Thanks so much to all of you who sent me birthday greetings on today, my 46th birthday. Tonight I put on Van Morrison’s incomparable “Astral Weeks,” and remembered during the first track that Van was half my age when he recorded it. Half. My. Age.

It was a fairly crummy day, I’m sorry to say, because I spent it struggling with an essay that I couldn’t quite get right, and poor Julie spent the day in bed with a rotten stomach virus. Her second day in bed with this stuff. And then she went to the doctor. Then home to bed again. Bleah.

But I did get great birthday gifts from Julie and the kids. I am a fanatic for kale, especially Tuscan kale. They got me a t-shirt from the Eat More Kale man in Vermont, and a bumper sticker. Plus The Book Of Kale and a packet of Tuscan kale seeds. There will be Tuscan kale here this spring! I cannot imagine growing Tuscan kale as spectacular as that grown by our friends at the awesome Taproot Farm, which brightened my Saturdays at the Chestnut Hill Farmer’s Market with their offerings during our Philly years. But I’m sure going to try.

As if that weren’t enough, they also gave me a big-ass salad spinner — a five-gallon tub engineered to wash and dry a mess of greens. What an incredibly useful device for turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, and, of course, kale.

I’m really, really blessed to have such a thoughtful sweetheart, who is just as beautiful to me when she’s in full bloom as when she’s spending part of Valentine’s Day doubled over the commode, hanging on for dear life.