In search of story


January 8.18

This conflagration, dear reader, was my birthday cake last night. Today is the actual date (yes, me and Elvis), but last night was the family do. What makes this flaming cake blog-worthy is the arrangement along the far arc of it. If you look closely and use just a little imagination for the emoji candles, you will see (I’ve no doubt) that the 1001011 is my birthday in binary. My family, ladies and gentlemen! Undeterred by the lack of a 7 and a 5, they devised a binary 75! I seemed to be the only one at the table to be slow on the pick-up. Yes, yes, I know what “binary” means, but it is hardly where my brain goes when I don’t have the right candles!

You may note the second cake. My daughter-in-law, in all other ways an exemplary person, does not like frosting. So there is always an angel food cake for her. Full disclosure: no one objects to having a piece with her.

Now to real life: I lay me down last night after a full day which followed one of those rotten sleepless nights. Of course I couldn’t fall asleep. This is partly age, partly my lifelong struggle with insomnia, partly too much binary cake. After about an hour, I drifted off. At 1:20 I was awakened by chirping. Yes, chirping! One of these wretched alarms was chirping! Which one, and what would I do about it in this new house?

You may know, dear reader, that any venture in the wee hours starts with a trip to the bathroom, and that’s where I saw all the blood in my mouth. How long had that been going on? I rinsed and spit and spit and rinsed. It’s this blasted HHT, as you may know if you’ve read my blog for long. It took a few shaky minutes to stop it.

The bleeding stopped but not the chirping. There I was, at 1:30 in the morning, atop a ladder at the top of the stairs, feeling woozy and not at all patient. I couldn’t figure out anything about the rotten thing. So it continued its own happy-birthday song to me. And it continues now with its soothing beepathon.

And so begins my 75th birthday. I have broken my rule of the 300-word blog post limit, which I have abided by almost unfailingly. But it’s my birthday and I’ll write if I want to.




Connections: January 8.17


“A certain age” describes me

with barely nuanced humor

and progressively more “certain”

older than Baby Boomer.

Deemed unworthily cool

I was Elvis-entwined

but I wasn’t born on his

HE was born on MINE.

You may give thanks, dear reader, that I never learned how to scan on this machine.

Else you’d have to look at baby pictures.



Connections: February 22


It starts in November

with Ann

the first in our historic

baby span.

In December comes Donna

in January, yours truly

today comes Bill

now we celebrate duly:

I have declared

by formal decree

that not until Bill

are we officially 73.

That’s 292 candles

and there is absolutely no doubt

taking two at a time

we can blow them all out.

So happy birthday to us,

creaky, not done,

and a Geritol toast:

one for all, all for one!



Connections: January 8


Anniversary of me!

A wrinkly newborn

in 1943.

I came into a world

of war and ration

and still it seems

war is the fashion.

A birthday in January

makes perfect sense

it’s a two-headed time,

looking back and hence.

So I visit familiar faces

on my family wall

my genes, my leans, my rootings

perennial mysteries all.

I’d like to engage each one

in serious tete-a-tete

and ask my birthday question:

am I a grown-up yet?