My birthday present to you


I’m turning 26 next week, an age I thought I would never reach because I had watched this episode of Unsolved Mysteries in which this girl who said she would die by the time she turned 16. AND SHE DIED! It was a mystery! An–spoiler alert–unsolved one! Whenever I watched Unsolved Mysteries, I desperately wanted something mysterious to happen to me. An apparition in the mirror or a long lost love letter trapped between the pages of an old library book. But everything was straightforward and very solvable. No need to bring Robert Stack into the Mystery of Mona’s Obvious Teenage Weight Gain. I ate pastries and pork belly and chatted on ICQ instead of working on my fitness. I was not possessed by a fat ghost.

I’ve been reminiscing about the first half of my 20s and I like what I’ve done in this quarter century. I got married, had a baby, and graduated with a degree. I got a great job that doesn’t require my having to stand in front of a broken cash register and quickly calculate math and crazy Washington sales tax. Not that having kind of job isn’t awesome and respectable, it’s just that I suffer from math deficiency.

When I was barely 20 years old, I worked the front desk at a gym. When my shift was done, i had to calculate how much was spent and remove the money from the till, and seal it in an envelop along with the receipts and insert the bundle into a steel safe. The end of shift math was one of the most nerve-wracking parts of the job. I worried that I wouldn’t have enough money and that I calculated incorrectly and I couldn’t clock out. So I’m very glad that I don’t have to do that anymore and that I never have to deal with gross men flirting with me at 6 AM.

Now I just have Nathan at that early hour, a toddler who will sometimes respond to my “kiss mommy!” request with a full-on open mouth slobber, causing me to leap back and explain to young Oedipus how mommies and sons are supposed to interact with each other but then I worry that he’ll become way too neurotic about affection because I 99.9% welcome the lovie-dovies but these awkward make-outs? NO NO NO NO.

And back to my birthday countdown!

SUPER PLUS BIG DEAL BONUS: I’m giving away a $26 amazon e-gift card in celebration of my turning the big 2-6.

Here’s what you have to do:

1. Leave a comment anytime between now and January 20th, 2009 at 5 PM PST.
2. Answer the question: What was the most memorable gift you ever gave or received?
3. Optional, but I know you’ll do it anyway because you’re awesome like that: Please subscribe to my new full shiny RSS feed!

I’ll choose a random comment to decide the winner. This is open to everyone living in the US and its territories (that means you, SAIPAN!). I’m also including my Canadian peeps, but instead of an Amazon e-gift card, you’ll get something worth $26. I’m not sure what that is yet, hey that’s like a surprise within a contest! Don’t you love things like that? No? I still love you, even though we the courts have set boundaries between us.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. When I graduated from high school, my parents had bought a vintage trunk and they repainted and reupholstered the inside. Just the amount of work and effort they put into it made it really special. It is one of the few things I still have from my childhood.

  2. When I was 17 my friend Rochelle baked me a heart shaped cake and decorated it for my bday. I don’t know why I was so blown away, but I was. I didn’t even know how to boil water at the time, so I was really touched. Plus I love cake.

  3. Carolyn G says:

    Last year my bestest friend in the world and his wife were having a baby. I wasn’t sure what to get them except for the usual stuff on their registry. SO I decided to do something special for him. He is an architect. So I found some cool architectural fabric and had another friend of mine, who sews, create a baby set for their baby boy. It included a blanket, bibs, clothes, and a shirt for my friend so he could also be like the baby. He loved it because it sort of honored what he does and is passionate about.

  4. When me and my husband were struggling financially early in our marriage, I told him I didn’t want him to get me anything for my birthday. When he came home from work that day, he surprised me with a dozen roses. It was so nice and thoughtful I bawled my head off.

  5. The most awesome gift I ever received is my camera from Carl. I had no idea how much I would take to it, and it’s completely changed my life. Are you going to answer the question too?

  6. Hmmm, this is a good question. Not to sound too cheesy, but I would have to say my engagement ring, not only for how awesome it is, but because it was given amid the best presentation of any gift I’ve ever received. Yeah, I know how corny it sounds, but it’s true.

  7. My parents got me a used violin because I wantedto learn how to play violin as an adult. I was terrible, but it was still fun.

  8. First of all, what is up with 2 year olds and open mouth kissing?! I love the kisses , but please little one, wipe some slobber before you move in!

    The most memorable gift I ever received was the vows and the reading framed from my wedding. Our friend who officiated the ceremony framed everything (vows, reading, invitation and photos) for us so that we’d always remember our day. It was very thoughtful (especially coming from a man!).

  9. (Memorable for all the wrong reasons.)

    My college boyfriend gave me a gas cap for Valentines Day. And it was a REPLACEMENT gas cap, because he’d filled up my car for me somewhere in Louisiana and driven off without it. And DUDE, this was a serious gift, because he WRAPPED IT AND EVERYTHING.

    Suckiest gift EVAH. (We broke up a month later. I CAN’T BELIEVE IT TOOK A MONTH.)

    Happy Birthday!

  10. Hey Happy Birthday Week!

    One year my buddy bought me a guitar for my birthday. A new one that cost a lot of money. And we were just buddies too, not going out. I could never figure out why he was so generous that year but it was an awesome gift and I played it a lot.

  11. For Christmas my friend Ryan gave me a 3 day backcountry trip in the Cascades. he bought me gear, rented me gear, payed for everything, had a playlist set up for the car, had a million things up his sleeve. and he made sure to take plenty of pictures to put on facebook cause he knows i’m like that. It was the best gift in the world because it proved how well he knew me, and he had put so much work into it.

  12. When I was 12 my parents got me a pink bicycle. I think I put 100,000 miles on that thing. Then I ditched it because pink bikes weren’t cool. Oh how I miss that shiny pink bike.

  13. Welcome to the other side! Anyway, 26 is still young; wait until you turn 27!!

    I feel like we talked about Unsolved Mysteries recently. Am I just dreaming it? I am scared out of my mind by Unsolved Mysteries. When I was in high school, it showed every night at about 8:30 or 9:00, just as I was coming home from work. And my mom watched it in the living room every single night. I’d ask her to change the channel cause it freaked me out. And she’d say, “there’s nothing to be scared of…it’s unsolved!” YES! IT IS UNSOLVED! Meaning they don’t know how or why it happened. Meaning it could happen to me! And if it happened to me, I’d die!

    And not like showing it once a night was enough. Oh no, it totally put a dent in my falling asleep routine. I would watch MTV or some other crap until midnight, at which time I would switch over to Lifetime and watch an episode of the Golden Girls (that’s right, you aren’t the only one, ha ha), which was entertaining yet relaxing enough to help lull me to sleep. Except that the next show on was Unsolved Mysteries!! I can’t fall asleep with that on in the background. Because whatever was showing might just happen to me! And I’d die. So I’d switch back to MTV or some other crap, and as long as there was no preview for a scary movie showing, I’d turn on my sleep timer and go to bed.

    If I even hear the theme song, I immediately start praying. I’m a chicken like that, but I fully embrace my chicken-ness.

    And OMGosh! Be thankful you never saw an apparition in the mirror, because I tell you, my old government house on Capitol Hill is totally haunted! And living in a haunted house totally sucks! I still have nightmares about it. For rizzle!

    Hmmm….most memorable gift? Well, I still have my teddy bear, Theo, that my uncle and aunt gave me when I was like 3. And I love the engraved cigarette case my old roommate, Marissa, gave me when I turned 18 and could finally legally buy my own smokes – it was even more awesome because it fit my B&H 100’s! And the penis cake my friends bought me for one of our Friday night drinking sessions at Shirley’s house when I turned 16. No, wait…I mean..I turned 21…yeah…yeah. And I love the bass guitar my brother in law bought me one year and the stand my friend, Rob, bought to follow. Unfortunately, I still suck at the bass guitar.

    I am finished taking over your blog now. Talk to you later! And happy early birthday!!!

  14. best birthday gift i received? probably my brand new shiny nissan pathfinder back in high school (with all my cousin to carpool to boot!)

  15. 26! I have shoes older than you.

    My most memorable gift was my 16th birthday party. My parents were going through the ugly motions of divorce, and didn’t even notice it was my birthday. No card. No anything. My friend Rhonda’s wonderful mom threw together a small surprise party for me after school one day. It was just her family. So sweet. I burst into tears, and couldn’t stop crying. I will never forget their act of kindness.

    Whhhaaaahhhh, whaaaahhh Debbie Downer strikes again.

  16. Enjoy the big 2-6!

    Best gift, hmmm, that is a tough one! I’m 40 … I’ve received many a gift. I guess my favorites used the be the BIG whopping checks my dad used to give us for Christmas … there were several zeros. Then he read some silly book, the checks stopped and our Christmas’s were never the same. I sure wish he would have given us ‘the gravy train stops here’ speech, before I ran up my credit card.

  17. Shirley Eugist says:

    What was the most memorable gift you ever gave or received?

    For my birthday a couple of weeks ago, I got an iPhone! It has already revolutionized my life! Yay iPhone!

  18. When my boyfriend (now husband) and I were dating, I had a running joke that none of my previous relationships had lasted longer than 90 days. So when we hit the 120-day mark, I left a box of 2,000 Flushes (the drop-in toilet bowl cleaner) on his doorstep. With it was a note that read: “Here’s to stuff that lasts four months.” He still says that was the best present he ever got. šŸ™‚

  19. When I was seven, Jimmy, the boy I had a crush on at summer camp, won a money clip for me from one of those arcade claw machines. We were on a field trip with the whole camp. It came in a gray, fake-velvet case, and, as we rode the school bus back at the end of the day, the shiny metal $ shape seemed like the most beautiful thing in the world.

  20. On my birthday for the last several years, my parents for some reason decide that I want a Coach bag, despite my gentle annual protestations against it. I’ve just never really wanted a bag with giant CCCCC patterns all over it.

    Though I guess I haven’t managed to completely dissuade them, my mom did seem to express some form of hesitation before actually buying a Coach bag. Instead, for my birthday present, my mom gave me clipping of a newspaper advertisement for Coach bags with the following written in her “best English” with a Sharpie: “Do U Want a this bag?”

    I couldn’t stop cracking up. Here’s a scan of the clipping:


  21. I just got a necklace with my kids names on it. I love it!

  22. unsolved mysteries freaked me out when i was a kid. scary!!

    when my grandmother passed away, my mom and i were in charge of cleaning up her house and we found all these homemade quilts that she had made. my mom took them home and then one year later, she gave everyone in the family a quilt to have along with a scrapbook of photos that she had scanned into a book so that everyone had a keepsake.

    definitely most memorable gift. (that or my tivo!)

  23. Happy Early Birthday Mona!

    Mine is at the end of the month turning the big 3-1!

    Best gift ever…when my son made me a Valentine’s Day photo frame with hearts all over the sides when he was in the first grade(his pic even had glue smeared all over the place). Even better. the shy way he crept up to me and held out the gift!

  24. Happy Birthday! And you’re such a young pup.

    Most memorable received: I think the one that has best withstood the test of time. For my high school graduation, my mother gave me a portable Bernina sewing machine. That was pretty big stuff then (um, it was nearly 30 years ago), and now that machine is an antique in the sewing world of computer-driven stitches, sergers etc. But it still works, I still sew on it as well as mend my friends’ clothes, and I’ve used it every year since high school and I can’t think of anything else that I can say that about.

    Most memorable given: again, let’s go with the “withstood the test of time” theme. When we first met, my in-laws were using this old stainless-sided toaster that they had bought in the 50’s or some such. Well back then, all the bread was skinny and fit down those thin slots, but the same couldn’t be said in the 90’s. They couldn’t toast bagels or thick-cut bread or even English muffins. But they weren’t going to buy another toaster because “this one still works fine.” So I bought them a toaster-oven. They didn’t even know that toaster ovens were intended to make toast in! So they loved it, they toasted pound cake and broiled bacon and made grilled cheeses in it and all sorts of things, and at least once a month for the next five YEARS they phoned me to exclaim about how great that toaster oven was. For a little while, they phoned me every time they used it so I was getting calls a couple times a day!

  25. You’re gonna hate me because this isn’t at all what you (probably) expected. Last year, on my birthday I woke up with a massive hangover on Guam; from a dream about the mafia’s plan to capture and kill my then estranged soon-to-be ex-husband. A dark and evil drug lord held a decapitated skull in his hands, licking his fingers with the blood he dipped in it. He was planning to do the same to my ex. It had been weeks since the ex had left me and my four kids and I was on the verge of hysteria. As a matter of fact, I was alone in a hotel room, drunk out of my skull and nowhere near anyone who could have helped, if I had let them. In my dream, the night before, I tried to stop the bad guys. In my dream again, I pursued my ex, pleading and warning him that danger was imminent and if he followed me, we’d flee and be safe. He took one look at me, drunken and lost, and wobbled away in the arms of another woman, laughing at my agony. It was while I watched him drive away that I realized I could not save him, but I could save me. I woke up the next morning, on my 37th birthday, after 16 years of marriage and gave myself the gift of life.

  26. best present ever: surprise christmas tree!! first one ever!

  27. The best give I ever gave was for Christmas to my wife. We had moved into our new house in Bremerton, WA in the fall while I was out to sea. When I came home for Thanksgiving we gathered with a few of our friends. My wife is a great cook. Check out the grinds she cooks.
    Anyhow, she had almost burned down our house during the gathering because she left the stove while trying to put a movie in the DVD for the kids to be occupied. Of course with my Navy training on Fighting fires; our house only sustained a few burn stains on our lynoleum floor and a minor burn on the microwave above the stove. To make fun of what had happened, I bought a fire extinguisher for christmas and put her name on it. I gotta find that video and post it on flickr. It was a kodak momemt.

  28. my friend gave me a pendant she bought on etsy. it the golden girls and it says thank you for being a friend. i am a golden girls super fan!

  29. Shirley Eugist says:

    Wow. I vote for Si’Boni’s story!