Sunday, December 17, 2006

Luminous birthday

I turned 46 yesterday. I’m more than halfway through even if I live a generously long life. It’s OK, I’ve packed in 4 lifetimes into this one. And yesterday, I packed in more than a day’s worth of fun for my 46th.

I started as usual with my morning routine while listening to satellite radio's "Classic Christmas,” a station that plays renaissance and classical holiday music. I love satellite radio, no commercials.

A friend had invited me to dinner but early in the day we rescheduled for Monday night because of that cold going around. Our changed plans left me free to tour through the famous Luminaries and Live Manger after dark.

My father had sent me an expensive Barnes and Noble gift certificate so I felt released from my budgetary restrictions and I spent 2 hours shopping for books without worrying about the total. I love bookstores, and the exhilaration of tossing new books into my basket without looking at the price was pretty great.

The reviews were good for "The Pursuit of Happyness" and I agree, it’s a good movie. If I ever think I am in a bad spot then just remember Chris Gardner, who went through the Dean Witter unpaid internship program as a single dad caring for his son while homeless. What an inspirational story.

After the matinee, dark had fallen so I went to see the luminaries and Live Manger. I was so excited I stopped every few feet to take pictures with my newly found "nighttime setting” on my camera. The driveways are really, really long so the candles’ yellow glow sweeps over the knolls, disappearing into the dark under the bright stars overhead. At one small development, every driveway had glowing candles and even the cul de sac was lined. A young boy was dancing inside the circle, arms outstretched, chin to sky and singing.

The Live Manger is a real manger with real people enacting the Holy Night. Sheep and dogs and goats wander around the strewn hay bales and inside the manger are Joseph, Mary, a baby, and three Wise Men in period dress. Angels sit atop and shepherds with crooked staffs care for the camels nearby. Piped music floats over the scene, carols and hymns, “Away in a Manger” and “Silent Night.” The warm evening air made for a pleasant and relaxed visit. The scene attracts visitors from many nearby counties who pet the camel and take photos and sing with the music. I’ll post the pictures tomorrow.

Then I came home and watched the end of Much Ado About Nothing which was filmed in beautiful Chianti at a castle I’d visited once. So for my birthday I traveled from Athens to Bethlehem to Tuscany. See what I mean about packing it in? I have more plans with friends for Sunday and there’s the re-scheduled dinner on Monday. Nice birthday weekend. I wonder what the next 46 years will be like?


Gallery/Studio said...

Happy birthday dear Elizabeth, Happy birthday to you!



Louie B said...

Happy birthday EP.

Have you read "Delusions of God" yet?

Anonymous said...


Elizabeth Prata said...

Thank you so much for your birthday wishes! I really appreciate them. LouieB, do you mean Richard Dawkins, in 'The God Delusion?' I have not read it. It's the book where scientist Dawkins is intolerant of oppressive religions, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday!!! Glad it went well. You deserve the happiness. -Chuck

Louie B said...

The short answer is "Yes".

christie said...

Happy belated birthday, Elizabeth!

There is very little that tops hours spent perusing the bookshelves for a few treasures to take home. Care to share what's on the reading list?


Elizabeth Prata said...

Hi Christie! Thaks for the well-wishes.

I bought John Stewart's "America" which I love. It's hilarious. Also several Paul Coehlo books, the Brazilian author. "Divine Proportion" an art book exmining the golden mean in architecture. It was expensive so I never would have bought it, but having seen so many beautiful buildings of the Renaissance in Italy, understanding the reason for their beauty (not just aesthetic) gives me another way to appreciate them.

I also bought a leather weekly planner I plan to use as a journal. I have a friend who pastes things into her planner as well as writing in it, so by year's end it is an art book/chronicle of her life. I am copying her process!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Elizabeth! May You be Blessed with many, many, more!

Dj Landry said...

Elizabeth - You sound great. Its nice to hear you writing on a lighter note - I really enjoyed it. Happy belated birthday and thanks for all your support with the Gallery- Studio. Love, Dj
ps I really miss the political debates between you and Alex.

Elizabeth Prata said...

Hi DJ<

Thanks! I miss the family. The kitchen was always warm and wlecoming and the talk on all the subjects was always good. I miss being the Dictionary at your Scrabble tourneys!