Why Things Are Good

I turned 27 yesterday and the world did not end. In fact, the world did the opposite of ending, because I found a cashmere sweater on sale at TJ Maxx which turned out---after various markdowns and clearance discounts---to cost $26. And I'm talking 100% cashmere! I know! What can I say? Sometimes the birthday gods are just smiling.

You may be wondering why I was in TJ Maxx on my birthday, why I was not, say, cartwheeling around an ice rink, or partying with rock stars, or whatever it is you do on your birthday, and the answer is this: the weather yesterday was crap. Sean and I had planned a whole day of activities based on enjoying San Francisco's natural beauty, but all of those activities required that the skies be clear and dry and blue, and yesterday they were none of those things. Instead we had constant, solid, depressingly grey rain. So after the hooplah of present-opening and a gluttonous brunch at Dottie's True Blue Cafe---is there anything more indulgent than brunch on a weekday?---Sean said "well, what would make you happy?"

And I said "Two words: TJ Maxx. No wait, three, because maybe there's a Marshall's nearby as well. No, four, because we might see a Target. Alright, five words: TJ Maxx, Marshall's, and Target. Wait, are we including 'TJ' as a word? Well anyway, whatever, let's head out to the suburbs and sort through racks of bargain-priced clothing and housewares! That is what would make me happy."

And Sean cursed the birthday gods, cursed them to high heaven, in fact, because their very presence meant that he couldn't say no to the one thing guaranteed to make him bored and cranky.

In the evening, we ran wild in the aisles of A.G. Ferrari and assembled a birthday dinner with all my favorite foods---bread, cheese, and olives, mostly---that looked a little something like this:

Birthday Dinner

We drank a very good bottle of champagne Jemima had given us as a housewarming present, watched the world's most uneventful episode of Grey's Anatomy---saved only by Meredith's potential demise at the end---and gorged on a chocolate souffle cake from Tartine. As birthdays go, it was glorious.

The best part, however, was the nugget of news I carried around with myself all day, secretly chuckling whenever I remembered it. And the nugget of news is this: as of next Monday, I will no longer be your unemployed deadbeat Internet friend, the one whom you cast pitying glances toward from your corner of the country. Instead, I will be your 401K-possessing, smart-pointy-shoe-wearing, business-card-carrying, gainfully-employed Internet friend, and the drinks, for once, will be on me.

The day before yesterday, I received---and accepted, obviously---a job offer for a position I'd been coveting for a month, a position for which I had had THREE SEPARATE NERVE-WRACKING INTERVIEWS, a position which I can only describe as my absolute dream job and which I was initially too nervous to apply for because I wasn't sure I'd be able to handle the rejection. It's probably not prudent to say too much, but, in brief, I will be working within the travel industry as a writer for a really fantastic company, a company which even my grandmother has heard of. The job ticks every single box I've ever wanted ticked in a job description, and my excitement and relief at being offered it was pretty much the best birthday present ever. (Although confidential to Uncle Russell: the brushed aluminum espresso machine came pretty darn close. I thought you wouldn't be able to top the hot pink Kitchenaid mixer from several Christmases ago, but you seem to be trying to achieve some sort of record for Best Kitchen-Related Presents Ever. A million thank yous!)

There is, however, more. Perhaps you will not believe it! But not content with letting me revel in my successes and triumphs for a while, Sean went out the very next day and got HIMSELF a job offer! (If you like, this is the time to insert a joke about job offers being like buses---you wait for ages and none come along, and then they all come at once.) So of course we had to drink more champagne---quelle horreur!---to celebrate THAT, and my formerly unemployed boyfriend whose backround is in nuclear engineering has now officially completed a Career Change 360 and starts as a web designer for a media management company on Monday. This Monday! So little time to brainstorm the perfect first-day-of-work outfit! But then again, maybe boys don't do that. (Boys? Do you?)

So, to summarise: we are both (finally) employed. Full-time. We no longer have to subsist on gruel and burn candles to keep us warm. Things are finally slotting into place. Things are good. That enormous breath we've been holding since we moved to San Francisco homeless and jobless at the end of December has now been released. The question "is this really a good idea?" has finally been answered. And the way things are looking, the answer is yes.

Feb 09, 2007

congratulations, holly and sean!

Feb 09, 2007

Congrats on the job ... i know how it feels. Oh, and there is now way Meredith is dead!

Feb 09, 2007

What a relief to not only have a job, but to have a job you can be really, really excited about! Congratulations (and happy birthday!).

Feb 09, 2007

Le sigh.

I am so happy for you!

I am also very curious: what does a dream job look like for Holly Burns?

Feb 09, 2007

Oooh! I am beyond thrilled for BOTH of you. How excellent is THAT?! YAY! And that food! Killing me at work.

Feb 09, 2007

Oh, and I hope Meredith stays with the fishies.

Feb 09, 2007

You, my dear, lead a charmed life. Many, many congratulations to both you and your dishy boyfriend.

Feb 09, 2007

Congratulations! Such delightful news!

Feb 09, 2007

Congratulations Holly & Sean! You clearly made the right choice with San Francisco. Being brave is always worth it.

Feb 09, 2007

yay for jobs! congrats to you both. also? that birthday dinner looks like the perfect dinner. i may have to copy you for my birthday this year.

Thespian Libby
Feb 09, 2007

Happy Birthday, Hooray, and a bazillion congrats to you both!!! I'm going out for celebratory cocktails this minute.

Feb 09, 2007

de-lurking to say WOO-HOO! happy 27th, and congrats on getting dream jobs to both you and sean. my husband (then boyfriend) and i moved to san francisco in 2002 in a similar fashion. that is to say, jobless and hopeful. it all worked out splendidly. although we're not there anymore (we wanted to buy a house and be back on the east coast near our families) i can say with 100% conviction that it was one of the best things we ever did. living there was amazing. Also: baker beach is indeed a nude beach. you just went on a cold day. on a sunny day walk towards the bridge and watch out! best to you and sean, and again, congrats.

Feb 09, 2007

Happy birthday, congratulations, and I didn't lead you astray with that Tartine cake, did I? YUM!

Sarah Marie
Feb 09, 2007

Sounds like it's going to be a great year!

Feb 09, 2007

mazel tov!

and oh My GOD! do you just love AG Ferrari? i can spend half my paycheck in there easily.

Feb 09, 2007

It's a little known rule that no one should work on his or her birthday, so I'm glad that the job granting gods complied!
Congratulations to you both.

Feb 09, 2007

Happy Birthday, congratulations on y'all's jobs, and the new layout looks nice (except for the "debugger" that pops up whenever I open or refresh your page)! Take care!

Feb 09, 2007

You know the look on that little blonde girl's face all "Meh, good riddance" when Meredith falls over the side? That's how I feel every time I see Meredith. I'm so glad that a mute 6-year-old was able to channel my (and America's) emotions so perfectly.

Feb 09, 2007

Double plus congratulations! I'm glad the City is being kind to you so far, all pissy weather aside.

Daydreams and Musings
Feb 09, 2007

Happy Birthday! Great news about the jobs. That's just fantastic.

Feb 09, 2007

I am so happy for both of you! That was fast...

Daily Tragedies
Feb 09, 2007

You've inspired me...to drink a bottle of champagne tonight! In your honor, of course.

Congrats, both of you!

Feb 09, 2007

Congrats on all of that! Finding (and GETTING) a job that you will actually enjoy without feeling like you've sold your soul is tantamount to winning the lottery. Or winning a lifetime supply of cheese.

Feb 09, 2007

Congratulations on getting jobs to both of you! Such beautiful and intelligent people as you both are, it's a wonder you went this long unemployed! So, now I know who to contact for Envy-Incuring Kitchen Appliances, including Hot Pink Kitchenaid Mixers: Uncle Russell. Tell him I said "thanks". ;)

Feb 09, 2007

That is so wonderful -- Congratulations!

Feb 09, 2007

Fabulous news for both of you! Congratulations! I loved the banner Sean gave you on your birthday, by the way. Made me smile.
And now I am wishing I had an Uncle Russell.

Tony Johnson
Feb 10, 2007

Congrats to you both! The only downside may be less frequent updates on Nothin but Bonfires.
by the way, may I link to your site once I get my website up and running?

Feb 10, 2007

couldn't be happier for you both.


Feb 10, 2007

Happy Birthday, and much much congrats to both of you! What an awesome present. I mean the espresso maker, you know. I wish I had one.

Feb 10, 2007

Congrats, and, oh, I do like the new way the comments look!

Feb 10, 2007

that is fantastic news for both of you. what a great way to start your 28th year!

Feb 10, 2007

Very cool news on all counts. Gainful employment, in particular, is a very good thing. Congratulations to both of you, and a belated Happy Birthday. Furthermore, TJ Maxx rocks.

Feb 10, 2007

Happy b-day and congrats on the job!

Horrible Warning
Feb 10, 2007

Don't think we're not taking you up on the drinks being on you thing.

Congratulations to you and Sean.

Feb 10, 2007

Huzzah! Good for both of you!

Now let's see the sweater.

Feb 10, 2007

Hoorah! Hoorah! I love it When Good Things Happen To Good People! Go, you!

Also, Happy Birthday, and may many pointed shoes come your way. And discount cashmere sweaters, of course.

Feb 10, 2007

Oh, well done, you two!! I am so happy for you! :-)

Feb 10, 2007

A grand slam birthday, for sure! Congrats on the jobs for the both of you!

Feb 10, 2007

Oh, goodie!

Feb 10, 2007

Congratulations on the new job, and happy birthday! It sounds like things are really coming together for you two. I wish I were as brave as you. We really want to move from suburbia, but are afraid to take the plunge. Maybe you'll inspire me...

Feb 10, 2007

That WAS the most uneventful Grey's Anatomy ever. Oh, and, congratulations on your job - that's thrilling news.

reluctant housewife
Feb 10, 2007

Congratulations...on everything! Will you let us read your other writing? Please?

maximo zeledon
Feb 10, 2007

Sounds like you had a wonderful birthday. Searching for a few friends on Technorati, I someone found your website. I ended up linking to your boyfriend’s page as well which was quite a treat to see his picture (I’m a former art director). I lived in San Francisco for 18 years and reading your blog has made me feel very nostalgic. Hopefully after completing my MBA I will move back with my wife and daughter. I hope you enjoy your time in the Bay Area. The two of you seem very happy. Cheers and happy birthday again! Don’t forget to go to Café Tosca.


maximo zeledon
Feb 10, 2007

I meant to say his pictures!

Wacky Mommy
Feb 10, 2007

FANtastic! Good news, you gainfully-employed people.

Feb 10, 2007

Wow. And here I thought you were ignoring us because we all had creepy dreams about you. Turns out it was just a case of cheese, chocolate, and 401K's.

Happy Birthday!

Feb 10, 2007

TJ Maxx and a $26 sweater for retail therapy? Never fear. You're going to have a great and wonderous life if that's all it takes to make good with the world.

Feb 10, 2007

congrats and happy birthday!

one day someone will have to explain to me what TJ Maxx is.... we dont have one of those. hell we dont even have an Ikea, or a target.

AND ive only just started watching The Bachelor: Paris on its first run on tv.

(we have also only JUST started this season of Greys Anatomy. sooo far behind on everything :( )

Feb 11, 2007

Congratulations on such happy news. I thought about this post today as I went to both Marshall's & TJ Maxx in Mount Pleasant & West Ashley. To top it off I spent some time in Barnes & Noble and came upon the Southern Weddings book, it is exquisite!

PS- I discovered your blog last week and adore it!

Feb 11, 2007

Oh, yay, a million congratulations! I'm so happy for you both, but you especially, as well, because it's your blog and I should be. And Sean should be commended for agreeing to celebrate your birthday in just the way you wanted, but I can imagine he ended up on the bench outside of those stores, you know, where all the grandpas sit.

Feb 11, 2007

Congrats, Holly and Sean! May your new jobs treat you well and your new lives in SF be filled with many more bread and cheese dinners (delicious-looking, by the way, those apple slices just did me in and now I'm going to go find some of my own) and bottles of champagne.

Feb 11, 2007

This: 'As birthdays go, it was glorious', made me cry, no joke.

Feb 11, 2007

Great to hear all the pieces are falling into place for you and Sean... Congratulations!

Feb 11, 2007

Many congratulations on the great jobs! May your 'first day at work' outfits be dazzling!

Feb 11, 2007

Wow, such great news! Congratulations to you both!
Happy belated birthday and may these jobs bring you all the San Franciscan bliss you are looking for!

Feb 11, 2007

A few days ago, someone searched Google for "I'm turning 27 why am I so sad?" and found my blog. Hope that wasn't you...

Feb 11, 2007

I admire you so much, just had to be said!

Feb 12, 2007

sounds like the best birthday ever! congratulations to you and sean. and god, i wish meredith was gone but you know she'll be back with her awful hair and melodramatic ways.

Feb 12, 2007

Just wanted to add another Congrats to the pile. It sounds fabulous!

Oh, and happy birthday too :)

Feb 12, 2007

Congratulations!!! That is fantastic. (And as I also have just gotten the job of my dreams, I can understand very well the glee you are currently basking in. It's so good, isn't it?) Here's to a fantastic start! And Happy Birthday, too.

Feb 12, 2007

A cashmere sweater for $26! YEE_HA! That is amazing in itself and then you get your dream job! Getting older obviously seems to agree with you.

Happy birthday Holly and congratulations to you both on landing dream jobs. It looks like the move west was a good one. Now - what will you buy with your first paycheck?

Feb 12, 2007

Congratulations! I know it's such a great feeling.

And I hope Sean's outfit kicked ass this morning!

Feb 12, 2007

Wowza. Congratulations all around.

The birthday dinner looks exactly the same as what i would have picked.

Happy Birthday too.

Don't trip on the pointy shoes.

saucepan man
Feb 13, 2007

They're all playing that song from Tom at home and in the car. It's hugely good and Susie says it's the outrack from a film we saw.

Feb 13, 2007

De-lurking to say Happy Birthday and Congratulations!

Feb 13, 2007

Happy Birthday Holly and a HUGE congrats to you and Sean for the jobs. Funny how all things fall into place around the same time, huh?

(And glad you can let go of that breath you've been holding since you moved..I can completely relate to that!)

Feb 13, 2007

Okay, I'm officially obsessed w/ the new song on your site (from the mix cd your brother made) Please tell us what it is -- my Ipod will not be complete without it!!!

Feb 13, 2007

Hazzah! Hooray! Felicitations!

I'm proud of you kiddo. That is excellent news; nothing beats the feeling of things falling into place. Sincere congratulations to you and Sean. Yippee!

Feb 13, 2007

Wow. Happy - Freaking - Birthday!

What a year you are going to have!! Congrats on the job.

Feb 14, 2007

Quick question: Saying I've got a British houseguest, do you think it'd be wise to try making the Shep. Pie with ground turkey now?

Feb 14, 2007

This is wonderful! Yay! I have high hopes for my birthday now. Considering I'm going to be 40 in less than a month. *weeps quietly*

Meredith might die? Wait a second. My roommate is so behind on her duty on filling me in on shows I don't actually watch but will be distracted by them when I go out to the kitchen to get water.

Feb 14, 2007

Ahhh! Congratulations you two. That is so great :)

Feb 15, 2007

Félicitations and good on ya! Hope these two nuggest of great news lead to even more good things down the line for you both! (and btw, scrumptions picture of the provisions there!)


Feb 19, 2007

wait... meredith might die? i assume its not just from breaking in half like she looks like she might do...