Saturday, August 10, 2013

Happy birthday to me as I count my blessings

This birthday, Keller takes Cookie sailing off La Jolla Shores.

Ringing in another year brings time for reflection, joy, humor and appreciation  

"...all the gardens
of spring and summer were blooming in the tall tales
Beyond the border and under the lark full cloud.
There could I marvel
my birthday...."
--Dylan Thomas


AS I MARK my birthday tomorrow, I am thankful that I, too have "lark full cloud" and another summer "blooming in the tall tales."
Cookie in her birthday togs.
 How lucky I am to mark another year, dividing my time with beloved family and friends in Montana and sweet, smart kind Keller, my partner, in California.
To be able to appreciate the natural world is, besides my human circle, my greatest pleasure.
HOW SAD life would my life be without gardens, birds, mountains, our gorgeous sea and sky.
I am thankful to have the health and time to travel.
Born and raised in Montana,I've celebrated about half of my birthdays "elsewhere."
When I was three, I spent my first out-of-state birthday in Kansas, where my family had driven to visit my Aunt Lillian and Uncle Ronnie.
Keller and Cookie celebrate  in Rome at Trevi Fountain. 
I HAVE a vivid memory of climbing into the tornado shelter near the house, wiping a cobweb from my face and shrieking at the thought that a spider might be nesting there!
As a grade-school kid, I spent birthdays along the Stillwater River at our family's cabin. We feasted on corn on the cob and steaks from 4-H beef,  crowning the meal with one of my mother's famous artistic cakes. Sometimes she crafted a scene from a musical  ("Oklahoma" complete with the corn fields and surrey with the fringe on top.)
The Cosgriffes, from left bottom: Cookie, Olivia, Patrick;
top row, Robbie, mum Ellen, Misha, Peny, Rick, circa 1979.
I remember the ghost stories my father told around the campfire and late-night walks with my sister Peny. One night, she bolted when she thought she heard a man's voice in the chokecherry bushes.
Peny's long runner's legs moved faster than mine.  She had the lantern!
BUT WE made it safely back to the cabin, I following by  five frightened, breathless minutes.
I spent my 18th birthday on the night train from Paris to Florence, my first foray to Europe as a so-called adult. Many birthdays abroad followed.
A happy birthday, Yellowstone Park style!
Bruce and I spent another birthday sailing the Queen Elizabeth II across the Atlantic.
Billy and I marked a birthday in Bora Bora, watching manta rays through a glass floor.
Keller and I have toasted my birthday in Yellowstone Park, on a ship harbored in Monte Carlo, in Rome with lunch at the Tivoli Fountain, sailing out of Barcelona, and whale watching and wine tasting in Santa Barbara.
I SPENT A birthday at "Sweeney Todd" in New York the year Angela Lansbury won the Tony as Mrs. Lovett.  I won $2,500 another birthday at a blackjack table in Las Vegas. Whoopee! Ordered a room service bottle of Dom Perignon.
Cookie's favorite birthday treats. 
Cookie, Keller on  Atlantic crossing.
I've had some melancholy birthdays, including my first one without my mother's "happy birthday" phone call. Or my birthday the August my daddy died
. "Firsts" are tough without the folks we love.
I'VE BLOWN out the candles on several continents, and with adored nieces and nephews. I spent one birthday in England on the balcony of the Hotel Intercontinental.  The manager, born in America,  heard it was my day and feted us-- and five other American couples -- to cocktails and caviar.
I don't need a birthday cake.  A chocolate souffle or raspberry mousse is wonderful. I'd love a bowl of my gran's bread pudding with rum sauce this birthday. Or creme brule, my favorite dessert. All  hold a single
Cookie's birthday last year -- her wish: "and many more."
Cookie and Keller on his birthday.
 candle nicely, and who needs more than one flame? Candles  become a fire hazard as one ages and the numbers increase.
Some people ignore birthdays.  I celebrate for more than a month, much to the teasing of my friends.
My birthday begins August 1 and ends on Labor Day -- this year, Labor Day comes early, Sept. 2.  I like it when that first Monday of the month comes as late as it can, September 6!
Cookie celebrating with niece Amarylla.
CALL IT hubris.  Call it gilding the lily. Call it honking my own horn! (I did that too, one birthday, playing my saxophone with friend Art Daniel at the Cowboy Bar in Fishtail.)
I don't care. It's my day, so happy birthday to me!
And thank you friends and family for indulging me days on end.
I love you and cherish you all. I appreciate all the birthdays we've shared, yours and mine! I hope for many more, "without no pants on." That last little line prompts a late-August blog on my mum's birthday.
As we blow extinguish our candles and light a hope for the future, let's remember what George Bernard Shaw said:
Age is strictly a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter!"
Cookie and Corby cruise the Greek Isles on his birthday.

The Alberta Bair Theater in Billings has a rich history, evolving from its 1931 birth as the nation's last Fox Theatre. See how Corby Skinner and Cookie helped save it. And enjoy a look at sexy Rudolph Valentino and his star-gazing effect on Cookie's mother -- and Cookie!
Remember to explore, learn, live.  And catch us Wednesdays and Saturdays at:

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