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New Year's Eve

Today it's my birthday--I'm officially 58 years old and frankly, I don't know what to make of it.

I've never been one to make much of a fuss about my birthday. It's true I am uncomfortable being the center of attention. At the same time, it's never helped having a birthday on a big time holiday, especially six days after Christmas. I often think how hard it must have been for our parents during this time. Lisa has a birthday one week before Christmas, six children to buy gifts for, and then me as an afterthought. I'm okay with that.

As a young person I know I couldn't imagine myself at this age, now I'm just grateful I've made it this far! Aside from my one spell of illness I've been remarkably healthy during my life. Nothing really. Furthermore, I inherited enough of my mother's genes to keep my hair dark and my body slim. All subject to change at any minute though!! I've definitely noticed in the last year or two, changes in my appearance which threaten to steamroll. My face is becoming more lined and sometimes when I glance in the mirror I don't like what I see. As I well know, this is to be expected but I can't say that I like it very much.

My father died when he was 64, my mother when she was 78. Her mother died much younger, in fact, I think she was around my age when she was found dead alone in her apartment. So, it is anybodies guess how much longer I'll be around. I hope it's a while for my husband and children's sake!

Speaking of children, while Jonathan was here I was messing around with the grainy black and white setting on my Olympus. He kindly let me take his photograph.
He's looking more and more like his dad! The flight back to Austin was thankfully uneventful, arriving early enough in the day so they could settle in.

Ten years ago no one could have convinced me that we would have a dog. While the children were growing up I was a mean mom, refusing to let a dog in the house. Cats were fine because they require so little, dogs on the other hand, are much needier. Unless you have a perfect dog named Baxter! Bruce loves this little dog like nobodies business.
You can so see it on his face! I'm so grateful as well to have shared my life with such an extraordinary man. Clicking with someone is the greatest thing on earth! People are always shocked when they learn we've been together since we were 13.  For my birthday he's booked us a room and dinner at the JWMarriott. Actually dinner reservations are at Norman's at the Ritz Carlton on the same property. Woohoo! Three years ago we celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary there.
You can totally tell a person's age from their hands!!! Still, I love this photo taken while we were there. Maybe I should do one again today...

When I think of things I'm grateful for, one of them is having folks say they feel comfortable in our home. On game day, Jonathan's friends visited for a bit before they all headed to the stadium. Both of the young men remarked on how warm and welcoming the house is. Score! Then, yesterday a youngish man who works with Bruce came by to do a little business. Walking into the backyard he said with enthusiasm, "Wow, this is like a tropical paradise!" Score! It's nice for people to think your house is pretty, it's even nicer for them to think it's comfortable. While we were still young we made a pact never to be house poor. The ensuing years brought more money however, we kept our word and never succumbed to "keeping up with the other Darden employees." Our little house is just perfect.

This morning Bruce is fishing. Waking up in the dark, he took the kayak down to the lake just before sunrise. I do so hope when he returns that fish were caught and released. I've never understood the lure of fishing (yikes, what a pun!); I just don't have the patience which is why I'm a pretty terrible nature photographer. That said, I love to watch nature. I've asked Bruce to go to Gatorland today before we check into the hotel at 3. He thinks I'm crazy, and he's probably right!

Matt wrapped all his gifts while here including my birthday present which I opened not long ago. I laughed. He knows what a big fan I am of Mobstr.
So, where is the gift and who is Mobstr? See that big white canvas with some letters in the middle. That's Mobstr--a very clever street artist. HUH? If you click on the link provided you can see more of his work. After our return from London I tracked him down, sending him an email congratulating him on his provocative art. He wrote back thanking me which was cool and now I have a signed original!! Most everything he does makes me chuckle. The blank white canvas reminds me of an earlier trip Bruce and I took to London. We saw a play called "Art" with George Segal; the plot, if you can call it that, revolves around the meaning of modern art. Check the link!

It's hard to imagine that in just 16 hours, 2011 will be a thing of the past. It seems like it wasn't all that long ago I was getting used to writing it on correspondence. They say the older you get the faster time progresses and I'm definitely confirming that notion!

Happy 2012 my gentle readers,
Gail
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