Bellefleur, part 2: Or, what I did for my birthday

I think that pretty much every year since I’ve started this blog, I’ve written some sort of maudlin post about my birthday and it’s all deep and meaningful or whiny or whatever. Last year’s birthday was pretty bad, and I decided a few weeks in advance that I was going to have a better day this year. So on March 1, along with several other people on a message board I read, I started a 100 Mile March. I planned to run, walk, or cycle 100 miles during the month of March. It sounded daunting at first, but doing the math it would only be an average of 3-ish miles per day. Which is totally do-able! It’s not like we’ve been sedentary since we’ve been here; we’ve done tons of bike rides and I’ve done lots of walks and walk-runs, and I knew if the weather cooperated I could make it. Going 100 miles was something to add structure to my day and to my time, and a goal to work toward, and something that might help me feel like less of a useless slug.

Several days into my plan, after motivation had me running, walking, and/or riding my bike every day, I realized that maybe I could do 100 miles by my birthday, as our bike rides were long enough and frequent enough that they began to add up. I kept track of my mileage, measuring the walks/runs I did with a pedometer and the bike rides using an online running map. I had completed 93.3 miles by March 11th, the day before my wine cave job, which left me three days to complete the remaining 6.7 miles. After the 20 mile bike ride on the 11th, giving blood, and six hours on my feet the next day doing the flowers, I was pretty wiped out, so Saturday the 12th was the first day of March I didn’t do any intentional exercise.

The next day, I spent the day and evening in Santa Rosa with my mom and her boyfriend. After discussing several options for how to enjoy our day, we settled on lunch in Graton and roller skating (!). Yes! My mom took me roller skating for my 32nd birthday. I had my pedometer on all day, in case we had decided to go for a walk, and also wore it during the roller skating to see if it would track my mileage (but it totally didn’t work right, of course). I had lots of fun on the skates, watching kids of all ages and adults either fly, stumble, or dance around the rink. My mom had fun, too, though I think she got tired more easily than I did. It had been at least ten years since I’d been on roller skates, so if nothing else it was a chance for me to see how comfortable I felt and how much work I’d need to get up to the level I’d need to be to try out for Roller Derby.

I noticed that the pedometer wasn’t accurately tracking my distance (I didn’t expect it to do so, of course), so I asked one of the employees of the skating rink if she knew the circumference of the track. I kept a mental tally of the number of times I skated around the rink, and if I knew the distance around I could get a better approximation of the miles I’d gone on four wheels. She asked the manager, who informed her that he only knew the length and width of the rink, not the circumference. I thanked her and went back out for a few more laps.

At that point, I had been skating for over an hour, and while my left hip area (and by hip area I mean deep butt cheek muscle) was getting pretty sore from taking the curves in the same direction over and over again, I was feeling far more confident in my balance. So as I rounded the last curve on the last lap before my exit plan, I thought about the math I might need to do in order to figure out my mileage and not about what my feet and body were doing. And ten feet before my planned graceful exit from the roller rink, I ended up tripping and falling on my hands and knees. Right in front of everybody. Because it’s a normal and dignified for a 32-year-old woman to do.

My knees were pretty bruised up, and I broke a blood vessel in the meat of my hand, but mostly I was just a little unsettled because of how HARD I had fallen. I guess being up on the wheels of the skates, plus the surface of the rink, plus being 32 all added up to me feeling jarred. If I do end up trying out for derby someday, I think I’ll need to practice falling safely for a while first.

I got home from my day with mom and a friend helped me find a link to figure out the circumference of an ellipse. Armed with the length and width, and the number of laps I’d skated, I was able to guesstimate that I’d skated 2.5 miles, and walked one. Which left me with 3.2 miles left toward my 100 miles-by-my-birthday goal.

Monday the 14th I turned 32. As it turns out, I estimated pretty closely the amount of flowers I’d need to do the wine cave job, but there were a few flowers left over, especially the flowers I had bought to make the large arrangement. So rather than keep all the leftovers or throw them out, I decided to make a few arrangements with what remained and give them to various friends here in town. I made a large bouquet for my friend Heather, who has been in and out of the hospital with some pretty scary health issues the past several months. I made two small nosegays for her daughters. I made a different arrangement for my friend Cadi, who lent me clothing to wear for my job interview. And I made an arrangement to use as a centerpiece on our dinner table, because we’d asked a couple of other friends to come over for my birthday dinner. Dan ran an errand in Healdsburg and delivered Cadi’s arrangement while I walked to Heather’s house holding a large bouquet in a jar of water in one hand and a smaller jar holding two little ones in the other. My arms were pretty tired by the time I got there! Heather liked her flowers and Natty and Paigey liked theirs quite a bit, so that made me feel good that I was able to make pretty things for them. (I also made an arrangement from the leftovers from my trial centerpieces back in February, though I never blogged about it, and brought it to the girls while Heather was in the hospital.)

For Cadi

For Cadi

After visiting with Heather and her family a little while, I walked home. It was 3.5 miles roundtrip, so I completed my goal of 100 miles by my birthday, and was able to do nice things for other people as well.

For Heather

For Natalie

Wee bouquet

We had tasty homemade Indian food for dinner, and enjoyed our company, and when they were ready to go I offered the dinner centerpiece to Karen for her to take home, which I don’t think she was expecting. I’ve decided it’s fun to surprise people with flowers, and I’m glad that it was the theme of my birthday this year.

For Paige


8 responses to “Bellefleur, part 2: Or, what I did for my birthday

  1. What a wonderful way to spend your birthday…giving to others. Congratulations on your 100-mile goal. That is a really great idea to get and stay active. When I have worn a pedometer in the past, I get kind of addicted to it. It is amazing how much we walk in a given day!

    • Thanks, Alecia! Yep, I love the feedback from my pedometer. I don’t wear it around the house all day, but maybe someday I will just to see how much distance I cover in daily life.

  2. The more I read, the more I come to the realization that you are a wonderful person. I’m glad you had a lovely birthday.

    (Also, roller derby both fascinates me and makes me wince. I’m not at all badass and hate to get hurt, however, the idea of shoving someone kind of makes me excited. Heh.)

    • Aw, K, thanks. I don’t feel like a wonderful person – my giving flowers to others did just as much for me as it did for them!

      I didn’t know how I felt about roller derby until I attended a bout last fall, and I totally loved watching it and wanted to learn more about it.

  3. Such beautiful flowers! Sounds like you had an awesome birthday, and I’m so glad you did.

    I’m with K — roller derby both fascinates and terrifies me. I’d love to experience it vicariously through YOU, though, because I think you’d be a natural.

  4. You should totally do roller derby. TOTALLY.

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