February birthdays

February 19, 2012

When I was growing up in Vermont, May was our family’s big month for birthdays. My sister and my mother and I were all born then, as was at least one grandparent. Even my parents’ anniversary is in May.

February 2012 may rival May for natal significance, though. My dad just turned 70, and his sister is currently celebrating her 72nd birthday with a once-in-a-lifetime trip to New Zealand. Two of my great musical heroes, Carole King and my friend Do, share a birth date of February 9th. And last Friday we celebrated the February birthdays of three members of our lab, including my boss.

My personal contribution to the lab party was a goofy poster reminding people of it. Accompanying my headline — “Celebrate the Aging Process!” — was a graph showing that telomere length declines with age in dividing cells. If nothing else, I succeeded in amusing myself.

To celebrate Carole King’s (70th!) birthday the week before that, I bought a VHS tape of Really Rosie, King’s 1975 TV collaboration with Maurice Sendak, and watched it with my son. The animation seemed quite crude by 2012 standards, but the music seemed as timeless as ever. Has anyone else ever made such sweet music about counting, the alphabet, and the months of the year?

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