My Birthday and my Dang Good Life…


I’m 58 years old today – woot!  First up, I never imagined being 58.  Never!  When I was in 4th grade our teacher, Mrs. Whitaker, asked us to figure out how old we’d be in the year 2000.  As I was doing the math I was thinking “why do I need to do this, I won’t even be alive in 2000, that’s SO far away!”.  I came up with the correct answer – 44, but then she asked us to imagine what life would be like in the year 2000.  I couldn’t do it, I just couldn’t picture something so very far away.  Heck, my Mom was only 36 at the time and she was OLD!  So this post is dedicated to my birthday and my Dang Good life!

If only I could have glimpsed a snapshot of the things that were in store for me over the coming decades.  I think I would have made a few smarter choices, like not buying those neon stretch capri pants or the bright blue Pacer. 


I definitely would have spent more time playing with my kids during the entire decade of the 80’s. Cuz by the time the 00’s rolled around we had forgotten how to build sand castles!



And I would have learned to make a proper apple turnover like Joanne’s Mother used to make back in 1974.  So what if I failed and turned out doughy pancake turnovers the first 3 times, I’m betting the 4th time they would have been perfect, but now I’ll never know!

I should have given Cora Dolan a big hug and told her thank you for caring enough about me to have a serious confrontation with my Mom the day she saw my ribs sticking out and realized that I was Anorexic.  That one talk changed the way I viewed myself.  It didn’t happen overnight, but it DID happen and I’m grateful Cora, so very very grateful. Yep, should have made smarter choices about food back when I was a teenager, hugged Cora and stopped worrying about not being good enough.


That electric blue swim suit back in 1986?  Um, nope, wouldn’t have worn that!

Deciding to try to ride out the torrential thunderstorm at the Savoy campsite with my small boys?  Well dang, needed to make a smarter choice there – like packing in a life raft – or maybe paying attention to the weather report and the park ranger and NOT setting up camp at all that weekend?

Smarter choices – would have paid more attention to exercise when I was young and could still do a back flip into the pool.  Gosh, I thought I’d be young and agile forever.  HAH!

More books – less tv!

More real friends – fewer “important career contacts”.

More forgiveness – lots less judging!

Wouldn’t have wasted 20 years being afraid to sing out loud – singing is good for the soul, even if you can’t carry a tune in a bucket!


Oh but there were some really smart choices I made that I wouldn’t trade for all the perfect apple turnovers in the world.  Like:

My kids – BEST thing I ever did!

Finding God when I was 8 years old, recovering from a head injury… Dad didn’t always know best when it came to doing back flips… 
I’ve walked away from God a few times over the decades but He’s never walked away from me!

My husband Tim – I’d marry him all over again… in a heartbeat… and this time he wouldn’t have to talk me into it.  (yep, he had to repeat on a daily basis that marriage was good, that HE wasn’t scared to marry me and that I had nothing to fear – he was right on all counts)  If I’d known then what I know now, I would have dragged him to the altar months sooner.  =)

Timothy - Baie Rouge

Grabbing the chance to go see Costa Rica, St. Martin’s, Tortola, France, Italy (even it was just a 3 day jaunt) and China. 

Going back to college for the third time and when I was “old”.

Buying an ATV with Tim when we moved to Idaho.  Talk about living the dream – seeing lakes, climbing mountains, traveling dusty dirt roads in the desert with my arms wrapped around my husband – SO… DANG… SMART of me!

Signing up for Facebook – I hate it sometimes, but it was a smart choice.  I’ve connected with old friends again and that’s priceless!

And last but not least, starting this food blog.  It’s re-ignited my passion for cooking and given me a chance to reconnect with my family roots in a way that pictures and memories just can’t.  The food I’m making from my childhood is tangible, and edible and if just one person in the world makes one of the dishes I loved best as a kid, I’ve extended family just a little bit. 

I guess I’ve finally learned (only took me 58 years) that family traditions are important and should be cherished, fostered and shared throughout your life.  By sharing them, you pass on the things that make your family unique and special – never to be forgotten like so many memories that fade away as you age, or pictures that get lost, cracked and faded with the passing of time.

So here’s to making smart choices, living a Dang Good life every single day and enjoying my 58th year of life on this planet… and making and eating the foods that make me happy!




  1.'Ryun says

    As one of your children, I wholeheartedly agree that was probably one of the best decisions you every made!

    That was a great post, who knew you could be so eloquent. Put a theatrical score behind it, tweak some parts, and it could be a commencement speach ala Baz Luhrmann.

    Hope you had a Dang Good Birthday!

    • Toni says

      Awwww, trust my #1 son to come read my whole post and agree with me… that the BEST and smartest choice I ever made was giving birth to and raising my boys. You’re a pretty dang special kid yanno.

      And a DANG good cook too!

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