Category Archives: Birthdays

A Garden Walk with my Mother on her Birthday: FOTD Nov 16, 2019

Two of my favorite people share today as a birthday. One is Forgottenman, who has, I hope, already received his photo tributes via Jibjab, but now I’m thinking about my Mother, who would have been 110 today if she had lived.

Recently I read a letter where she mentioned how when I was a baby I used to pick the heads off flowers and bring them to her. Misguided then, as I still am now in some matters, I have nonetheless learned to leave the flowers where they grow. I took a little walk in my garden today, Mother, imagining you were here with me, seeking out the flowers that are less profuse now than they were a few months ago.

Winter comes to Mexico as well, and although it cuts a less-wide swath, our cold snap seems to have inhibited the hibiscus and even the poinsettias, that should be fully in bloom by now. This is what you would have seen if you had been able to take my walk with me. If you click on the first photo, all of the photos will enlarge and you can go through them as a slide series and also read their captions:





For Cee’s Flower of the Day prompt.

Birthday Reflections

What person doesn’t, as they approach and then enter the year in their life that marks the year a parent died, feel some trepidation? My father, my grandfather and even my husband died at the age of 70, and some little perversity of my mind has feared all year long that I would join them.  All my life, I have avoided black cats who crossed my path and walking under ladders. When I spill salt, I throw a bit over my left shoulder, just in case. It is not that I believe, necessarily , in these superstitions, but nonetheless, I avoid them. So it is with dangers in my seventieth year.  I stayed home more.  Avoided crowds and travel. I wrote more. Got my house in order—to a degree. I lavished attention on my animals, hoping they would remember me fondly, found surrogate parents for all but the cats. 

Poor cats.  I think those cats, however, represented that sane part of me who knew I would survive this milestone. I would be here to care for them for a good many years.  Perhaps twenty-one. Perhaps twenty-six.  My mother died at the age of 91, my paternal grandmother at 96. Perhaps it would be their genetic makeup in me that would determine my lifespan.  All ridiculous meanderings of a mind left too much in solitude, by choice.  Today I turned 71, riddled by amoebas as I was last year in the week approaching my birthday, but battling back.

Last night one of my best and oldest friends called to talk me into my birthday.  As we talked, Forgottenman sent a Happy Birthday message precisely at Midnight. I opened the cards sent by my sister.  She said they were pre-birthday cards. I await the official one. 

When my alarm went off at 8 this morning to awaken me for my morning dose of antibiotics, dogs and cats remained silent. A strange occurrence.  Usually, at the first signs of my stirring, they set up their morning cacophony. This morning, however, all remained silent.  It was fifteen minutes later, after I’d read Facebook greetings and checked blog statistics, that they set up a terrific clamor.  I heard a gate creak open, although no one was scheduled for work this morning.  A key turned in the front lock. My bedroom door opened.  It was Yolanda and family: Juan Pablo, Oscar, and Yoli, with chihuahua Bryan in arms. Oscar carried flowers. Juan Pablo a gift. It was a surprise early-morning birthday visit before they all drove Yolanda to work in La Ribera. I made coffee, poured fruit juice for the kids and small shots of a special pistachio mescal for the adults. Not me, as I’m on antibiotics. We took photos, tried to introduce Bryan the dog to my dogs.  Oscar cracked open the door to the doggie domain just a bit. My dogs, sniffing and curious, were friendly.  Bryan, the runt, snarled to assert his authority, there in the arms of Oscar, his protector.

We took photos and they departed. The amoebas that seemed to be in abeyance yesterday have returned full-fold.  The late afternoon lunch I had planned with friends, (a tentative appointment since they all, too, are suffering from amoebas) will probably not happen after all. My appointment with a doctor will. I’ll see her for relief from this yearly visitor that, when it departs, always leaves me with an increased enjoyment of life and health. A profound appreciation of just feeling normal. 

As I looked for something to remove from my laptop so I could move the photos you’ll see below there to work with them, I found this poem written a few months ago.  I’ve printed it before and then forgotten it, but reading it today as a stranger might, I realized that it encapsulates a lot of what I’ve been feeling this past year; so here it is again, read with a new appreciation of what it means. 

Swimming to Sandy Bottom

Working my way to sandy bottom,
through murky waters growing clear.
Through all the things I daily think of
down to the plain facts that I fear.

Swimming down to sandy bottoms,
down to past truths and future fears.
The daily details float behind as
I face old matters in arrears.

If my whole life should tell a story,
how do the details all add up?
I’ve always thought time was a sieve, but
perhaps I’ll find it was a cup.

Working my way to sandy bottom,
the flotsam of my years floats near.
All the past terrors and past glories,
and future truths I’ve come to fear.

Working my way to sandy bottom,
no oxygen to draw my breath.
Working our ways to sandy bottom,
we spend our lives to buy our death.

All the glories and the triumphs.
All the failures and the fears.
All the trophies we’ve collected,
and all the tattered, used-up years.

Working our ways to sandy bottoms,
will there be gold grains in the sands?
Too late to spend discovered riches,
they slip like lives right through our hands.

Working our ways to sandy bottoms,
our lives lift up as we swim down,
As we leave the past behind us,
we find our future all around.

Click on first photo and then on right arrows to enlarge all.

Birthday Blunder (For My Sister Patti on Her Birthday)


Birthday Blunder

Falling in doorways, colliding with walls,
I am so busy recovering from falls,­­

dealing with kitties and doctoring dogs,
sometimes I find that my memory bogs
and I forget things that I meant to do,
like mailing your birthday package to you.

Somehow it seems that I just wasn’t able
to keep all my “things to do” neat on the table.
It seems that one task got too close to the edge
and other things knocked it right off of the ledge.
Then the cats played with it or the dogs ate it.
One way or the other, life seemed to ill-fate it.

In this case it’s my memory that seems to be lost.
The onset of years seems to come at great cost.
And so, though I have your present right here,
and though I am sure you’d love it, Patti dear,
and though here’s a photo to prove that I bought it.
The only thing missing is you haven’t got it!

IMG_7393Ring and slide necklace, Sterling silver and black onyx. 

Happy Birthday, dear Patti. Sorry I forgot to send your present home with Jane. Love you lots. oxooxo Judy

Cherry on Top: WordPress Weekly Photo Prompt

The intent of the prompt is to publish a photo of something that tops off an experience and makes it special.  It doesn’t have to specifically be a cherry.


These little guys were definitely the icing on the cake when they arrived to visit a few days after I celebrated my birthday in Sheridan, Wyoming.  They came to visit their grandmother, one of my best and oldest friends, but because I live in Mexico and they don’t live in the town where I visit her and my sister most years, I’d never met them before. They came running in and said, “Our dad says you are his godmother.  Does that mean you are our great godmother?”  I said, “No, that makes me your ‘fairly’ godmother.”  And it went on from there. They are adorable and smart as you can probably see from this photo.  The one on the right was getting a buzz haircut from his dad when his dad decided it looked cool to leave a little ducktail in front, and I think he was right. It is adorable. At one point, the last day they were in Sheridan, we all went to the Holiday Inn for breakfast. There was a wishing pool and after the boys threw in their money, Ducktail came and reported he’d gotten his wish. He told us what it was and I said, “Well, that was my wish, too!”  He looked at me quizzically and said, “Oh, did you wish that you were younger?” Ha. Think he missed the part about our wishes being the same.

This is what the icing on my birthday cake looked like:


The photo that is here rendered in frosting was of me blowing out the candles on my birthday cake at age three.                                                                                                jdbphoto



And here it is three days later. Yech! Glad I have aged a bit better. The cake has fewer wrinkles but at least I haven’t turned green and broken out in boils!!                   jdbphoto

Happy Birthday Marjorie Pauline

Marjorie Pauline is my very dear friend, fellow writer, enthusiastic walker and dance partner.  When I’m at the beach, she is the one who pulls me out to dance twice a week, and if she had her “druthers,” it would be three times. She has done the 500 mile Camino walk in Spain three times–including  last year, when she did it to celebrate her 80th birthday, so her daily 5 to 10 mile walks on the beach when she is in La Manzanilla are nothing in comparison.

Above all, she is a social person, so it came as no surprise when we went to her favorite dancing spot, Palapa Joe’s, to celebrate her 81st birthday on February 12, that a margarita was put in her hand the minute she walked in the door, that her favorite band member greeted her as “Mom” and that people started coming to the table with cards and gifts.  But when the band struck up a tune, all else faded away.  “C’mon, let’s dance!” she demanded and away we went to dance every dance where she wasn’t recruited by one or another male friend.

Yes, the band sang “Happy Birthday,” the kitchen staff presented her with a Hostess Cupcake birthday cake and friends presented gag gifts. But the best part of the entire evening for the birthday girl was, as always, the dance!!!!

(Click on first picture to view a slideshow of all photos in enlarged format with captions.)



Happy Birthday to Me


Had many nice surprises over the past few days, but two I can show pictures of are the cake my friend Jere brought to the poetry reading I coordinated yesterday (and friend Gloria provided the decoration for in impromptu fashion) and this huge bouquet of flowers my helper Yolanda brought to me today. They are nearly as tall as she is. Thanks to all who made this day special. oxoxo Judy