Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Forty



Hello! Thank you for the get-well and holiday wishes on my last post. We had a nice Thanksgiving, in spite of the fact that the Bear had fallen to the illness by then too. I stayed well through it all, though, and a good thing too, since I had a lot of cooking to do. It was a lot for one person to do all by herself, I will admit, and as usual, the "man" version of the illness seemed ever so much more dire than the child version, but that's neither here nor there; everyone appears to be back to normal, more or less, and the holiday was a good one. Over the weekend, I also celebrated my fortieth birthday, with a dinner out (this wasn't looking like it would happen, but we made it in the end), a lovely cake and presents. Coming at the end of a very hard week, my birthday pictures feature a fairly haggard crone-like figure, so I'll keep them to myself. I assure you, I was very happy on the inside.

My birthday last year was shared with Thanksgiving, as sometimes happens (I was born on the day as well), so I was happy to have the days separate again this year. It's a lot for one day and my naturally guilty conscience won't let me enjoy my birthday fully when I suspect that people are trying too hard to juggle my day and the holiday. They'll never say so (well, some of them will, and have, but I don't invite them to my birthdays anymore), but it's a feeling I have within myself and I don't like it, so it's good to have the holiday and the birthday fall on different days like they did this year.

Last year, we went out for a mediocre Thanksgiving meal in a restaurant; this year, I could cook the big meal and have the birthday dinner out too, which is so much nicer. I also went back to my old tradition of having a store-bought cake (the same one I've had many times, the Berry Chantilly cake from Whole Foods Market), instead of making my own; last year, I made a delicious dulce de leche cheesecake from Pati Jinich's first cookbook, which I enjoyed very much, but I really, really love that berry cake and I liked having it all ready and waiting in the fridge.

I had perfect (for me) birthday weather this year too - sunny and chilly, with crystal-clear blue skies. Last year, my birthday was a weirdly warm and hazy day, sunny and something like 75 degrees. On Thanksgiving! People were outside barbecuing and drinking beer on their front lawns. Sorry, that's just not right for late November. I liked our normal November weather much more, especially our cold, cloudy Thanksgiving Day. I'm complaining, I know, and I don't mean to. It's just funny how differently birthdays can feel from one year to the next.


My gifts were really lovely. This is my favorite gift, a group of three cakes of gradient yarn. I mentioned this yarn before, as well as the project its intended for (the Trio crocheted blanket by Susan Carlson of The Felted Button); I didn't expect to ever have any of this yarn because it's out of my normal crafting budget, but I was asked to provide gift suggestions and because it was a BIG BIRTHDAY, I decided to ask for this yarn for a present. The Bear was only too happy to provide. I was so excited! The yarn, Scheepjes Whirl, is a light cotton/acrylic blend and comes in so many beautiful colors (click the link in the yarn's name to see them). My colors are (clockwise from the top): Black Currant Squeeze Me, Lavenderlicious and Green Tea Tipple. Fun names, right? I love these colorways so much. Honestly, I'm just in love with gradient yarns lately; I really can't get enough.

As much as I love these colorways, I had a little trouble deciding on them, but then I usually do. I needed three cakes for the project and I loved looking through examples of the blanket made by other people, many of whom are a lot more adventurous with color than I am. In the end, I decided to go with my favorite tones. I guess I played it a little safe. My favorite colors include purples, blue-greens and grays, and I loved all three of these colorways, so I took a chance on them and I think they look fantastic together. The blanket design will have the colors pooling and blending from one end to the other, so I have to decide whether to use these yarns from the inside of the cakes or the outside. I'm not sure yet, it's kind of complicated to think about it, actually! I haven't started working with the yarn yet, since I'm still plugging away with my stash-buster ripple, but I'm looking forward to it. I've decided the Trio blanket will be for me. I've never actually made a blanket just for myself, and I'm not exactly sure how to go about having a blanket be just for me, but it's something I've wanted to do for a long time. I'm sure I'll be willing to share sometimes, but only with nice, careful people.


I also received a wonderful gift that I've wanted for a long time, a new ice cream maker. We have an old one that doesn't work as well as I'd like it to, needs to be used outdoors because it's noisy, and requires copious amounts of ice. It works, but it doesn't, you know? I love to make ice cream, and would really enjoy branching out into sorbets and sherbets, and I'd really appreciate the convenience of a countertop appliance, so this is something I've had on my wishlist for a couple of years. I'm really glad to have it. Sorry for the box photo, as if this is a low-quality catalog; I just haven't unboxed it yet but it's coming soon.


Miss GB made me a very pretty bracelet. The beads sort of click together to open and close, which is nice for putting it on myself. The colored parts are plastic, but they look like sea glass. She has a bag of them that came with a DIY jewelry craft kit and she kind of hoards them, so I feel very lucky to receive something like this from her. I also received Ghirardelli chocolates and a small baking dish, as well as lovely cards and a DVD of one of my favorite movies, Peggy Sue Got Married. We had dinner in an Italian restaurant and came home for delicious cake. It was a really lovely day.

And now I'm forty years old. I'm still getting used to that. On the other hand, I've always felt much older than I actually am, and for some reason, always had the idea that when I was forty, I would finally feel like my age matched my sense of myself. I think it's accurate, actually. There's something about being able to say that I am forty that feels correct and fitting. I think I felt forty at fourteen, honestly. I probably looked it too (I've never gotten enough sleep). I'm happy about it. I feel settled in my life and I like where I am at forty. I don't have big ambitions and never have; I like being a wife and a mother, a homemaker, a general helper-outer in my kids' school, a good-enough daughter, sister and friend. It's enough. I think I like myself more the older I get, which is what they always said would happen, so I'm right on track there too.

I will say that my birthday feels like a finish line, of sorts, after a difficult year. A few very challenging things went on behind the scenes here, but I don't want to dwell on them. They've kept me away from blogging, commenting, emailing, socializing, creating, and a lot of other things I wanted to do, and they don't deserve the space anymore. It's just good to be getting back to the healthy mindset that I've worked hard to develop in myself - one of gratitude and appreciation for the life we've chosen, the relationships we know we can count on, the loving home we've created for ourselves, our happy marriage and utter joy in parenthood, my meaningful and healing hobbies - and when I think about all of that, I know that's what matters. So, while I'm never one for resolutions or hard promises, I do feel like I've reached a turning point and that I have the strength and sureness to move forward and leave a very bad time behind, looking instead to the good and positive things once again, but not to pressure myself. A birthday is not a deadline or a magical new beginning, it's just a day (and this one happens to be a big cultural milestone, and it also happens to fall at the end of the calendar year), just a jumping-off point for better things and I'm more than ready to embrace them.

22 comments:

  1. I am sorry for all the hard but so very glad for a wonderful birthday! happy birthday!! What lovely gifts too! I am so very glad!!! It's nice to get something that one has dreamed of having for so long! I turned 40 2 years ago almost and it was a nice birthday too. :) There is something that really changes I feel when one is suddenly in one's 40s. It has a lot of blessings. Praying that you will have a better year; we all have hard stuff and it can take up a lot of time. God bless you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm wishing you a very happy birthday Jennifer, you had some lovely gifts. And I'm glad everyone's well again now. I'm so sorry it wasn't a good year for you, I really hope that it is all behind you now and that this coming year will be great. Sending hugs, CJ xx

    ReplyDelete
  3. Happy, happy birthday, you deserve it. Love the yarn. I really like your ice cream maker, I'm tempted. Forty was such a good age, in fact all of my forties were good, not old at all.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Happy Birthday, Jennifer. Your presents are lovely and that cake looks delish! Here's to a better year to come. xx

    ReplyDelete
  5. Happy birthday Jennifer, glad you enjoyed your special day. Hoping the year will be a good one for you, looking forward to seeing your creations. Take care Cx

    ReplyDelete
  6. Happy Birthday Jennifer! My birthday was also on the weekend - the 24th. Is yours the 24th or the 25th? However, 40 is just a young thing. I turned 58!
    Anyway, it looks like you had a really nice day. I love the bracelet from GB. There is a lot of love in it! Hope your next year is better than the last.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Happy fortieth birthday Jennifer from a almost 62 year old xoxo Lovely post and I so enjoy how you write your posts. That bracelet is so sweet and special. Life sure can be one rollercoaster ride but we think of the here and now and enjoy the great bits xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  8. Happy Birthday!
    I enjoy your writing so.
    I know it is coming straight from your heart.
    We are kindred spirits, as I always have felt older than I am and am also quite content and feel very blessed to live the life I am living.
    And let me tell you...turning 40 was one of the best things that happened to me!
    Once I hit 40 I felt this sense of freedom...freedom from having to please others, or worrying what others thought. I felt as if I could be ME. I wish that for you, my friend. Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Happy belated Birthday, Jennifer!! I turned forty three years ago. I think I like myself more the older I get, too. Each year, I seem to care less and less about what other people might think of me, in other words, I feel that I can just be myself and not worry about impressing others. I loved this post! It's very real and I like that about you. Everyone that's older than me tells me that their forties were awesome and fifties are even better! Something to look forward to my friend!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Happy, happy birthday, Jennifer. You write so beautifully about your life and thoughts – it's always a pleasure to read your posts. Someone said to me recently that if we didn't have the dark times we wouldn't appreciate the good times as much. Sorry if that sounds trite but it helped me at the time! Life is up and down, light and dark, but it's always better when there's more up :-) Here's to you, my friend, and a thoroughly good year ahead. Sam x

    ReplyDelete
  11. Belated Birthday wishes Jennifer, wishing you a wonderful year ahead. Hopefully you will be able to leave the bad elements behind and look forward. The yarn looks amazing I am so looking forward to seeing what you do with it. The bracelet was a joy, made with love it doesn't get any better.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Dearest Jennifer, a Very Happy 40th Birthday to you, I wish you a wonderful year in this 'grown up' decade. You will feel 40 forever now! I so love reading your blog, such wise and thoughtful words, always something for me to ponder. Our birthdays are very close, and mine is tomorrow. This year I made a cake which is cooling right now. Love your berry cake, just perfect, and that you have a new ice cream machine: they are like swimming pools, best to get it and use it lots while the children are children. Life is short, let's make it sweet :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Happy Birthday Jennifer! glad you got your card. I love using my ice cream maker when we have glut fruits. You have had some lovely things. I didn't realise you were 40! such smooth skin my dear. Jo xxx

    ReplyDelete
  14. Happy Birthday Jennifer! I am happy to hear that you had a wonderful day with your family. You saying that you felt 40 at the age of 14 made me smile. I always thought I was older than my actual age too, in a good way I hope. I know it has not been an easy year for you and yours and I hope you are able leave all the hardship behind. You have such a good attitude to life, you really do. Lots of love. Christina xx

    ReplyDelete
  15. Happy big four-oh, Jennifer! I'm a lot older than you (I'm 56) but I remember turning 40 like it was yesterday. My mom had a big surprise party for me; the first surprise party I've had in my life. I'm normally not one for surprise parties (especially for myself), but it was a blast. I also loved turning 40. Like you, I finally felt secure with who I was. I had a hard time turning 50, but that's another story for another day. Anyway, I'm going to privately email you later. Have to run some errands now, so I'll talk to you later. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  16. May you have a wonderful celebration of being 40...all year long, Jennifer! Thanks for sharing how you celebrated your birth day and letting us have the fun of enjoying seeing some of your gifts as well and dream with you about how you may use them. xx

    ReplyDelete
  17. LOL, had to laugh you're feeling old and I'm thinking oh to be that young again. Happy belated. Loving your yarn gift and am anxious to see what you do with it. My BD is just a wee bit before Thanksgiving, so wonder are you also a Scorpio?
    Sandy's Space

    ReplyDelete
  18. Aw, happy 40th! Your yarn cakes look good enough to eat.
    I expect we'll see some more ice cream recipes. How fun!

    ReplyDelete
  19. We had Chinese food for Thanksgiving. Normally my husband works on Thursdays but it was a holiday here so he had the day off. Haven't had a chance to make any traditional foods or even a pumpkin pie. There's always Christmas. :) Happy 40th. I made big changes when I turned 40, lost weight, stopped eating meat. Threw a party for myself where I invited 20 friends for a sit-down meal that I prepared and served with the help of a few friends. Was a great evening. My 50th was celebrated in Sri Lanka (in February I will be 53). To me age is just a number. What's important is how we feel, having peace of mind, finding happiness in the little every day things. Sounds like that's exactly what you are doing. Take care! Happy December!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Happy Birthday Jennifer!
    I'm glad you were able to celebrate your birthday independent of the holiday..
    The cake looks delicious and what wonderful gifts you got.. I haven't made ice cream in ages.. but we did buy a little popcorn maker last week and its such a delight just to watch the popcorn pop out.. the boys gather around to watch the magic.
    Wishing you a wonderful year and yes hopefully with all the unpleasantness behind you.

    http://www.henatayeb.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  21. Happy belated birthday. I remember your birthday falling on Thanksgiving last year, I'm glad they were separate this year so that your special birthday had a day of its own and you were able to celebrate it without the stress of another festivity on the same day. You received some wonderful gifts and I'm looking forward to seeing how that gorgeous yarn works up. I'm sorry to hear that it's been a challenging year for you, let's hope that your fortieth birthday is the beginning of only good things for you.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Happy birthday! I am so glad you had such a wonderful day. Do you know, I've been looking at that same yarn a lot lately, but just one cake for a large wrap. I seriously love that blanket though.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for leaving a comment. It's so good to hear from you! I don't always have time to reply but I try to answer questions when I can.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...