in Her Forties

My brilliant and beautiful sister-in-law, Roseanne, writes a wonderful blog entitled "A Woman in Her Thirties." Although I can now no longer use this phrase to refer to the things I'm doing, a woman in her forties knows a good thing when she sees it. Roseanne, I hope you don't mind if I adapt and adopt the phrase for my own for one blog post.

A woman in her forties throws her own birthday party.
I knew I really wanted to do something fun and different and interesting to celebrate my 40th birthday (well, besides all the stuff I've already described here and here) (I did warn you that I was celebrating for a week, didn't I?). So I decided to throw myself a little party. I had big dreams of renting a venue and hiring a top-notch caterer, a DJ, and Cory Ryan to do a photobooth, but budgetary realities stepped in and I ended up deciding to do it at home without any of these trappings (although I did finally break down and cater part of it).

Then, much to my delight, my brother and Roseanne decided to fly in for the occasion. And the guest list grew. And although in the end I couldn't invite everyone I wanted to because I didn't think they'd all fit in the house, it turned out to be a pretty wonderful evening.

A woman in her forties sometimes goes off-topic.
I'm not going to highlight food in this blog post because neither the food I served nor the photos I took of said food were particularly remarkable (except for maybe the foie gras I mentioned in this post). However, I do need to thank two of my friends who showed up at the party with special treats. My friend Phillip arrived bearing an incredibly decadent chocolate raspberry truffle cake from Central Market, and Jennie Chen appeared pulling a cooler larger than herself filled with four dozen of what she knows to be my favorite cupcake in the universe, her very own (super secret) recipe, the tipsy ispahan. I dubbed Jennie my food event sugar mama in this post; she has now officially graduated to being my sugar mama, period.

A woman in her forties is surprised.
As if all that weren't enough, just as we were about to cut the cake(s), Chris shushed everybody and then revealed that he had been secretly gathering letters for me from many of my family members, co-workers, neighbors, and friends, and that he had compiled them into a book with the help of my dear friend Liz. I was absolutely stunned, then of course started with the waterworks when they presented me with this gorgeous volume. I read the entire thing cover to cover that very night (after the last of the guests departed at 1:30 a.m.). It is, without a doubt, one of the most meaningful gifts I have ever received in my life.


A woman in her forties is grateful.
Here's the mushy part. Birthdays are always a time when I feel particularly thankful for all the wonderful people who surround me. My family, who shaped the person I am today and who have loved and supported me through thick and thin for 40 years (36.5 years, in Larry's case, and 7 for Roseanne, who is as great an addition to our family as I could ever have imagined). Chris, my best friend and my rock. Mindy, the furry love of my life. My co-workers, who put up with my idiosyncrasies for more hours in the day than anyone should have to. And of course my friends, with whom I've shared many laughs, a few tears, and countless fabulous meals. I am unbelievably fortunate to have the love and support of so many phenomenal people. And in a decade year, well, all of that gratefulness seems to be somehow magnified until it is very nearly overwhelming.

So I just want to say thanks, from the bottom of my heart.


A woman in her forties basks in the glow of the past, and looks forward to the next forty years.


  1. Such a beautiful post, Michelle! We were so happy to be a part of the weekend. You are one smokin' woman in her forties!

  2. Wow! What a nice birthday celebration! You have summed up so many things about what it means to grow older. You are doing it with grace, humor and some pretty great friends. If only every woman embraced 40 the way you have!

  3. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MICHELLE! What an awesome way to celebrate. :)

  4. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MICHELLE! like the way you celebrated your birthday and your cakes looks yummy. That's exactly what I want for my Birthday.

  5. What a wonderful way to celebrate and your husband certainly put together the most thoughtful and special gift for you. To you!


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