Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Big 4-0

I never really imagined it happening to me.

Naturally, I understood on an intellectual level that it was going to happen one day. What I don't understand is how it happened so fast!!

I will be 40 years old tomorrow.

It's difficult to wrap my mind around the concept of being so solidly middle aged when just a minute ago I was a fresh faced twenty something that people regularly mistook for a teenager. Although I look younger than 40, no one will ever mistake me for a teenager again! On the inside I still feel like I'm in my twenties but that will probably be the case when I'm 80! I'm always a little surprised these days when a 20 year old calls me "ma'am". (Here in the South, people are brought up to call their elders "sir" and "ma'am" even if they're only "elder" by a handful of years. I started to hear it a lot in my mid 30's.)

 Despite its bad reputation, I've decided to be happy about turning 40. I've gained a whole bunch of life experience, and I still have good health, lots of energy, a youthful love of learning and an open mind. In fact, I'm going to try to rock at being 40!

As a birthday gift to myself I requested a week of vacation time. I'll be spending most of it at home doing stuff I enjoy--spending extra time with Ginger, George, and Marco,   cooking, reading, blogging, napping, sitting outside in the lovely spring weather, and working on some unfinished craft projects.

There will also be other people helping me celebrate my birthday this week as their schedules allow. Tomorrow, weather permitting, Gregg and I will be heading to a park for a picnic. Later in the evening, I'll pop open a nice bottle of champagne I bought to toast the occasion. On Tuesday, my parents are taking me to a small town on the coast for a seafood dinner (my favorite birthday meal, and a tradition for us). On Wednesday, a friend is meeting me early in the day for coffee and some thrift store browsing. Then on Thursday night, I'll be going out for dinner and drinks with three coworkers, all of whom either just turned 40 or are about to. We decided months ago to get together one night to celebrate our shared milestone. After that, I'll still have a couple of days off left---I go back to work next Sunday. The very best part of my birthday this year will be the time away from the job.

Now I'm off to enjoy my last day of my 30's....and there may be a teeny tiny bit of alcohol involved. Just sayin'. Haha!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Spring Yard Cleaning

The past two days have been beautiful. Spring is finally, really here--Bradford pears, tulip magnolias, redbud trees and yellow forsythias are in full bloom, it's quite warm midday, the sky is beautifully pink and lavender at sunset, and the bees and birds are out and busy. With all the nice weather, I got the urge to finally get our yard in shape. We were very slack last fall and winter about cleanup and everything looked sad and neglected.

So two whole days were spent raking, mowing, clipping hedges, pulling out dead morning glory vines, taming a wild grapevine that grows along the backyard fence, same with the confederate jasmine that threatens to overrun another section of the fence, removing tree branches that either obstructed the view when backing out of the driveway or were dead and ready to fall, and cleaning bird feeders and filling them with fresh seeds and suet. It's a pleasure to work outside on beautiful spring days, to get sweaty and tired from physical labor in the fresh air after a winter spent mostly indoors. I even got a bit of sun on my face, arms, and legs!

Yesterday around noon I was raking up clippings when a shadow passed over my head (the sun was directly above me and very bright). I looked up and it was a beautiful redtail hawk, gliding in slow lazy circles not more than 20 feet overhead.  The sun shone through his reddish-brown tail feathers and his huge brown flight feathers. Gorgeous creature! He seemed to be checking me out, or (more likely) checking the nearby feeders for little birds and squirrels for lunch. Despite the fact that hawks prey on smaller animals, I still think they're beautiful, majestic animals and I enjoyed getting such a great view of one. And of course, all the smaller birds and squirrels were hidden away until he had moved on.

Another good thing working outdoors is that the dogs enjoy being nearby and keeping you company. They're always thrilled when someone is at home all day, and tagging along with us outdoors makes them both really happy. Their company makes ME happy! They like the spring weather, too.

And now our yard looks so much better. After a winter of neglect, two days of work made a world of difference. I'll bet our neighbors (most of whom keep immaculate lawns) don't know what to think. For once, our yard looks as good as most of theirs!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Spring is Coming (Slowly)

Spring seems to be taking its time arriving this year. It may be due to the fact that this winter seemed to have an unusually high number of cold, overcast days. Without digging out the old handwritten daily journals I used to keep of the weather and seasonal happenings, I'm sure everything is a couple of weeks behind normal this year. The flowering trees have yet to start blooming, the daffodils and hyacinths have been sporadic in popping up, and even the dandelion and violet wood sorrel flowers are still few and far between. It's definitely a slow season when even the weeds are reluctant to bloom!

There is, however, life in the old birdhouse again this year! The House Sparrows have their first clutch already, and now on mild days we can open the kitchen window and the sound of the babies begging for food can be heard inside the house. Some people hate House Sparrows and consider them a nuisance but we have a soft spot for them. They're cheerful, pushy, bold, and prolific descendants of European immigrants who made a place for themselves in the USA....just like most of the people who live here! And slow spring or not, they're always among the first birds to nest each year. Watching the family life of birds is one of my favorite things about springtime.

I also love the longer days. Even if warmer weather and flowers are slow in coming this year, at least the extra minutes of daylight we're gaining each day are guaranteed. The short dark days of winter depress me, and I love it when the days are growing longer again rapidly, as they do in March.

How is the season progressing where you live?

Friday, March 6, 2015

It's John Gray's Wedding Day!

Today is the day that the Welsh blogger, Scotch egg connoisseur, rescuer and champion of all things feathered and furred, Internet Sensation Mr. John Gray of Going Gently marries (and makes an honest man of) the love of his life, Dr. Chris!!
The Internet is abuzz with excitement! We can't wait to hear all the details:

Will Winnie crash the wedding breakfast and make off with several scotch eggs?

Will John (like a friend of mine did last year) promise to love and cherish Chris "...through sickness and health, until death or zombies do us part" ?

Will the villagers of Trelawnyd turn up in a flash mob to welcome the newlyweds home with a rousing performance of "All You Need Is Love" a la the movie Love, Actually?

The blogging world is waiting to find out!

Best wishes to the happy couple for a wonderful, fun day and then a long and happy life together!