Flying Pizza Stories On My Birthday
Sunday, September 12, 2010

Post Edit: I wrote this little number last night around midnight after a lot of wine. I apologize in advance for my blabbering.

So, tonight I have just turned another corner in my life . . . another year, another 365 days in front of me.  

I wouldn't even be posting this except for the fact that I went out with friends and we had wine, tonight. 

A lot of wine. 

But, here's what I have to say, especially to all you young mommy bloggers. 

I have always lived a life full of fun and adventure and ridiculousness and I thought I couldn't live life more to the hilt and then I met this man who took life and just blew it up and made it grander than I ever thought possible. Even when we had no cash. Even when we were working in restaurants and relying on tips and the beginning of our dreams. 

We lived life hard. Always. 

I remember turning 28 years old. And at 28, I had a tiny house and a solid job. We filled that thimble sized house with friends and family as much as possible. There was always a reason to have a party. There was always fun to be had. There was always the stuff of nonsense going on in our home. 


My Hubby gave me a party on my 28th birthday. It was a surprise party. But I shouldn't have been surprised. The year before, he'd given me a surprise party and he kept at it until after my 30th birthday. 

He excels at parties and surprises. Life should always be celebrated in his eyes. 

Anyway, at my 28th birthday party, someone knocked over my plant stand. It held one of those constantly burgeoning spider plants in a wrought iron stand. Someone barged into it and over it went. 

And when it toppled over, everyone at the party stopped their conversation to watch.

The plant stand crashed to the ground and as it hit, an object came flying out of the plant, like a missile. 

I had no idea what it was, but immediately people started whooping and cheering and exploding with laughter. 

I walked over to the spilled plant and I couldn't believe my eyes. 

It was a dried up piece of pizza, certainly put in the plant from one of the many parties before this one. 

I was mortified. A freakin-ass dried out piece of pizza had come flying out of my plant during a party. 

It nearly ruined me as I pretended to go along, laughing with the maniacal crowd. 

But I was mortified. How long had there been a piece of pizza in my plant? And now a houseful of people thought I kept my pizza leftovers in my plants. 

One of my dearest friends noticed my humiliation. She came up to me and I'll never forget what she said, "Don't be embarrassed. So big deal, during one of the zillions of parties you have, someone in a full house, slipped a piece of pizza in your plant and you never noticed. Another great story to add to the stories of your life. And you have the best stories of anyone I know. And that is s sign of a life well lived. So you need to celebrate that damn pizza."

Even though my friend's words were well intentioned, it still bothered me. So I kept that story to myself. 

But tonight, I'm freeing my pizza story. 

I don't know why, but that memory popped up in my brain tonight and after all these years of living this zany, madcap adventure of a life, I realized my friend was right. I will go out to dinner with my family on my birthday and I will raise a glass to myself and say, "To a life well lived."

So for today, on this the day of my birth, in the midst of my 40's, I say to all of you, but mostly to you young ones, may your life overflow with overturned plant stands full of dried up pizza. Because, that is what every bit of this is about. 

Have fun. And never, ever take your life too seriously.

Another Post Edit:

It is now morning and I'm in my bed, a bed filled with dogs and daughters and one amazing man who made me a fried egg and gouda croissant sandwich and stuck a candle in it and as I sit here ending this post, my inbox is filling at a fast and furious rate with all kinds of birthday wishes. 

I am blessed beyond measure. 

And I will be forever grateful for a life and pizza that flies out of plant stands.

I had a very special shout out this morning from a dear friend of mine. 

Joseph Husslein is riding his bike across the country, 3,240 miles in 41 days, in an endeavor to raise money for the foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters. 

He's calling it the Little Big Ride and you can read all about his incredible feat here on his website,  You can follow along with him as he blogs about his daily rides across the country. 

Today, he begins his ride and he has dedicated the first day of his ride to me. MEEEE!!! I say with a Justin Bieber adolescent girl type squeal. 

Remember Joseph in the next 41 days as he treks through 11 different states, riding his heart out and if you can, you can donate to his worthy cause at 

Ride hard, Joe. My prayers and good wishes go with you. 

Today's Birthday Download: A long time ago, I will admit, I loved Kenny Loggins. That's right. Me. Kenny Loggins. I know, surprising. But I liked him well before his days of the awfulness of "Footloose" and all those other bad, bad movie soundtracks. I was his fan when it was just him and his melodious voice and his brilliant songwriting. This is my favorite Kenny Loggins' song—"Celebrate Me Home". It is just so heartfelt and sweet and lovely. 

I went over to youtube in search of a good Kenny Loggins video of him singing this song live, but I stumbled upon this, instead. A video of soldiers coming home from war set to Kenny's song. And I thought this was more appropriate for the day after 9/11. A heady reminder of those who sacrifice so much for our freedom. No matter which side of the fence you stand on, we all need to keep in our hearts and prayers our troops and the thousands of innocent lives lost 9 years ago, yesterday. 

Never forget.


Nancy C said...

I hope you had an amazing birthday. The pizza story makes me smile. I am turning 36 years old, and now I'm trying to think if I have lived life in a non-manicured, authentic way.

I would like to think so.

Anonymous said...

So glad you are having a great birthday. And the day is young! The pizza story is a good one. Whoever thought a dried up slice of pizza hidden in a fern could be a metaphor for life, but there you go. Enjoy the rest of the day. No laundry!

Ami said...

I could try to top your pizza story (ha, see what I did there?? TOP your PIZZA....) with the story of how a mummified mouse rolled out from under my old refrigerator when we got a new one.... but I'm too busy smiling at your life and your joy in it.

Melissa B. said...

Oh, the wine posts are often the best ones! Hope your birthday is/was a blast...

The Furry Godmother said...

I trust that there will be more wine tonight. Enough to make your couch cough up a pair of shoes.

And cake. It's just not a birthday without cake.

Happy day, dear lady.

liz said...

you're an incredible person, Joann. and you deserve an equally incredible birthday.

Pat said...

Well, Happy Birthday! I love the pizza-in-a-plant story! It just proves that you had good times at your place! Lots of parties!

That video was very moving.

alicia said...

Hope you have a fab b-day. You are truly an inspiration.

Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal said...

Okay, the video is making me cry! I've been there and the faces, especially the kids, just make me like jello. Feel like yesterday. Great song. Kenny had a few good ones. I love Footloose mostly because of the episode of Will and Grace. So hilarious.

Happy Birthday! May you have many more pizza in plants stories to tell. Thanks for spreading the laughter :)

Beth Zimmerman said...

Happy Birthday! And may pizza continue to fly out of your plants! :)

Beth Zimmerman said...

Happy Birthday! And may pizza continue to fly out of your plants! :)

Nicki said...

Happy Birthday!!! Love the pizza story! Sounds like you have a wonderful hubbie too!!!

Jennifer Vanderbeek said...

Happy Birthday! May you have much wine and a shoe shopping spree in your future!

Love that Kenny Loggins song, too, though I'm a little partial to House at Pooh Corner, too.

Tiffaney said...

Happy, happy birthday, Joann!! Enjoy every moment of everyone celebrating how fabulous you truly are!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Joann! Your friend? wise woman and it really is all about living.

Cari said...

I loved the pizza story - that is too funny. Definitely something you will remember forever.

Happy Birthday to you :) You and my mom share a birthday!

Cheryl said...

Happy, happy birthday Joann! I'm so glad I found your little space in the blogosphere. It sounds like I missed some crazy parties! Pizza in a plant - priceless!

Mom vs. the boys said...

That a was great, a brilliant post! Happy Birthday to you! Cheers!

Anonymous said...

I am SO glad you took time to celebrate wonderful you and your wonderful life. What a happy, lovely post.
And IF pizza is the WORST thing to come flying out at a party, I'd say you're doing okay.

Anonymous said...

I am SO glad you took time to celebrate wonderful you and your wonderful life. What a happy, lovely post.
And IF pizza is the WORST thing to come flying out at a party, I'd say you're doing okay.

Sherri said...

Happy Birthday! Mine was on Saturday, and I am also reeling into my late 40's....I love this pizza story, and I love how you put this forth to those younger bloggers out there. So many things to worry about when we are young, which really don't matter in the big scheme of life.

And yea for your biker friend!!

The Bipolar Diva said...

I love the pizza story! I'm kind of afraid to look in my plant. Yes, plant, I've killed all but one.
Happy, Happy birthday!!

Baby Sister said...

Pizza story was awesome!!

Happy Birthday,again!! :)

TesoriTrovati said...

Have a freakin' fantastic sort of birthday! But somehow I don't think that I even need to wish that for you...instead I wish that you will recover from your freakin' fantastic birthday quickly.

Celebrating you!

Great song choice.

Enjoy the day!

Funny in My Mind said...

what a fabulous birthday you get every year.
I love the way you see life.
We did the waitress bartender thing too and then we bought a restaurant.
What kind of pizza was it?

W.C.Camp said...

Hey if you guys are nice enough to throw parties all the time, then nobody dare judge for a random piece of pizza in a pot. Where did they think all of that stuff comes from? W.C.C.

Tracie Nall said...

A late happy birthday to you!

Good for you freeing the pizza story. Heres to a life full of fun!! =)

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

Happy, happy birthday!
Ain't it grand when you can grab life by the butt and give it a good squeeze?
And best of luck to Joseph on his Little Big Ride.
By the way, LOVED the pizza story.. I laughed out loud and that's a tall order on a Monday morning.

Cecelia Winesap said...

That is a wonderful story and a great reminder to live life to the fullest. Happy birthday to You!

Hills said...

Wow. Lovely story, well told.

Bravo and happy happy birthday.

I'm so pleased to have found you.

(And I never get all sweet and mushy, so really...well done.)

- B x

Dawn in D.C. said...

Sorry I missed you yesterday (I was on the road). But Happy HAPPY Birthday, my Virgo sistah!

McKenzie said...

Sounds like you have had a great deal of wonderful birthdays! This was a truly great post, and I really enjoyed reading it. Your pizza story was awesome =].

Here's to a full and happy life and many many more years to come!

Rae said...

I like to think I am The Pizza in My Plant kinda gal!
I am glad you shared your story and that you embrace life now without being mortified. You never fail to make me smile...Thanks!

joanna said...

Who would've thought a post about an old, dried up piece of pizza could be so refreshing? You tell a great story. You've definitely inspired me to open my heart to more fun. Life moves too fast to be serious all time.

Best of luck to your friend. Another inspiration!

Alexandra said...

Happy, Happy Birthday

Yes, you are blessed in so many ways.

I can't help but know it's because of the way you treat those that come into your life.

Celebrate, enjoy, revel, ponder: it is the sum of your days, that's what your birthday is.

Happy Birthday, sweet, sweet Joann Mannix.

Your words are your gift to us.

Thank you.

cheri said...

would you believe that we are born days apart?! no wonder you're like the sister i never had :0

happy birthday! oh, and i totally get your mortification over a year-old pizza...

Yuliya said...

Happy happy birthday, may your life always be filled with wonderful surprises whether they come in the form of carnivorous plants or not
(and that's what you say next time you discover your plant has been eating pizza, it's carnivorous, ok?)

Joy said...

Happy Birthday!!!

Thank you so much for spilling the dirt on the pizza story! That made my day. :)

Average Girl said...

Happy belated! I love your pizza story and analogy -- much nicer than me recently finding (what I think was) a turkey sandwich that had been in my daughter's closet all summer from the last day of school. Best wishes to you for many more years of surprises!

Missy @ Wonder, Friend said...

Happy Birthday! May all of your plants forever be full of flying pizzas!

The Blogging Goddess said...

Love your place...never been here, not even in a past life...which is amazing and very stupid on my part, but as we get older we learn, don't we. Great story and a very happy birthday.

twelvedaysold said...

Happy birthday Joann :)

Gigi said...

hi dear friend,

I am sorry I am late to the birthday wish party. A bit distracted with the blog challenge. This is the only blog post I'm reading today and it's because I love you and hope you had a wonderful day full of love and surprises!

Judie said...

Was it homemade pizza, or was it delivery? Just curious.

Cupcake Murphy said...

Happy Birthday Dear One.

The Drama Mama said...

I'm sorry I'm late, but I hope you had a great birthday. It sounds like it had the makings of one, and you are right. THere's been a lot of grief and trouble in my life, but the good times, and the laughter, FAR FAR outweigh the bad times. Sometimes I think that maybe I wouldn't appreciate those good times as much if it weren't for the bad.

Beautiful post, as always.

Deborah said...

Happy birthday and as for the pizza, it must have been an awesome pizza-eating for that piece to have landed in the plant. Who cares yes?

I am in love with your husband. Don't be mad.

jayayceeblog said...

Love, love, love the pizza story. Wish I had one to tell! Hope this birthday tops every other one in fabulousness and they just keep getting better every year! Thanks for sharing your stories with us Inquiring Mind Internetters!

Amethystmoon said...

Wow! I'm reading this while waiting for my car to be repaired at Kia and people are looking at me funny because I'm truly laughing out loud! and then they must tink I'm crazy because I start tearing up. This is such a great story with such a great message! Raise your wine glass (mine will have Guinness in it) to pizza in plants!

One more thing: After reading this; I am even ore excited about meeting you!

Deidra said...

The chaos of a fun life is always something to celebrate, no matter what ways it uses to remind you. :)

randine said...

OH! Happy Belated Birthday. So sorry I missed it. You are such a great writer, your pizza story made me laugh and cry.

I feel that way sometimes with my life-although I've never specifically had a pizza in my plant. But there is beauty in chaos, somehow. We just have to be able to see it that way.

Erica said...

I adore the story about the freaking dried up pizza. To me, it's like the occasional wine stain or scratch on the wall. Just signs of life and living. I worry about people whose homes seem tooo perfect. How boring for them!

Sounds like you had a marvelous birthday with your marvelous family, friends, and mister man.


Unknown said...

Happy Birthday. I'm so glad you had pizza in your plant, it makes me like you MORE!

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