Tag: birthdays

Happy 10th Birthday to the Little Miss

One of the nice things about having this blog for the last 16 years is that when I reflect on things from, say, ten years ago, I can link to what I wrote about those events.

As it happens, the Little Miss turned ten years old today. Hard to believe it has been ten years since the day she was born. Looking back at those ten year-old posts, I was reminded the anxiety I was feeling the night before she was born.

To celebrate here on the blog, the Little Miss has granted me permission to use her first name here on out1. So let me wish a very happy 10th birthday to Grace, a.k.a., the Little Miss. Below are some photos of her then, and today.

I think she has had a good day. She got her favorite donuts for breakfast, went on a ropes course with friends, had lunch at McDonalds, went the pool, and this evening, she has more friends over for pizza and cupcakes.

And in one week, the Littlest Miss will turn five!

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  1. I’m sure I’ve done this in the past, but I generally tried to stick to the Little Man or the Little Miss until the kids were old enough to understand I was writing about them and were okay with me using their names here.

Uncomfortable Birthdays

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been uncomfortable about my birthday. I’m not really sure why. I have a memory of an early birthday party (I was five or six) and had all my friends over at the house celebrating. I remember feeling sad about growing older. It’s the only clear memory that sticks with me about that party.

Since then, I get an uncomfortable feeling when my birthday rolls around. Other people want to celebrate it and remind me of it, and I’d just as soon treat it as any other day, completely ignoring the astronomical coincidence of the earth being at the same point around the sun as it was on the day I was born.

Of course, I can’t ignore it completely. People wish me happy birthday and I try to be gracious about it. For a few years, I tried forcing myself to be downright happy about it. I hosted a birthday dinner at the Rainbow Room in New York City, inviting close friends to celebrate. But that phase passed after a few years and I was back to preferring to ignore the day completely.

With kids it is more difficult. My kids want to celebrate everyone’s birthday, mine included. They have a hard time understanding why someone wouldn’t want to celebrate a birthday. And since I don’t want to pawn off my neuroses on my kids, I try to act excited about my birthday when it rolls around.

I prefer when my birthday falls on a weekday, and a busy work day in particular. It doesn’t leave much time to ponder. This was the case last year, for instance. I think about my birthday so little that it creeps up on me and catches me unaware. I think so little of it that I often have to ponder for a moment when someone asks how old I am.

I’ve tried to understand why my birthday makes me feel uncomfortable. It is not about the passage of time. That is inevitable and I try not to waste much thought on things that are inevitable. I tell myself it is because I don’t like being the center of attention, but that is slightly disingenuous. What writer doesn’t like being the center of attention? (I tell myself that I want my writing and not me to be the center of attention, but let’s be realistic.)

I’ve never been a fan of unearned credit. I’ve never played the lottery because I don’t want to win something I didn’t earn. I try to spread credit around on projects I run at work because they are group efforts, and my name just happens to be the one at the top. I think this is what makes me uncomfortable about my birthday: being credited with something that isn’t particularly notable. I could see celebrating, say, a 100th birthday since it is something outside the norm.

Perhaps birthdays are just a reminder of mortality, something I don’t ordinarily think about. Thoughts of mortality put me in a somber mood, and I don’t like being in somber moods. As my birthday approaches, I think of Psalm 90:10 (I like the King James version best):

The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength and labor sorrow; for it is soon cut off and we fly away.

This year I’m spending my birthday with my family. We’ll be in the car all day as we drive for a much-needed respite from work and school, and being cooped up in the house for much of the last year. I enjoy driving; I enjoy having my family with me in the car. I listen to books, and watch farms and fields roll by, the scenery constantly changing. If I had to pick, I’d say that is my idea of a good birthday.

Happy birthday, Dad!


It’s my Dad’s birthday today and he turns [redacted] years old! For those M*A*S*H fans out there, my Dad (who along with my Mom is visiting my sister and brother-in-law and their kids in New York at the moment) took Sydney Freedmon’s famous advice yesterday:

Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice
Pull down your pants and slide on the ice.

Well, maybe not the “pull down your pants” part, but he did go sliding on the ice. Fortunately he was not seriously injured.

Everyone please wish my old man a happy birthday. Not only has he gone sliding on the ice, but he has, over the years, had to wade through drafts of stories that thankfully have never seen the light of day. I’m guessing that his birthday wish is that the New York Giants will win one more game this season. Stop laughing! He can wish for whatever he wants, regardless of how improbable it might seem.

Happy birthday, Dad!

Happy birthday, Kelly!

It is Kelly’s birthday today. I’ll be picked up the Little Man a little early from school and we’ll all be going to an early dinner at a local restaurant that Kelly recently discovered. Most of the rest of my afternoon and evening will be in helping Kelly celebrate her birthday so I won’t be around here too much for the rest of the day. See you all tomorrow!

The Little Man’s Birthday Weekend

This past weekend, the Little Man turned two.

In a few years, the exact same sentence as written above will have an entirely different meaning (as in, he turned a double-play), but for now it means, quite literally, he is two years old. We decided not to have a party this year, but tried to make it a special weekend for him. On Saturday, we drove up to Baltimore and spent the morning at the National Aquarium at the Inner Harbor. I was rather impressed by the aquarium. It is well designed and has a lot of cool attractions. Of course, the sharks were among the coolest things to see there. Part of the aquarium is a multi-level tank which you spiral down into from several floors up. You start above the surface of the water and the tank surrounds you on all sides. The walkway then spirals down and you go deeper and deeper into the tank. At one point, we were watching the sharks. There were several great whites and some of them were probably four or five feet long. I had put the Little Man up on a landing to see he see them. One of the great whites turns and looked right at us, and that was as menacing a look as I had ever seen. I was happy for the thick glass.

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The Little Man turns two

It’s hard to believe that he’s two already, but as of today, the Little Man is not so little anymore.

I found some notes I jotted down on the day he was born. I remember jotting the notes because I assumed the day would be mostly a blur for me. As it turns out, I still remember it pretty well, but the notes are nice reminders of how the day really went.  Here are a few of them:

Up at 3am, couldn’t sleep, back to sleep (on couch) at 4am, up at 5am when the alarm goes off. Left for the hospital at 5:45am.

I’d forgotten about sleeping on the couch for the last part of the morning. Next:

Got to the hospital at 6:05am, checked in, signed lots of papers and requested a private room (which we got). Up at the “bunny desk” at 6:20am.

The “bunny desk” was where you went to check into the maternity department. So called because there were stuffed bunnies everywhere.

6:40am, all hooked up to the monitors and can hear the Little Man’s heartbeat. Cord blood registry stuff in the works. Kelly’s in her gown. My hearts picking up the pace a bit.

6:45am, IV is in and the nurse got their blood draw for the cord blood. Kelly says that the vein they drew from is bugging her.

I don’t remember anything about the blood draw or Kelly complaining about the vein afterward.

7:10am, second nurse arrives. Kelly has already gone through a bag a saline.

7:20am, we get briefed by the nurse on what happens. We met the circulation nurse and agreed to allow a student to observe. Student’s name is Jason.

Completely forgot the part about the student.

7:25am, our OB came by to brief us.

7:30am, the anesthesiology nurse came by to brief us and we are waiting for Jeff (our anesthesiologist). He arrives at 7:40.

Finally, we are moved.

7:55am Kelly is in the operating room; I’m getting into my gear; almost shaking with adrenaline.

Little Man was born about 10 minutes later or so. After that, there are only a couple more notes, the first of which isn’t until 6:30 that evening (we were busy!). But that 6:30 note is pretty amusing:

6:30pm: “Tar” diaper

Meaning, of course, that the Little Man had his first dirty diaper.

We are having a BBQ later this afternoon to celebrate his birthday and he’s already opened his big present, which was a massive train table with lots of track and various appurtenances of train life. He played with it for hours.

Happy birthday, Little Man!

What I did on my (disconnected) birthday

A couple of people have asked me if I had any symptoms of withdrawal, being away from the Internet for more than 24 hours. I don’t think so, although I was eager to check my email and blog stats as soon as I woke up this morning. Actually, I was rather humbled by all of the birthday wishes I received. I’m very fortunately to have such thoughtful friends and family.

And there was even a talking cat electronic birthday card that referred to that fact that I’d gone paperless. Let’s see Hallmark try and beat that!

Mostly, I spend the day yesterday deliberately doing nothing. I hung out with the family in the morning, lazed around for most of the day. I got a head start in reading the May 1940 issue of Astounding, but even there I didn’t do too much.

I had phone calls from a number of friends and family and it is always nice to hear those voices that I don’t get to hear very often.

I did clean off my desk. It was a complete and utter mess with stacks and stacks of golden age Astounding’s piled all about in disarray. The desktop is now clean and clear and the Astounding’s have been arrayed. I always feel like I can think more clearly when my desk is clean.

On said desk, I had a backlog of some 12 or so issues of New Scientist and Scientific American that I hadn’t touched. There is no way I was going to catch up reading each page of every issue, the way I normally do. So yesterday evening, I went through the contents of each magazine, making check marks on the contents page next to those articles I thought were particularly interesting. Then I started reading those articles and tossing the magazines when I finished. I’ve still got about 9 or 10 issues to go through, but there’s only about 1 or 2 articles in each that I’ve highlighted so it should go pretty quickly. This is important because it is how I keep up with science, but also because I usually get at least one good story idea from every issue–and last night was no exception.

It was a very nice day, all told, and I was glad I chose to unplug. I can see why Jack Benny wanted to remain 39. It seems just about the perfect age.

My Jack Benny birthday

Today is my Jack Benny birthday, and if anyone is wondering what that means,

Benny played the role of the comic penny-pinching miser, insisting on remaining 39 years old on stage despite his actual age. [Emphasis is mine.]

So that means I am 39 today and will (thankfully) still be in my 30s when the next baby is born in August. I’ve always had mixed feelings about my birthday, some years being unenthusiastic, and other years being very excited about them. For several years, I would take my close friends out for a big birthday bash dinner at the Rainbow room in New York and that was always a blast. Of course, the Rainbow Room is now closed and has been for a few years. For the last several years, I’ve taken the opportunity this day provides to completely disconnect. No Internet, no television, no carrying around the iPhone. (So what about this post, you ask? This post was written at 1pm yesterday, as were the other posts that will appear here later in the day.

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And since I mentioned my birthday…

Since I mentioned my birthday in the previous post, I ought to mention that it is this coming Sunday. Last year, I took advantage of the day as an excuse to self-indulgently abstain from the Internet for a period of 24 hours. I plan on doing the same this year. I think I deserve one day a year completely out of touch with the Internet, where I don’t feel a compulsive need to check email or blog stats. Or carry my iPhone around with me so that I can respond to a tweet the moment it comes in. In fact, I tend to take the day off from the computer entirely. No writing, no browsing. Just one day off to do absolutely anything I want that doesn’t involve high technology.

Since I usually do my Golden Age write-ups on Sunday that poses a bit of a problem. But I have a bit of a solution: I plan on finishing early this week, doing my write-up on Saturday and scheduling the post to be released Sunday evening. I will likely write a few other posts scheduled for release earlier on Sunday, but if you are looking for me online, Sunday, March 27 would not be the day to do it.

I’ll have more to say about my birthday on the day itself (scheduled post, of course).

Just a little heads-up to all my Internet pals.

Dad’s 100th birthday

Today is my Dad’s 100th birthday.

Well, not really, but that’s what I call it. You see, growing up, whenever I’d ask my old man how old he was, he’s answer, “One hundred years old.” As a kid, it never occurred to me to question anything my parents told me. As a kid, I also didn’t get sarcasm. (I was a gullible kid, I’m afraid. On one occasion, my mom told me that she couldn’t cut my hair because she needed a special license to do so, which of course, I believed without question. On another occasion, when I asked my mom how she knew all the answers to the game show questions, she told me she’d taken a special course in college on game show questions. I’m ashamed to admit that I believed that one for many years more than I should have. But I digress.)

In my mind, my Dad celebrates his 100th birthday each year, in the same way that Jack Benny celebrated his 39th birthday forever.

It is my hope that on this hundredth birthday, this blog post and the subsequent reposting to various social media sites will cause much confusion and that many people will spent today questioning me or Dad about being 100 years old.

And wishing him a Happy Birthday, too, of course.

Happy 100th birthday, Dad!


Yesterday, while the girls went to their fancy spa to get their fancy facials and whatever else people get in spas, the boy went scuba-diving.

Mom arranged it with a friend of hers who teaches scuba diving. Doug, stubiebrother and I headed to Thousand Oaks to the Sports Chalet, where at about 10 AM, we signed our lives away and proceeded to learn how to scuba dive in the 13 foot-deep pool that they had on site. The pool was kept very warm so that we didn’t need wet suits.

We learned how to wear the gear. We learned how to clear out our masks. We learned how to breath through the regulator. We learned to different ways for clearing the regulator while underwater. We even learned how to recover the regulator underwater if we lost it. We learned some basic hand signals as well. Once we’d done a few practice runs, we headed for the deep end. We spent a total of about 40 minutes underwater, and might have spent a little longer if Doug hadn’t come close to running out of air. (When we finally surfaced, me and Jason’s tanks were at about the 1,000 PSI mark. Doug’s was almost at 0 PSI.)

It was an interesting experience. For the first few minutes, I found myself much more conscious of my breathing than normal. I made sure to practice removing the regulator from my mouth, clearing it, and getting it back in. It was easy. We tossed around underwater frisbees. We swam through hoops. We laid down on the bottom of the pool (making sure to equalize the pressure in our ears). It was a lot of fun.

After it was all over, Doug, Jason and I headed to a nearby T.G.I. Friday’s for lunch.

We spent the afternoon hanging around the house. Then, in the evening, we headed to Wood Ranch grill for dinner. Almost everyone had tri-tip and it was excellent! We celebrated Ruby’s birthday after dinner, with a birthday cake from Coldstone, and a bunch of presents (Ruby turns 4 on December 1). By the time that was over, I was exhausted. Mom, Jen and Jason put on a movie but I was out cold. When I next woke up, the lights were out and everyone had done to sleep.

I head back home tonight. My flight departs LAX at 10:20 PM. I’ve used some more upgrade credits to upgrade to first class. The airplane is a 767 on the flight home so First Class may be a little bit nicer than on a 757. There are fires in Malibu, so we’ll probably have to take the freeways to LAX this evening, and miss the pretty ride along the coast. I get into Dulles at 6 AM, and if everything goes well, I hope to be home (and in bed for a little while) at 7 AM.