Tag Archives: Birthday

Big Daddy

Twelve days after my birthday came Sim’s birthday.

We met 11 years ago in Leavenworth, WA. I was working at a Bavarian hotel and trying to resist my boss’ prodding to wear a dirndl at work. And Sim was launching a small pizza place he created himself. He was truly a one man show. My first glimpses of him were when he would pull up to the hotel in his VW rabbit (which lacked a muffler, so you could literally hear him coming from a mile away), come to a screeching halt, and proceed to run up the stairs and down the hall like a contestant on the biggest loser struggling for every bit of their dignity as some mean skinny coach yells expletives at them. Only later did I learn the reason for Sim’s haste. As he would leave the shop with a delivery pizza in hand, he would throw another pizza in the conveyer belt oven and then scurry to the front door and lock it, so as to resume the one man show shortly. He had exactly 8 minutes to deliver a pizza and return to the conveyer belt as the next pie emerged. His business operations still make me laugh, but they worked and his business flourished. This is also due, in part, to the fact that he finally learned how to properly make dough after a year of operation. But Sim’s “ah ha” moment of letting dough rise is another story.

I promised I’d steer away from the romanticized bullshit of so many bloggers who feel the need to tout their “wonderful” spouses and children, but I should really take a moment to acknowledge my life partner. Sim is an incredible person. Rather than babble on about how special he is, I thought you might enjoy learning a few things about him:

(1) If he could be reincarnated to return during any time period, it would be during the Wild West. And he would be a mountain man. I’m completely serious. Like Jeremiah Johnson starring Robert Redford. The movie actually stems from a book titled “Mountain Man” by Vardis Fisher, which has become one of my favorite reads.

(2) In 5th grade, Sim’s class played a sort of Monopoly game. Each student played a townsperson and they worked together to govern their town. Sim invented a chair towing business, which made it’s money (their fake class money) from fees students paid to get their chairs out of the impound. This, after their chairs had been towed for not being pushed in. By the end of the school year he had made more money than anyone else in class.

(3) Sim loves 1970’s Broncos. I’m sure he has a favorite year, etc., which I should really know.

(4) One of the best trips we’ve taken together was to Mexico in 1999. We got the brilliant idea during my college winter break to go on vacation. And how did we decide where? We drove to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, 3 hours from Leavenworth, and stared at the reader board for the cheapest flights. And thus it was decided: Viva Mexico! From there Sim rented us a Jeep Wrangler and spoke Spanish to me for the next week. That was it. I was hopeless.

(5) If a celebrity were to ever play Sim in a movie, it would be Alec Baldwin. Sim is a total Baldwin.

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April Fool’s Day

Some of my fondest memories involve my birthday. In the Cascade Mountains of central Washington, flowers would always start to sprout as the snow melted away.

Around this same time in the 5th grade we got to take part in Osborn Elementary School’s annual flower project; a local tradition and right of passage. We would study flowers in class and go on nature walks with our teachers and parents to pick flowers. Flowers would then be pressed onto a sheet of paper with a handwritten description before being laminated and added to our own flower book. Our charge was to gather a minimum of 50 flowers. I still have my flower book, which has a lavender colored cloth cover, an embroidered flower in the middle, and light pink lace around the edges, thanks to my mom.

My mom was also good at birthdays. Each year we would awake to her holding a little tray and singing happy birthday as we lay in bed. The tray contained, without fail, a tall candle, a cup of hot cocoa, and a set of birthday cards. When I turned 6 she made me a birthday cake shaped like a kitty cat that had chocolate frosting and M&Ms on top. You can still find the cake design in her 1970’s Better Crocker cookbook, along with many recipes that impelled America’s epidemic of obesity.

This year was no exception to the special birthdays I’ve experienced in the past. I awoke to my husband and his video camera, which followed me to the kitchen on an intent mission to locate coffee. As I walked through the living room he cued a Danish birthday song on YouTube and as I rounded the corner I not only found a soy latte with chocolate syrup drizzled on it, but a petite chocolate cheesecake decked with candles and a card in a pink envelope. With the video camera on, I made a wish and blew out the candles. I can’t remember the last time I felt this much like a child. Only this time there was champagne and orange juice.

I won’t dwell on this too long. I’ve read my fair share of blogs in which people narcissistically brag about how their life was not “complete” without their spouse or their children, quickly dismissing all others who are not married or do not have children and thus rendering them unable to lead a full and happy life. And I’ve encountered my fair share of people who assume that as a young, cheerful, and educated blonde woman I’ve had a life worth of envy. They are right. But they are also wrong. My goal throughout the next year is to give you a glimpse into the ups and downs of our lives as we move to a new state and begin a new academic program in a new land surrounded by cornfields. And Republicans.

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