Memorial for my father

Yesterday would have been my father’s 55th birthday. It was his favorite time of year, his natal week as he called it, and he’d call me at the beginning of the week, every year, to remind me, though I never needed reminding.

Heather, it’s your father.” He started every conversation like this, as though I wouldn’t be able to recognize his booming and cheerful voice.

Hi Dad. I know who you are. I can’t imagine why you’d be calling today…” I’d bait him, because I could just hear the excitement in his voice and I’d make him tell me why he was calling.

It’s my NATAL WEEK! It’s BIRTHDAY MONTH! Tell your father how much you love him.” He was singing. And shouting.

I’d laugh every time because it never got old with the new year.

Happy Natal Week, Dad. You know I love you. How are you going to spend your big day?

He ignored my question and moved on to what I knew he loved most. “Where are your gifts? They must be in the mail.” He’d ask and I knew he really wanted gifts. He loved presents and blowing out candles and people singing to him while admiring him.

I would have paid any amount of money yesterday to be in a room with him, admiring him and laughing with him, giving him trick candles or a tiarra or a fancy wrapped box of smoked, dried meat I’d bring back from Germany for him.

But I wasn’t with him for the fifth birthday since he died and the emptiness without him this year was as awful as the years past, but this year I was lucky enough to spend the day with my sister and my stepmother.

This year, we decided to celebrate his life and to give him the memorial we had been putting off for 5 years.

Katie and I decided to buy him a bench to be put at Fort Foster, facing the ocean, in a quiet spot that we could visit every year. We don’t really need a spot, but we thought it would be nice to have something to touch, to look at, to remember him with and so the bench was perfect. We could sit together in our most favorite spot in the world and talk about missing him and the fun times we used to have and what he’d think about our lives today. And so for us, it was perfect. Even more perfect is that we were able to keep a secret for months and surprise Judy with it on his birthday.

And the three of us together

And the view from the bench…

And me on the bench

And the view from the sea

The day was dreary and muggy and filled with fog, laughter and great memories. We all laughed hard together, especially when Katie, as soon as we had set up our picnic lunch, reached in her bag and pulled out something and set it on the table in the middle of us. Before we could even look up she announced,

So I brought Dad to his birthday party.” I looked over and sure enough, there was my father’s urn on the picnic table. We laughed hard, wished him a happy birthday and went back to sharing memories.

Because bringing your dead father’s remains to the beach to eat lunch with you is totally normal.

Birthday Weekend Wrap-Up

Many of my friends have written today not so much to see how Birthday Weekend went, but to remind me, “Your birthday is now over. No more birthday for you!” Which I’m sorry, makes you a bastard, because this is my month and my party and I’m carrying it out til Nov 1.

Actually, the only thing that’s left to celebrate my 32 years of cheating death is a birthday party this weekend, thrown by my friends here.

Speaking of cheating death for 32 years, though, here is the text my stepfather sent me from my mother’s phone this weekend:
“32, huh? Need I say more? Who would have thought of you being 32?”

I’m not sure if he’s congratulating me on surviving or if he’s telling me I’m so youthful that it’s not possible that I’m 32 yet or if he’s just TWISTING HIS KNIFE IN MY HEART AGAIN SINCE WE ARE STILL NOT FACEBOOK FRIENDS.

He also still doesn’t even know that we are at war because my mother never happened to tell him. So bleh.

Anyway. Birthday weekend was nice and quiet around our house. We stuck around and spent a weekend full of wine drinking, grilling, house organizing, game playing and I did my best to spend a paycheck on things I feel like I deserve. I also opened a ton of gifts from my fantastic friends and family–favorites include this:

Which is to be the computer that finally finishes The Book. We’ll see.

And this, which I’m living in currently.

Also some books, music, fancy skivs, candles, flowers and balloons and THIS which has been used quite a bit this weekend since, Umm, yes, I gave up coffee over TWO WEEKS AGO. (and no, I haven’t killed anyone OR broken anything on purpose in my house)

It's best because it's green

I’m not sure if subbing in tea is like quitting cigarettes and taking up cloves but the switch has actually made me feel a million times better in the morning, which is why in my head I’m writing a thesis as to how and why tea is better for you than coffee. I consulted my personal nurse, my sister, and she says,
“Yes, tea is better for you. It has more tannins and antioxidants and less cream and sugar than coffee.” I act very pleased with her medical opinion, having no idea what the hell a tannin is.

“I still put cream and sugar in my tea,” I stated. Obviously.

“God, Heather.”

“I mean splenda and milk but still.” Kind of the same.

“That’s not the same. Anyway, it’s better for you.”

“Good. Did I tell that I gave up coffee TWO WEEKS AGO? It’s been amazing.” I say it like I did something so noble that I deserved a medal or at least a certificate.

“I see you still haven’t given up booze. Also amazing.” GodDAMN HER.

This is also the same girl who said to me weeks ago, when I told her how much I hated my brown hair said,

“Oh. I’m sure I know exactly why you feel like that. You feel like no one is looking at you. No one cares about girls with brown hair, do they?” And then she fucking laughed.

But she was also right. Damn her.

So there you have it. The end of birthday week and yet another stimulating conversation between the Smith sisters. Happy Monday!

New obsession alert

Today I’m going to write like a fat girl because that’s what I feel like doing and I can’t find anything else to write about and so I’ve settled on food.

Not just any food, though. Banoffee pie. My new love.

I had this pie once in Ireland and then at the airport waiting for my delayed flight, I ate a Banoffee ice cream sundae because they didn’t have the pie and when was the last time I had a sundae and in case you need another reason, it IS birthday week.

Now I’m not sure what the proper recipe would be, but I did find a UK one, which is better than just using an American recipe, I suppose, and I’ve forwarded it around already…you know, in case anyone is interested in making me SOME PIE for my birthday.

And, in the spirit of making lists of things I love, here are my top five pies of all time.

5. Pecan
4. Pumpkin
3. Banoffee
2. Strawberry Cream
1. Strawberry Rhubarb

And in case we need to get into this further, I love pie much more than I love cake. Unless we’re talking about my BIRTHDAY CAKE and in that case, I stick with yellow cake, chocolate frosting. Obviously.

As you can tell, I’m just a little bit excited that it’s my birthday tomorrow.