Sunday, July 22, 2012

A very merry unbirthday!

A very merry unbirthday to you, and you!

Today is my unbirthday, and Al's too.  It is probably your unbirthday too, but it is a special unbirthday for us.

While it is an unbirthday for us individually, as a couple this is our birthday.  Or rather, our average birthday.  Today, we are (on average) the same age- 55 years old.
A picture taken just after our 52nd average birthday.

I don't imagine that too many couples celebrate their average birthday, and we never did either until this year.   We thought of it last January, which is when our actual dates of birth fall.  The problem with our January birthdays is that we rarely feel like celebrating them anymore.  There are a lot of reasons.

For one thing, both of our dads died in the middle of January.

But I think the main reason is just the time of year.

Starting with Thanksgiving, we celebrate

  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas (with its many social engagements that run from December 5 through December 25)
  • New Year's Eve
  • New Years's Day
  • Our wedding anniversary
  • My birthday
  • Al's birthday

and that only brings us to January 26th (or 25th depending on whether you celebrate the day he was actually born or the day that is on his birth certificate, a paradox to be explained in a future post).   Right on the tails of all of that celebration is Valentine's Day.  If you go back just a couple weeks in the opposite direction, you run into Ellen's birthday and Halloween.  And I didn't even mention the anniversary of our first date!

Beginning with Halloween and running until Valentines Day, we have so many celebrations that our birthdays sometimes seem like just one more thing we have to do.  This year,  we really weren't in the mood.

Fortunately for us, the kids were in the mood and invited us to Ann Arbor for dinner.  They cooked a delicious meal and even made us a birthday cake.  It was wonderful, exactly what we needed.

But still, we had the idea that we should spread out the parties a little bit and celebrate our birthdays in summer. We thought about recognizing our half-birthdays, but we decided to celebrate the day that we are "on average" the same age.  This date falls halfway  between the day Al was born and the day I was born nearly a year later.   Last spring sometime, Al did the calculation and determined that date to be July 22.   It is our "average" birthday.  Awkward name, but better than "mean" birthday which just sounds ... well, mean.

To be honest, we kind of forgot about it.

Lucky for us, serendipity made her appearance again.  Today we celebrated our average birthday, complete with presents and cake, and didn't even realize it until I sat down to write this blog!

My average birthday gift was a new coffee maker.  I take my coffee pretty seriously so this is very cool.  I got it today because this morning, the old one went on the fritz, built up some pressure somewhere, and spewed coffee and grounds all over the kitchen. Twice.  I spent a good 45 minutes cleaning up the mess BEFORE I had my first cup of coffee. And it was not just today, this has been an intermittent problem for months.  My patience  ran out and I might have been just a little grouchy. So, I  did some internet research and found a new one that promises to be practically perfect in every way.  Happy birthday to me!

Recently, Al has become much more involved with music.  He is a drummer in two very active bands and loving every minute of it. Both bands are working on a lot of new music and have several gigs coming up. He needed some new equipment and recently bought himself some new gear.  Happy birthday to him!

And by sheer coincidence, I decided to try a new cake recipe today, made from the delicious fresh cherries now available in Michigan. So, not only did we accidentally receive "average" birthday presents, but we had an "average" birthday cake.  Yum!

Here is the recipe in case anyone wants to try it while the cherries are fresh and wonderful!  You could have it for your unbirthday!

Too bad we forgot the candles!
Cherry Walnut Cake
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups pitted cherries, sliced in half (I used a mix of Ranier and Bing cherries)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease a 9" springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Combine the eggs, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk until light.  Stir in chopped nuts.   Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and fold into the egg mixture.

Gently fold in the cherries and spread in pan. Sprinkle the top with sugar (raw sugar is nice) and bake for about 45 minutes until the top is golden and a toothpick comes out clean.  (The original recipe gave a longer cooking time, but 45 minutes worked for me.)

Today I am grateful for life's little surprises!

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