Birthday parties are a lot of fun and a lot of work. I have known for a long time that I wanted a big birthday party to celebrate my 60th year, and it turned out to be more than I could have hoped for.
Everyone pitched in to create exactly what I dreamed of, and friends and family who couldn’t attend made sure I felt loved and honored as well.
Have you ever seen the movie, “Runaway Bride” with Julia Roberts? While I can’t relate to her running at the altar, I can relate to the fact that she didn’t know who she was and kept modeling her behavior after whichever man she was with at the time.
There is a scene in the movie when her tormenter (the next guy) says she doesn’t even know how she likes her eggs because she just orders whatever her guy orders. I may have known exactly how I liked my eggs, but I didn’t have a clear understanding of who I was or more importantly what I wanted.
At 40, I was divorced and in a relationship with a saddle maker. So of course, I was a saddle maker too. He happened to be half Native American, and I jumped in headlong learning everything I could about my native heritage.
I’ve heard it said that a grain of sand can tip the scale,
but in my opinion it is the pile of sand before it that rarely gets the
attention. By the time I reached 40 I felt like I was in a constant struggle to
climb the dune I had created.
Turning 30 was fun and I was sure I had everything figured
out, at least on the outside. I was married with two kids and very content with
my day-to-day life. Things got even better when we bought a little 20-acre farm
on the outskirts of town.
I’ve written many times before that I grew up on a farm, and when my boys were entering grade school I had the strongest desire for them to experience country life. The run-down, cat-infested place we purchased turned out to be the best place to let a couple of boys roam and discover things on their own.
I find it interesting that reaching a certain age holds more significance than other ages. For me, turning 20 was important. I was no longer a teenager and somehow felt more grown-up.
Things quickly fell into place when I moved to Bend, Oregon. I found a great job working for someone who would end up being a life-long friend, I had a nice apartment and best of all I had a fun convertible sports car.
I remember thinking when my oldest son turned 10, in the same amount of time he will be a man. The decade between 10 and 20 holds so many changes, and I was no exception to the rule.
I have shared before that my mom died when I was 11, and that I think of my life as “before she died” and “after she died”. The few years after her death were some of my hardest.
Not only was I dealing with the loss of my mother but by 12 my period started and my emotions were all over the board. I was either completely lost in thought or crying.
Puberty can be hell for so many of us and my personal experience was compounded by loss and sorrow. Worst of all, about the only thing I knew about having a period was I had to use those giant pads from the 1960’s my mom had used.
I was born in 1959 in a little town in Northern California. While that is probably not very significant, the fact that I was my mother’s ninth child, my father’s tenth child and my parents’ fifth child together is significant. I know, confusing right?
From the moment I can remember anything about my life, I was
surrounded by lots of people. Not only did I have a bunch of siblings but I
also had many cousins. There was always someone to play with.
My parents were hardworking people who made their living off the land.
As a matter of fact, my father’s occupation is on my birth certificate. Ranch hand. I find it interesting that my dad’s profession was necessary on my birth certificate. In a way, I have been “classed” from the beginning.
I had this great plan to come up with a new name and have a blog post ready and everything in place on May 10th, and I was on track to do it. Only Instagram doesn’t let us hold a name.
Let me back up. I have known for a while that I would change my blog name and social media names after turning 60. I was given wise counsel that I could risk losing followers, and people may have a hard time finding me. After all; I have built a name as “Countdown to 60”, but I still wanted a change.
By the time we reach 50 years old, most of us are pretty set in our ways. We know what we like and don’t like, we know just how things should be done and we certainly don’t need someone else mucking things up in our lives.
So getting married after 50 can have some challenges, especially for those of us who like to do things our own way.
The day after our wedding we left our hotel in San Francisco to go explore the city. It was a beautiful spring day, and we were excited to spend the day together as husband and wife.
Our wedding was everything we hoped it to be, and we were still on a love-high we wanted to bask in for as long as possible.
My phone rang as we stepped out onto the sidewalk and I answered immediately. My son and daughter-in-law were due to have daughter number two any day, and we were happily assigned to take care of daughter number one while they were at the hospital.
National Tartan Day was Saturday, April 6th, which was also my mother’s and younger brother’s birthdays, so I am a little late to the party. But I can’t pass up the opportunity to share a post about this day and its past.
History tells us it was April 6, 1320, when The Scottish Declaration of Independence was signed. Interestingly, our own declaration of independence was modeled after that very document with nearly half the signers being of Scottish descent.
It wasn’t until 1998 that the U.S. Senate made April 6th
National Tartan Day and the day is now celebrated throughout the country.
The last two weeks have been a whirlwind for me. I cut my hair short; we went north to San Francisco to celebrate our anniversary, we went south to Murrieta courtesy of Explore Murrieta and then we spent last weekend celebrating our granddaughter’s 6th birthday.
Whew, I’m tired just writing that.
I shared my last two weeks on social media and out of everything I posted, getting my hair cut got the most attention. Especially when one week after cutting it super short, I shared that I had major regrets about it.
The overwhelming response was encouragement and support. A few pretty much told me to get over it as it will grow back. To which I wanted to respond, “Duh.” That was not the point of sharing my fear and remorse.
John and I got married on a Monday afternoon at San Francisco City Hall. There was no set-up or tear-down of decorations or chairs. There were no arches adorned with greenery and flowers. We didn’t have a rehearsal dinner because there was nothing to rehearse.
Instead we met John’s family and my best friend and her
husband at City Hall at 3:30 in the afternoon on March 13, 2013 and stood
before Judge Betty in the magnificent rotunda and both said “I do.”
We found a beautiful boutique hotel in San Francisco called Hotel Majestic. I thought it was a fitting tribute to our wedding at City Hall with its turn of the century Edwardian architecture.
I felt like royalty walking through the doors into the marble
tiled lobby. This beautiful old hotel was built in 1902 and is one of the few
buildings that survived the 1906 earthquake and subsequent fires that
devastated so much of this amazing city.