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The Big Four-Oh


Forty years, can you believe it? I can't.

Everyone seems to ask if 40 feels any different, and honestly, no, not really. I feel the very much same as I did at 39.

In fact, I feel better than I've felt in years, because my wife and I have been on the South Beach diet since mid-July. Since then, our eating habits have changed significantly, and we've both lost over 20 pounds in the process. Talk about rolling back the years — I'm now back to my weight nearly 8 years ago!

I feel great. My clothes are getting baggy. Further, we're eating better and are truly enjoying what we eat. Its wonderful to find myself thinking “I've had enough” or “I'll pass” when being faced with tempting food choices.

For a nice overview of South Beach, I'd recommend Michael Ashby's take on South Beach, from earlier this year. And to that point, I owe Michael an apology for teasing him about the South Beach diet — you were right Michael!

I digress. Better get back to the birthday theme...

Okay, so my 40th birthday really began on Friday. You see, I was tricked by my loving (and sneaky) wife Gail, into thinking we were to spend a quiet dinner with friends from church. Yeah right.

Instead, I was thoroughly surprised by a house full of good friends. Gail had planned and plotted since January to surprise me. Not only had she rounded up local friends, she'd contacted many of my international friends, gathering photos, post cards and other artifacts, to create a birthday scrapbook. Amazing!

Even more amazing, I nearly stumbled into uncovering her plot several times, but never caught a whiff of the conspiracy. This included seeing pics from my German friend, Matthias, sent strangely to Gail. I never had an inkling!

After greeting friends and viewing my 40th birthday scrapbook, the evening's international theme continued with the food. A variety of dishes, prepared by Gail, family and friends were served. Even the cake followed the theme, as it resembled an old suitcase, complete with travel stickers made of frosting. The food was delicious, and the cake was completely scrumptious. A good time was had by all.

My actual “birth” day, on Sunday, was much more laid back. The morning was spent at church, we had lunch with my parents, then we spent the rest of the afternoon at home, reading and relaxing. My good friend Andy called from England around 5, then we topped the night off with dinner at a favorite Thai restaurant. I thought it was quite a nice way to spend my birthday.

I received many cards and small gifts from friends over the weekend, but tonight, I received the best present of all — a new kitty. If you're not aware, we lost my first cat, Snickers, two years ago near Thanksgiving, and after that, I wasn't sure if I'd want another cat. I just needed a little time to heal.

In the interim, we've kitty-sat for a friend a few times, which reminded me of how nice it felt to have a kitty around the house. This, combined with Gail's subtle and often not-so-subtle suggestions, brought me to the point of considering a kitty of our own.

Last Friday afternoon, I confided in Gail that for my birthday, I wanted to adopt a kitty. she was excited, and so began our search to find a cat. Saturday we visited the local humane society, saw several nice cats, but arrived too late to even meet with a counselor.

Tonight, we visited a humane society in a small town north of the city, as they had accumulated quite a selection. Within minutes of being ushered into the kitty room, we had found the newest addition to the family.

Our new cat is a petite white and black female, about one year old. She has a wonderful, outgoing personality, yet was completely cool and undisturbed as Nathan stomped around the small room. Other cats in the room fled for safety, but not her. She even enjoyed Nathan's petting, never seeming ill at ease. This was a very good sign.

Her demeanor and voice reminded me immediately of Snickers, even though she was missing the carmel dashes of Snickers' calico coloring. The more time we spent with her, the more we realized she was The One.

We filled out the adoption paperwork and soon were rolling home on the freeway with a new kitty in a cardboard carrier, and a brand new scratching post. The only thing we don't have yet is a good name. Let us know if you have suggestions.

As I write, she's sleeping in our dining room, becoming acclimated to her new home. Sometime tomorrow evening, we'll let her explore the first floor. I'm quite confident she'll do well here.

What a great 40th birthday! :-)

Reader Comments (4)

Rachel, thanks for the kind wishes! As for kitty photos, your wish is my command. :-)

I'm now gathering into photos a friend took, from the party on Friday...
October 5, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
Keeping with the candy bar theme, how about "Milky Way"?

October 5, 2004 | Unregistered Commentermacfixer
Gary, Kyle, good suggestions on the kitty names. I actually had thought of Oreo, but now we're veering toward other names not necessarilly candy related. We're going to let her provide the name, by her personality, which is how Imy roomate and I came up with Snickers 12 year ago. :-)

Thanks for the kind wishes everyone!
October 5, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
Happy Birthday, Mike!
October 5, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterLo Szabo

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