No matter how I look at it…today I am 44.

When I had my last birthday, I must say I didn’t feel much like celebrating.  We had just lost Shadoe and I didn’t know how I was going to recover from that pain.  I think of it now like a skinned knee with an old Band-Aid on it.  It doesn’t matter how you rip off that Band-Aid, it is going to hurt.  Some people like the slow tear and others like it to go quickly.  I just know that it doesn’t matter how that Band-Aid comes off; the pain of the skinned knee will still be there.

As I dealt with my “skinned knee,” I was also trying to take care of the tsunami known as Crohn’s disease.  (My Crohn’s was really flaring during 42 so I can’t blame 43 for everything.)  It tried to wipe me out and I am grateful to the awesome doctors/nurses who were able to protect me like a sturdy umbrella.  I will always have good and bad days but I’ve been doing this for 37 years and don’t intend on giving up now.

Like any bad storm, the clouds started to part and I welcomed some sunshine in my life.  I met 3 of the Brady Kids, had fabulous food experiences and made friends with local wild life.  I took more cooking classes, won a couple of contests and grew my own food. I went to plays, saw Niagara Falls and cross-stitched a picture for an international exhibit.

Most importantly, I celebrated my 15-year anniversary with my beloved Earl. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to share the good and bad days of my life with someone like him.  He makes me laugh and is the best “spooner” a gal could ask for.  (He’s also pretty good at “forking!”)

43 wasn’t always perfect.  This was the year I noticed the aging process.  My skin has started to sag and I am naming my wrinkles.  I have to wear old lady glasses to read and there is this weird back fat thing that has popped out like the timer on a Thanksgiving turkey.  And don’t get me started on the generation gap!

With all of these changes, I wouldn’t trade them to go back in time.  With aging, comes confidence and wisdom and those qualities are much more valuable than a tight butt!  (Who am I kidding?  A tight butt does have some value!)

I have to say thank you to all the people who support me.  The fun and success of this past year would not mean anything if I couldn’t share it with you.  My appreciation for the friends and family who keep up with Felt Like a Foodie makes me speechless.  Thank you for understanding how much this food blog means to me and your constant encouragement.

I keep thinking of the Pharrell Williams “Happy” song that is so popular right now.  I am happy and I hope you all can clap along with me.  I can’t wait to see what 44 has in store!IMG_3963-imp