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I am UmberDove.

And by that, I mean an artist.  One who hears stories in the wind, who paints because it is what her soul tells her to do, who smiths because the muse moves through her fingertips, who loves nothing more than the promise of an unexplored trail, the sound of the ocean in her ears, and scent of a serious cup of coffee.


The Polls are Open AND I Had Great Hair!


Friends and Loves, THANK YOU for all the Birthday Well Wishes!  I spent a simply fabulous day with my BC feeling absolutely celebrated.

Included in Saturday's festivities:
Strawberries with sour cream and brown sugar
Juice in a new feather-etched glass
"A Little Poem with Argyle Socks" (you'll hear more about this later...)
Tulips and blue skies
A bustling market and Nutella smothered crumpets
Subterranean history and the scent of old brick
A flirty breeze and a flippy skirt
The view from Space and an amazing meal
Really great hair (this was God's Birthday gift to me)

(We snapped this at a cool 520 feet above ground, with the night wind cool on our faces and the bright lights of our city twinkling below)

(yes, it really was)

And Now:

I know you're ready to cast your vote in the Umber Dove Birthday Contest!  Let me tell you, this is the last time I'll ever throw a contest in which I only get to pick three stories!  There were some fantastic ones written up - laughable, cry-able, and grin-able - and to narrow it down was not easy!  But some how I've managed, and here, for your voting pleasure, are the top three candidates!

Just read through, pick your favorite, and leave me a comment with the name of the Birthday Story you are voting for!  The winner of the custom 12" x 18" pillow will be announced on Wednesday April 15th!

Birthday Story Number 1 - submitted by S.L.

For my 30th birthday, the hubby surprised me. I knew we were going out of town, and I knew we were going to fly on a plane to get to our destination. What I did not know, was where we were going or what we were doing. The only hint I got was this: there's an "R" and a "V" and an "L" and a "B". Huh? I felt like I was talking to my 4 year old nephew trying to decipher a new language. There must be a reason, he's not telling me what it is, I thought to myself. He must be afraid I might not like it. So, I gave up on the guessing game and I resolved, to myself, that I would not get disappointed if we were going to some "boy" sporting event.
Once we arrived at the airport, the destination could only be kept a secret for a short amount of time because you really have to know where you're going to know what plane you need to board. And so while we waited in the lounge area to board our plane to San Jose (ha!) the hubby begins to quietly sing to himself, "Para Bailar La Bamba," with a sneaky smirk on his face.
An "L" and a "B" and an "R" and a "V". "We're going to see Ritchie Valens?" I asked a little embarrassed because we had just watched the movie, "La Bamba" and I knew what happened at the end.
"Yep!" - Sean
"HUH?"- Me
"Well, sorta" - Sean
"What do you mean, we're sorta going to see Ritchie Valens?"....
....We arrived that evening at a concert hall near Ritchie Valen's hometown where each year they host an event and recreate the performance that was given the night of the plane crash called The Winter Dance Party. The concert was given by a Buddy Holly impersonator, a Ritchie Valen's impersonator and the "Big Bopper's" son. Highlights of the night included: Sean taking a picture with Ritchie's brother; Me getting the signature of Ritchie's former girlfriend Donna - yep, the famous Donna from the song, "Oh Donna" and the Buddy Holly impersonator wailing on the guitar to, "Go, Johnny, Go!";
It's known as "The Day the Music Died" and I'm so thankful we got to experience what it must have been like. One day when Sean and I have children, I think we might have to go again so they can appreciate the oldies like we do.
Thank you, Sean for a wonderful 30th!

Birthday Story Number 2 - submitted by E.Z.

For my 13th birthday I was at a new school, the third new school in three years. Needless to say, an awkward age to be the new kid. Additionally, I had the misfortune of looking like Blossom (remember the TV show?). I did nothing to help my case by insisting on wearing outrageously quirky outfits. Yes, I even rocked the bowler hat once. But, fearless in the face of a challenge, I invited some girls to lunch to celebrate the day. I show up at Friday's with a group of 6 or 7 including the Most Popular Girl at school. We are having fun and laughing at the silly waiter's flare, and all is going smoothly. Until....I leave to go to the bathroom, and Popular Girl proceeds to tell the waiter it's my birthday, and, after bringing the cake and singing, he should tell me that I look like Blossom.

Cut to the end of the meal:

The waiter brings a cake, and askes - neigh - insists that I stand on my chair for the birthday song. Not only do all my friends sing, but everyone in the section. When the song is over, the waiter promptly bellows out:

Happy Birthday, YOU LOOK LIKE A POSSOM!!!

My friends were rolling in the aisles laughing as I stood atop my chair, eight shades of red, and not finding it so funny. Unfortunately, no more moves were in the cards for my family, and although I outgrew the Blossom look, there are still a few who love to remind me of that story every year on my birthday.

Birthday Story Number 3 - submitted by B.W.

My best birthday ever. March 26, 2005. Jennifer and I had come to Washington from California to visit for an extended weekend. I was still in college and she was working in administration at a hospital in Redding. We were both looking forward to getting away from school and work and relaxing at her parent's property in the tranquil little town of Maple Valley.
The night before my birthday, we had gone to a concert in Seattle featuring two of our favorite bands at the time, Death Cab and Pedro. For my birthday, we had plans to celebrate with a fancy dinner at the Salish Lodge in Snoqualmie.
We got dressed up, me in my trusty suit and Jenn in some new threads from Buffalo Exchange, and headed to Snoqualmie. The weekend was already so much fun already, and we were excited to stick out like sore thumbs at this fancy restaurant that was way out of our income bracket.
The Salish Lodge is located at the very top of Snoqualmie Falls and our table had a direct view. The entire time we were eating, the falls roared right outside our window. The food was incredible. Our appetizers were brought out raw, and cooked right at our table on heated rocks taken directly from the Snoqualmie River. Our entrees were fantastic- easily the best dinner either of us had ever enjoyed.
After dessert, we decided to take a walk to the viewing platform, just down some stairs from the restaurant. Someone had placed candles all along the stairway on both sides creating a very romantic atmosphere. We enjoyed our glowing descent, with the sound of the rushing falls, the cool mist in the air, and the sweet smell of early spring blossoms.
At the viewing platform, we gazed at the majestic, moonlit falls, and held each other- both of us trying to absorb every last morsel of the sweet moment.
We turned and discovered a CD player that someone had left. I reached down to turn it on, and the platform was filled with the voice of Ray Charles, singing and playing the first song that Jennifer and I had ever danced to. We held each other, and moved to the music. Her head on my chest, our hands clasped, our hearts beating as one: the incredible journey of our relationship thus far played through our minds.
As the song ended, another began to play softly. We stopped moving, held each other tightly, leaned back and looked into each other's eyes.
"Jennifer," I said, "You are the most amazing woman I have ever met. I love you, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you."
Tears were already beginning to form in her eyes as she gazed lovingly into mine. I proceeded to kneel.
"Will you marry me?"

The car ride back to her parents' house was characterized by nervous, giddy, excitement at the future that lay before us. Jennifer was completely unsuspecting, shocked, thrilled, and at peace. We didn't even say a whole lot as we drove down the dark road.
At her parents' house, we were greeted by family and friends who knew infinitely more about what the night held than Jennifer had. I was certain that someone would have mentioned it to her and ruined the surprise, but I was wrong. She showed off her ring (that everyone had already seen!) and recounted the events of the evening (that everyone had a hand in planning) in a way that only she could. I watched her, studied her as she spoke and interacted with everyone, so overjoyed that I would be spending the rest of my life with someone so wonderful.
That was probably my best birthday.

Rock the Vote Friendlies!