Tag Archives: birthdays

‘I don’t believe in ageing. I believe in forever altering one’s aspect to the sun.’ Virginia Woolf.

Today is my birthday.  I am 59.

Several people have already reliably informed me that ’59 . . . is nearly 60′, followed by the inevitable‘So . . . how do you feel . . . being nearly 60?’

Well, to be perfectly honest, I hadn’t really thought about it much (so thanks for the reminder guys) but now the question has been asked I am a little surprised to find there are actually quite a lot of things about being ‘nearly 60’ that I really like.

For a startI like still being around.  Many people aren’t so fortunate so I view 59 years as somewhat of an achievement in itself.

I like that things that caused me a good deal of worry or angst or upset in the past now barely give me a moment’s pause.  (It’s taken a while but I have finally worked out that, while some things really do matter—many, many more really, really don’t.)

I like that I am far less concerned these days about how I look (or, perhaps more honestly, how anyone else thinks I look) and am now far more interested in how I feel.

I like that I am entirely comfortable in my own company and I can choose to participate, spectate, or entirely forgo (‘thanks, but no thanks’) without also feeling the need to elaborate on my choices with long convoluted explanations (or excuses).

I like that I have learned to never miss an opportunity to do absolutely nothing.  (Some may call that bone idle.  I prefer to think of it as a life choice.)

I like knowing that, while it’s definitely okay to follow the rules, bending (or even breaking) one every now and again can be a lot of fun . . .

. . .  and I like the fact that finally accepting some things really are absolutely and totally beyond my control has done wonders for my sleep.  (And, if I do still have the odd restless night, a nice little nap the next day is entirely appropriate anyway.)

So, all said and done, I am feeling pretty good about this birthday, and if you should come across me sometime, standing in the street, gazing blankly upwards, please don’t be alarmed.  It’s not my advancing years taking a toll on me.  I have not forgotten where (or who) I am.

I am merely taking a moment and altering my aspect to the sun . . .

Sunflower (Helianthus Annuus)


Posted by on March 31, 2018 in Uncategorized


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‘For all the advances in medicine, there is still no cure for the common birthday.’ John Glenn.

Today is my birthday.  I am now 58.  I don’t feel 58.  Well—that’s not entirely true—some days I feel every bit of 58, but . . . in general . . . if I haven’t recently over-indulged in food . . . or drink . . . or had a sleepless night . . .  or done a solid four hours of weeding and pruning in the garden . . .

Okay . . . maybe I’ll qualify that.  What if I say my brain doesn’t feel like it’s 58? Hmmmmm . . . I’m not really sure that’s going to work either . . .

Last Sunday, while I was out mowing my front lawn, one of my elderly neighbours stopped by to chat.  Ronny is an ‘old soldier’ and as he knows I was in the army myself several centuries ago, he occasionally likes to ‘pull up a sandbag’ and reminisce. That day, however, while chatting, he asked a question which pulled me up short‘So, when was it that you were you based in Germany, Sal?’  A simple, straightforward questionand for the life of me I couldn’t answer it.  I mean, I remember being in Germany (my mind has not completely abandoned me . . . yet . . . ) but I couldn’t for the life of me remember what year I got there or when I left . . .

In my defence, and before you start giving me a hard time about my advancing years, I should point out that I have always been dreadful at remembering what-happened-when.   I also always think something happened much more recently than it actually did.  I reckon I would immediately become the number one suspect in any murder enquiry when the interviewing officer asks ‘ . . . and where were you on the morning of *insert any date here* ?’—because I wouldn’t have a bloody clue . . . )

Anyway, as it seems I can no longer completely rely on my body or my brain, perhaps I should say my ‘inner Sally’ doesn’t feel 58.  That might work My ‘inner Sally’ doesn’t feel any different than she did ten, twenty, or even thirty years ago.  (At least I don’t think she does,  but, you know, my brain . . .   If I can’t remember where she was 30 years ago, chances are I probably won’t remember how she felt either.  This is getting tricky . . . )

Seriously though, turning 58 honestly bothers me no more than turning 57 did. As a good friend of mine likes to (constantly) remind me‘any day above ground is a good day’and if adding another candle to my cake means getting a bigger cake, so be it.

It is probably just as well I have a sense of humour about these things anyway. Last week it was gleefully (a little too gleefully I thought) pointed out to me that soon I would be able to tell people I was ‘no longer middle-aged’.   WTF!   Me? Middle-aged?  I don’t mind owning up be being 58, but who said anything about being middle-aged?  I want to see the proof . . .

 ‘Sure-fire signs you’re in the throes of middle-age

Losing touch with everyday technology such as tablets and TVs

(I have a computer, tablet, kindle, TV and mobile phone.  Okay the mobile is kaput and I haven’t replaced it yet, but I do have one . . . )

Feeling stiff, groaning when you bend down, talking a lot about your joints / ailments
(Not so very much.  Honest.  And I mostly only mention it to the dogs . . . )

Needing an afternoon nap
(Hardly ever . . .  except maybe after a particularly taxing morning, or a workout, or mowing the lawn, or an extra-late night . . . )

Thinking policemen / teachers / doctors all look really young
( . . . and, hopefully, cute . . . )

Choosing clothes and shoes for comfort rather than style
(Sniff.  I like to think I still have some style even if my heels are becoming slightly lower . . .)

Forgetting people’s names
(I’m sorry—who are you?)

Booking on to a cruise
(Not yet, but I have friends who have . . . you know who you are . . .)

Misplacing your glasses / bag / car keys etc.
(Okay.  Possibly.  Sometimes.)

Complaining about the rubbish on television these days
(Well.  Seriously.  There really is a lot of crappy TV out there.)

Gasping for a cup of tea

(How is this a middle-aged thing?)

When you can’t lose six pounds in two days any more
(What do they mean ‘any more’?)

Falling asleep after one glass of wine
(It’s a BIG glass)

When you know your alcohol limit
(see above)

Post Script:

As far as I can see the list above proves nothing.

You will note that nowhere . . .  no.where . . .  does it mention the number 58 . . .


Posted by on March 31, 2017 in Uncategorized


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‘You know, in dog years I’d be dead already . . .’

sevenMabel turned 7 this week.  Seven.  That was a bit of a shock.  On two counts. . .

First . . . how did my lovely tiny 8-week-old little girlnot only grow upbut grow into almost-middle-age (in dog years)—in what seems to be almost the blink of an eye?

And second of allhow did I?

clip-art-snoopy-033022 (1)Mabel was my ’50th-Birthday-Present-to-Myself’.  (I have always managed to buy myself the bestest presents.)   And, although maths was never my strong suit, even I can work out that a number of sneaky years have also surreptitiously been added to my own age as well as Mabel’s.  But, in spite of my ‘advancing’ years, I still remember very clearly the day I bought Mabel home.  (My long-term memory is still pretty much intact—it’s remembering what I did yesterday (or five minutes ago) which is more of an issue . . .)

Baby Mabel

Baby Mabel

I had actually gone out to buy myself a new car for my birthday.  I was turning 50.  It was a ‘milestone’.  I deserved something special.  And I got it.  I was walking past the pet shop (always a dangerous thing to do), I saw her sitting by the front door, in a little pen, all on her own (I know, I know, they really saw me coming . . . ) and I went in and paid for her on the spot. I don’t think I gave a second thought to a new car after that.  (Seven years later I still haven’t replaced that old car.  I’ve had it for 24 years now.  I have, however, managed to add two more dogs to our little family.  I guess that tells you a little bit about where my priorities lie . . . )

I had arranged with the pet shop that I would pick Mabel up the next day after work (after I had been shopping for new-puppy-things (because a new baby has to have new things all of their own)and also I  had to break it to my two then very-old dogs that they were getting a new little sister), but I was so excited I couldn’t wait until after work so I went and picked her up on my lunch break and took her back to the office with me.  Joneen (the College Manager) and I spent most of that afternoon taking turns in cuddling her (when she wasn’t sleeping in my handbag) and tossing screwed up bits of paper around the office for her to chase.adopted

Now that tiny little scrap of a creature is seven years old—and I’ve come over all reflective.   I wonder how Mabel remembers her first day with me?  Does she regale her sisters with stories of how exciting or happy or scary that first day was for her? Does she even remember it at all?   Or does she think she just ‘came into being’ and I have always been her mum?  (That is indeed a possibility.  We have never actually had the ‘you’re adopted’ talk.  I’ve been waiting for the right moment . . . )

Does Mabel remember when she was tiny and old Harry would grumble fiercely at her (while slyly wagging his tail at the same time), or how Frankie would lick her ears for hours and let her sleep on his back to stay warm? Does she miss them? Does she feel older—or does she still feel like a puppy inside?  (I don’t think I feel much older than I did 7 years ago (well—okay—except for one of my knees.  That knee often feels about 10 years older than the rest of me), but I am talking about ‘inside’.  ‘Inside’ I don’t feel anywhere near 57.)dogandbowl

I guess I’ll never know.  Anyone who has a dog knows that dogs have at least some concept of the passing of time (just look at their faces when you try to ignore their usual walk time, or are fifteen minutes late with their dinner), but it does seem that time, and memory, work differently for them.

We (humans) have what is called an ‘episodic’ memory.  We remember things based on individual personal experiences, specific events and emotions.  Those in the know believe that dogs don’t have this type of memory—they ‘learn’ what they need to from their experiences, rather than ‘remember’ specific events.  (Mabel caught a bee in her mouth when she was little and it stung her badly.  Her little face swelled up to twice it’s usual size.  To this day she is scared of ‘buzzie buzzies’ (among a myriad of other things) and will run and hide if she hears one.  She has ‘learned’ that bees are bad, but does she ‘remember’ why?)

snoopy-danceDogs, they say (the ubiquitous ‘they’), are programmed to live ‘in the moment’ (which is just another reason to love them even more as far as I am concerned) and it’s this programming that allows them to forget about what happened yesterday (or before lunch) and not worry unduly about what will happen tomorrow.  It’s also probably why they never seem to hold a grudge.  (We could learn a lot . . . )

All grown up.

All grown up.

So, if this is true, I guess I am going to have to do all the ‘remembering’ for all of us.  I am going to have to get all soppy and nostalgic about past-puppy experiences and embrace future doggie-delights my own way, and let the the girls enjoy them their way. I think I can probably handle that.  (Besides, if I keep telling you lot all about them, I’ll have you to help me remember too.)

So, Happy Birthday Mabel-girl, and here’s hoping we continue to share many more birthdays together.  (Although I do just have to say, it’s a good thing that the ‘dog years’ thing doesn’t work the other way about . . .   because in dog years . . .)


Posted by on February 19, 2016 in Uncategorized


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