When I was younger, I envisioned celebrating my 40th birthday on a gorgeous tropical beach, surrounded by friends and family.  Instead, I celebrated by putting on my required face mask and dodging people on a greenbelt trail for 30 minutes before returning to quarantine.  If I've learned anything from the last 40 years, it's that life doesn't go according to plan.

So no big birthday adventures, but yesterday I got to go to my oncology office for a CT scan because I've been having unexplained neck pain and I promised myself that I would never ignore any possible symptoms of a recurrence.  Thankfully, it turned out to be nothing.  It's probably related to my chronic TMJ.  Why can't I stop grinding my teeth all night long?  It's not like I'm under any stress.  I'm just sitting here with my children in quarantine during a global pandemic, awaiting major reconstructive surgery as a result of a cancer diagnosis, trying to convince myself that 40 is the new 30.  Everything is totally cool.

And my house is looking awesome!  I started an exterior painting project because I knew Jeff would see me doing a mediocre job and would take over.  (If I had simply asked him to do it, he would've said no.)  Meanwhile, my deep cleaning continues.  I cleaned inside the fireplace we never use.  I dusted under the piano.  And I spent ten minutes detailing my doorbell for all the visitors and guests who aren't coming.  Is it just me, or has life lost all meaning? 

At least there are presents.  I hinted (not so subtlety) that Jeff and the kids should get me a bike so that I can keep up with Julia.  I felt like I was six years old all over again!  I strapped on my shiny, extra-large helmet and rode around the neighborhood a few times. 

Jeff also got me the perfect card.  Yup, that was me last year.  Minus the eyebrows.

A cake I didn't have to bake myself?  Hooray! 

Thanks, Jeff, for lining that "forty" up right across my chest.  Great photography.  Yet also feels appropriate.  I made it to forty.  Take that, breasts!

If anyone needs any "Cheers to 40 Years" cocktail napkins, let me know.  I bought those in March when I was planning to invite a few neighbors and friends over for a drink while I was still recovering from surgery.  Somehow my expectations keep being lowered.  "I don't have neck cancer and I get to stay home and drink wine by myself and clean the baseboards?!  Best 40th birthday ever!!!"

At one point, the kids were busy on their iPads, and I thought to myself, "Oh, an hour of free time!  What kind of craziness can I get up to for my birthday?!"  The answer: I took a nap on the patio.  No regrets.

And finally, a Zoom session with friends.  Hey, I made it to a tropical beach after all!  (Julia taught me the joy of virtual backgrounds.)

Thanks to everyone who thought of me today.




  1. Hey, Happy BirthdayJami! I guess you already know that you have the same birthday as Al Pacino. And he turned 80 yesterday. Now that's scary. Enjoy your new bike and maybe check out the online edition of Fusebox Festival coming at you from good ol' Austin. Cheers!


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