Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Whack on the Side of the Head Wednesday: Birthday Edition

Happy Birthday, Uncle Sam 
(that's mine, not yours)
Today my dad's brother celebrates his 80th birthday
By the way 10+8+8 = 26
And, 2+6 = 8

Last night we had corn beef and cabbage with cooked carrots and potatoes for dinner.  Why?  Because when my thoughtful, thoughtful, husband and I were dating, I told him of a Kamhi (my maiden name) family tradition.  Each year on our birthdays we got to chose the dinner menu of our choice, regardless of how simple (mom = bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Ellen = Bacon lettuce, and tomato sandwiches) or how elaborate (me = corn beef and cabbage with Grey Poupon mustard) the choice may  have appeared.  Or, no matter how little anyone else in the house liked it (dad = blue fish) or how... wacky (Ann = pancakes and eggs) the request might have seemed.  On your birthday, you and your taste buds ruled the roost.  And so it goes, even 40 years later.

That's not the only family tradition I remember.  The other thing I remember is how you hoped your birthday landed on a school day.  Yes, if you were lucky enough to have your birthday land on a school day, you were lucky enough to score a serving of junk food.

I should stop here to tell you my parents are kind of health food fanatics.  Wheat germ, shredded wheat, nuts, whole grains, lots of fish, broccoli, plain yogurt, apple sauce, and for dessert... fruit cocktail, with an occasional shortbread cookie.  School lunches were precisely this:  One sandwich  - either turkey, ham, or roast beef on wheat bread, cut in half, and neatly placed in wax paper bags; 1 small container of Mott's Apple Juice rolled in tin foil and packed neatly next to the sandwiches; 1 piece of fruit, usually an apple or banana; and a small box of Sun Maid Raisins on top.  All of this was carefully placed in a doubled brown paper bag, with crisp edges, neatly folded over, and our names written in black marker.

Oh, but on your birthday!!!!!  On your birthday it was a whole new ball game.  The sandwich and the fruit remained, but... the apple juice was replaced with a CAN OF COKE and the raisins were replaced with either a Ring Ding or a Twinkie!  All topped off with a small wrapped treat and a happy birthday message.  Yes, life was especially good on your birthday.  

This stroll down memory lane does two things...  One, it reinforces the importance of little things, over and above elaborate gestures, when it comes to being memorable in the lives of someone else.  Two, it makes me wonder what new birthday tradition we can dream up right here at highlowaha.  Today we will be Imagineers.  We will put on our creative thinking caps and develop a brand new birthday tradition so irresistible all will want to adopt it.

We'll use this whack to get us started.  

Find A Pattern.  Poet Alexander Pope: "Order is heav'n's first law.  Much of what is called "intelligence" is our ability to recognize this order in the form of patterns.  We recognize cycles (plankton yields conform to a strict four year boom-and-bust cycle), sequences (the order in which you put on your clothes), processes (how to convert flour, eggs, and milk into waffles), tendencies (cracks in dried mud usually form 120 degree angles), shapes (the stars that make up the constellation Leo), similarities (stellar galaxies and water emptying in a tub spiral in the same way), behaviors (etiquette on a crowded bus), and probabilities (the likelihood of throwing a "seven" at a crap table).  What patterns do you detect?  How can you use them to better understand your idea?

So let's have fun with this.  What fun birthday tradition (kid's or adult) can we create right here on Highlowaha?

  • Halloween Activity:  Today's Beeny Family Halloween Activity is... Today we will wrap ourselves like mummies in toilet paper.  And since I've forgotten to post for the past few days... yesterday... play a round of "killer" at the dinner table, and Monday... enjoy a candy apple for dessert.
  • What Happens in Vegas...  Thanks again for playing along yesterday.  The winners of yesterday's gambling were AZLori (who won a favorite candy bar from each player) and Julie who won a pot of $18.90.  Below are the addresses you need to make good on your antes.  AZLori - 645 S. Doege Street, Gilbert, AZ 85233; and Julie S. - 24 Orchard Place, Apt. 205, Bradford, PA 16701.
  • Trick or Treat:  Remember, Friday I am hoping we are all going to share a favorite Halloween trick or treat that you've seen in a store.  Maybe a decoration,  a new baking or cooking tool, or a new holiday craft item.  Ideally you will be able to share the item and the price.
  • Blog-a-thon: Still kickin'

Signing off until tomorrow...

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