March 14, 2010


Well, here it is, and I’m now full fledged into 48.  You know something, other than being a bit tired from the party last night, I don’t feel any different.  There’s no more wrinkles that I can see, and (knock wood [insert knocking on head]) still no gray hair.  So my fourth time around the Chinese calendar, hasn’t really done any damage.

As you may have read yesterday, the previous couple of days had me a bit stressed, more about Eloise than anything, and that has finally been resolved.  Life with the kids has gone back to what it was before she decided to venture out into the unknown.  But, because of ‘unplanned’ holiday, and not telling me, all of them get punished.  Hmmm, kinda reminds me of when I was a kid.

“Who did it?”

“I didn’t.”

“I didn’t.”

“I didn’t.”

“Then you all are punished!”

The other kids are wondering why they’re not allowed on the roof now.  I can see it in their little sad eyes, when I go up, I look back, and they’re all sitting at the door with that, “Please, daddy” look.  Well, ‘… let that be a lesson to all of you …”, or rather, “meow-meow meowmeow, meeeeoowww!” (translation courtesy of Bablecat!)  I had to explain to Eloise that the next time she decided to go on a trip, she should at least book a room at decent hotel, and not the Rat’s Nest… that place OWES a star to the system!

Alright, so things are getting back to normal, so-to-speak.  Last night, my friends Cliff, Miya HK, Renee, and Rebecca went out to dinner, and then a bar for some fun.  The dinner was really nice, but since ONE OF THEM was late, our 7:30pm reservation had been cancelled, and the rest of us should have at least told the restaurant we were there, so we had to wait.  Not a big deal, because, well, I had other plans that took over to fill the time.

Now, as with a lot of what I write, I like to digress to fill in MY history material, so you can see where my head is at.

Okay, ‘… a long time ago, when the earth was green… ‘ – wait, too far back… Okay, here it is.  Ah yes, Ottawa, circa 1996… I had been working for a government agency, OSFI.  Matters not what it is or what it did or does, my supervisor before I left on my excursions to Windsor, New Westminster, and Taiwan, was Fred Stiegemeyer.  I really like working for Fred.  He and I did an absolutely excellent job for our office, and both of us received awards and cash bonuses, for not only completed the task given us, but well under budget, and way before the due date.  I’m surprised the Prime Minister didn’t award us, but hey, our big boss at the time did, and that was thanks enough for me.

Fred was born in Germany.  He grew up and Germany.  He loves Germany.  Okay, so I can say the same thing about Canada, but I didn’t haven’t given up my Canadian citizenship.  He opted, somewhere in his life, to become a Canadian.  However, every day, Fred would talk about how Germany’s roads were paved with gold, the telephone system was the best in the world.  He made Germany sound like the Garden of Eden… so why the hell did he give up THAT citizenship?  Whatever…

I remember the first year we worked together.  He came in one morning, and gave me a present.  Okay, why?  He said that, in his country (which I thought was Canada, but of course he was referring to Germany), it is customary that, when it is your birthday, YOU give presents to the people YOU care about, and who YOU want to know that it is a celebration of your life.  Considering that I wasn’t quite up-to-snuff on Germany’s traditions, I took it at face value, and accepted his gift to me, and congratulated him.  You know, I have no idea how old he was, and therefore, how old he is.  Again, not really important.

So, several times over my life since Ottawa, when times were good, I have chosen to follow this tradition with my best friends.  Now, it may not have been a gift, it may have been going for dinner and picking up the tab.  Buying my own birthday cake, and taking it into a school or class and celebrating with my students.  Again, I don’t know whether this is a ‘tradition’ in Germany, but I like it.  It gives others the opportunity to enjoy your day and your life.  It is always wonderful to see the look on people’s faces when they get a gift on someone else’s birthday.

So, with these four friends of mine, Cliff, Miya HK, Renee, and Rebecca, I did just that.  I spent the better part of 3 hours preparing packages for them.  There were chocolates, gum, little toys, sparklers, a T-shirt (which I will explain shortly), a box of oil pastels (again, shortly), and a few other little goodies.  Nothing special, nothing unique, but it was a rather large package, and I felt good giving these items to my friends.

Now, earlier in the week, I was told that we would be going out, etc.  At the bar after dinner, the girls wanted to play a game.  Whatever the game, if you lost, the winner could use makeup and ‘paint’ your face.  Now, I’m not big on mucking with my face.  I like my face.  I’ve never worn makeup, and I was just not completely convinced about the idea.  Okay, maybe if I was turning 20 or something, it sounds fun.  But come on, I’m not 20.  So, thus enters the T-shirt and pastels.

I suggested, rather harshly actually, that there was no way, I was going to have my face painted, nor would I paint another person’s face.  So, I offered an alternative.  At first, one of my friends was not up on the idea.  Then, later they said (and apology not needed, but accepted), “It is your party, but only get one for yourself.” [insert “… It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to …”]  Well, now that makes ME feel like the party-pooper.

Nonetheless, when thinking about these packages, I bought each of us an OVERSIZED WHITE T-shirt.  Do you realize how hard it is to find a decent looking, polo-type, completely white ANYTHING without a whole lot of stupid pictures on it?  Took a while.  My idea was to have something, that once all the chocolates, and gum were gone, that they each would have something to remember MY BIRTHDAY with.  Not that they were to wear them, just a memento…

We get to the bar, and slowly, the T-shirts come out of the box, and we start creating.  It was actually kind of cool, again, watching them get into it.  There were 59 or 60 different colours of pastels, a white canvass, and their brains.  It took a bit, but in the end, we now all have something to remember the night.  This will be one birthday celebration, that, hopefully, they will never forget.

Later on, we did play a card game, “BIG 2”, and as the teams lost, the others painted their faces… all except for me.  I tried to encourage them to do some more on my T-shirt, but they really wanted to paint faces… So Miya ended up being my partner, since we both barely know the game, and, unfortunately for Miya who REALLY didn’t know the game and couldn’t really help me, she ended up having a couple of makeup smears on her face, for my losing.  Sorry, Miya.

Got home late, fed the kids, and fell asleep.  All in all, one birthday celebration that I won’t soon forget.  OH, and I almost forgot (not), I got one of the most EXCELLENT gifts I have ever received.  A watch.  Not just any watch, a f***ing cool watch.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “March 14, 2010

  1. The Friend

    I did apologize for saying just get one for yourself. and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, that sure is a cool watch.

  2. I think it is very thoughtful to give your friends a gift while celebrating your own birthday. It reminds me of ‘loot bags’ I used to make for my boys’ friends when we had birthday parties for them. Something to ‘thank’ friends for coming to celebrate the birthday, and maybe something that will remind them of that day.

    For my 35th birthday this year I held a ‘movie night’ and asked everyone to bring a donation for the Canadian Cancer Society. I felt extremely proud of those who did donate and I bought a small gift to thank them at the end of the night. Another take on the ‘gift’ when it’s your own birthday.

    Thank you for sharing pics of your friends…even though I’ve never met any of them in person, through reading about them all and seeing their pictures, I feel like I’m getting to know them more every day!

    (And it really is a COOL watch!)

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