Yesterday was my birthday, and it really couldn't have been a nicer day. Great weather, a number of good wishes from friends online and on Facebook, a phone call from my dad, and lots of love from my husband, who also has a birthday coming up, so this is our party week.
For lunch he made me a terrific BLT (we don't eat bacon very often, and this was soooo good); in mid-afternoon we met a friend for coffee and a chat at a cafe in the neighborhood, and in the evening we had Persian kebabs at a restaurant we like but haven't visited in a long time. The kebabs (my favorite are kubideh, made of spiced ground beef molded onto flat skewers) were served with grilled whole tomatoes, basmati rice with saffron and barberries, an excellent traditional yogurt-and-spinach sauce and another made from roasted eggplants, tomato and garlic that was so good we ate it with a spoon.
Although the numerical accumulation of years (58 of them) still strikes me as incredible, even impossible, I'm not one to moan about it. Considering the alternative, I'm grateful to be here still, and I try as much as I can to be glad for each day. I'm also happy to be living in a place where, thanks to the French, women "of a certain age" are still considered beautiful and desirable, in a society that encourages individuality and style and eschews "rules" about "age-appropriate" dress and behavior. In honor of that, I now have a short, ruffly skirt which J. spotted and liked while we were shopping on Sunday, and several pairs of new stockings and tights in lace and nice colors.
My grandmother, who lived to 92, set us a good example. She never stopped being interested in fashion, but it wasn't the kind that requires thousand-dollar outfits from Prada. Living in a small town as she did, most of the acquisition and execution was up to her; she was a good seamstress and always sewed with Vogue patterns, never daunted by designer details, and she and my mother taught me to sew. She loved color and bold patterns and had the confidence to carry it off, even when she was very old indeed. On Thursday, I'm going on a birthday-celebratory fabric and pattern-shopping excursion with one of my sewing friends here. I'm looking forward to making a few things, but also just to the feeling of fabric-shopping and garment-planning, which I haven't done for a long time. Unlike the small town where I grew up, this is a city with a garment and costume industry and lots of fabric and notions stores; it will be fun, and I'll report!