Monday, March 16, 2015

On turning six-times-twelve

Wednesday was my 72nd birthday. It's tempting to complain about such a big number, and about the aches and pains and extra medical appointments that seem to be a part of aging. But mostly I can accept my ailments as minor annoyances, and when I'm on good behavior I can try to manage them with sensible things like fruits and vegetables, exercise, and sunscreen. I used to joke that aging is "better than the alternative." My 58-year-old brother's death in January makes me very aware that it's no joke. I'm grateful to be alive.

Birthday flowers
We extended the birthday celebration over several days, as usual. On Tuesday, Peter and I saw the Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It was not as good as its predecessor, but it was much better than the St. Paul Pioneer Press's review made it seem, and we enjoyed it even though we picked holes in the plot afterwards. Wednesday we had birthday treats with the grandkids (including special chocolate and butterscotch chip cookies from Abby), and all six of us went to Boca Chica, our favorite Mexican restaurant, for dinner. When we arrived the hostess asked whether we were "Peter and Nancy" and when we said yes she led us to a table with a large bouquet of flowers. This was very puzzling because we had not made a reservation! It turned out that our newly hired executive director at the carousel, who knew where we'd be, had sent them. I love that she did that, and that she is clearly a person who understands the value of "the grand gesture."

On Saturday Peter and I had lunch at our favorite special-occasion Italian restaurant, La Grolla on St. Paul's Selby Avenue. We arrived just after noon and for quite a while we were the only diners in a room designed to hold at least 40. We were glad to see the tables begin to fill later, because we'd hate to see the restaurant go out of business. As usual, we ordered enough food that we could just reheat the leftovers for dinner.

Birthday selfie
Spreading my birthday celebration over several days has a practical advantage. By the time the observances are over, I have grown accustomed to my new age. A couple of months ago, the idea of turning 72 sounded strange and harsh. Two weeks ago I still didn't like the sound of it. By now it's lost its strangeness. It's my age and I'm proud of it. And just for fun, here's a selfie I took on my birthday.


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