I celebrated my 50th birthday yesterday. Well, the birthday was Thursday, but we celebrated yesterday.
I asked for a celebration this time...normally I shy away from that sort of thing. I asked for a small party, just a few of my closest friends and family to toast the success of the past, well wishes on current health challenges looking forward to the future and everything – both good and not so good – it brings.
I know a lovely gentleman named Harry, now very old and frail, and I really only get a chance to see him a couple of times a year. I was so happy to see him recently. I gave him a proper hug, with full body contact, and long enough to be really felt and appreciated. After all, every hug I get from him could be our last. I’m much more aware of that sort of thing these days. Everyone around me is getting older...that must mean I am, too.
There's a young friend from my distant past...through Facebook I've fondly watched her grow, get married, have kids...and in this past year, fight a losing battle against cancer and be at peace. I still cry for her children some days. There is no good time to lose a parent or loved one but under ten years of age seems particularly harsh.
Speaking of things I really do not want to think about…hi Mom. (Smile) Of course I want to think about you...I do, every day...but now that I've moved from the challenging relationship I had with you as a child to being your close friend, I’m nowhere close to ready to think about the next health scare that might be very serious. Sorry for busting the illusion that you are older than I am. I’m scared to lose you, and not ready. I hope I’ve told you often enough how much I love and appreciate you. I will continue to strive to show this to you. I treasure every day I have you. It may have taken a stupidly long and hard period of time but you have raised a pretty good kid. I hope you have a fantastic run of good health and I selfishly have many more years to enjoy the kind of friends we’ve become.
My mother lives on a nice little piece of property, too far away. But it has been "home" for me for so long that I now dream about retirement, in so much as it is possible, at the farm. I also believe that property will be worth more than gold at some point in the not so distant future. My nieces may not live to see it, but I’d lay money on their kids. Anything I accumulate goes to the girls. My end goal is to continue with the improvements mom has already been doing.
Why move roughly three hours travel time from everyone? Well, mostly because it already exists. Realistically speaking, it’s just outside of the areas that are likely to be swallowed whole by Toronto's gnashing, gaping voracious maw. You can't find a comparable property at anything near that price on this side of the Big Smoke, at least not without relocating much closer to the border...and who wants to do that?
Hi Jim. I know the distance between the two of us may get wider geographically, but who knows, maybe down the road, you and your family might consider living up there. There’s room for everyone. I love you and will pester you to retire from the rat race up to the farm too. You have a ton of work left to do to raise those two beautiful, independent, stubborn and smart little girls.
Thanks for making me "aunt Eva". It makes my heart burst when I think of those two. I know you may have your battles cut out for you, and you may shake your head at the memories of the window rattling fights mom and I used to have, echoes of which you hear from your wife and daughter.
There is an end of the tunnel, Ally. Takes a lot to raise a Hopf, let alone two, but you got this, girl. The redhead I know has the fire to see your daughters, my nieces into the world and make them warriors.
My whole life I have wanted to help people. Most especially those of you who are reading this. I love to dream big and I've always wanted to have a perfect little hobby farm. I wanted animals. I wanted to grow vegetables and have the ability to provide almost all the food my loved ones need. Good, healthy food is just stupidly expensive. I want the ability to help people not worry about one part of life at the very least.
Mom has been experimenting with some animals this summer. They are all smaller animals, but even so, they've shown me what a giant pain in the ass having and raising animals is. While I am planning on having someone else for doing hard physical labor at the farm, that person is entitled to be sick, have vacations and a life of their own. Plants could much more easily go without being weeded for a while, or watered on any given day. Animals need food, shelter, and proper health care.
There are no long showers, no excess water consumption when there are animals who need to drink water every day. So animal husbandry: not so much. Or it's up for debate at least, lol. I've harboured secret dreams of having a donkey or llama. Wouldn't that be something? Sigh. Some things I’m willing work with and own; some things I am not. I do dream of having a couple of animals though so time will tell.
I’m am planning to create some raised gardening beds, maybe a nice little greenhouse to offer friends and family fresh (as possible) fruit and veggies year round. The raised part is just so I can weed and work with some of the plants. My knees are always making decisions for me. Not always decisions I like. But I have discovered a love of and talent for gardening fairly recently.
Most of the proper gardening would be ground level of course. With someone still to do the heavy stuff. The soil on the farm is pretty darn good for root vegetables. Dad grew onions that defy description. Turnips that took two hands to hold, with heads as big as your own. Come to think of it, that soil was pretty darn good for other things too. I know of a couple of years where his sunflowers took home biggest in show in the local fairs. I have a picture of him double grabbing a turnip and another where he was standing in front of a sunflower stalk, hand raised high above his head and he could not reach the bottom part of the flower.
So lots of good fruits and vegetables for friends and family.
Other “fun” stuff occurred in my 49th year, stuff I will not go into. It's taking my life in directions I am unsure of at this point in time. So it's all best left to speculation in my head and once scenarios or treatment options are presented I will share. For now, it’s full steam ahead.
Bring it, life, I’m 50. I’ve got some polish, some laugh lines, I've taken a few punches and learned so very much. I look forward to reaping the benefits and rewards that age begins to sometimes give people. I’m a survivor for sure.
I have a short list of things I would love to get for me. This is just NOT in my nature, to t receive. I’ve been encouraged to, so it feels exciting to, just this once. Happy birthday to me.
The generosity of people so far is staggering. I will be delivering thank you letters to each one of you, in one medium or another. I love you all to the moon and back. Some of the biggest, longest hugs are for you.
Two things stand out in my head going forward. Like I said, I want to create. I have been designing a few things in my head. I'm unsure whether or not I can make them reality it so I'll keep the details to myself and post pictures when I'm done, if if I get them done. I’m going to get some tools. You know, drill, saw, saw horses, that sort of thing. I’m turning a little corner of the basement into a mini workshop. The generosity has gotten me two lovely tools - a real good start to my collection. I have the drill, both cordless and corded and now I have my 5 and a half circular saw and a (excellent quality) oscillating saw with multiple tools. I am so very grateful for this. I need to get some other little things but I am decked for at least one project using my own tools! I want to make under the stairs storage for the basement. I'll show pictures once and if I get it done LOL
And then there's something that I have been desiring for at least 18 years. Something I have worked for, slaved for, hell, very nearly died for. I have two final tattoos to get. One is a little one, and the final one, the ultimate one…. It’s going to be majestic. I've reached out to the tattoo artist and he has agreed to do it and it has been booked for the outline middle of October. The outline needs to go on and be healed before there can be any colour or shading. The outline is the most painful of the tattoo as the colours black, followed closely by white are put in the deepest. This is a 4 hour appointment. ouch.
This tattoo has so many aspects, such detail. It’s my Caucasian version of the goddess Durga, someone I’ve identified with, as much as I believe in deities, for a long, long time.
The legend goes something like this. There was a demon, an invincible demon that no god could defeat alone. The gods got together and basically said, if you want to get technical, here’s a woman to fuck you up. Each god donated a piece of his arsenal in Durga's creation. She's the goddess you may have seen in images with a bunch of arms. Her arms can number up to 16, and all carry a weapon. They all have meaning, and I’ll let Ken do that blog when the time is right.
She has protected me and grown with me over the years. She deserves a place of honour on me and she is getting it, as soon as I can.
So happy birthday to me. It’s gonna be fun from here. Love you all, let's do it!