Friday, October 16, 2009

A Belated Birthday Post

The past couple of weeks have been quite busy. Somehow, even though I have one less official class this semester than I did either semester last year, I have felt more busy than ever. In discussing this with Melanie last night, I realized I might not be any busier, I’m just not enjoying school as much this year as I did last year. Sadly, I don’t really care for my early modern philosophy course. And I’m also very uninterested in the class for which I’m a TA. In both cases, it has a lot to do with the style of teaching that goes on, and I guess that makes me resent any time I spend doing work for those classes. It makes it feel more like busy work than something for my own benefit. Anyway, my whole point here is to explain why it’s taken me so long to write about my birthday. I just got through the first crunch time of the semester, when myriad papers and other assignments are coming due at about the same time. The next couple of weeks should be a little bit easier going, so hopefully I’ll post a few times.

OK, so back to my birthday. By now, Melanie has already written a little bit about my birthday and shared some pictures. But even if you’ve already seen Mel’s post, I’ll be adding some details and offering some new pictures here, so hopefully this will be fun for those out there who care enough about me to want to read these kinds of things. Let’s start with the wonderful birthday dinner Melanie made me. My mom has always made excellent pot roast, so we got some reminders about the techniques she uses, and Melanie whipped up (probably not the right expression for pot roast) a delectable hunk of meat served with carrots and well-cooked (and therefore non-obtrusive) onions. I also requested “funeral potatoes” and crescent rolls. Everything tasted excellent. In fact, writing about it makes me sad that it’s gone. We got at least three decent meals out of it all. It was nice.

The meat.

The potatoes.

The veggies.

The bread.

The crescent rolls were a particularly popular item at the birthday dinner. Here, Eddie teases the camera with a delightfully flaky treat.

When it came to dessert, Melanie made the coolest, most fun birthday cake I’ve ever had. She’s always done such wonderfully sweet things with Eddie’s and Peter’s cakes, so quite some time ago, I said she should make me a Ms. Pac-Man cake for my next birthday. She made up her mind there and then that she would do that for me, which was very loving of her. But if that weren’t enough, she made it a hummingbird cake, which is something we’d never even heard of until fairly recently. It’s kind of like a cross between carrot cake and banana bread (in fact, it has bananas in it), and it may very well be the best cake I’ve ever tasted. With a cream cheese frosting and crushed pecans to boot, it’s exquisite. But I got just as much delight out of the way the cake looked. Melanie prepped it the night before my birthday, and every time I saw it, I couldn’t help but smile. It was a delight, in the truest sense of the word.

The coolest birthday cake ever!

A 31-year-old man tries desperately to blow out the candles on his birthday cake. To signify the number "31," Melanie put three candles on the left side of Ms. Pac-Man's bow, and one on the right side. Clever!

But who can forget presents? Yes, Melanie even gave me some presents. And some pretty good ones, too. I hadn’t asked for anything and didn’t have any idea what she might get, but as always, she proved to be an impressively thoughtful wife. The first gift I unwrapped was a set of large cereal bowls. I’ve told Melanie before that I like large cereal bowls, but until my birthday, we only owned a couple that fit that description. It’s been fun having them around. Next up, Melanie bought me two new pillows. I haven’t had new pillows in a while, and the ones I had were getting pretty flat. The new pillows are wonderfully puffy and cloud-like. Sleeping on them has been rather luxurious. Finally, Melanie gave me a pair of ottomans. Well, that’s what I call them. They are footrests, but I don’t know what technical criteria must be met in order to be called an ottoman, properly speaking. They’re not big enough that I’m inclined to view them as a piece of furniture, so if that makes a difference, so be it. Regardless, they serve the purpose of letting me put my feet up while sitting on the couch, which is awesome. As I mentioned soon after we bought our couch, the seats aren’t as deep as they could be, so there doesn’t seem to be a lot of support directly behind your knees when you’re sitting on it. Given the crappy condition of my knees (and my left leg in general), I sometimes find my knee aching quite a bit if I don’t straighten it. Occasionally, I even sit on the floor instead of the couch, for that very reason. Well, no more! It’s been great having something to prop my feet up on, and I’ve used them every time I’ve been on the couch since my birthday. It’s wonderful.

Opening up the birthday bowls.

The morning after my birthday, we used the new bowls with breakfast. Here, Peter appears a bit too excited about the food he's eating.

Eddie took special care to ensure he always slurped while using the slurp bowls.

Back to the birthday day. Here I am, hugging some much appreciated pillows.

Eddie, Daddy, and the Ottoman Empire.

Peter demonstrates an alternative use for the footrests, makeshift stairs, a favorite among the 3-and-under demographic.

As a final note, Melanie also ordered me a set of Coca-Cola drinking glasses with that distinctive Coke glass shape. They’re cool and fun to drink out of. They didn’t arrive until a couple of days after my birthday, so I don’t have a picture yet. Maybe someday. Also, Melanie gave her mom a suggestion, and so I got a couple of boxes of (somewhat tattered) raspberry-filled donuts from Hostess, the kind you can’t buy on this side of the U.S. All in all, it’s been a really fun birthday.


  1. Sounds like a really good time, and the best part of it is knowing that those you care about, care just as much or more about you. That's what I like about birthdays. Cheers, my friend.

  2. The bowls are really clever and the ottoman is such a good idea. Melanie is so good with all this.
    I miss you on your birthday. I realize how far away you are and wish we could be there for awhile.