Monday, September 07, 2009


I'm forty-nine today. It hasn't been the most riotous birthday; I've been feeling really down for a couple of weeks now, so much so that I'm seeing my shrink tomorrow, almost a month early, to see if I can get my meds bumped up. I've never done that before, and I hate to do it now, but I need to function, and I'm falling farther and farther behind. The to-do list is really scary, in through here. It would also be nice to stop feeling completely inadequate in every aspect of my life. Intellectually, I know I'm not -- although my memory's been so bad that I've been spacing appointments and meetings -- but my neurotransmitters need some convincing.

Despite my lethargy, there were certainly some lovely birthday moments. I video-skyped with my sister and mother, who held up a candle and sang "Happy Birthday," and Gary gave me great presents: two knitting books I wanted (one on double knitting and one on mosaic knitting, although the projects they describe are currently beyond me), a PBS video following seven doctors through training and practice, and a large, hand-colored print of two elephants from a Walter Anderson design. Anderson's the artist from Ocean Springs whose work my father loved; Dad lived two blocks from the Walter Anderson Museum, and Liz and I both gave him Anderson posters to decorate his apartment down there. I have both of those now, but Gary decided we needed more Anderson artwork, so he ordered the elephants. One of Anderson's descendents printed the silksceen; they're an Ocean Springs dynasty.

A little while ago, I suddenly sat bolt upright, said, "Oh, my God!" and raced into Gary's study. "You gave me the elephants because of Dad, right?"

He looked at me like I'd grown two heads. "I gave them to you because I know your father liked Anderson, but I picked the elephants just because I liked the design. Why are elephants important?"

"Remember when I went down to Ocean Springs after Dad's quadruple bypass in 2001? I asked him what he wanted for Christmas and he said, 'A baby elephant,' so I got him all sorts of elephant stuff, remember?"

"Oh, yeah! The elephant bells hanging downstairs."

"And the elephant keychain. And the stuffed elephant in my study. And the elephant mug I sent Liz." Somewhere in the garage, there's also a watercolor of a grown elephant with a baby elephant.

"Huh," Gary said. "Well, I knew about the Anderson connection, but the elephants were just a lucky accident."

Accident or providence, the elephants comfort me. They feel like a Happy Birthday message from Dad, as well as from Gary.


  1. Anonymous4:28 AM

    Here's a happy birthday from me! I'll get your sock stuff in the mail before the next one (just kidding, but it will be in a couple of weeks).

  2. Happy Birthday! I know that feeling of feeling low and everything getting away and a brain that just won't cooperate. You are practically smart in the midst of it by seeking the help you need. When I get low, I'm not so practical.Thanks for sharing that about your dad and the elephants - so nice.

  3. Wow, you had your birthday on Labor Day?! That's interesting! How often does it happen?

    I've been following The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Some of the tips she provides actually work. So these days I'm making my bed and putting on my shoes when I get up. Every little jot of good I can find helps. Here's the link if you'd like to check her site out.

    Hope you have a good week!


  4. Hippo birdy two ewes!

  5. Hugs, and happy birthday.

  6. Jody and I would like to wish you a belated Happy Birthday and transmit our hugs via sub-space from Los Angeles to Reno. I do hope you don't continue to "feel down" for too long, and pray that your intellectual side wins the argument against the sentimental. You certainly made a huge difference in my and Jody's life.

    I don't know that she would be as brave as she is right now -- writing screenplays in the hopes of gaining gainful employment -- if I were not able to use discussions she and I had regarding your writing classes as inspiration. You have touched both our lives in such a large and positive way.

    In fact, Jody and I will be up in Reno on October 2nd and 3rd. I am certain that Jody would love to arrange a lunch date where you could meet our lovely daughters Nora and Clio -- who you can see in this commercial

  7. Thanks so much, everybody!

    And Christian, I'd love to see you and Jody and the twins when you're in town!


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