In Which I Turn 40, with Pencils

Guys, I have so much I’ve been meaning to tell you, but right now, we’re going to need to focus on the fact that I turned 40, because that’s a big deal. It happened on Wednesday. I am weirdly excited about being 40. I think part of it is because the year I turned 30 was the year my late husband died, and there wasn’t much to celebrate then. At the moment, I have plenty of things to celebrate and look forward to, and I feel grateful that I’ve lived this long and get to keep living.

Also, my coworkers at HPL gave me 205 pencils.



Kristen spearheaded this effort, and over the last year, she asked staff, volunteers, people from other libraries, and even people I don’t know to collect pencils for me. I had no clue this was going on and am still kind of awed by it, such a thoughtful gift with so many people contributing. The pencils are super-cool, too. I spent some serious time with them today. I am pretty sure no one at HPL would know this, but, appropriately, they included a pencil from the city of my birth.


There’s a birthday pencil, and there are a few seasonal ones as well.


Some are extra-awesome, and I’m never letting anyone else touch them ever.


There are three pencils that include rock collections.


Knowing how much I love my godsons, Kristen suggested I could keep one of these and give the other two to Lucas and Maxwell. Do you think they’d appreciate them, though? Maybe I should wait until they’re older and more responsible.

This one says “intercourse.”


Some of the pencils are directly instructional. These ones teach about mammals, endangered species, planets, US presidents, and hieroglyphs.


The most exotic pencil is from Dubai.


There are a few generations of pencils that exist partly due to my evangelistic love of pencils.


This is the cutest pencil I’ve ever seen in my life.


I’ve learned a lot about pencils looking at 205 of them, and I’ve been doing some judging. For instance, here’s Fairport’s contribution.


Friends at Fairport, I love you, but we have to do something about that.

Also, a weird number of pencils don’t give enough information to help you find where they came from. Maybe I want to go down to Bob’s, but I have no idea where Bob’s is.


Most of the pencils are just unspeakably cool, like this one that’s a twig.


And one made out of recycled denim, which is a thing, I guess.


I have four pencils from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


Kristen made a special effort to get them, because Kristen is awesome like that. She gave me a purple crown, too, and purple decorations. AND she made a chocolate cake. Kristen gets me.

It’s a beautiful thing in this life to have people who not only accept one’s eccentricities, but who encourage and support them. I got a lot of that for my 40th birthday, and I get a lot of that all the time. It’s made the last 40 years more awesome than not, and I think it’s going to make the next however-many-years-I-get (Lucas would say I should be shooting for at least 50 or 60) more of the same.

Bring it on!


  1. Patty
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    This is such an awesome gift! Are there any “smencils” in there?

  2. olivia
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Lucas – at least 50. :) Happy birthday, dear Adrienne!

  3. Posted December 13, 2013 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Oh my goodness. Those are the coolest pencils ever! What a totally awesome, cool gift to celebrate your 40th! (Didn’t realize you had a pencil thing going.)

  4. Nancy R.Maxwell
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    I think that was the most beautiful piece of writing about a simple thing: pencil. But it was a great testament to the meaning of life

  5. adrienne
    Posted December 14, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Patty, No smencils, but there are cupcake scented erasers.

    Thanks, O!

    Jama, Of course, it took me a moment to notice the pencils on my birthday because there was also a cake, and that cake was beautiful and delicious. I have many loves. :)

    Thanks, Nancy–for the comment and your part in gathering pencils. If I’ve ever had a better birthday, I can’t think of it.

  6. Posted December 16, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    A belated happy birthday! I love the pencils.

  7. adrienne
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Jen!

  8. Posted December 18, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Hey, Adrienne! Many happy returns of the day a bit late!

  9. adrienne
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Susan! I’m still celebrating. :)

  10. Posted December 21, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Happy belated birthday! What a cool collection; what a sweet gesture.

  11. adrienne
    Posted December 22, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Little Willow! It really was. I am a lucky, lucky girl.

  12. Heidi
    Posted December 27, 2013 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Just so happy to see that you wrote. Good people indulge you in your vices. HPL must have really good people. Happy Belated, Adrienne!

  13. emmaco
    Posted January 6, 2014 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    A very belated happy birthday! I guess it’s now combined with Happy New Year! The pencils are fantastic.

  14. adrienne
    Posted January 12, 2014 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Thank you! I continue to celebrate!

  15. Craig
    Posted July 15, 2014 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Of course, in Roman numerals your age is XL.

    Let’s assume that stands for EX-ELL-ent rather than extra large.

  16. adrienne
    Posted July 16, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I hope so!

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *