It all started with a stress test ... a fiendish medical examination designed to demoralize and humiliate those of us carrying enough excess weight to create a twelve year old child ... and a tall, muscular twelve year old child, at that. Wearing a paper shirt that would expose Twiggy's midruff and struggling to remain upright on the treadmill while it seems the entire office staff [okay, only the tech, the nurse and the doctor, but it seems like a crowd] gathers in the mistaken belief that you are encouraged by their cheers ... not my idea of a dignified way to spend a morning. And the day just went downhill from there. What can I say! Electricians not keeping appointments for the second week in a row. Long lines at the post office and the bank. I shudder to think what things will be like when the Postal Service makes good its threats to cut back hours and services. When the high point of your day is crossing off from your list of chores "make appointments for a full range of eye examinations, to have a colonoscopy and to see the podiatrist about diabetic foot issues", you know you just need to get some kind of a life. And it is supposed to snow tomorrow with sub-zero temperatures. Well, between now and then, our family will be gathering at a vegetarian restaurant to celebrate my eldest child's 35th birthday. And that's another thing, how the hell did I get to be old enough to have a 35 year old child? Fate plays cruel tricks. One day you are slender, young and vibrant, with waist-length hair the Clairol ladies would envy ... and the next you require undergarments that are major feats of engineering, gravity is your enemy and even your hair, once thick and lush, is thinning to the point that comb overs may be the wave of the future.The one thing I console myself with is that I have selected some really great gifts for my daughter's birthday. I know she will love them and I will get an extraordinary amount of pleasure watching her open her gifts.