Sunday, April 13, 2008


by Joan

I’m not here. No, really, this post is a hologram sent to the Romance Bandits by way of Doolin, Co. Clare, Ireland. Even as you read this I’ve just finished a full Irish breakfast and am tooling along the Burren looking for dolmens, castles and the stray black haired Irish lad..and trying not to run off the road. You see today is my birthday. Yup, it's April 13th and NO I was not born on a Friday. I don't mind birthdays as a general rule though with being out of the country this year I avoid my brother's incessant teasing. I like birthday cake and cards and presents.

I like that my birthday falls in the spring. The whole renewal thing has an increased appeal this year. You see it's not just any birthday, it’s a Landmark birthday. (Which one, you ask? If you guessed 21 you are my new best friend).

Frankly I can ONLY refer to it as a Landmark birthday because to say the actual number out loud makes my eyes roll back into my head. Suffice to say that I decided that I would spend this momentous occasion in the most beautiful place God ever created—Ireland. Visiting the land of my heritage will ease the sting, soften the blow, help with the mind altering “I’m HOW *&$%# old?” (faint).

What? Huh? Oh, sorry. ( broken hip).

You see here’s a secret. I do not feel like I should be at this landmark yet. 50 is the new 30, right? I took a Real Age test online and it says I’m physiologically 6 years younger. I buy lotions and creams and serums to stay ahead of any outward indications of age progression. I regret with every free radical in my body that I was late coming into the wonders of olive oil. I thank my lucky stars I never smoked and with my fair Irish skin was never a sun worshipper. I exercise and eat better. I’m not particularly vain, but I want to look like I feel. I want to be all that I can be. (I do not, however feel the urge to join the Army.)

And what can I be? Well, a strong, confident, passionate woman who still believes dreams come true. One who believes she will be published, who knows she will find Prince Charming. An independent lady who uses her wisdom, her wit and her Aleve to feed the vibrancy that is her life.

And yeah….I LOVE the idea of being a Cougar! I am woman, hear me roar!!!!!

So Happy Birthday to me!


What special thing did you do to celebrate your last “landmark” birthday? Note: We’ll only go back to age 13 :-)

PS to my brother: If there are a certain number of BLACK CROWS in my yard when I get home....grrrrr.


Suzanne Welsh said...

YIppee!! It pays to come home from work glad the GR is heading to texas again!

Suzanne Welsh said...

OMG, Joanie, you and my neice have the same birthday. Only she's 8 and NOT in Ireland, don't ya know! Have a very happy one...and try to find a swee Irish lad to bring home to your Kentucky hills!

And while you're at it, have a pint and some corned beef for me!

Jane said...

Happy Birthday, Joan. 30 is the new 20, right? On my last landmark birthday, I didn't do anything special. I just got drink with my family and friends. All you need is champagne and cake.
Maybe Jonathan Rhys Meyers will be your Irish boy toy.

Amy Andrews said...

Happy birthday Joanie and a top of the morning to you. Ireland is an amazing place and I think this birthday will be hard one to top for you.

For my 30th birthday I had a sit down fully catered 5 course dinner party for a few of my closest friends - there were 16 altogether. A chef and a waiter came to my house did all the cooking, serving and cleaning up. All that was left was for me to dress up and bask in the birthday glory. Hands down the best thing I've ever done for a birthday. Even if I'm still paying it off my credit card.....

Christine Wells said...

Joanie T, lovely post! Happy birthday--I'm sure Ireland will be a huge treat and I hope you find that black haired lad with an impish twinkle in his blue eyes:)Just make sure you come back home for National, won't you?

Congrats on the GR, Suz! Boy, that bird sure is getting around at the moment.

Helen said...

Congrats on the GR Suzanne

A big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you Joan and have a wonderful stay in Ireland.

My last landmark birthday was last year and yes I turned the big 50 and went to my son and daughter in laws place for a family BBQ and had a few drinks and a terrific night. The next landmark is really scary for me LOL

Have Fun

Annie West said...

Joan, happy birthday. I hope you're having a ball in Ireland.

Sorry to say that landmark birthdays and I don't have a good history. I remember celebrating several of my husbands but have never really done much on mine. Well, I do remember turning 30, breastfeeding a newborn and feeling sick as a dog while I waited to see the doctor. I remember thinking if that's 30 they can have it!

However, I've recently changed my approach. I've decided if I want to enjoy those significant celebrations I'll have to take a hand. I'm already planning a trip away for the next one. Luxury accommodation, terrific food, cosy fireplace, brisk walks, spending money in book and antique stores...Can't wait! I think it will be fun planning something different for each big 0 that comes my way.


Gannon Carr said...

Happy Birthday, Joan. I can't imagine a better place to spend it than Ireland! Here's wishing that a handsome black haired Irishman crosses paths with a very special way!

Gillian Layne said...

Happy, happy, happy birthday! You are going to live to a ridiculously contented old age because you've already discovered the secret to a happy life: Treat yourself well! And I can't imagine a better place to celebrate anything!

Ha...I have "quotes" desk calendar, and I one for tomorrow sums it up nicely: 'Aging seems to be the only available way to live a longer life.'

Claudia Dain said...

Joan, Happy Birthday! I spent one of my landmark birthdays in England, so I'm completely on your page. There's no better way to celebrate than getting out of the country. LOL

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday JoanieT!! We love you and hope you are having a fabulous time in Ireland--but as Christine says, no Bandita shall be left behind at National. We'll come kidnap you BACK from the Emerald Isle if necessary. :-)

I love the fact that you've planned this vacation for yourself and loved every bit of your post.


Hugs and happy birthday kisses from the plain old US of A.

Anna Sugden said...

Woooohoooo! It's Joanie's birthday!

Hope you have the happiest of days and this next year beings you everything you've dreamed of.

Having spent many birthdays, landmark and otherwise, in England *grin*, my last landmark birthday was spent in the US. I have a semi-landmark birthday this year and, as my birthday is August 5th, we'll be in CA, enjoying a trip down Highway 1, following Nationals.

Oh and Claudia - mwah for being an England fan!

jo robertson said...

Joanie, such a delightful post and you don't look a day over 30! I hope you're having a wonderful birthday treat in Ireland.

You'll notice I DID NOT crawl into your suitcase for a stowaway, but I'm hoping you'll bring a nice Irish laddie home with you. Perhaps he'll even replace our golden rooster in the Lair, whose feathers I've heard are becoming a little tarnished.

jo robertson said...

Jane, back away from Jonathan RM, he's mine! I just discovered THE TUDORS and that boy can act! Uh, among other things.

jo robertson said...

Amy, what a beautiful idea for a landmark birthday! May I borrow it?

For my 16th landmark (as some of you know, I'm a leap year baby so the actual number is MUCH higher), my husband bought me an orange car. Okay, it's supposed to be TANGERINE, but honestly it looks like a giant pumpkin. But it's grown on me and now I'm quite fond of it.

Men, aren't they a little silly? Oops, not p226, of course!

jo robertson said...

Helen, it's so nice to celebrate birthdays with family, isn't it? My daughters and I do what we call a Happy, Happy, Fun Day (HHFD) and celebrate each other's birthdays with lunch and a movie. Loads of girl talk and lots of fun. We've done this for about 15 years now.

jo robertson said...

Good for you, Annie! I like your idea of celebrating the "O's" -- wish I'd thought of that!

I've heard many women say that their thirties were soooo much better than their twenties -- guys too. I think there's something of confidence and self-assurance that comes to us during our thirties and forties, don't you? A strong sense of I CAN DO!

jo robertson said...

Gannon, we're all rooting for Joan to find that black-haired fellow.

Gillian, what a great quote!

Claudia, how lucky for you. I haven't been to England yet, only Scotland, but I'm dying to go there. I told my husband I must see Shakespeare's cottage before I die.

PJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PJ said...

Happy Birthday, Joan! I hope you're having a wonderful time in Ireland. Sounds like you're kicking off the next decade in style. From someone who has already passed that milestone (56 and proud of it! :)) my wish for you is that your 50s will be just as exciting, fulfilling, confident, happy and adventure-filled as mine have been!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Kirsten wrote:
...As Christine says, no Bandita shall be left behind at National. We'll come kidnap you BACK from the Emerald Isle if necessary. :-)

Oh, Puuuuleeeease stay Joanie..or go back..Really, give us all a reason to come get you. SNORK!!! ("The tickets to Ireland on the charge card? Oh yes, we have to go retrieve a wee wandering Bandita and drag her off to SF for National?" Hmmm "Get her own self home? No, no, we must be GOOD friends and go fetch the lass.")

Seriously. We don't mind. (Snork!)

Congrats on the GR's return to TX m'dear Suz. Hope you're having better weather than we are. It went from 79 yesterday to 54 today in DC. Can you say brrrrrisk?

Jo, can I just say YUM to Jonathan RM? Oh, my. He was great in Bend it Like Beckham.

TICD, great to see you as always, and can I say that I'm jealous of anyone who's spent - or is currently spending (Joan!) - any birthday outside the country in celebratory style. Grins.

Anna, I guess that spending one in the bland USA is "out of the country" for you tho, isn't it? Heehee. BTW, thought of you as I watched the "hockey hunks of Scooby Doo" for the umpteenth time. I have to say I'm tooting for your delicious hockey heroes as much as I'm rooting for Joanie's Romans.

And saving the best for last - HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOANIE T!!!! (You saucy wench you. I say skip those black-haired lads and go for the red-head with a twinkle in his GREEN eyes.)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

"I have to say I'm tooting for your delicious hockey heroes as much as I'm rooting for Joanie's Romans. "

Okay, that SO did not come out right. I'm ROOTING for your Hockey Hunks. ROOTING. Not that other word. No. Never. And certainly not in public.

p226 said...


Landmark birthdays... The recent ones have been boring. But one of them... oh yeah.

Turned 21.

In Vegas.

With a platoon of Marines.

'nuff said.

Donna MacMeans said...

Happy Birthday Joanie!!

Suzanne, that rooster was crowing to hear he was headed for warm Texas! It took a chilly turn here in Ohio yesterday.

I don't recall doing anything spectacular to celebrate my landmark birthdays, but I think I'm going to have to borrow a page from Joanie. There's no reason not to celebrate the inevitable, right?

I once hired a limo and invited friends to go with us for a wonderful dinner on my husband's landmark birthday. And I'm planning a surprise for his birthday later this month. My birthday is in October so there's lots of time to plan a memorial way to celebrate. Not a landmark birthday in terms of an age that ends with an 0 - but I've reached a point where every year is something of a landmark *g*

Nancy said...

Suz--Congrats on rooster! (In case we have new visitors who don't know--the first poster of the day takes home the imaginary but much coveted Golden Rooster.)

Joan, I hope you're having enough fun for all of us and are taking tons of pictures (does "tons" apply to digital photos?) to share on the blog and in San Francisco. I've never done anything, for any birthday, that involved a passport. *sigh*

My last landmark birthday didn't get celebrated much. My mom's birthday was the day before mine, and as the landmark rolled around, she was in hospice care (Hospice: God's gift to humanity. Seriously.) and, while still functional, was looking toward the approaching end. We did a big birthday party for her in one of the parlors at the retirement home. We invited everyone she asked for and even then missed a few people who really should've been included. My birthday took a back seat that year, as it should have. She had a wonderful time, which made the work I put into her party more than worth it, and she died about 6 weeks later.

The next landmark is far enough away that I don't have to worry about it for a looong time. It's not even ON the horizon!

Jane, Helen, and Amy, I like celebrating with friends and family, too. Sometimes friends are pretty much indistinguishable from family, you know?

Annie--can the banditas come along on your celebration trip? It sounds like fun.

Claudia and Anna S.--a birthday in England sounds like nirvana! Especially if I could spend part of it in Hay on Wye (used book mecca of the northern hemisphere, for those who've never been). We spent a couple of hours there one day that weren't nearly enough time!

Jo, the car is such a cool gift! You'll always be able to find it in a parking lot!

Joanie--Happy, Happy, HAPPY Birthday and many fabulous returns!

Anna Sugden said...

P226 - now that sounds like my kind of birthday ... except, we could add a few hockey hunks in there.

Rooting or tooting, my boys need all the cheering they can get, Jeanne! (Especially my NJ Devils - who badly need a win tonight!)

I have to say Liam Neeson is still one of may fave Irish boys.

Nancy - you're a woman after my own heart. We adore Hay on Wye! Cambridge has some pretty good used book stores too.

And what a special memory of your landmark birthday.

Annie - I misread what you wrote LOL and thought you'd spent them with several different husbands!

limecello said...

Happy birthday, Joan!
Hm, my last landmark birthday actually wasn't that exciting. I turned 21, had lunch (dim sum) with my parents, and a beer - Tsing Tao :D. I then went to my LSAT prep class... and afterwards went out with friends, how were horrible. Some of them forgot it was my birthday, and I had to buy my own drink. Pretty disappointing. Ah well. :P
I hope you're having a fabulous time in beautiful Ireland! Eat lots of cake and have a terrific day!

doglady said...

Happy Birthday, Joan! You don't look a day over 29! That's a landmark birthday, right? I mean that is the one I celebrate EVERY year! I have celebrated 20 anniversaries of my 29th birthday and I fully intend to continue. Yes, my "I'm how %&%** old?" THUNK Birthday is this December. My goal is to be published by 50. We'll see. I celebrated 3 birthdays in England and 2 in Austria. Other than that mine have all been in the US. My most "memorable" recent birthday was my 40th. My two "wonderful" brothers sent a huge black funeral wreath to my office! I didn't reciprocate on their 40ths (one is 3 years younger, one is 6 years younger). I am waiting until THEY turn 50 and have forgotten all about it. Devious, no?

p226 You turned 21 in Vegas with a platoon of Marines and SURVIVED?? Semper Fi, Dude!!

Joan, I wish you a handsome Irish lad and a roaring fire. I feel sure you can do the rest!

Suzanne, congrats on our poor feathered friend!

Tawny said...

WHOHOOOOOOOOOO and Happy 21st Birthday, JT!!

My last landmark birthday, my husband and brother put togther a little surprise party for me and we ate cake and drank margaritas. Much fun! And like you, I totally believe that age is just a number and we're only as old as we feel. Heck, most of the time I can't even remember how old I am and have to do the math... except on birthdays LOL.

But hey, its worth acknowleging that number for one day in exchange for cake and pressies! I hope you're loving your trip and enjoying the heck out of your birthday!!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOANIE T!!! Like you would have anything OTHER THAN a happy day in Eire! :-P I say, put the black-haired blue-eyed true Celt on one arm and the ginger-haired green-eyed Norse invader on the other and head for the nearest pub!!!

Eight days after I turned 30 I was in intensive care in the local hospital, and remained in ICU for 5 days. They never did determine WHAT was wrong with me (but it definitely did not happen at my party, because I didn't have one), only what was NOT wrong with me. I did not have mono, hepatitus, nor septicemia even though they suspected and tested me for all those and more.

After a week, I was recovered enough to be released, and whatever I had never came back... THANK GOODNESS! Do NOT ever want another birthday like that, landmark or not!

My BEST birthday in recent years did involve my passport. I was on a cruise ship off the Mexican Riveria and it was WONDERFUL! I highly recommend it for ANY celebration.


catslady said...

Happy Birthday!!!

Keira Soleore said...

Joanie, I loved, loved, loved your post. Wish you a very happy birthday indeed. Spending your 50th day in the place of your heart takes the day from a bit dreadful to extraordinary.

I want to be all that I can be.
YES!! YES!! Thank you. You're articulated what I've been looking for, for many months. This is my motto. This is me.

With gratitude,

Keira Soleore said...

Banditas, hope you'll join me at the Risky Regencies where I'm blogging today.

Keira Soleore said...

Annie, as your birthday approaches, I hope you'll clue me in to the details. Then all I'll have to do is ditto it, because your description of a birthday trip sounds exactly what I'd like to have when I get to the two-score landmark.

Anna Campbell said...

Suz, that rooster clearly has a good time at your place! You're the girlfriend of the moment! ;-)

JOAN!!!! Happy Birthday! And you ARE just as fabulous as you say you want to be in your wonderful post. I love that you went to Ireland for your birthday. I tend to talk about stuff like that and never do it so kudos to you, Bandita. I hope you're having the most fantastic time, the grass is green, the sun is shining, and those Irish fellas are flirting with you like crazy! I can't wait to hear your traveler's tales when you get back to the lair!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Keira, great post on the Riskies.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Anna, I think the GR likes playing with Rocky-the-wonder-dog and is looking forward to swimming in the pool in about a month's time!

terrio said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOANIE!!! What a terrific way to spend it. And I never would have put at that landmark. Never!

I've never celebrated the landmark ones well but a few years ago a friend of mine paid for us both to spend my birthday in Memphis. See, my birthday is New Year's Eve so you can imagine what fun that was. Oh, and I remember....most of it. :)

Now I want to spend my next birthday in Vegas with a platoon of Marines! That's would be awesome. LOL! Thanks for the idea, p226.

Now, I can't believe the mention of celebrating the big O's has been mentioned twice and no one has gone for the obvious joke. You guys are slipping. LOL!

Anna Campbell said...

Snork, Terri! I'm so glad someone came up with the obvious! ;-)

flchen1 said...

Wow, happy, happy birthday, Joan! To be in Ireland!! Woohoo!

Hope you're having a marvelous time, and you really ought to stay--you'd be doing the Banditas a service to give them a reason to uh... rescue you :) From all those hot Irish boy toys... rraaoow!

I'm not much for surprises, so my DH hasn't been trying to come up with any for my birthdays, landmark or otherwise--there's a fairly big one coming in a couple years, and I'd just as soon forget ;) Maybe I SHOULD leave the country!

Deb Marlowe said...

Happy Birthday Joan! Way to celebrate!

I just had a landmark birthday and my fabulous friends and family made it very special. We all got together and had a lovely time! Plus, we had a birthday cake made to look like my first release, which came at the same time! A truly great birthday!

Anna Sugden said...

Hey Limecello - check out the Bandit Booty post! You're a prizewinner!

Keira - off to check out Risky Regencies.

Dina said...

Happy Birthday Joanie.

I don't do anything too exciting for my birthday. It's 2 days before Christmas, so it's always too much going on as it is. No biggie.

Keira Soleore said...

Terri, looks like you've been celebrated Joan's birthday all day today. :)

Deb, 'tis no wonder you have such fabulous friends. Your fabulosity makes it a given. So glad your celebratory trip was great.

Susan Seyfarth said...

Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy biiiiiirthdaaaay, deeeeear Jooooooonieeeeeee!
Happy birthday to you!

Enjoy Ireland--we're dying to hear all about it when you get back!


p.s. Did you know that a group of crows (such as the ones your brother has been warned not to leave on your lawn) is called a murder?? I just learned that & think it's a GREAT fact.

MsHellion said...

Happy, happy Birthday! You don't look a day over 27!! Have a few pints for me. :)