Happy Valentine’s Day. I’m an Adult Now

Well, it’s official, y’all. I think I’ve finally become a real, mature adult.

It’s taken a few decades to get here, but I can honestly say that I truly recognized my maturity on this Valentine’s Day.

Ryan came home from work yesterday, a little freaked out after talking to other females he works with and hearing their expectations for Valentine’s Day. They asked him what he had planned for his wife, and he told them he didn’t have an extravagant plan. (He failed to mention that last weekend he had been trying to line up a sitter so we could sneak away somewhere for a little getaway).

My husband is really amazing that way. Valentine’s Day has never been a real thing for us. When I was younger, inexperienced in life and love, I wished for romantic Valentine’s Day surprises. When I was about 12 or 13, I decided I wanted a Valentine’s Day wedding because I thought it was the most romantic day of the year. When I discussed this plan with my aunt Sharon around that time, she pointed out that when you marry the right person, ANY day is the most romantic day of the year. So that plan fell by the wayside. Still, I sent Ryan telepathic Valentine’s Day messages that I wanted all of the wine and roses and chocolate and jewelry I could get, but never vocalized my desires because I wanted him to know all on his own what I wanted. He’s always delivered a small surprise: always chocolates, sometimes a small piece of jewelry, sometimes flowers, sometimes all of the above. But he’s notorious for surprising me with spontaneous romantic gestures on random days throughout the year. He doesn’t need a calendar or a big-label greeting card company to tell him when to extend a romantic gesture.

This morning I made my trip to shop for valentines for my family while they were at school and work. For Ryan I had decided on candy and frozen pizzas. Sounds weird, I know, but he’s been asking for pizza all week. So I thought if I bought frozen pizza, we could have a romantic pizza snack to ourselves after the boys went to bed. I bought the boys each a little box of candy- more than enough to supplement the sugar highs they all brought home from school- and called it a day on my shopping.

I was in the kitchen making a very non-exciting dinner of oven-fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, and homemade mac and cheese when my tall, handsome valentine walked in the door laden with grocery bags, a liquor store bag, and… a premade deli pizza.

I bust out laughing. He was so confused until I pulled his “valentine” out of the freezer. We congratulated ourselves on thinking so much alike, and he handed me the liquor store bag with not one but two bottles of my favorite wine. Then he started to unload the other grocery store bag. When he pulled out three miniature boxes of chocolates identical to the ones I’d purchased for the boys, we both started to laugh.

Friends, that moment- the moment of knowing that celebrating Valentine’s Day in the simplest way, with my four guys who piled on top of me yesterday morning and declared me their “Princess,” my favorite wine, chocolates, and frozen pizzas on the same night Grey’s Anatomy is on, is the only way I care to celebrate Valentine’s Day, ever- that moment was so clarifying.

I became a real adult today.

And it feels damn good.

Happy Valentine’s Day, my friends.




Don’t Forget Thanksgiving!

It’s still fall, y’all.

Doesn’t look much like it outside, what with the white stuff covering the ground (already.  Again.  So soon after it went away.  Sniffle).  But seriously, it’s still fall.  That’s what the calendar says, anyway.

You can’t really tell from the store displays, either, or from the TV commercials and Hallmark movies and the Hallmark Christmas station on my XM radio.  But seriously, we still have four days till Thanksgiving.   Seriously.  Still fall.

Are you ready for Thanksgiving?  I love it.  It’s like a Farewell to Fall event- the opportunity to get together with family and sit around the table and just be thankful, before the full-blown chaos of the Christmas season sets in.

Fall decorations are my favorite.  The colors, the natural elements; you can decorate your home for fall almost exclusively from nature.  The changing leaves, the bare twigs, the pinecones, the assortment of squashes: pumpkins, acorn squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash.. you can make a centerpiece from all of these things for super cheap!

My grandmother had the prettiest Thanksgiving dishes.  We used them every year, and seeing them even today makes me think of our family gatherings when she and my grandfather were still alive:

Blog- friendly villiage dishes

Friendly Village Dishes by Johnson Brothers.  Image via Google Images


Since we don’t typically host Thanksgiving, I don’t have holiday-specific dishes.  However, I do have enough versatility in my collection that I was able to round up a few ideas for you, in case you’re looking for simple ideas to set your table beautifully enough to keep your kinfolk gathered round (while the men do the dishes, amiright?)

Disclaimer: my decorating style is a little quirky.  I love mixing up different styles to add elegance to simplicity, a dash of modern to the traditional, or some country to the urban.   I guess that’s just me- a juxtaposition of contradicting ideas and styles.  Obviously, any of the ideas here could be changed around to include what you already have and to suit your own style and the mood of your gathering.  Play with it.  Have fun.  SHOP YOUR HOME! (or, as previously mentioned, your backyard.  Or your pantry.  Or your neighbor’s…with permission, of course).



I guess I should also add that in our home, almost everything has a story.  The plates in this setting, for example, are locally crafted near our town.  The candle holders are place card holders- leftover favors from our wedding.  And the turkey centerpieces and pumpkin napkin rings are ceramics my mom painted for us.  The glasses with the spiral design are vintage Libby glassware, inherited from the attic of a family friend.


This setting makes me think, “urban rustic,” with a more formal place setting (a discontinued pattern from Pier One, my favorite dishes), made modern with my favorite wine glasses- a prekids purchase from Crate & Barrel.   The absence of a tablecloth softens the formality of the dishes and brings a bit more rustic to the table. The tall candlesticks are also from Pier One, and those leaf candles were from the head table at our wedding.  The centerpiece is a collection of random items I collected from around our house- the candles, again, are from our wedding (a decade ago), and the plate was a gift that I’m too afraid to serve food from in a houseful of boys.  Under the candles and ribbon I’ve buried potpourri; this centerpiece is often on my dining room buffet.



I tend to think of this last setting as being more “traditional,” with the plain, solid color dishes and traditional stemware.  Mixing the styles of the plates- the round with the square- adds just a subtle enough twist to make it fun.  The pumpkin and napkin rings, again, are ones my mom painted for me.


There are so many ways to make your table inviting and pretty without purchasing special…everything.  Do any of these speak to you?


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.  May your holiday be full of food and love.




Merry Christmas!

Season’s Greetings, friends!  Hope you all had a lovely holiday weekend surrounded by loved ones, and that Santa brought you everything you could have ever wished for.

We changed things up a bit this year in the House of Merrow; due to Ryan’s new job, we didn’t travel to Punxsy as we usually do for the holidays.  Instead, we celebrated our first Christmas in our own house since 2005.  It was nice to be home and start some holiday traditions of our own, starting with a drive around town Friday night to look at Christmas lights.  Maybe it’s just me, but it doesn’t seem that people decorate outdoors for the holidays as they used to.  There are certainly some that go all out, decorating everything from the mailbox to the roof, but those houses don’t seem to be as easy to find as it seems they used to be.  Or maybe my childhood memories are exaggerated.  Regardless, the ones we did find were pretty cool, and I enjoyed our drive together, listening to Christmas carols and enjoying the comfortable quiet that exists between the two of us when we’re truly content.

Saturday was another sort of quiet day, though we exchanged our gifts to each other first thing in the morning.  Yes, I thought it was cheating too, but my husband (who becomes as much of a child at Christmas time as anyone I’ve ever met), insisted that I open my shoebox-sized gift early so I could “wear my new shoes to show my aunts on Christmas Eve.”  Turns out, the gift was not shoes but a new camera.  The sort of new camera I have only ever dreamed of owning.  The sort of camera that basically takes the photos itself.  In short, I’m in heaven over here.  In three days I think I’ve snapped over 200 photographs.  I’ve been sort of photo-deprived for awhile, since my last camera crapped out over the summer and I’ve resorted to the few-and-far-between moments when I could get it to take a landscape shot or a far-away portrait.  But now my zooming abilities have been restored, and I have been going nuts.  Here is what Christmas looks like at our house:

Bayberry candles we burned Christmas Eve. Legend has it that burning these candles brings good luck

Clohe wishes you a Merry Christmas!

Our Christmas Eve Bottle of Bubbly- a tradition I could get on board with!

For some reason, this picture makes me think of "Silent Night"

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions, friends?  Please share!



Danielle-1, Santa-0…for now

Remember how, a couple of weeks ago, I was super excited that I was mostly prepared for Christmas?  Remember how I was so excited that I planned to spend the remaining weeks leading up to the holiday parked on a chair with my glass of wine?

Yep, that’s exactly what I did.  My stash is quickly diminishing- though, I have had the privilege of drinking others’ alcohol a couple of times- and now, two days before Christmas, I’m finding myself scrambling to finish everything I had planned to accomplish.

Yet, here I am, sitting on the sofa in a living room lit only by our Christmas tree and the lighted Santa’s village while some small amount of snow falls outside the window.  Time’s wasting, I have at least 6 more to-do’s before my list is ta-done, and I’m exhausted, but as soon as I turn off the other lights in the house, that tree beckons to me to sit here and savor the season.  I’ve found, since the tree went up this year, that I’m more and more reluctant to go to bed each night- to turn the lights off and leave the house in darkness when the lit tree is cheerful and inviting and warm and cozy.

My love of Christmas comes from my mom, who inherited her love of Christmas from my Pappy.  The whole season has always felt like magic to me, and every year I imagine myself stopping in the midst of the rush to just stop and listen and see signs of the season.  Typically, that means watching the snow fall and seeing things dusted with a layer of sparkly white flakes that make everything look brand new.  Clean.  Simple.  And beautifully contrasted with the bright colors of ribbons and street lights and houses outlined in lights of their own.  This year the snow thing is just not happening around here.  In some ways, that’s not such a terrible thing; after all, I do tend to complain a bit when the white stuff piles up.  (Ideally, it would snow- LOTS- between November and January, then magically switch to May.  However, since I’m not the person in charge of deciding the weather, that probably won’t ever happen.)  On the other hand, I’m going to be realistic: we’re in Pennsylvania.  In December.  And temperatures today were still in the 40’s.  Last year, by the beginning of December we were already in the 20’s.  I’m torn between being sad that the weather isn’t exactly motivating my brain to believe it’s almost Christmas, and being happy that we’re into December already so when it does snow, it might not stick around long.

Regardless, the weather won’t change just because I’m whining about it, so the only thing left to do is to get myself motivated to finish that last bit of shopping, bake those last batches of cookies, and wrap up that list bit of, er, wrapping, and park myself with my wine while I wait for the big fat man with the long white beard to show me up.  I’ll let you know who wins.

In the meantime, may you have a very Merry Christmas, friends.  May your holiday be filled with cheer and joy and love.




Bring it, Santa

Pardon my absence, friends.  It’s been awhile since I’ve been here, as I’ve been plotting my strategy to outsmart time and actually be prepared for the holidays for the first time in, well, ever.  And now I’m here to declare my success.  Or, the delusion in my head that makes me think I’ve succeeded.  It’s my world and I’m happy here, so please don’t shatter my illusions.

OK, so “prepared” may be a bit of an exaggeration.  I don’t have everything done.  But I’m so far ahead of my normal Christmas schedule it’s scary.  My shopping, for our families at least, is done.  The gifts are wrapped and under the tree.  Proof?  Behold, the magic of Christmas:

Yes, the tree ornaments and the wrapping paper match. Don't hate.

Most of the cookies have been baked, and they’re chilling, literally, in the freezers.  At this rate, I’ll be able to sit around with my wine glass for the entire week before Christmas.  Hm, now there’s a thought…

The Christmas cards have gone out; they went out shortly after Thanksgiving.  I have as much decorating finished as I think I’m going to do this year…and, after my Home Alone-esque trip down the basement stairs this morning (sans toboggan and open door), I figure I’ve probably tempted fate just about enough for the season, so… I’m calling it quits.

Here I am, Santa.  Beat that.

Holiday Cheers!



As American as our Traditions…Whatever They May Be

Hm.  I missed Monday again.

I tried; I really did.  I wanted to post some cute little patriotic memo yesterday about how lucky we are to live in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.  I wanted to talk about cookouts and family gatherings and fireworks and mosquito bites and baseball games.  I wanted to talk about drinking beers and margaritas and Pina Coladas and Kool Aid for the lil’ ‘uns.  I wanted to talk about Cornhole and Bocci and flashlight tag and croquet.  Never mind the fact that baseball bores me to tears, beer gives me a bellyache, margaritas and pina coladas are too much work for one person to drink from them, and I have never in my life played any of the four games listed above.  Never mind all that.

(Ed. note: as I worked on this blog, I was interrupted by a conversation that went something like this:

R: Can I show you something that I know doesn’t interest you?

D: Sure.  I can tell you’re excited about it; show me

R: (proceeds to show me a clip from a baseball game involving some bad call, and the coach’s irate reaction to said call.)  See?  This is why you gotta watch baseball.

D: Um, but is it really worth watching three hours’ worth of a game for that two minutes’ worth of conflict?  Isn’t that why God invented SportCenter?

R: …I guess…)

Because regardless of what traditional, um, tradition says we should do, the beauty of July 4 is that we are all free to do what makes America home to us.  So Friday while Ryan was at work, I made a pitcher of Sangria, using this recipe.  I stocked up on hamburger buns and pork chops and cheddar-wurst for the grill.  Friday night, after watching “The Social Network” from our Netflix queue, I challenged my far-more-athletic-than-me husband to a competitive round of mini golf (“competitive” as it might have been, we both did terribly enough that we didn’t bother to tally the score.   We both would have been mortified, I’m sure.).  We took the motorcycle, and when we got home, he installed the window air-conditioner in the kitchen while I grilled cheddar-wurst and assembled some boxed mac’n’cheese for dinner.  Gourmet, I tell you.  We are 100% gourmet in this house.


Saturday, Ryan packed up his RC gear and went out to race for the day, while I prepared for a “girls’ day” with my newlywed friend Nicole…

photo from Nic's wedding-day arsenal...

and Saturday night was spent at home, dining on some grilled teryaki-marinated pork chops and rice, with corn on the cob and fresh green beans.

Sunday, Ryan made a suggestion I don’t believe I’ve ever heard from his mouth before: he suggested that we ride the motorcycle to the local wineries and stock up on our favorites.  It’s been awhile since we went to the wineries together, so it was a special treat to share with him some of the newer ones I’ve discovered with my friend Bekah and her fiance Kasey.  We made a day of it, biking from place to place; he kept a careful eye on my consumption to be sure I didn’t become so inebriated that I might fall off the back of the bike, and he sipped very little.  Still, it was a fun and (for us) different way to spend a summer weekend afternoon.


In turn, I succumbed to the idea of attending more late-model races Sunday night, but when we got there the place was packed, so we turned around and left.  We settled instead for heading to the local amusement park for a funnel cake and some people-watching, but we both were so frustrated by the decorum of our local demographic, we left before the fireworks we had gone to see in the first place, had started.  We got home just in time to see the sunset from our front yard in the most gorgeous array of perfect sunset colors…

And Ryan stole my camera insisting we needed to add a photo of me to the photo collection.  I disagreed, so here’s my compromise:

Pink and orange...coexisting peacefully like the sunset.  Yup, that's us!

Happy Independence Day, friends.

Yesterday, for the fourth, we started the day by going out for breakfast to our favorite weekend-morning breakfast place.  Later, we met up with friends of Ryan’s from high school for dinner and fireworks.

And finally, today was back to the grind.  Ryan returned to work, and Clohe and I headed to the library to volunteer.  We came home to this surprise in the back yard:

And so, friends, I hope your fourth of July weekend was filled with all those wonderful things that make America wonderful for you.




Memorial Day- Not Always Such a Picnic

So, yeah, I’m a few days behind here.  I try, really.  Life just doesn’t always work out as planned.

Monday was Memorial Day- the unofficial start of summer!  Graduation season!  Grilling season!  Flower-planting season!  And flu season.

Wait, what?


Tuesday was Brandon’s graduation.  What an emotional wreck that made me because, as I explained before, I’m a little older than the average big sister.  Also, not only was “one of my little ones” moving up to adulthood, but I also remembered about half of his graduating class (of 229 students) from their childhoods.  Kids Brandon and Cory had played t-ball with, kids he was friends with and had over at the house when he was in nursery school, kids I met the summer I volunteered in his Bible camp class, and kids whose birth announcements I remember very clearly because their parents are friends with my parents, and Brandon’s good friends I’ve met in passing in the last couple of years… and I also witnessed their commencement ceremony on Tuesday night.  It kind of feels like one of those “come full circle” kind of things.

After accepting his diploma


With his girlfriend Emily- love her!


Triple threat: Brandon, Brett, and my "other brother" Craig


The Fam! Missing: Derek and Ryan


Also on Tuesday, Mom and I went to Peanut’s elementary school for her end-of-the-year “fun day”.  Mom, being the devoted homeroom mother she is, endured the 90-degree day (Mom does not tolerate heat well, to put it mildly)  to volunteer for my sister’s class, and I decided to go with her since I so rarely get to be involved in these things.  We ended up being the only volunteer helpers for  second grade, and we were in charge of one event that all four grades (K-3) were going to participate in.  The first class to attempt our event was first grade, and since my mom’s very involved in my sister’s education, a lot of the kids know her.  One little boy came over to her while we were chatting, and cried, “Hi, [Peanut]’s mom!”  My mother responded with the kid’s name, and then he turned to me and said, “Hi, Kendall’s mom!”  Ugh.  Um, not cool.  I patiently explained that I’m not a mom, I’m a sister.  Of course, to a first grader, I may as well have told him I was visiting planet earth from Neptune, because he really had no comprehension of how someone his size can have a sister that’s old enough to be someone’s mother.  And, of course, even more strangely, few of my sister’s friends have ever met me, so I could have been anyone as far as they were concerned.

The tall one in the orange flowered top is my Peanut


(I have some really good photos of both events.  Unfortunately, the cord to my camera has rebelled and grown legs.  Its present location eludes me, so until I find it, I can’t share my pictures.  Sorry.)  **Ed. Note: found my cord (obviously).  It was tangled with my hairdryer in the bathroom drawer.  Oops.

Anyway, I spent the day with my mom, helping her to get her daily list of errands done so she would be ready to get all three of my siblings plus my dad organized for graduation.  We had lunch together, and did some running around before returning to the house where I helped to iron everyone’s dress clothes while Mom assembled her famous lasagna.  I got to pick my sister up from school, and also met Cory at his bus and delivered him to help my dad, who was using his early afternoon off to repair some farm equipment.  In the meantime, I had been exchanging text messages with Ryan all afternoon while he was doing a little of his own thing.  He had told me in the morning that he woke up with chills, but I didn’t think much of it since he had been out in the sun all weekend, doing far more activity than normal.  I chalked it up to overexertion and moved on.

By the time I got to his parents’ house to pick him up for graduation, he had a temperature of 101.  I still assumed it was due to the heat, but implored him to stay with his family while I attended graduation with mine.  When I returned two hours later, I was told his temp had spiked to 103.  Acetaminophen had done nothing to lower the fever, nor did cold cloths.  I finally coaxed him into a cold bath, which seemed to make a world of difference, though he complained about a bit of an upset stomach as well.  Yesterday afternoon I drove him home, and he remained on the couch for most of the day.  When we went to bed, he said he felt better, but decided to take today off as well to recuperate.

Tonight,  he seems to be feeling a bit better, but we’re learning that despite the inappropriateness of the season, it appears that there’s a flu bug going around.

So drink plenty of clear liquids, friends.  (Even if you’re not sick.  And, sure, vodka, tequila, and rum qualify.  But only if you’re not sick!)




What She Wanted

The story I’ve heard since I was but a wee one is that all my mother ever wanted was to be a mom.

She wanted us.  All five of us.  All 45 months of pregnancy, all the hours of labor (totaling, oh, I dunno, maybe 8.  Tops.  She’s a beast a childbirth,  I tell you).  Despite all that, all she ever wanted was to have children.  Lots and lots of children.  So three months after her high school graduation, and a week after her eighteenth birthday, Mom married my daddy- the love of her life- and they started the family they so badly wanted only a few years after.

She’s a tough woman, my momma.  I don’t remember her ever taking a day for herself; I don’t remember her ever doing anything for her.  Illness and childbirth, sheer exhaustion or injury, or even the loss of her own parents, never stopped my mom from being our caretaker- our MOM- above all else.  There have been plenty of days I know she would so much rather stay in bed and catch up on her sleep and a good book.  Though, I know the book would win out in that contest.  Still, she’s always there, always on the go.  Always taking care of the rest of us first.

She works harder than most men I’ve ever known, and without a word of complaint.  She’s the cook and housekeeper, laundry-do’er and nurse.  She goes without sleep and many days she sacrifices a moment to herself in favor of chauffeuring kids to football or baseball practice.  She has a soft heart for the young and the elderly, and will go out of her way to give her time and love to anyone who needs it.  Her quiet strength and endless energy push her far past the point of exhaustion to take care of everyone but her.

She ‘s not only our mom; she’s everyone’s mom.  She’s the rare nurturer who takes care of not only her own children, but everyone else’s as well, not to mention almost everyone else around her.  Her selflessness and generosity  come from reserves I can only speculate at… and if only a portion of each have manifested themselves in me, I’ll consider myself successful.

All five of us have friends who know our mom as Mom.  The mom who makes them finish their vegetables and clean their plates.  Ryan and my friend Kayla credit my mom in part to their discovery of green food, but she has always gone out of her way to put something on the table she knows they like.

Her sense of humor has found its way into all five of us, in such different ways.  Her silliness, sarcasm, and ability to laugh at a folly have carried on to me.  Derek and Cory are quiet, but both will get you with a quick one-line zinger, if you don’t watch them.  Brandon inherited her sarcasm too, as well as her sense of adventure.  And my Peanut.  Oh, my Peanut.  She’s got mom’s and my love of words, and she uses them in ways that no eight-year-old should have a knowledge of.

My momma is an amazing woman.  One day to tell her that just doesn’t seem like enough.  Not for everything she does for us, and for everyone.  Not for someone as incredible as my mom.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy.  Even though we couldn’t be home with you to celebrate, you’re in our thoughts on this day when we are so thankful for being blessed enough to have you as our mother.  I love you.  The boys and Peanut love you.  We all love you.

Mom and me on my wedding day.  Photo courtesy Janelle DiFuccia PhotographyMom and me on my wedding day.

Photo courtesy Janelle DiFuccia photography.

Going Home

Did the Easter Bunny visit you?

Peanut's pet bunny, Sailor

Did you color hard-boiled eggs in bright, spring-y colors…

Eggs we colored at Ryan's parents' house

…and then seek them where the bunny hid them?

Seems like just yesterday Peanut needed help to reach the eggs hidden in that tree...

And then, after stuffing your belly full of Easter pizza, ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, green bean casserole, broccoli with cheese sauce, and homemade rolls, did you make just a little more room for a cake that looks like this, because it’s just too cute to resist a bite (or a whole ear?  Thanks Momma- yummy!)

Almost too cute to eat. Almost.

And now we’re home again, back to work and back to life and back to the routine that makes our life away from home…home.

Much as we love our new home and the life we built, it’s always comforting to go back to our roots.  Our home, where we love to sit around the table with our family and a bottle of wine, teasing and sharing stories and laughing together.  A home where a husband can teach his seven-year-old cousin the ropes of racing a remote-controlled truck.  A home that remains as it’s always been.  Just.  Home.

These Days

Birthdays, I’m learning, are humbling things.

After over celebrating over a quarter-century’s worth of these, it’s a lesson I continue to learn.  And somehow, each year they become more meaningful as people I haven’t seen in years remember and reach out to share a wish for one more happy and healthy year.

I’m more sentimental about it this year than I have been in the past- maybe more than I’ve ever been before.  The cards began arriving over the weekend, and the phone calls and Facebook wall posts started rolling in yesterday.

And it humbles me and gives me pause to think that I have met such wonderful people along the way, who take a moment of their day to send a happy birthday wish.

I refuse to acknowledge that I might be aging.  Physically, I haven’t changed since I was seventeen (save those few pounds that prevent my senior-year-sized jeans from fitting the way they used to.  But forget it if you think I’ll reveal what that size was then- or worse, what it is now).

Emotionally, though, I’ve matured.  Intellectually, maybe even a little bit.  It might even be said that perhaps at my new age, I’m emotionally and intellectually the age I should have been when I was seventeen.  Maybe.

Anyway, my shaky self-esteem has evolved enough to allow me to see how lucky I am to know all these wonderful people who- this part is still a little tough for me to say- love me enough to think of me on my birthday.  After all these years, I think I’m finally nearing an age (and maybe not a numerical age, but more of an era) that allows me to embrace who I am- quirks, idiosynchrasies, and strengths alike, and just allow myself to be loved.  Or even just liked.

I suppose, if this is what it means to “age,” (not that I’m getting old, in any sense), then I suppose I’m doing the best I can to do it gracefully.  Life, as with love, is like wine- the older it gets, the better the flavor.

Yes.  Yes, I did.  I compared life with wine.

I guess that’s one of the perks of no longer being seventeen.

Thank you, to all of you who made another birthday even more extraordinary by sending your love and wishes.