The birthdays just fly on by

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‘What happened to “You sure don’t look it!”?’

I’ve whined (er, written) about birthdays before. (Thank you, Loyal Readers, for your patience with my elderly musings: “Sixteen Candles. Plus Another Sixteen. Or So.” “All Saints’ (Birth)Day.”  “Skirting the Issue.” There are way too many — kind of like the number of candles on my cake.)

A scene from one of many random birthday celebrations. I believe this one was not actually mine — I was just trying on the tiara for size

I’m actually grateful for reaching the astounding age that I have reached — especially when I consider the alternative. One of our friends, even older than I, has a motto: “Every day above ground is a good day,” with which I heartily concur.

Having a very nice time above ground with a tiara and a glam group

Last year I celebrated a Landmark Birthday — seventy, it was, for heaven’s sakes — with a fancy party and all the glam trimmings. I was riding high on birthday glory when — about a week later, it felt like — I turned seventy-one.

Last year’s seventieth birthday. Which feels, I swear, like it happened just last week

See, that’s the trouble with birthdays. If they keep on coming — which, thank goodness, they have been, like clockwork every November — they keep on coming faster and faster. Golly. It seems like I just finished writing my thank-you notes when I’ve gotta dust off that Dempsey & Carroll all over again.

Getting ready to break out the thank-you stationery — again

Well, I’ve already written about turning seventy and how it means that you start doing the math. (See “Doing the Math.” Duh.) Here’s a summary for those who hate clicking links in posts: After 70, you start making decisions based on numbers. Like, I’m not getting a New Kitty to replace the Late Lamented Wombat since a kitty could live to be twenty and…well, you do the math.

I’ve also already written about birthdays flying by waay too fast. (See any of the above-mentioned birthday posts.) Repeating one’s self, is, after all, a privilege of Getting Older.

But here’s a new Birthday Wrinkle. So to speak. At my birthday party last week, when people asked how old I was — which, by the way, only gets asked of children and the very old — when I responded, “Seventy-one,” I was met with a chorus of “Congratulations!” and “Happy Birthday!” I think there was even a “Best wishes!” in there somewhere.

Another Brazilian Birthday years ago. When I was still getting “You sure don’t look it!”

But no one — repeat, no one — said, “Omigosh! You certainly don’t look seventy-one!” Nope. Not one single person. No “How can that possibly be?!” Or even a “What’s your secret?!” Just, “Happy Birthday” or its non-surprised equivalent.

This is kind of an adjustment for a person who used to round up the numbers in an effort to appear older. Oh well. I’ll get used to it. I guess.

Back when I used to round my age up in a desperate attempt to appear older

The thing I’m having a harder time getting used to now that I am Post-Seventy is getting mistaken for my mother’s sister.

A Doppelganger sandwich, featuring Moms and Sisters, some real, some imagined

Granted, Mom and I do resemble one another. (A lot.) And, no, it’s not that I don’t think my mother is a good-looking person. (I do. She is.) But, well, she is my mother — and 22 years older than me. Though she doesn’t look it, darn her young-looking hide.

Since I’m almost 40 years older than The Child, I doubt that anyone will ever mistake us for sisters. Though one can always hope

Oh well. So much for the Birthday Whine. In a little while I’ll switch to the other kind. Cheers!

Amagansett, New York. November 2022

 

 

 

“Never trust anyone over thirty.”

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‘Unless, perhaps, she is your own daughter’

I’ll always remember my very first Big-Time Ad Biz TV commercial. It was for Q-Tips, and was called “Still My Baby.” I didn’t even try to find it on YouTube, not just because this was ages ago, but because it was a pretty awful commercial.

It featured this mom who has a baby on a changing table and a jealous preschooler sulking alongside. To mollify the older child, she asks her to “help” by handing her a Q-tips Swab. Then Mom reassures the child (a girl, natch) by thanking her and saying, “Such a big girl. But you’re still my baby.

Here is The Child at sulky older sister age. She is not sulky, though, since she didn’t have a baby sibling to be jealous of

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A Sterling character

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‘A Ray of Sunshine brightens the road home’

I really should be sorting scarves and/or dredging out drawers, but this morning I woke up (heck, make that “sat up”, since I wasn’t actually asleep) with a horrendous head cold and I need a bit of a break from the utter sturm und drang of this whole business of getting-ready-to-sell-an-apartment-in-New-York.

See, it’s no longer a simple deal of making your bed and putting away the cat toys. No, these days you must stage your apartment — make it easy for your potential buyer to imagine that he or she lives there instead of you. Everything personal must go: the collection of shells and beach glass arrayed on the mantel, the foreign stamps stuffed in a hand-thrown pot with a red heart on the front, the carefully-curated display of evening bags on the hat rack in the bedroom. Even the framed photos of The Child and her cousins taken at various stages of precocity, from being dressed as pumpkins to being garbed in grad gowns — it all must be erased.

I can’t show you any of those things — they have been erased — but I can show you this collection of Henrys

I cleverly “gifted” a batch of framed photos featuring The Child’s cousins to the Cousins in Question present at my Mom’s Big Birthday Do. Which got me some puzzled looks as well as nice thank-yous. (I doubt that Young People are as “into” framed photos as People My Age, which is no doubt why I was urged to make them go away.)

A trio of Henrys shares a laugh, maybe over how hilarious it is that their cousin has to downsize

But, as they say, all good things must come to an end — from our run in the Apartment of 26 Years to my Mom’s Big Birthday Do.

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So far, so good

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’Wise words from my mom, the Birthday Girl’

I just love birthday parties. Especially when they are somebody else’s. In my personal opinion, birthday parties are just absolutely the best. (Weddings are a close second — or, hey, maybe even a tie.) With both, you get to celebrate a happy event, see a ton of friends and relatives — then you get to eat cake and make a bubbly toast.

This particular birthday was my mother’s (gasp) 90th, and we got to eat cake twice — while making multiple bubbly toasts. The first time was on her real, actual birthday last Wednesday, October 9. (The way-cool picture at the top of this post featuring my Two Favorite Women in All the World is from that happy occasion.) And we got to do it all over again on the weekend at a big Open House we held for family and friends.

Zillions of friends and ka-jillions of relations prepare to eat mucho cake and sip major bubbly

In case you’re wondering, my mom won’t mind me giving away her age. Not this time, anyway. She used to quail at being asked, “How old are you?” She, like me, was brought up to consider this an incredibly rude question, but you’d be surprised how many people — people who do not work for the DMV or even the Social Security Administration — ask it.

My mom used to answer Rude Age-Asking People by counter-asking, “Why do you want to know?” Which worked. Sometimes. For tips and pointers my Mom taught me on how to handle awkward questions, see my story titled, (naturally) “Why do you want to know?”

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