Saturday, February 05, 2011

Some thoughts on another year

Today is my 47th birthday.   Last year, on my 46th birthday, I thought of 46 things I wanted to do for the year.  I didn't finish them all - too much stuff going on last year that I hadn't planned on happening.   So instead of setting some goals this year, I thought I would share some birthday memories:

  • When I was a kid, everyone was always sick on my birthday, including me.   There's something about early February and disease that go hand in hand.   I distinctly remember one year, my mother made a box white sheet cake and frosted it with peanut butter because she didn't have anything else in the house and was too sick to go to the store.
  • When I was 6, my mother had a birthday party for me and I got to invite my whole class.   I can still remember the cake - it had a ballerina on it and at that time in my life, I thought I would grow up to be a ballerina or at least in show business.    After all, I knew I was a better singer than Bernadette Peters, who was always a guest on the Carol Burnett show.  Instead, I ended up an engineer.  Hmmmm.....
  • In college, my birthday always fell right around MTU's Winter Carnival and midterms.  That meant it was either a) really festive,  or b) sucked.  For my 21st birthday, I had 2 exams, but I managed to hit the bar at midnight after studying for thermodynamics and mechanics of materials and I ordered my first legal drink of my life.   I can't remember what it was, but I do remember it was at a Houghton bar called "The Lodge" and a band called "Da Yoopers" was probably playing, as they often did.
  • The first year we lived in our house here in Ann Arbor, Andy scheduled an impromptu surprise birthday party for me.  All of our young childless friends showed up and we had a great time.
  • For my 30th birthday, we went up north skiing with a bunch of friends.   On the way back we stopped at Andy's parents house, and my mother-in-law remarked that she spent her 30th birthday smoking a pack of Trues and drinking coffee with her friend Billie and the 8 kids they had between them, running amok. What different lives we led!
  • Somewhere in my late 30s, I hit an all time low. I was supposed to go out for lunch to celebrate my birthday, but I had too many meetings that day at work. Instead, I ate my birthday lunch in the Ford cafeteria, where you get $5 off on your birthday lunch. It was a Thursday, and on every Thursday in our cafeteria, they serve a turkey dinner, complete with cranberry sauce and stuffing. We engineers like predictable rituals, I guess.
  • For my 40th birthday, I was on a business trip and snowbound at the airport in Indianapolis.  My colleagues bought me a margarita at the airport Chi-Chi's to celebrate.   I arrived home around midnight to find my two young cherubs watching for my car in the driveway from the living room window.   They were excited to stay up late and finally be able to eat the Baskin Robbins ice cream cake Dad bought for me.
  • Every year for my birthday, my sister calls me and sings "Happy Birthday" in what we called the "greasy voice", which sounds a lot like Tom Jones singing "It's Not Unusual"
    So here I am on my 47th..... its got some touches of the past, for sure.   My sister is sick with the flu, my brother just called to wish me a happy birthday.  I can remember my 24th birthday when he was 17 and he came up to Houghton to visit me for Winter Carnival and it snowed for 51 straight days that year.   It's snowing outside right now, just like many of the birthdays in my 20s, so instead of driving far, we'll stick close by and maybe go to the Inverness Inn.  Who knows, maybe Da Yoopers will be there?


margot said...

What a great collection of memories. I'm glad you're not spending this birthday having lunch in the Ford cafeteria, but I kind of like knowing they serve a turkey dinner every Thursday. I wonder how many other places do that.

Happy Birthday!

Vivienne said...

Happy Birthday, Cynthia!

Turkey *every* Thursday?

Be careful on those roads!

CallieK said...

Love it!
I will be 47 next month- my birthday is the day after St Paddy's and usually in the middle of March break. Like yours, that was sometimes a good thing and sometimes the worst. I hope you won't mind if I do a similar post on my birthday- I enjoyed yours so much!

Jessica said...

Happy birthday! Mine was actually yesterday :)

I find it kind of amusing reading your birthday recap, since my husband went to MTU and is now an engineer for Ford

My 21st birthday was such a let down! It was actually on Super Bowl Sunday and no one knew it was my birthday :(

Tightwad Mom said...

Happy Birthday!!! Thanks for sharing your birthday memories, they were fabulous!!

Nicole said...

Happy Birthday.
I don't ever remember a place called the lodge in Houghton. Where was it located?
My 21st Birthday in Houghton was equally uneventful.

Mom said...

"The Lodge" was a bar on Sharon Avenue - now, it is some kind of medical building. It was only a bar for a few years in the mid 80s and it featured bands and dancing.

Sandy said...

I know why there weren't any old birthday photos of your day - we were either out of film or forgot to buy a flash bar :) Mom was never much of a baker. I remember many years where if you wanted a cake you had to bake it yourself. Nothing beat a pistachio pudding cake with chocolate Dream Whip frosting. Happy Birthday. I hope you enjoyed the tune in two parts... I actually exceeded the voice mail storage limit to fit in one message.

Diana Dyer said...

Hi Cynthia - my birthday is just a few days after yours! I like knowing another Aquarius. :-) Thanks for sharing a trip down your memory lane!

Tricia said...

Belated birthday wishes!! My birthday is mid May, so it often falls on Mother's Day. Of course I don't remember that ever happening when I was a child, but I certainly notice now (feeling like I'm getting beat out of a celebratory day every few years).