It’s my birthday and I’ll smile if I want to…

I had a lot to say even then.
I had a lot to say even then.

When I was in my teens [as many of us us did], I thought anyone over the age of 35 was ancient. Yet today at the age of 55 I don’t feel ancient at all. Well…most of the time.

Jo Bryant

To celebrate I am going to share some things with you. Things I may not have already mentioned…at least I don’t remember mentioning them.

  1. I am an incurable romantic. I grew up always wanting to be in love and perhaps more importantly wanting someone to be in love with me. These days it is more important to me to be in love with myself.
  2. The biggest love of my early years was a jerk of the biggest type. The night I met him he swept me off my feet. Forgetting to mention that he already had a girlfriend. When she arrived at the party he promptly broke of their romance. The next morning at the beach he left it up to her to dump me. She did. But she did it with so much kindness and charity we became friends. Although we live with an ocean between us we still have contact on Facebook.
  3. I met the only man I have married, and intend to marry, [once really was enough for me] in a hotel in South Africa where the bath plugs were kept locked in a safe and handed out as you needed them.
  4. Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro was one of the most difficult things I have achieved. I lost a toenail because of it, that has never come right. So I guess I carry a permanent mark from that. I actually kind of like that idea. I do not remember ever being that cold in my entire life as I was up on the peak watching the sunrise.
  5. I really only knew my mother for three and a bit years. When she died six days after my twelfth birthday I felt robbed. I turned that feeling into a rage for many years as I grew up. Funny though, the rage was actually directed at her. I was angry that she had not been there. It took many years to learn an important fact. She was doing things the only way she knew at the time. Once I understood that fact I was able to love her again.
  6. In April this year I celebrated living in Katikati for 20 years. I have never lived that long in one place my entire life.
  7. I think it is finally time for me to move on. So…this spring I plan to finish repairs and tidy everything up for the real estate market.
  8. I hope that by this time next year I will be living in Napier, down on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island. When we first moved to NZ we lived there for a few months. Our plan was to own an orchard [apples] there. My ex was colorblind. I mean really, really colour blind. He saw the world as if he was watching a black and white TV. You need to be able to see the blush on an apple to know when to harvest. Hence our move to Katikati and into kiwifruit.
  9. The hardest part of leaving my marriage was leaving my mother-in-law. I knew that when I walked out it would mean the end to that relationship. My ex was very protective of what he thought belonged to him. There are times I still miss her. She was, and I assume still is, a lovely, funny and very generous woman.
  10. In the beginning of 2010 I weighed over 100 kilos. Due to many reasons, the fact that I was very immobile for many years after breaking my back, the drugs I had to take for the pain that I now understand affected my liver, making it sluggish and unable to do its job, the bad diet I had adopted through this period and the sense of self that I had lost during this period that left me feeling like a big fat nothing so I figured it was okay to look how I felt.
  11. Having high blood pressure and a high cholesterol count was the best thing that could have happened to me. I completely changed the way I ate and how I looked at food. Cooking became an adventure again. Out went all processed foods, well except for sugar in my tea and coffee. I cooked everything from scratch or I didn’t eat it.
  12. One day some months in to this new eating regime [that is the wrong word…it sounds so strict…maybe lifestyle instead] I realised that my clothes were becoming loose. I never once during this period used the word ‘diet’. I did not go in to it with the intention of losing weight, but to get healthy. I found two wonderful side effects though. One…I was losing weight. Two…I was enjoying life again.
  13. During the last years before and up to 2010 I avoided clothes shops. Dressing rooms were where I cried the most when item after item made me feel worse. I wore mainly sweat pants and bulky jumpers.
  14. When I finally tried on something fitting for the first time I cried again. This time with joy because I didn’t feel like a beached whale when I looked in the mirror. Don’t get me wrong. I do not believe that being slim is the only way to be beautiful. I know some gorgeous bigger ladies, and I despise the way society pushes people to think thin is the way to be. I hate the way to often our concept of our worth is tied to how we look. But I was able to do things that for a long time had been difficult for me again.
  15. I became a vegetarian about a year ago. I could no longer eat anything that has feelings. Part of that also came about because New Zealand factory farms many of its animals. This practise enrages me to a point of fury. Animals confined in cages that make it impossible to move freely. Often force fed so that they experience nine months growth in six weeks and are unable to move, then slaughtered. Bobby calves taken from their dairy producing mothers within a day of birth and slaughtered. So I determined not to be a part of this chain of cruelty.
  16. Next Tuesday I will have finished my 30 day detox. Yep people…I am almost there. It has been surprisingly easier than I thought. I plan to keep on doing much of what I have been this last month. Dairy is likely to be a thing of the past…mainly because of those bobby calves but also because I don’t actually miss it as much as I thought I would. I am irrevocably in love with coconut milk and coconut oil now.
  17. I have never been to either the ballet or an opera. These two things are on my to do list for the coming year. Any suggestions of what would be a good opera to see for the first time would be greatly appreciated. Swan Lake is the ballet I am going to see…next week. One of Katikati’s young stars is appearing in it so that makes it even more special.
  18. I hope to finally finish THE BOOK within the next twelve months. I lost my mojo for a while…then with the computers being stolen I lost it completely…but I am back in to it now. Wish me luck.
  19. I would love to do pet photography. I hope that maybe there will be an opportunity when I move to Napier to do it and maybe make a living at the same time.
  20. I love the fact that I am now 55 !!! It means I am still alive and I consider that a privilege. People should stop whining about growing old. The older I get the better life gets…or maybe I have just chilled out enough to really enjoy it.


For more info about me read the following – which will be added to as the mood strikes.

100 Things – little bits of me so you can get to know me and my journey though life a little better.

20 more things – more little bits

20 more things #2 – well this can and will go on for a while.

20 more things #3 – like I said, get yourself settled.

My Younger Days – a slideshow from when I didn’t mind a camera pointed at me.

My top 10 favourite dance scenes – I love dance scenes in movies – GOOD dance scenes. They make me feel good. Simple really. These ones, they make me really feel good.

Another update about me – my top 25 favourite movies.

Laminated List – ahhh…yes. We all have them. Only some of us admit to it. These guys are mine. Yuuummmyyyy.

Bucket List…mine – the first 30 on my bucket list (I’ll add more as I remember them – hmmm…that’s worrying.)

Music to feed my soul – those musicians that make my hair stand up straight, curl about, dance really.

Can you see what I see ?? ♫ – “My – Who I would bring back to…list.”

And just a few more ME posts…

Alone is not the same as lonely

The Letter.

Colin Arthur Bryant and the third child.

Questions, questions, questions…

Just a few facts…

Heads up people…it’s my birthday

The art of pirate tagging

Saturday’s Child

Laughter and dancing because I can.

I’m a mother – above all other things.

47 Days and counting…

Happy birthday to me !!!!


Please hop over and visit Jon…it is his birthday today too and he always gets in a funk he told me once. Leave him a message to smile about.


  1. HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! 😀 Remember that age is just a number and it’s all about how you feel on the inside! That said, I think you’re right around 25. 😉 I am so proud of you for sticking to your detox and am surprised that you don’t miss the dairy! I hope that you’re able to get a good price for your place and then find an even better home in Napier. Lookin’ good, gf!


  2. How wonderful to learn all these things about you. It’s also another testimonial that our lives are rarely as straightforward as they may appear. When you look back, there are so many twists and turns, ups and downs, and roadblocks—some pleasant, some painful. They all get us to who we are today. This year I celebrated reaching 65. I’m still amazed that I got this far. And now I get $1 bus rides (as opposed to $2.50 for younger folks) 🙂


      1. Gracias, merci, mahalo, thank you! Sometimes I do; depends on how tired I am. One of my friends says I look younger b/c I’m overweight (I am) and the fat fills in the wrinkles. I think they call that a backhanded compliment 🙂


  3. No, I haven’t seen you wrote that you are love each way kind of fella. But we all knew that all along. 😉 Thanks for sharing us some bold, honest and intimate information about you. You are beautiful whatever it says on the scales. And you seem to relish that thought now…posting your portraits when we were seeing none for a very long time. Happy Birthday Jo and have a good one!


  4. Happy Birthday to you, Jo. I enjoyed reading your potted life history. I have an unfortunate knack of losing my big toe nails. I’ve done it a few times. 😯 Well done on the weight loss and the detox, and good luck with the pet photography. I think that would be a very rewarding occupation. Lovely pic of you. You’re definitely not old, because I’m much older than you, and I’m still young. 😀


  5. Happy Birthday!! This list is very different from your other ones…. I guess it’s all a part of your ‘moving on’ process
    We are hoping to visit Peter’s son & partner in NZ in January, if we have time maybe we can meet up? They live near Christchurch 🙂


      1. Ill let you know when we have booked our tickets & then when we get there will call if we have time to go visiting (it’s Peter’s trip & he’s paying, so he’s the boss 🙂 )


  6. You have come a long way baby! Happy Birthday!!! And good luck with your photography and writing plans. You have a career in training cats to sing if all else fails 😀


  7. Happy birthday Jo!!! Beyond that – Good luck with THE BOOK! I’ve been struggling with my own THE BOOK for much longer than I should have, except that it’s going to be the first completed one…anyway, I have some idea of what a huge accomplishment that’s going to be 😀

    As far as operas (I’ve never seen a ballet either) – I really enjoyed Don Juan and Carmen; I think because they’re both over-the-top, operatically dramatic. Also, if possible, go to a performance with titles (sub or sur) in a language you understand. Sometimes you’ll get a snicker out of how banal those beautifully sung phrases really are, but more important it’s much easier to follow the plot if you know what the characters are saying!


    1. It is a huge accomplishment Sharon…can’t wait to see your book. if you need any help with editing…I am told I am quite good at that.
      And thanks for the opera advice…can’t wait to see one…now if only Swan Lake had this fella in it.


  8. Hurray for you Jo, and Happy Birthday … we are less than a week apart in that annual celebration … but I just turned 66 … wonderful story, so inspiring for everyone, eat better, care more, look and feel better …. who would not be into that? I love that you are moving and making a new start, it will be a huge adventure, and you are so good at throwing yourself in 🙂


  9. Happiest of Birthdays! I used to be 55 …. about 11years ago. It does only get better. The move and your future plans sound exciting. As far as opera, avoid any by Wagner, those give me migraines.


  10. Happy Birthday. Great post; lovely to know so much more about you. You are an amazing woman. I hope the next year (and all those to follow) bring you joy and fulfillment and love. xxx


  11. Happy, Happy Birthday sweetness and may there be many, many more happy years and may all your dreams and wishes come true hon. Wow! What a list! Great stuff Jo! You made it and are still making it hon. I still have 5 years to go. 😆 Have a fun day hon and I see Sam and Dean is back..hahahahaha. Love it! 😀 *big hugs*


      1. I hope that you have been treated to lots of chocolate treats, I just added a chocolate posting recently so anything on there that you fancy just grab it and enjoy 😉 lol

        Have a lovely evening birthday girl 😉

        Andro xxxx


          1. That’s odd as I have you in it, but I will send you another invite, WP gets more screwy by the day but you are always welcome in my Space 🙂

            I can lip read so didn’t need the hint 🙂 lmao

            Andro xxxx


  12. Happy Birthday, Jo! Life is an incredible adventure, isn’t it? In a couple months I’ll be where you are…I’m just beginning a new phase, scary, but exciting too…Rock on!


  13. WOOHOO!! Happy birthday, Jo.

    Loved your heartfelt post on your special day – hope we can hook up with you again next time we are in Napier. I love Napier – well I love New Zealand, period!


  14. Happy birthday to my dear Kiwi friend! I’m sorry it will be over by the time you read this. I’ve been to some small ballet productions quite a few years ago. Been to the opera twice, Carmen and the Marriage of Figaro and loved both. I’d like to go again but its expensive and I’m poor!
    Number 20, add three and I’m totally with you 🙂 Number 5, I’ve had mega mother issues, mainly worked through – she’s still alive but didn’t bring me up so we have hardly any relationship, bumped into her a couple of days ago for the first time in 3 years and chatted for 15 minutes without a row!
    It’s great to read your lists, I like the fact that you are so open, number 5 stalks my blog so I have to keep my gob buttoned! I hope you birthday turns into a birthmonth as mine does and that by your 56th you make your move happily.
    With love


    1. Awww thanks Gilly. I think number 5 stalks mine as well. He got up The Daughter once because of something I said. So these days I watch it where the kiddywinkles are concerned, but for the rest…hell on even a bad day…

      sooooo I…


    1. Thanks ma’am !!!
      Yep…Tuesday is the end and I can eat what I want…though I think I will be sticking to a lot of it as I feel soooo much better. Sleeping better, more energy and no more reflux !!! Yippee !!!


      1. Great. It is funny I feel better in China beacuse we have more access to fresh picked foods instead of picked unripe and put on a truck fresh. Food tastes better and has flavour! Soon as I go home I feel crappy for weeks and I don’t eat a lot fo processed foods, so I am wondering what is in the foods we get? Organic is hard to find and WAY too expensive, but maybe we need to invest in it anyway.


    1. Thanks Ruth…I really don’t miss meat at all. And my conscience feels a lot better when I know how are animals are treated here in New Zealand now I am no longer part of that chain.


  15. Happy Birthday Jo. I won’t comment on each number – you can thank me later – but 13. Been there, done that. 14. Am there. Yay that!
    Good getting to know you better. Good luck with the move when it comes about. FYI:good attitude. Cause when you get to 62, that ain’t bad either! 😉


  16. So sorry I’m late to the party. I usually am and not because I’m trying to be cool I’m not the cool type. Happy birthday! I enjoyed reading about you. And woohoo about you finishing the book. Can’t wait to read the final product. Wishing you the best with the move, the book, pet photography, and every thing!


  17. Thanks for sharing 🙂 I can relate to a lot of it.
    Not sure I could manage without dairy, though meat wouldn’t be a problem. That force feeding system is brutal.
    Wish I had time to watch all these videos. 🙂


    1. Dairy is hard. But I have actually stuck to a lot of it still. I just hate the way those wee calves are taken from their mums straight away and most of them slaughtered within days so we can drink milk. It doesn’t seem right to me.


  18. A little late but still in the range, I guess. Wish you all the best.

    Hard to believe you’ve never been to an opera or ballet. Hope you enjoyed Swan Lake! As for the opera I would suggest an Italian opera, because I love italian operas especially Othello. A lot of people are fond of Wagner as well. Me, personally, I hate Wagner. Too immense, too hyper. But it depends on your personal taste.


    1. I know. Swan Lake was simply amazing and the theatre gorgeous. As you sit in there the ceiling is like a night sky. Can’t wait for the opera now. I will keep your pointers in mind.


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