Today is my birthday and I have mixed feelings about it. Really, I like when it's my birthday. My grown children phone me, lots of friends wish me well on Facebook, and I have an excuse to buy and consume a piece of cake from the store bakery. Today it was carrot cake. I don't [...]

Today is my birthday and I have mixed feelings about it.

Really, I like when it's my birthday. My grown children phone me, lots of friends wish me well on Facebook, and I have an excuse to buy and consume a piece of cake from the store bakery. Today it was carrot cake. I don't dare bake a carrot cake because no one else in my family likes it and I would end up having to eat the whole thing by myself. Like I need all those calories.

The above photo was taken on my 10th birthday in our kitchen in Rome. That's my poodle Mitzi in my lap. I'm about to cut into a delicious chocolate cake that my mother baked for the occasion. I didn't care about how many calories I ate when I was 10. I wish I could say that now.

That leads me to another aspect about birthdays. I don't need to add any more years to my age. Of course, I don't want the alternative, either, but really, at this point it's getting harder to convince myself that I'm not old. I still feel youthful, but with a lot more smarts than I had when I was 21 or 25. I guess it's not so bad.

By the way, my 10th birthday photo was taken by my mother on Sept. 14, 1969. I'll let you do the math.