Cathy ZielskeCZ Life207 Comments

At 5 a.m. this morning, Cole calls out to me from his room, "Moooooom….I think I had an accident." No worries, buddy. Come to my bed, go back to sleep.

Next, it's 7:30 a.m. and I'm walking into the kitchen to get coffee going and I see that my sweet Dan has given me a brand spankin' new blender (something, much like a new car, he had convinced me I didn't really need. I mean, so what if our 20-year-old blender had no lid. It still worked, didn't it?) And when I had it fully loaded up with blueberries, strawberries, flax seed and yogurt, it started leaking uncontrollably and the blade would not spin.

Then at 8 a.m., Cole threw a fit because I wouldn't walk upstairs with him to brush his teeth. (Don't say it out loud, but he's currently afraid of the aliens that apparently live in our bathroom.)

Then at 8:15, Chip throws up.

As I begin my 41st year, (or is it actually the start of my 42nd?) I refuse to take these things as omens.

Yes. It's my birthday.

One of the many things I've picked up from Dan over the years is that when it is your birthday, tell everyone you know. And remind them constantly. Tell strangers at the grocery store. Make a sign. Whatever it takes. Because you know what? Birthdays just aren't as special when you're older. So…any attention you can garner for yourself is a good thing. However contrived and unnatural it may be.

Long gone (for me, anyway) are the birthdays from my late 20s…when I would arrive at work and anxiously try to anticipate when someone, in God's name, was finally going to remember it was my birthday. I mean come on!

But you see, I'm older now. 41 years older to be exact. And I know better.

And how do I feel at 41?

At this very moment I feel:

adequately warm while wearing semi-ill fitting clothing

happy, because my parents just called me (while I'm writing these words) to sing me "Happy Birthday"

calm, because even though I gots me a mountain o' deadlines for work, in the end, it all gets done

chubby, because I am exactly 23 pounds heavier than I was on the morning of the big 4-0.

lucky, because chub or no chub, Dan still thinks I'm really hot.

blessed, because I would not trade a single, solitary minute (save for the roughly 7 months I dated a guy named David in my early 20s) for this amazing, charmed journey that has been my life.

Now that makes for a happy birthday.

Cathy ZielskeForty-one

207 Comments on “Forty-one”

  1. #1

    I hope the rest of the day holds many lovely surprises for you Cathy.
    Happy 41st, you’re awesome!
    Enjoy that blender. πŸ˜‰

  2. #6

    Happy Birthday Cathy!

    Birthdays are to be celebrated and shared, I agree. They celebrate you and all that you have represented during your lifetime. Have a terrific day and God Bless!

  3. #9
    Jen Donnelly

    Well, I hope those aren’t omens! Sounds like a regular day to me.

    Happy Birthday! Treat yourself today, k?

  4. #10
    Tracy Marie

    Happy Birthday, Cathy and Welcome to your 41st year! I actually turned 41 last December and so far so good (minus the gallbladder removal surgery I just had on Monday! LOL) Here’s to a year full of family, friends, health, love and laughter!

    Tracy Marie

  5. #14
    Cathy Walters

    Happy Birthday! thanks for blogging, sharing, and teaching (I have my felted bag sitting next to me!)! πŸ™‚ Hope your day is full of joy! (and no more dog puke!)

  6. #16

    Sounds like a memorable day, already!

    I’ll be celebrating my own birthday next Friday… (I believe in telling everyone you know, and complete strangers, too – obviously). Hopefully, there will be no vomit involved; however I will be on a mini road trip with my three year old niece, so its entirely possible.

    I hope you have the best. birthday. ever.

    P.S. There may be aliens living in our bathroom, too. Aliens that don’t know how to cap the toothpaste, refill the TP, or leave the toilet seat down… :0)

  7. #17


    I, too, tell everyone that I know when it is my birthday. I’ve always done that.

    I think it is really a day to celebrate because it is really, truly a day that is all about YOU.

    Have a great, great day. And good for you for seeing the small things as blessings today.


  8. #19
    Di Hickman

    Happy Birthday Cathy! You are so right birthdays are just blah as you get older, I’m gonna take a leaf out of your and Dans book and shout mine from the rooftops in future… no I just have to wait for december πŸ™‚
    have a great day!

  9. #20

    Have a great day! My 41 is coming in June and I don’t feel different than in my 20’s. Every day is a blessing.

    It’s also a blessing to have a husband around your age, the eyesight is failing a little so I’m still hot to him. That’s a great blessing.

  10. #22

    Hope you have a wonderful birthday! I celebrated my 35th last week and told a few strangers and it made the day very fun! Enjoy it!

  11. #29

    Happy Birthday Cathy!! Did you have cake for breakfast?? That ALWAYS makes my birthday better! And were you aware that when you are older you actually have a birthday WEEK?? It starts today! Maybe the sun will peak through for you today! (Although I’m not holding my breath. It is after all MN!)

  12. #30

    Have a terrific forty one!
    I hope the rest of the year is less aggrivating than the first day πŸ™‚

  13. #31

    Happy Birthday! I knew coming here would make me feel better about turning 41 too! LOL! My morning wasn’t as bad but I did get “kid-atitude” too. Hope you have an awesome day!

  14. #32
    Lisa Cohen

    I hope you have a wonderful birthday!!! You always brighten my day with your blog posts and you make me laugh like there is milk coming out of my nose, which hasn’t happened since I was in 4th grade. So THANK YOU for being here…. I hope you have a GREAT DAY! Go and get yourself some pampering! And also grab a GOOD meal (preferably one that you yourself didn’t have to cook)!

  15. #33

    OMG! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! What a great day today is….it is also my dd’s 2nd b-day!

    My dh also subscribes to Dan’s “tell everyone you know” philosophy, except he celebrates for A WHOLE MONTH! Yep, it starts Nov 1: THE MONTH OF TRENT and ends on his b-day Nov 30th! And he celebrates the Nth anniversary of his 29th birthday instead of announcing right out his age, he makes everyone try to calculate it in their heads! Yeah, I know…he’s something else isn’t he, that dh of mine!

    I hope you have THE MOST AWESOME-EST of days today, Miss CZ!

  16. #35

    Happy Birthday, Cathy!

    Like Dan, I am a strong believer that as many people as possible should know that on this given day a few **cough** years ago my mother had a bit of a rough day cause I was making a grand entrance.

    Really, how many of us don’t get to celebrate the massive achievement of being present, of being here.

    Happy B-day. Have a great time.

    – Lourdes

  17. #40
    Lyn Meeker

    Well .. I hit 48 this year .. and although DH remembered to say Have a happy one as he left for work .. no one else said a thing! SIGH! .. I know that next year I am going to paint myself with the words It’s my birthday .. or at least tell everybody! LOL!

    I know what you mean …. So ….

    I hope that this day is BETTER THAN IT STARTED OUT TO BE … AND THAT YOU HAVE THE BESTEST BIRTHDAY EVER! (and know that as you get older… things do get better .. some things sag .. but life is still wonderful!)

    Happy Birthday to you!

  18. #41

    Happy Birthday Cathy…it’s my birthday, too! You do have ramblings of a fellow Pisces. Big fan of your work! thanks

  19. #47

    VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! And I’m all there with you…it’s all about celebrating the moments and why not share the fun with the rest of the world! CONGRATULATIONS! If I lived close to you I would stop by to wish you a happy birthday! Oh wait, if I did you’d probably think I was a stocker, LOL. But really, I’m sending you happy birthday wishes all the way from sunny California! πŸ™‚

  20. #48

    Happy birthday Cathy!! Here’s to you on your special day!! (raising my cup o’ joe in your honor).

  21. #51

    Happy birthday Cathy. I just had one myself (I am two years and a few days ahead of you). What’s not to like – cake, presents, chocolate, being able to hassle one of my best and oldest friends that she forgot (again!!). It is certainly better than the alternative. Have a great day!

  22. #56
    Mary Beth

    Happy Birthday Cathy!
    I feel the week long birthday celebration is a right of passage you achieve after 35. My celebration week will start St. Patrick’s day.

  23. #57
    Lynn M.

    Happy B-day to you! Love your blog; good thing you brought it back. How would you have told all of us about your birthday?

  24. #58

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Sorry the day started off kind of messy, it’s just going to get better from here on out! Have a wonderful day!


  25. #59

    Bang the drum loudly kiddo! Paint your toenails a really slutty red, use up all the bath oil AND the hotwater, kick back with a rich cab’ and Godiva dark chocolate, itch, spit, tell lies, get that list of mondo beyondo and check something off!
    (all of this, of course, while you are listening to Pete, Neil, Billy…)
    Happy Day Chica!

  26. #64
    Angie Grimm

    Happy Birthday Cathy!

    I hope the year makes all your wishes come true.

    Tomorrow is my birthday. I hope my morning starts a little better than yours πŸ™‚

    Us March babies – we’re da bomb (LOL)!

  27. #68

    go cathy…. go cathy….It’s your birthday
    It’s your birthday…(arms and hips moving
    aimlessly around in my pj’s) got a visual?
    Have a super day!!

  28. #70

    If I were YOU I would go out and by the car of my dreams today. Okay maybe not the car of your dreams – but the one you NEED. Hope you have a great day – dog puke and all.

  29. #71

    “Estas son las mananitas,
    que cantaba el rey David,
    a las muchachas bonitas se las cantamos asi:

    Despierta ‘Cathy’ despierta,
    mira que ya amanecio.
    Ya los pajarillos cantan,
    la luna ya se metio”

    Feliz cumpleanos!!!

  30. #73

    Dan’s take on b-days is totally on target! There is only one day in the year that is completely and undeniably all about you — your birthday — and whether you’re 8 or 80, it should be celebrated with verve and flair and lots of cake! Enjoy the day — enjoy the year!

  31. #77

    I would stand outside your door and sing “Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday Dear Cathy, Happy Birthday to you” As I do to all my friends….It totally embarrasses them, but cheers them up at the same time.
    May the day get better and better. Congratulations!

  32. #78
    Cindy Ericsson

    I love birthdays, even enough to tell others when it’s my day. Like you, I even tell my age (a no-no for most Southern women). I hope you have at least one moment that touches you deeply today and makes you glad to be here!

  33. #81

    Wow, I really had to scroll down the page to get to comment on this one. You are well loved, my dear! Happy happy birthday!

    I am turning 43 in a couple of months and even though the lines get deeper, I’ve quit giving a shit about them. That’s another good thing about getting older, giving a lot less of a shit about what others think!
    Enjoy and celebrate like you’re 22 (not like 21, it’s good to think young, but come on, that is one birthday repeat our stomach just can’t take! :^)

  34. #86

    Happy Birthday! Yesterday was my daughter’s 4th birthday, so there are cupcakes in da house. I am having one in your honor right now! πŸ™‚

  35. #88

    HAPPY, Happy happy happy Birthday!!! Have a great day and eat lots of cake ( this is the one day you have a great excuse!)

  36. #89

    Hope you have a fabulous day and that all your wishes come true! Tell Cole that it’s OK – those same aliens live in our upstairs bathroom and even though my 9 and 6 year olds dread going upstairs to brush their teeth alone, they haven’t been eaten or abducted yet!

  37. #91

    Hi Cathy,

    Just a quick hello and a happy burfday from good ol’ England. I read your blog everyday and am sooooooooooo pleased to find you too are a Piscean, just like me…its my birthday on 10th and I get to meet all my friends at my local monthly crop…hurrah for friends, scrapbooking,lovely husbands(to look after the 2 children) and birthdays…I love ’em!!

    Lots of love

  38. #101

    Happy Birthday, Cathy! You are da bomb! May lots of blessings come your way and I hope Chip doesn’t puke on the carpet again.

  39. #106

    that’s good stuff…happy happy birthday!…enjoy it & if things keep happening that are less than fun go back & listen to tara & her kids singing to you…that made me smile & it’s not even my birthday:)

  40. #107

    Having just turned 41 myself, I have to tell ya that it’s way better than 40. I have no idea why, but it just is…23 pounds or not. Have the happiest of Birthdays Cathy – you certainly deserve it!

  41. #110
    Jenny in Wellington (New Zealand)

    Happy Birthday Cathy from a fellow ’66er πŸ™‚ I’ll be 41 on March 19, and my husband will be 40 on March 22. Go figure that you and I both have spouses that have a birthday only a few days apart from our own. I’m hoping my birthday doesn’t start with any pet events like yours! And imagine being well on your way to your second 21st. What a party there will be NEXT year!

    Have a great day πŸ™‚

  42. #114
    Kim F

    Happy Birthday, Cathy! Woo-hoo!
    I’ll be turning 39 (Really… not just “holding;” if I were, I’d be a younger age) on March 29th. I intend to tell EVERYONE that it is my birthday! You sometimes just have to make yourself special!

    Here’s to tomorrow — a day with no mistakes and nothing that has gone wrong in it! πŸ™‚

    (Can’t remember if you’ve listened to Split Enz — the group that was Crowded House before they were Crowded House. I was introduced to it in college and fell in love with the Finns back then.)

  43. #118
    Susan Wesely

    So after a year of reflection, is it true? Is 40 really the new 20? I hope so since it’s just around the corner for me.

    Wishing you much happiness on your birthday!!

  44. #120

    Happiest of Birthdays, Cathy!!! πŸ™‚

    (A blender??? I pray it’s strapped to a Prius!!!) πŸ˜‰

    Tell Cole aliens are everywhere – not just in the bathroom. They just want to be there to make sure that he’s doing a good job brushing and flossing, when you can’t get there. Like dentists. You could also tell him it *could* be worse…it could be ghosts! πŸ˜‰ *hee*

  45. #123

    Happy Birthday and yes you must tell everyone.
    In our family it is the day you can walk around proclaiming [without ridicule],
    Its all about me.

    So Happy 41st Bithday Cathy, its all about you!

  46. #127

    Happy Birthday to you!
    Happy Birthday to you!
    Happy Birthday dear Cathy (aka Neil-lover)!
    Happy Birthday to you!

  47. #128

    Hey girl you know I have already wished you a Happy Birthday… but hey it’s time for more birthday greetings.
    Happy Birthday!!!!!

  48. #131
    Meg McKenzie

    Hey Cathy – happy birthday, have a fantastic day and enjoy the new blender! Did Neil send you a card? LOL!!

  49. #132

    Well YAY for you!! I am a firm beliver in having many cakes for my birthday, because I shouldn’t have to choose just one! Enjoy!!

  50. #134
    Korey Lindberg

    A huge HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you Cathy!!!

    I hope you had a great day, especially after all the sick humans/dogs. And I totally laughed out loud when I read that about Cole being afraid of the Aliens. He really is your son!!

  51. #135

    Happy Birthday! I’ll be joining you at 41 in exactly 2 weeks. I hope you had a great day and that you told everyone you saw that you are the birthday girl.

  52. #136

    Happy Birthday! I’ve enjoyed reading your blog, and hope that you have a very very great 41st year of life!

  53. #138

    Happy Birthday!! Lots of March Birthdays in our household. So if you would like to jet to Savannah this Sat you could come to our Fairy Dust Birthday Party at B Street Salon with lots of 7yo’s.

    Hope you had the happiest of days.

  54. #139

    Having lived four years longer than you, I can completely attest to the fact that the 40’s rock. I am shooting to get on the Dove Pro Age ad campaign-I mean, come on, where else can you be old and real and get paid for it? Husbands who love us, no matter what, are the worlds rarest treasure, next to kids who remind you of why you are so important (who else could scare the ghosts away so well?) Birthday wishes to you, my favorite blogger. May your forty first year be full of honesty, fun, lots of yarn, and happiness with who and what you are-which is fabulous!

  55. #144

    Happy, happy birthday to you!! Glad you don’t believe in omens… hope the day got better and better with gifts & cards galore. I switched to Birthday Weeks awhile back — now those ROCK.

  56. #146

    Happy Birthday Cathy. You were born the same day, a year earlier than one of the most important friends in my life, so that means you must be totally kewl too! (oops, I did already know that)

  57. #147
    beth j

    so i know your birthday is almost over, but just wanted to wish you a happy one, too. i’m with dan on this one…tell everyone! πŸ™‚

  58. #148

    Happy birthday!! I hope your day got better as it developed. I hate when days start off badly like that. I can imagine it’s much worse when it’s your birthday.

    You’re cool. You deserve a cool day in your honor.

    I hope those aliens leave the bathroom so you don’t have to escort Cole there anymore. Our bathroom goes through phases of having monsters. I get it.

  59. #149
    erin yamabe

    as a mom soon to be thirty something, i more than appreciate the part about musturing up as many wishes as you can for your OWN birthday.


  60. #150

    Happy Day to you! You deserve the best, since you always give us, your readers, so much. Thanks and happy 41.

  61. #158

    Hope you had a GREAT birthday!
    I still love mine at almost 38 even though I get no gift wrap to tear-just phone calls from my family to wish me a good day.:)

  62. #159

    happy, happy birthday!! I was going to email you but I do not see your addy anywhere. I have knitted two purses, now while they are cute, I must be doing something incorrectly. They are turning out tall and thin instead of more tote-ish. Help! I am using Clover size 11 (8mm) bamboo needles. I used chunky yarn. I cast on 13st and knitted 38 rows, 19ridges. If you email, I can link pics. HELP!! Yours truly, bag gone wrong.

  63. #164

    Oh my, Cole sounds just like my son. He will NOT go into his bedroom alone especially at night. His fear? Shadows! Go figure.

    Happy Birthday!

  64. #166

    happy bithday
    from a girl who puts a plate over the top of her blender before using:)
    they really should sell the lids and american crafts vowels seperately

  65. #167
    Lori N

    Happy Birthday Cathy!

    Around our house my birthday is always know as the day everything goes wrong – so I know exactly how you feel! LOL I hope you had a wonderful day, even after a shaky start.

  66. #168
    ~ alli ~

    I agree that birthdays are important and should be celebrated! Afterall, it’s a celebration of YOU!!!
    ~~~ HAPPY BIRTHDAY! ~~~

  67. #171

    ahhhh, i see you got the attention you deserve!!

    i know exactly how you feel about b-days not being special…. wait till you hit 47! and 40 pounds past your ideal weight! oh my, i hope that doesn’t happen to you like it has to me!

    Happy Birthday Cathy Z!! We out here in cyber land are blessed by you cuz of the gift that you are to all of us.

  68. #172
    Krista Mettler

    Oy… I’m a day late. I’ve been so behind on reading blogs this week, and now I’m late to the party. Did you save me any cake? (Like I need any…) I hope the rest of your day was joyous and enjoyable, my friend! Many, many, many more!!!! xoxox

  69. #174

    Cathy, I hope the rest of your birthday is totally rockin’!

    Thanks so much for your blog, it makes my day!

  70. #175

    Happy Birthday… but on those 20-ish birthdays, did over 150 people [and counting] from all over the world, take a minute from their day just to wish you a Happy Birthday!? You Rock, Cathy!

  71. #176

    Happy Birthday… but on those 20-ish birthdays, did over 150 people [and counting] from all over the world, take a minute from their day just to wish you a Happy Birthday!? You Rock, Cathy!

  72. #178

    Happy Birthday!! Make 41 fabulous! I just hit the big 5-0 (still can’t believe it) and I do believe life keeps getting better.

    Obviously your blog makes many of us very happy … enjoy the love and know that you matter.

    Have a great day (and a great year).

  73. #179
    susan opel

    Happy Belated Birthday, Cathy!

    Hope the first full day of whatever year you choose (how ’bout 41?) is spectacular and doesn’t involve any dog vomit!

  74. #180
    Hillary Chybinski

    happy birthday my online not really a friend friend. i hope you have the best day ever, because if you are happy in your own skin and happy with your own life – you doing it up right!

    here’s to another year of almost-bliss!

  75. #182

    Cathy….you share the exact same birthday, year too, as my BFF growing up…we’ve lost touch over the years but I still remember. funny. Anyway…HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  76. #183

    Hi Cathy and Happy Birthday, although I am a day late. I wanted to share something awesome with you. My friend sent me this link to read Jody’s entry today, but I thought you would want to see it as well (if you haven’t already). I wanted you to see that your approach, attitude and outlook on life is very inspiring, not to just me, but to so many – enjoy. It’s things like this, that probably remind you why you do what you do – have a great weekend.

  77. #185
    Shelly in the NW

    Happy Birthday!!!
    Good for you and Dan for celebrating each year still…I am not good at that (never have been). This year I’ll be 44 – yikes – but I have no problem telling people my age…probably because I have good skin and no grey hair that my hairdresser will admit to. All in all…birthdays beat the alternative πŸ™‚

  78. #189

    This made me smile and although I don’t post on blogs very often I couldn’t resist saying HAPPY BIRTHDAY! You are just too darn cute…I agree with Dan…go out and tell everyone its your birthday…Hope the rest of your day was Fantabulous!

  79. #192
    Sharon Lovoy

    Today is your birthday;
    Today is your birthday;
    Happy, happy birthday;
    Happy, happy birthday;
    Today is your birthday;
    Happy birthday to you;
    Happy birthday to you!
    Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, Happy birthday to you!

  80. #195

    OK your day started off kinda average.. but hey.. tara and the whit-nay gang belted out one hell of a tune… and i think that outranks the grocery store guy.

    I LOVE my birthday.. I just turned 30 and celebrated like it was my last birtday ever..LOL

  81. #196
    Dorothy in Seattle

    A belated happy birthday to you! Because the name “David” is so common, I think all women in their 30s and 40s in this country could very much have a bad experience dating a “David”. I know I do.

  82. #197

    Happy Birthday, Cathy, from the other end of the world (specifically, in Manila!)

    41 is the perfect age: young enough to get into whatever fun rocks your world, and old enough not to feel guilty about it the next day. πŸ™‚

    Have a great new year!

  83. #198
    Rose Rabine

    I enjoyed reading about “your day” I turn 51 this year! Happy Belated Birthday Cathy and many many more to come!

  84. #199
    Rose Rabine

    I enjoyed reading about “your day” I turn 51 this year! Happy Belated Birthday Cathy and many many more to come!

  85. #200

    Should have read your blog much earlier!
    Happy Birthday, Cathy.
    You are the most beautiful 41 years old I know.
    I admire you so much. Hope I will bump into you
    somewhere around the world this year, too πŸ™‚


  86. #201

    Happy Birthday, Cathy!
    I don’t know if you remember me or not, but we met at Atlanta Scrapbook Connection with your good buddy, Ali Edwards last July (check on my blog for July posts). I have been reading your blog almost every day until this post is my first time to say Happy Birthday! Hope you have a wonderful birthday.

  87. #202
    katie m.

    Happy Birthday from AL, Cathy! And do you think the aliens in the bathroom might have a little something for you πŸ˜‰

  88. #203
    Sue McFarland

    Harpy Birhtday to you! harpy Birthday to you…Hope that you have a wunerful wunerful day (as Lawrence Welk would say)!!
    Enjoy 41…51 comes all tooooooo fast, believe me I know πŸ™‚ Have a nice birthday πŸ™‚

  89. #204

    Sorry this is belated
    Happy Birthday, remeber its not what you look like its how you feel that matters..
    It certainly sounds like you feel special and loved.

    Louise – quotee from Clean and Simple part Deux xxx

  90. #205

    Happy Birthday Cathy! If most of the much smaller people in my life can make their birthdays last for at least a week – well as long as the cake lasts it seems. SO, please accept these warm congratulations πŸ™‚

    I’m looking at 40 in a few weeks and hope to make them last a few days…. I’m working on the actual day/weekend so grabbing another day to actually celebrating on πŸ™‚

  91. #207

    At the risk of this never being seen because of the 206 entries before mine, I had to respond to this post! My immediately thought was “Yeah! I’m not the only one!” I turn 41 in November and I am a big, big, big kid when it comes to birthdays. Last year, when I turned 40, I was on a business trip in Chicago. I had mentioned during several pre-calls that I would be turning 40 while there. I brought it up a couple more times during meetings that week. And guess what? I never had so many people wish me Happy Birthday then I did last year. I had some 50 people sing happy birthday to me at lunch and I even got a nice gift card and divine birthday cake. From coworkers! Oh and drinks…I was bought many drinks πŸ™‚ So, thanks for letting me know that I’m not the only one out here touting my birthday every year to anyone who will listen!

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