My lying cousin Mary is on the left.  She flew into town (I thought) to help celebrate her niece and my best buddy, Tina, who is a breast cancer survivor alive and well & kickin’ you know what.

But, no, it was a surprise birthday party for me and, it turns out for Mary, too, as it is her 65th birthday later in the month.

My nephew John said I must have been brain dead not to have realized the truth.

The gloves are always off in my family.  No refuge from brutality even on your 65th.

Well, brain dead it is cuz I didn’t know.

I was toasted at the party by the husband of one of party organizers and despite being dreamy looking (if you have cataracts) was wearing a sweaty gray T shirt that you usually see someone wearing in Gold’s Gym after going twelve rounds with the heavyweight champion of the world.   He  had the nerve to say I was the biggest pain in the rear to plan a party around and he was so glad it was over and didn’t have to hear each morning the latest road block I’d thrown across his wife’s bow on trying to pulling this party off.

Alright, alright…he did have a point.  I did email the initial invitation to “Tina’s” party and say, “Hello, people.  It’s New England.  February.  You know–the month usually described as snow and icy?  I’m not driving on Rt. 495 for an hour to Concord (my cousin’s house) no matter how much I love Tina.!  Let’s have a pot luck party at my house.  I’m closer to everyone anyway.  We’ll save mermaid costs if we have to cancel due to weather.”  (This is the crowd that hires mermaids to entertain at pool parties in the summer.)

And, so it began for these well-meaning folks to try and get me the hell out of the house on a February evening.

It took every lying gene in my family’s DNA helix and, as it turns out, we have an excess of that gene in our spiraling Irish helix: we are one deceitful but charming group is all I can say.

But, sadly, not all of us in the family got the sartorial gene and really, really don’t know how to dress for a 65th birthday party, but I’m not naming any names.

Oh, yeah.   I lied about not naming names.

Bob Kinlin.

Thank you, all.



••Select photographs from this blog and my wider archive can be purchased at

21 comments on “Cousins”

  1. Sometimes a little lyin’ is necessary. Awesome, smiling you, happy belated birthday. (little yellow smiley thingy)

    • Renee, my cousin told me I was the worst person to do a little lyin’ to cuz I’m curious and always ask for details about the little lyin’ fact and she virtually had to create an entire novel as the result on one little white lie!

  2. Very nice shot of you.

    Happy birthday! Hope you ended up having a good time.

  3. great photo of you! gosh u r gorgeous! happy b’day, many happy returns. in my family it is impossible to plan a surprise, everybody is just too “honest” (meddling) but we are good at acting surprised when we arent i suppose thats a dna thing (ha)

    • Kathi, I would have thought it impossible to pull this surprise off in my family as well. But, I guess if you have dunce material as the object of the surprise, you have a shot!

  4. What a great picture of you both! Wish I could have been there!

    • Allie, you had the best excuse EVER for not being there: a historic snow storm in DC and nothing was moving…no planes, no trains, and certainly no automobiles. But, you were sorely missed, I’ll tell you that. I wish so much you could have met all the extended family who I know so well and you and the boys only passingly. Who knows? One of these days my dear! But, I do love my present of a couple days at a Boston hotel with an indoor pool!!!

  5. You are the type of adorable pain in the ass that every family wished they had. ( notice I was not part of the planning committee….)
    I can only imagine what a coup it was to pull off this family get-together but it did yield a terrific photo of the lass behind the lens.
    Bathe in the love and remember, as you obviously have, that if you throw a black cardigan over anything, the result is sartorial enough.

    I too, fell for the entire charade when clueless me, who is otherwise doubting Thomas squared, walked innocently into my own wedding shower a week before. No idea. None.

    Your birthday happiness is right there on your smiling, baby blue eyed face.

    • Bon Bon, I had this new funky outfit I was going to wear to the party as advertised but when one of my cousins emailed that she was arriving in either jeans, sweatpants, or pjs, I said, oh, no, I’m not wearing funky and standing out all night like Clarabelle!! You remember Clarabelle, don’t you?? You should have seen how cute I looked with the broccoli in my teeth.

  6. The 2 of you haven’t changes much from the days of double dates with K. McCollough at the Brattle! At least on the inside from your smiles. Happy Birthday

    • Dave, I always credit you for my life long love of good movies, usually at art houses like the Brattle!! Of course, I didn’t understand them when I saw them with you, eg. La Dolce Vita, at fifteen or sixteen. I remember thinking, “Oh, jesus lord, what is she in that fountain for?” but I did my best to appear in the know! You probably knew I didn’t have a clue, right? Thanks for commenting!! Brave of you!

  7. The wonderful thing about a surprise birthday party is that, once over the shock, you can just lean back and enjoy it — as it appears you have done! After all, you didn’t even have to plan it. Great picture. Happy Birthday!!

    • Exactly right, Don. I took not one photograph and that is usually what I do at all of these things! I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  8. Hey honey! Happy birthday!

    • Hey, arynsmom, thanks! It’s a funny thing but the day after my b-day, I felt relieved in a way. Ok..I’m 65. Better just get on with it, sister, and make the most of it! Thanks for the greetings!

  9. Happy birthday! Whenever it was. And no broccoli is always a good thing . . .

    I’m just guessing here, but I bet they didn’t let you bake the cake?


  10. A belated Happy Birthday!

    Family is treacherous. I’d use a plural, but I only have one family.

  11. You live in Japan whilst your family is in Canada, right, PR? Yep, distance is one answer to treachery! Thanks for the greetings. My b-day is so over right now…feels like the day after Christmas when all the lights look dimmer, the snow dirtier, and I take every single decoration down by the 27th.

  12. You are both so lovely! Congrats on your birthday. I just had one as well on the 6th. Many happy returns.

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