Another big fat negative today, folks. Looks like cycle 5 is a bust. I am handling it surprisingly well, perhaps because my birthday week (yes, I get a week to celebrate!) has really been spectacular. It started last Thursday, when I went to dinner with my R and my friend M. We had a wonderful meal together and a conversation that led me to realize how much I’ve grown over the last year. M saluted me with a toast, noting “this serious upgrade to your personality.” The weekend brought breakfast in bed, mobile making, a nice run in the park, and some great music at small local venue.
On Wednesday I started my birthday by opening a box from mom that was filled with cheerfully wrapped presents–a skirt made by one of her former patients, a ceramic bird sculpture, a little wooden tag with a photo of my favorite coffee shop back home, a sweet photo book of my beloved neice and nephew. I talked to mom while sipping some coffee, then headed for a meeting with my Committee Chair. The meeting was great, and set me on the right course for the summer. Afterward, I stopped by to see my friend and her baby, and enjoyed watching the baby’s new “tricks” (scooting, kissing her baby doll, playing peek-a-boo, eating tofu). Then I headed to the local Korean day spa, where every woman gets a free day pass on her birthday!
The day spa is a great place to visit, not only for the relaxation factor, but also because it’s a place where one is reminded that 99% of women don’t look like the digitally corrected images we see in magazines and movies. The spa is only for women, and it has the aura of a sacred space. Upon entering, you remove your shoes and leave them in a cubbyhole by the door. You pad down a wooden hallway to the locker room, where you undress and store your belongings. You wear a spa-issued robe and cap for the rest of the day. Once you’re in uniform, you can do one of several things: head for the pools (60, 90, 97, 104 degrees) and saunas (dry cedar or steamy eucalyptus), read in the communal living space, or lie down in one of reading or meditation rooms with varying temperatures, mineral composition, and lighting. You can bring your own books to read, or you can choose from the spa’s magazines which span the likes of The New Yorker to US Weekly. When you get hungry, you can visit the Korean restaurant–in your robe and slippers. Best of all, you see women of all shapes and sizes, quietly chatting with their friends, mothers, and grandmothers or just relaxing alone. It’s a great way to spend a birthday!
When I got home from the spa, R and I made a lovely dinner, and she surprised me with pastries from the French bakery, handmade arm warmers, and my new favorite sweet treat--absinthe and black salt caramels made by local confectioner, Jonboy. During the day I received tons of messages from friends and family, and had the chance to talk to a few of them on the phone. Tomorrow we are going to a local brewery to celebrate my birthday with friends and family, and it will be a wonderful end to a perfect week.