Monday, September 15, 2014

A Birthday in Bellingham, WA and the awesomely amazing band, Breaking the Spell

In August 2014, I had a couple of weeks off from work for my birthday. Actually, I just wanted to do a blog this week on something fun.

There is so much distressing stuff going on in the world, I just thought a little Me time was needed. That is, Us time, you and me time; that is to say, you time.

You'll see what I mean in a moment. I just want to share a few ideas with you about birthdays, as well as what my birthday was all about this year on my 59th birthday. Good grief, how'd I ever last this long? Considering my life overall, it's a little bit amazing. I don't feel like I'm 59, just my body does.


I always take my birthday off. I do this because at some point in my life I had realized that up to that point, I never yet had worked on my birthday. This year for my birthday, I drove my daughter (22, stage name, Gosling) and I up to her home in Bellingham. She had stayed a few days with her mother and I stayed a few days up there with her.

You can read about her travels over at her blog on Tiny Bird Travels. I'll also be mentioning two bands below in this blog today, Skitnik (her new band) and Breaking the Spell (friends of hers and now mine),
Our faithful German Shepherd, 12 today!
I have awesome kids and I couldn't be more proud of them. My son (26) is working doing IT work in Portland and is very good at math and physics (I'm not) and is planning starting a new business soon, and has many ideas for a variety of interesting projects. He also taught himself keyboards. Both of my kids are talented in art and music.

I lived in Bellingham when I was at Western Washington University. I didn't want to leave after I graduated, but I wanted to eat. I had a degree and no job and couldn't find a reasonable job in Bellingham. It's a small community and after graduation time, all of the jobs (degree related) are usually long gone. So I ended up going back to my old job in Tacoma at Tower. They had just started Tower Video and my old boss and friend from our Tower Records days, hired me back.

We then transferred to Seattle, got an apartment and managed that Tower Video store. I worked with Jeff Ament, bass player for Pearl Jam (Green River at the time, pre Mother Love Bone). In fact he turned his job as media buyer (I had been the media buyer at the Tacoma store) over to me when he quit to try and be a "real musician" as he put it. Such a n ice guy and so talented himself! He did well, I think.

Getting back to it, my daughter and I partied on my birthday and had a great deal of fun.

On that day, August 30th, we had drinks at a great establishment with her friends, so many flavors there in their drinks and infused alcohols. We went elsewhere for some delicious foods and more drinks and saw Breaking the Spell, a very talented band at their CD release party. I'm listening to their CD now as I write this, a gift from the band to me on my birthday.

It was one of my best birthdays in more than a month of Sundays. Well, in nearly a decades anyway.
But, I'll get to that in a moment....

My never having worked on my birthday, was something to speak of. In considering how impossible that was in my life, it was a truly markedly amazing thing. When I was in the Air Force, they had told me we (the guys in the Survival Equipment Shop, I was a Parachute Rigger) could have off either our birthday or our wedding anniversary (as I was married). I chose my anniversary, but also got my birthday off every year. Just luck I guess. But then I was in many ways their golden boy.

So when I decided years later about this, to simply make a thing of it in for rest of my life, as could be possible depending on things, I would just try never to work on my birthday. And it's lasted this long.

My family, my mother actually, always thought you should celebrate your birthday. Considering how life can be, the one day you can guarantee for yourself is, your birthday. Christmas is nice, but that's about everybody. Your birthday, is about you and only you. Well, except for me. You see, my mother was born on my birthday. Yes, on my birthday.

Anyway, even if no one else celebrates it, you can. You simply have to just do it. On our birthdays as kids we had to do no chores and we were treated like kings (or my sister or mother, as queens). No picking on the Birthday Kid on their day!

And so I've always tried to celebrate the birthday of others in just such a way. But I've been surprised by the push back on that from some people through my life. Still, in my house on your birthday, you are King or Queen for a day.

At some point I decided to start taking time off beyond and before my birthday. Since Labor Day is near to my birthday, it just made sense to attach my birthday holiday to a real holiday and in doing so, save on my vacation time from work.

As my birthday is on August 30th (and my mother's having been born on my birthday perhaps having something to do with my feelings about celebrating it), I can put my vacation days together and turn a three day Labor Day holiday into a full week off for only an additional four, not five days.

Eventually, I ended up taking off two weeks. It just kind of evolved that way over the years. Update, because of the weather around here lately, I may stop that long vacation thing and back it up in the summer so I have more consistently nice days so I can ride my Harley more. Climate change, sucks.

I remember at times when I was looking for a new job, one of my make or break issues in taking the job actually was, if they wouldn't guarantee for me to take my birthday off. I simply wouldn't take the job if I would have to work on my birthday. Hey, it just turned into a "thing" with me, what can I say. Luckily, that never came to be an issue.

At some point in my life, after I had kids mostly, I took on the idea of giving to others closest to me on my birthday. I figured that if it is my birthday, whether anyone gave to me or not, really mattered little, as long as I got to do what I liked. Which was to give to those I loved most, celebrating my appreciation for their being there in my life and helping to make my special day, special.

So this year, during my two weeks off, I had wanted to ride my Harley on a trip somewhere.

Alas, weather and timing didn't work out well for me. As it turned out, my daughter needed a ride home back to Bellingham. So we worked it out that I would pick her up at her mother's and drive her home the couple of hours it would take driving north, and bring my dog, and stay few a few days.

She told me later that her mother said (as we're divorced now some twelve years) that I think my birthday is a national holiday. Quite, and it should be. Everybody party!

So we got up to Bellingham to her home. This was the second time I saw it. The first time was a month ago when I helped her move into it from her huge house on Lake Samish with its view of the mountain across the lake.

On my birthday, we rode our bicycles (I brought mine up with me on the bike rack on the back of my 1994 Volvo 850 Turbo. We rode the couple of miles into downtown to meet with her boss at the record store where she works. She has several jobs, kayaking and teaching it, giving tours and recently got hired as an art teacher at a school.
Redligh bar, Bellingham WA
They are known for providing fine, carefully made cocktails. I loved this place.
Inside Redlight bar, Bellingham WA
We hung out with a few of her friends.
Temple Bar, Bellingham WA
Sorry for the blurriness of some of these photos but they were kind of a spur of the moment after many drinks kind of effort. After a while we got hungry so we walked our bikes over to the Temple Bar on the other side of town, along with her boss. We had more drinks and tasty samplings of their food.
Looking out from the Temple Bar
At one point, after so many drinks (it wasn't ridiculous over the time we took, along with hydrating with glasses of water and food, but it was more drinks in a night then I am used to anymore) I needed to take a walk outside on such a beautiful night. We were having a great time. I just wanted to burn off some of he alcohol. So I walked to the end of the block. The night was so beautiful I had to take a few shots.
Down the street from the Temple Bar
End of the block from the Temple Bar
After a while it was time to head out. On our bicycles. I hadn't ridding that buzzed in a long, long time. But we returned home without incident. Then we decided to go to her friend's CD release party for their band, Breaking the Spell. They also have a Facebook page. You can listen to their music and buy their CD here.

A word about my daughter on music. She has traveled Europe twice, starting in Iceland, with her accordion. The first time she traveled alone for nine months paying her way by playing music. She's been in several bands and recently was just accepted into the band, Skitnik, a Bavarian kind of fun music band, and right up her alley. She can really get a room up and moving and laughing and basically just having a great time with her music.

Sadly we got to the release party just a bit late and only caught the last two songs in the set. But it was enough to be able to appreciate the awesome talent of this band.
Breaking the Spell
The party was at the Circus Guild building.

The first thing I saw entering the building were these mermaid sculptures. It is a big space where there is plenty of room for circus type stuff to happen. A winter home for a circus venue or a place where those types of talents can be performed. They also rent out their space for things just like, a CD release party.

The music coming off the stage was amazing and I do love a good sax. After the show the band were signing CDs and I definitely wanted one. But in being good friends of my daughter's and knowing it was my birthday, they wouldn't let me pay them for a CD or autographs. But they gave me both.

We talked to them for a while and then headed home. I for one, was exhausted. So much so that I headed home with my dog, the next day. But it was an amazing time and one that I will never forget, for the rest of my life!

Take the time to make your birthday your own special day. Break out of the mold. Go do something, extraordinary. All the best to you! This birthday is going to be a hard one to beat in the future. But sometimes it's not about what's bigger or better, but more beautiful, more relaxed, more pleasing in enjoying things, like a beautiful night, a good drink, or time with loved ones.

Cheers to you, and a happy birthday to you when your birthday arrives!

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