“To those sensitive to it, the language of the bedroom rarely tells a lie” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Elizabeth Kellogg by © Jeannette Breward

“For Elizabeth’s shoot, we wanted to do something to showcase one of her favourite pass times. Elizabeth has been birding seriously for about twenty-five years now. It started as a hobby, but now generates some of her income. She writes a monthly column for the local newspaper called Nature Notes. Most of the columns are about birds, although a few are about other aspects of natural history. Both Elizabeth and her husband have bird banding permits which allows them to capture wild birds and put numbered rings on their legs. This is one of the ways that biologists learn about migration paths and site fidelity of birds.” – Jeannete B

Image © Jeannette Breward

An Interview with Elizabeth

Q. What is the best memory you have from a previous birthday?

A. 1) My brother, David, got married on my 30th birthday, so there was a rather large party. At breakfast that day, my sister Ruth brought me a piece of toast and peanut butter, with “Happy Birthday” written in the peanut butter with a toothpick. The toast also had a single lit birthday candle on it. As she presented it to me, she said, “Here. I think that’s all we’ll have time for today.” David claims to have no memory of this.

2) For my 60th birthday, several members of my family came to my house the night before and surprised me with the installation of 60 pink plastic flamingoes in my front yard. My yard is not a typical grass lawn, but it has quite a variety of shrubs and herbaceous plants. The flamingoes did look like they were in a marsh. According to them, the most surprising thing is that I did not hear them doing this. There was apparently much giggling to accompany the installation. My husband and I were sitting on the back deck, but there was a party going on a couple of doors away and the neighbour’s air conditioner is noisy. I really didn’t know that anything was unusual until I looked out the following morning, the morning of my actual birthday.

3) Once, when I didn’t live at home, my family phoned on my birthday, sang me Happy Birthday over the phone, and then told me that they were enjoying my cake.

4) Since my birthday is in August and I grew up on a farm, sometimes it was difficult to get everyone in the family together to have cake and ice cream. Dad sold farm machinery parts, too, so there were often customers coming around after dinner to get parts for their equipment. On one occasion, the customer was very chatty and didn’t want to leave. He ended up sharing the cake and ice cream.

Q. What was the present you’ve received for your birthday that surprised you most?

A. For my 40th birthday, my sister Elaine put together a package of things that totaled 40, such as 40 cups of tea (really 40 teabags), a package of 40 envelopes, 40 chocolate chips, but best of all, 40 chocolate chip cookies.

Q. Is there a food or dish that you insist on eating on your birthday?

A. You’ve probably already noticed a theme here: cake and ice cream. Whatever else we ate, there was always cake, usually chocolate, and ice cream.

Q. What do you believe is the most important aspect of celebrating a birthday?

A. I like to get together with family to celebrate.