Happy birthday to my sister

On this Sunday, I’d like to thank you for a gift you gave me thirty-five years ago.

(Peace Sunday was a concert to support nuclear disarmament,
and it included an impressive lineup.)

I wanted to attend this amazing live music event, but didn’t have a ticket. You, despite not liking crowds or concerts, said we should go. Right then! So you drove us in your “Blue Goose” from West LA to Pasadena, where 85,000 people had converged on the Rose Bowl. It took us a while to find a parking space and then we walked and walked and walked. Well, meandered was more like it seeing as you had your camera and were being meticulous about noting f-stops and shutter speed for each photo you took along the way.

When we finally reached the Rose Bowl, the concert had started and, of course, there were no tickets available. We needed a hand-stamp to get in. There was a chain-link fence near the entrance and some guys standing nearby had our answer: they licked the stamps on the back of their hands and then pressed them against the backs of our hands. It worked! We had our own hand-stamps and were officially part of Peace Sunday!

Many details of that day are hazy (cough, cough), but I believe our seats were to the side and slightly behind the stage. Wherever we were, we couldn’t see the stage. And the sound was pretty crappy right there. But we’d made it! We were part of the Peace Sunday experience.

I do remember when Joan Baez brought out Bob Dylan. It gave me chills, knowing two of my very favorite singer-songwriters were so close. It was rather surreal, hearing them sing from a stage we couldn’t see.

Joan and Bob’s performances weren’t great, but because of you, I was there! Because of you, I was able to join a swath of humanity that’d come together for an incredible day of music and to say NO NUKES! It was an unforgettable gift. I hope you also have fond memories of Peace Sunday. Thank you again for being my generous and funny big sister who gave me a very special day.

Happy birthday to you.

Live music is better bumper stickers should be issued

Last night Zippy and I celebrated my birthday by going to a dive bar to hear local bands. My logic was that I’d feel less old and obsolete if I hung around the younger generation and heard new-to-me music.

The first band was a punk trio that played song after song in what felt like 45 second bursts of sonic-boom fury. People avoided standing in front of the stage because it was SO loud, and if I hadn’t feared for my long-term  hearing, I would’ve been out there pogo-sticking. There’s something invigorating about music you can feel in your spleen.


Back at home where I’m modeling my wrist band that proved I was old enough to consume alcohol. I had to show ID for that sucker!

We stayed for two more bands and had a good time. Earlier in the week when I’d told my brother and his girlfriend our plans, she’d approved of my pre-emptive logic but also warned we’d be the oldest ones there. Well, I’m happy to say that Zippy and I spotted five people in the crowd who were clearly older than us. We high-fived after each sighting.

My plan was a success.

Today was another blue-sky-and-sunshine day, so I invited Zippy for a hike up in the open space. It was blissfully quiet out on the trails.

Another good call on my part.

Me meandering ahead of Zippy. We'd just scared up a Red-tailed Hawk, some magpies, and a flicker.

Me meandering ahead of Zippy. We’d just scared up a Red-tailed Hawk, some magpies, and a flicker that’d been hanging out in a tree together.

So now I’m moving beyond another year and another birthday, and looking forward to any-and-all good stuff up ahead.




In Which Tracy Turns Fifty

Last week I turned 50 years old.

50 skeeball LJ 11.28.12
(image from morguefile.com matthew_hull)

Even when the birthday isn’t a major psychological milestone,
it’s hard for me to feel celebratory in late November
when the days are short and the gloom seems to stretch on forever.
Which is why I planned ahead and made arrangements for our family
to fly to San Diego and stay in a condo on the beach in Oceanside.

I really, really wanted solid family-bonding time because our
last few tumultuous years yielded less-than-heartwarming vacations.
This family time would be different, dammit!

And it was.

Wildebeest and I took morning walks on the beach,
talking and laughing.
Zebu and I shared a nighttime stroll,
watching the silhouettes of shorebirds
in the lights of the distant pier.

There was football, Frisbee, and boogie-boarding.
and sanderlings (my favorite busy-busy shorebird).

I saw dolphins just beyond the line of surfers, gracefully cutting through the water,
and Zebu got to see his first sunsets over the Pacific; he took this photo from our balcony:
Sunset in Oceanside

I shot pool for the first time in years and regaled my sons with tales of
my many years playing in bars and pool halls. My performance was
streaky, but I made enough good shots that Zebu commented it was
obvious I used to play a lot. (Score one for Mom!)

Months ago when I made arrangements, my plan was to
celebrate my birthday by running on the beach for 50 minutes,
and run I did (along with Zippy). My altitude lungs were tickled to
be at sea level, my trail-running feet were grateful for the mostly
flat beach, and my bird-loving heart was thrilled by the constant
presence of gulls, pelicans, crows, willets, and curlews. I smiled
and waved and called out greetings to my feathered friends as I ran.
We went 5.69 miles in those 50 minutes, the final mile our fastest.

Then we soaked in a hot tub.

Now we’re back home in Colorado dealing with our real lives, the
skin-shriveling dry air, and a lack of happy-inducing negative ions.
However, I’ve got a mental scrapbook filled with wonderful memories and a
healthy start on how I’ll define life after fifty.

Plus this lovely souvenir from our family vacation in Oceanside, California.

Oceanside rock in hand 005

It’s Sharon’s Birthday!


There's no one in LJ-land more generous with birthday wishes than ,
and I hope you'll join me in wishing Sharon a wondrous day.

May your birthday and the coming year bring you much love and happiness, Sharon!
(And lots of cake!)

Here's a little Vinca from me to you . . .

Jumping into a New Year



                                                                                                                    Photos by Wildebeest

Zebu, you’ve got mad hops.
Even if the rim was lowered.
Here’s to lots more joy and basketball . . .

When Celebrations Collide


Today is my birthday.
I’m 48 years old.

Today is also Thanksgiving.
There will be pumpkin-pie with candles.

Today I give thanks for my friendships
and the abundance of love we share.

I wish everyone a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving.

                                                                                                                                              © Tracy Abell 2010
(Apologies for the mammoth image.  I’ve devoted some time to shrinkage but cannot crack the code.  I am giving up.  Call it a birthday indulgence.)