April 2018

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hippo Birdie Two Me

Hippo birdie two ewes. Or I guess it’s really hippo birdie two me. I loved those Boynton cards (was that nineties or the eighties?) with cartoon characters of animals celebrating a birthday or a holiday. Those images were clever, childlike and cheerful. Now I love the grumpy old lady who has lots of old lady problems. She’s amusing, but she’s not Boynton.

I had a little wildlife kingdom, urban style not Boynton style, to start my birthday today. As I was doing my home yoga practice in front of our gas fireplace, a large urban animal—maybe a raccoon or a wild boar—seemed to be trying to break in through the back of the fireplace. I would hear banging and would come down from my downward facing dog to clap my hands. There would be twenty seconds of silence and then the banging would resume.

I finally dealt with the wild boar in the same way that I deal with all discomfort: I left the room and closed the door behind me. In the kitchen, as I put away the dishes, I noticed a still and giant bee on the counter top. It looked dead, but you never know. (Sure enough, when I returned to the kitchen for lunch, it had gone away. And the dreaded question: where did it go?)

After breakfast, I read through my assortment of well-wishes on Facebook: notes from students who are now older than I was when I taught them 25 years ago, the NBA (really the WNBA—it’s all about the W), relatives and long-time friends. I even got a birthday note from my best friend in seventh grade, Kathryn Yorke. She wrote, “Happy birthday, old friend.” I think the “old” was literal.

To celebrate my morning, I went to a yoga class with Victoria. This afternoon, I’ll take a celebratory nap. Then I’ll go to an appointment with my eye surgeon for a regular follow-up. She’ll make me look to the left again and again (even though I can’t do that anymore: me trying to look left is a lot like you trying to stand there and levitate. Go ahead: try it.) She’ll also dilate my eyes. Happy birthday to me!

What do I want for my birthday? A new rubber end for my cane and batteries for my hearing aid that don’t turn off intermittently. And a tasty salmon dinner with chocolate angel pie for dessert. (I’m pretty sure I’m getting that: there’s a pecan meringue crust cooling on the counter downstairs, a pint of heavy whipping cream in the refrigerator, and a bar of dark Baker’s chocolate in the breadbox—some people keep bread in their breadbox, but that’s where we keep our chocolate.)

On this day, as on every day, I remember how lucky I feel to be alive: to watch the crocuses shielding their blooms from the rain, to stretch and breathe into my body, to hear from so many fine people who have been in my life.

Hippo birdie two me.

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