I always like to do two things for my birthday: something sentimental and go out for a fabulous dinner.
This year, the fabulous dinner portion of my day consists of Jardiniere. It's a repeat of last year because I absolutely adore dressing up and dining on the balcony, basking in all of its streamline moderne glamour. And on my birthday, I don't necessarily want to take a chance on a new place. I want to be guaranteed a fabulous time. No surprises.
So the other birthday tradition is some sort of wallowing in sentimentality. This can take the for of playing old records, or looking through my plentiful scrapbooks. But this year it was manifest in my going through all my CDs, my remaining stash of tapes, and my DVDs.
Yes, I still had a significant stash of tapes, despite not having played one in at least a decade. You see, many of them held a sentimental place in my heart. For years, in high school, I had pen pals all across the US and even one in Australia. And in addition to sending me all manner of interesting paper ephemera that was indicative of the time and place wherein they lived, people also always sent me mix tapes.
You see, in addition to being a serious music junkie, I had my own radio show in high schol. I started at the small high school a.m. radio station and by senior year had secured a slot at my local college radio station, with an early morning Saturday slot, as art of the alternative rock programming. Thus, my penpals always endeavored to send me unique bootlegs and import records, via tape, for me to weave into my shows.
In those pre-Internet days, your awareness of interesting music was truly only as good as your personal network — or your budget when traveling in from the valley to San Francisco– allowed it to be. And I had an exceedingly good network, as these relics of those days gone by reminded me.
Now, I have much of the music fro those mixtapes on vinyl or CD, so in the end, I decided to get rid of most of them. But I did hang on to a few, especially those made by dear friends, and at least one tape of my college radio show, taped for me by my mom.
I also found a stash of CDs from the incredibly fun (tho short-lived) SF Indie Mixtape club circa 2004. I have fond memories of spending hours constructing just the right playlist. Then playing around with my stash of collage supplies to create an appropriate cover image. Good times.
This past year has been a pretty tough one for me. Busier than I would have liked. And with less time spent with beloved friends than is strictly optimal. But on the flipside of that, I also got to travel to Scotland and meet in person some of my favorite folks on the Interwebs. Of course that trip made me wish there wasn't an ocean between us and the UK.
In summary, another year past, and another year ahead. I hope to keep myself mindful that we only live this life once, and thus it is imperative to make the most of each day.