Today is my birthday! Even people who don’t necessarily record their everyday events often tend to remember special days to them, such as birthdays. Although I don’t have a full memory of every birthday that I have had since I could hold memories, a few of them stick out to me, even those before I started writing journals. Here are some of my most salient ones:
*Sixth birthday: I was living in Fort Dodge at the time, and with some of my friends from Cooper Elementary School, we ate at Pizza Hut on 5th Avenue South. The skies were dark and menacing, and it started raining heavily as we left. My family was also doing a garage sale at the time, and by the time that we got back home, the floodgates opened. There was so much water on Knollcrest Drive that a few of our neighbors took out canoes and we got to paddle down the street!
*Seventh and eighth: Evidently nothing memorable happened for me on these ones, or at least nothing salient sticks out.
*Ninth birthday: This was essentially my “last blast” in Fort Dodge, as the month before, Mom and Dad broke the news to all of us that we would be moving to Lincoln at the end of the summer. On my ninth birthday, it was a great amalgamation of friends and family. In particular, Papa provided a magic show at the Country Club in Fort Dodge, which was always exciting. There was also a swimming party following, and it was billed as a triple function. Not only for me, but also for Grammy (z”l) and Aunt Pam. Also, Mom and Dad put a “Happy 9th Birthday” picture for me in the Fort Dodge Messenger. Wow–it’s been 16 years since then, but I know people who still have that picture.
*Tenth birthday: It was a fun round of golf at the Ager Junior Golf Course in Lincoln, with some of the new friends that I had gained in my first year in Lincoln. We ate lunch at Arby’s afterwards, and just like the previous year, there was not a rain cloud in sight! The next day, we went to Seward, and the low dipped to less than ten degrees Celsius!
*Eleventh birthday: My choices here were based off events that had happened in March and May of this year. In March, my sisters did their birthday party at Laser Quest, and I had a blast (pun intended) at that, so I wanted to duplicate that for my birthday party. Indeed, I did, and it was just as good, if not better. In May of that year, Dad took us to Shogun, the Japanese teppanyaki restaurant, and I had trepidation for going originally, as I was incredibly picky back then. I enjoyed it, and it seems that Asian cuisine has become a staple of my birthday dinner ever since! I plan to go to Koi tonight for dinner to continue that tradition.
*Twelfth birthday: This birthday began a family tradition of the birthday treasure hunt, suggested by Levi, since some of my gifts were Pokemon plushies, so as to make it like searching for wild Pokemon in the video game. Later in the day, we went to the tract that contained our rapidly-building house. The day itself, besides that, was fairly uneventful, although the negative of that night was before we got a seat at Shogun, someone in our party was talking about needles, and it brought back thoughts of when I got my finger pricked for a blood test… and suffered the same vagal reaction. Go figure! Thankfully, it had no ill effects other than the lightheadedness.
*Thirteenth birthday: Surprisingly, this one holds no specific memories to me! Probably because I held the bar mitzvah three weeks later to be much more important.
*Fourteenth: Golf with Dad at Holmes Golf Course on a very hot day, followed by lunch at Runza on 70/Van Dorn and Pokemon League at HobbyTown in East Park. This happened to be one of the last days that they had Tuesday Leagues, and the beginning of the end of the “fad” phase of the Pokemon TCG. We ate at Lee’s for dinner, and then two days later, I headed to Kansas for the Duke TIP summer program.
*Fifteenth: I don’t recall anything special on this one.
*Sixteenth: I enjoyed the early day at home, and later in the day, went with Mom to the DMV out in west Lincoln to surrender my school permit in order to get my POP (provisional operator’s permit). Then, two blocks away, the party began at Sun Valley Lanes. We played two games, and the invitees, other than my family, were some of my teachers and school staff members. Then, we ate dinner at Lee’s (oops, there goes the Asian tradition :p) Chicken, and the most salient gift that I got was from Mrs. Divis-Ellenberger and Paul “Pineapple”: a Hawaii button-down that I wore until it wore out!
*Seventeenth and eighteenth: Surprisingly unremarkable, or at least what I can remember, as both of these were prior to journaling.
*Nineteenth: This was the first birthday at which I have a journal about it. Therefore, I cheat and look at it. On this day, I went to Tifereth Israel for the AM minyan, since it was a Monday and I was just starting to re-discover my Judaism. There wasn’t enough for a minyan, but we still did the parts of the service that were allowed. Then, working at Runza for a few hours happened, and then I went to Hillcrest for a golf/water basketball doubleheader. Being a terrible golfer, I shot 71 over 9 holes, but had a great time anyway. Then, I romped to a 132-86 win in basketball, before heading to Papa’s for a magic show and a cross-cultural experience with Japanese exchange students on a summer experience.
*Twentieth: Somewhat of a repeat of the fourteenth, minus League, since it was a Tuesday. The Runza, of course, was now the one on 27/Pine Lake. And Shogun was the dinner, at its new location on Pioneers/Highway 2.
*Twenty-first: I started by biking to Edgewood in order to get to UNL for the REU work, but did only half a day. I took StarTran twice, once to UNL and then to the DMV, where Mom picked me up after I got my horizontal license (i.e. the one without the “UNDER 21” warnings). Returning home on the bus and then driving to the country club, I did only golf (no basketball), and as I wrote in my journal: “Theoretical score: 36. Hypothetical score: 50. Experimental score: 76.” I’m regressing! Dinner was at Tokyo Restaurant, and I passed on alcohol, deciding that I would delay my first drink until after my first hand, to come in Vegas a little over a month later.
*Twenty-second: This day was pretty low-key. I did a lot of journal transfer, and there was no real activity, other than family coming over in the evening as we ate at home with a turkey dinner. We enjoyed the pool, but the weather was somewhat dreary.
*Twenty-third: I was in Kansas City with the family for the beginning of Michael & Megan’s wedding. We picked up Casey at MCI, ate lunch at Chick-fil-A, and then went to the Plaza for some shopping. That night, the dinner was at Famous Dave’s in the Power & Light district, and this was the night that I formally named my “Two Rules of Drinking” as follows:
–> Rule #0: If in doubt, do not drink.
–> Rule #1: If Rule #0 is violated, my maximum in a day is one drink.
I have never violated both Rule #0 and Rule #1.
*Twenty-fourth: As usual, blueberry muffins were the breakfast. This was my first birthday away from family. As it was a Sunday, the main activity was League, and then in the evening, I played bridge online. After all, everyone knows that I love playing card games!
*Twenty-fifth: The rest is yet unwritten. I will shortly head to Northfield to play bridge, and I need to do laundry. As I said on one of the earlier ones, Koi is my dinner plan.
Let the next quarter-century begin!