I think that this year, I’m just going to let the photos speak for themselves. Although, I refuse to complain about getting older. It beats the alternative.

Aawwww... Even Google wished me a Happy Birthday.

Aawwww… Even Google wished me a Happy Birthday.

Birthday Breakfast with the Baby Girl - even though it cost her 23 laps.

Birthday Breakfast with the Baby Girl – even though it cost her 23 laps.

Took myself out for birthday lunch  -  I  let myself, pick the place and everything.  Sushi!

Took myself out for birthday lunch – I let myself, pick the place and everything. Sushi!

I got presents, and every thing.

I got presents, and every thing.

Fine.  Take my photo... let me get my glasses off, 1st.

Fine. Take my photo… let me get my glasses off, 1st.

I miss you.
I missed you yesterday.
I missed you last week.
I missed you a couple of months ago, when I was having a hard time figuring something out; and could have used your help in figuring it all out.

I miss hearing you telling me how I screwed it up, and how I should make it better.
I miss feeling you picking me back up, when I’ve fallen flat on my face.
I miss you showing me how to be the best Me, that I can be.
I miss you teaching me to spread my wings, and take those chances.

I miss watching you with my kids.
I will miss seeing you celebrate their triumphs, and milestones.

I miss your advice.
I miss your quiet patience as I figure it out.
I miss your laugh as you tell me, “Marcella, Marcella, Marcella… you’re over thinking it. KISS it.”

Today is your birthday… and I miss you.
I miss your smile.
I miss your hugging me.
I miss Who You Are, as a Person, Walking Around on the Planet.

I will probably miss you tomorrow.

Godmother and me... on my first bike ride.... November 1980

Godmother and me… on my first bike ride…. November 1980

So a few weeks ago it was my birthday. Which is fine. It was a good birthday.

Bronwyn baked some cupcakes from scratch… just for me. 🙂 Awwwwww

Yes, there are 43 candles on them.

Yes, there are 43 candles on them.

But in the fun of the night – the table broke under the weight of all those candles.
😦

Broke under the weight.

Broke under the weight.

So after some consulting with my brother Christopher, we came up with a game plan. I will never be able to use the leaf any more, but the table will be salvaged. Which is good, because I love the design along the sides, with the inlaid ironwork.

Prepped and Ready.

Prepped and Ready.

Learning to use wood glue.

Learning to use wood glue.

Hey after all she can do this. She’s good with a screwdriver and a ratchet set. She isn’t too bad with the hammer, but we have to work on her drill technique.

Time to reinforce with some screws.

Time to reinforce with some screws.

Improvising, since I couldn't get Chris to send me his clamps.

Improvising, since I couldn’t get Chris to send me his clamps.

All done...  Not a bad job.

All done… Not a bad job.

So today I took a day trip with Tim. Just the two (2) of us. Elise really wasn’t up for going out. She has seemed more tired lately. I understand that need to just retreat into her shell, and hibernate. I get that way sometimes too. Other than taking trips to the store, or running errands, she is attached to Tim. She rarely has the house to herself, and gets to just vegetate.

So after being reassured by her, and Tim, that she was okay. That she really didn’t feel left out, in some regards. And that for her, she understood that I wasn’t upset at her not joining us. That I didn’t feel short-changed, that she didn’t want to come along. We headed off for a day trip adventure in the Foothills.

Tim had planned a route for us. 😀 We headed up, along the interstate 80, turning off onto SR49, into the foothills. More like mountains if you ask me. LoL We went up 1,000 feet above sea level. That’s pretty far up, for me. Especially considering that I’m the one doing the driving. And the roads along mountain, (okay hills) are not just straight lines. They are curvy things, that go back and forth. Hugging the side of the mountain.

We drove up to Auburn (not the SEC school 😉 ) and took a little tour of the town, before heading out on the winding road, that is SR49. I saw a winery, advertising, the way that they do, with a sign about hours, now open, etc. I missed the turn of course, so I made a U-Turn. Tim wasn’t sure that they would be open, but I said, let’s give it a shot. Who knows. It could be some undiscovered gem. It was.

Hart 2 Hart was one of those great little wineries. Complete with tasting room. Things for sale, which Elise would have loved. They had facilities that made it easy for Tim and I to get around. The patroness was very accommodating. We were having a lovely tasting of some interesting grapes that I don’t normally see in FL.

Then an RV of people came in. There was a group, traveling around for the day, complete with a couple of children. All, but 1, of the adults, doing some tastings. Having a good time. Then of course, did what tourists do… wanted something for free. 🙂 The elder of ladies stated, in that ‘I can’t believe this’ voice: “What do you mean there is a $5.00 tasting fee? We were just here a couple of months (meaning: a year) ago, I never had to pay before.”

Please note: That more and more wineries are going with such a fee. This particular place went beyond what is normally served, by not only giving you back your $5.00 towards any purchase; BUT also a snacking plate, with meats / cheeses / crackers / nuts. Heck, even the small wine shop, that I love to shop at, has a Tasting Fee, when they do their monthly tastings. That they, also return to you, against any purchase.

I have to hand it to the owners. They did the right thing. He kindly explained to the complaining woman, that unfortunately they were getting large groups of people in limos, (* He did good not to mention their RV *) who were coming in and just drinking for free. They were losing money, because they were ‘tasting’ more than they were selling. This offered to keep their wines at a lower fee, instead of having to increase the prices to cover such a loss.

We found a new grape that I like a great deal: Voignier. (*check spelling*). It’s very much like the Sauv Blanc that I like, with the citrus finish. So that bottle, along with a red blend, that I actually enjoyed, are coming to me later this week. Knowing that I am not a great big red drinker, to find one that I enjoy, I think make Tim’s day. He’s a big Merlot fan. I’m trying to expand my palate.

We had good time, then drove along the curvy road, and went to the place that Tim had destined would be our destination. Gold Hill Winery. Recent winners of the California State Faire. Which gave them a write-up in the local papers. Which is why Tim picked it for our adventure. Another winner, despite the crowds. I think half of the bay area had also picked this winery, for their destination. Probably because of the newspaper article.

The male half of their staff was great, the female, must have been having a bad day. (shrug) Noticing that we were unable to come inside to sample the mustards, he brought us our own sampling plate. She on the other hand, questioned me, as to the type of wine I had just sampled, when I asked for my next one. There was little room inside, so we were forced to stay out on the balcony. The noise level was deafening, in their room.

Despite the crowds, and overly stressed patroness, we sat upon their balcony and enjoyed the scenery of rows of grapes, on vines. The beautiful day. The wine. Although Tim enjoyed a local brewed beer. A treat for him. It was nice to just sit in quiet enjoyment of the day.

For Elise, she said that it was her greatest blessing. She didn’t have to worry about Tim; because she knew that I would take good care of him.

I was clearing out some old things, in putting things in our new computer desk, that arrived this morning. Bronwyn did such a great job helping, by getting everything off of the old one last night. Piling it all up on the dining room table. Then absconding with the old one, and putting it in her bedroom. 🙂

I was given a painful reminder, in the process.

There among some old holiday cards, Mother’s Day cards, Easter cards, and birthday cards… was the one that my God-mother gave me when I turned 40.

Birthday card0001

She really did have the best sense of humor. I like to think that, with my father’s genes, and my time spent around her, that I gained a little bit of it. She did love to laugh. She had a great smile, that lit up her whole face. All the way up to her eyes.

There are very few years that I can remember, not getting a card from her. Even when we lived in Saudi. It may have been late, but there was always a heartfelt message from my God-mother, honoring my birth.

I was reminded that this year, I won’t get a card from her. There won’t be a funny sentiment about my getting older. There won’t be a gift card for a lunch together. There won’t be small token of something to embellish one of my hobbies. There won’t be that reminder that she loves me.

I tried my best to just let it go… but she was also good at encouraging me to express myself. No matter what the emotion. So I just laid down in my bed, curled up with my pillow and let it all out. It was a good cry. In a brief moment, I thought I could hear her saying, “It’s okay. It’ll get better.”

I have faith that one day it won’t hurt so much to think of her.

So my birthday is in 5 weeks. I just know that each and every person reading my journal wants to send me gift. Or a card. Or some token of your gratitude that I was born. I appreciate that.

And while I could use some money to help fund the building of my new pool deck (see where we had to tear it down). Or some paint to decorate my gazebo. Or some new cinder blocks for my firepit. Or have a nice new jean style skirt for the summer. I would much rather have this.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bluebird-Farm-Cara-Petricca-Animal-Sanctuary/174555935933285?ref=br_tf&id=174555935933285&sk=app_251458316228

I don’t know if the link will work – but here’s the scoop:

I have had to turn many animals away this season because we simply do not have the money to rehab them. Providing food, shelter and medical care for animals is very expensive. We have to buy specialized formulas, food, and medications that are not available to the public. We pay for animals to have inoculations before they’re released and pay vets out of pocket for medical care. We are not supported financially by the state. The only funding we get is from donations.. if you appreciate what we do and we have helped you in any way please consider sending us a donation.. There is nothing I hate more than turning animals away. Donations can be made via PayPal at bluebirdfarm_sanctuary@gmail.com … Checks may also be sent to 631 Outlook Ave. Cheshire MA 02235 made payable to Cara Petricca

So you know where this is going…. You were right.

I want everyone I know, and don’t know, and their friends, to consider sending $5.00 (or if you have it $10.00) to my friend Taran. Help her to keep on helping the animals. I’m not a pet owner myself… I have been in the past, but not right now; with my present situations. But she is. She is a raccoon whisperer. Seriously.

She’s good at what she does. Mostly by herself. Sometimes she gets her boys to help with things. But she’s a 1-woman show. I’ve seen her work through injury and cold and wet and all sorts of icky-not-for-a-girl-like-me things. I always wondered how she does it. Financially. I thought maybe she had a grant, or some private funding, like her own money from some big inheritance. Nope. Turns out that she is dirt poor… just like most of us. Hence the request for as little as $5.00.

What really gets me is that I only stumbled upon needing funding, by accident. This gal has the biggest heart in the world, and the greatest humility. She happened to comment upon a post, (which I got to see thanks to FaceBook and its weird ways), that was posted by someone who had bought some jewelry from her. She makes her own jewelry too. And crotchets. Did I mention she is amazing? She sold the jewelry to the lady, as a way to raise funds for the feeding and care of the animals on her farm. A completely not-for-profit farm. Because hello, if you’re needing money to feed the animals, you aren’t making money doing this. Yet, she never once made the posts public on her wall. Or in places where a whole bunch of us would see it. (*the humility part*)

So…

I’m putting it out there.

Wanna send me something for my birthday?
Send a donation to Taran. Do it anonymously. Don’t even mention my name. Just do it as a “Birthday Wish”.

Thank you from the birthday girl.

Happy 16th to you, my Sweet daughter!

NeNe,
I love you.

Thank you for choosing to be born, and to walk around on this planet. You simply amaze me with your strength… The lessons that you have chosen to learn, in this lifetime would freak out the strongest adults I know. You blow them all away.

I’ve watched you grow and change so much in the last year. You are no longer my little girl. No longer content to just climbing up in my lap and letting me sooth away all of the pains that you have. Physically you are the one who is larger, and when you allow me to hug you; your arms wrap around my body and hold me to your chest – instead of the other way around. *sigh* You are a great hugger.

I am proud of how you’re finding your footing and becoming more of a leader within your ROTC group. You may not think it’s a big deal, but I know differently. You will treat them fairly, because you’re always wanting everything to be in black and white. Not just with the rules, but with everyone you are in contact with.

You also took the first step – or the first wheel – this past year into adulthood. Teaching you to drive a car has taught me new meanings to my lessons of learning to not always be in control. I’d still love to see you give a bit more leeway to the car in front of you. But you’ll have to learn that lesson for yourself one day. I pray that it’s one with very little physical or emotional damage. LoL

Happy Birth… day my sweet girl.
Mom