38

Some interesting facts about the number 38:

  • The number of slots on an American Roulette wheel (0, 00, and 1 through 36; European roulette does not use the 00 slot and has only 37 slots)
  • Bill C-38 legalized same-sex marriage in Canada
  • There are 38 surviving plays written by William Shakespeare.
  • My dad was born in 1938.
  • .38 Special was a popular country-rock group in the 80s and 90s.  Its name is derived from a rimmed, ceterfire cartridge (bullet) designed by Smith & Wesson, most commonly used in revolvers.
  • 38″ is my waist size.  A fact I’m not exactly proud of.
  • 37 and 38 are the first pair of consecutive positive integers not divisible by any of their digits.
  • 38 years ago today was December 12, 1970: the day I was born.

And I don’t feel a day over 18. 🙂

70

70.

Not a very special number when you really think about it.

But it does hold some interesting significance in history.

For instance, in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus told Peter to forgive people “Seventy times seven times.” I know this may not be a big deal, but it may help explain why the number seven has, for centuries, been considered a “lucky number.”

70 MPH is the common maximum speed limit for most American freeways. Except, of course, those in Illinois and Wisconsin. But I digress.

I was born in 1970. For me, this is especially significant.

And today, January 7, 2008, marks the day my father was born.

70 years ago.

It’s hard to believe he would have been 70. SEVENTY. That sounds so much older than it probably really is. But it really is rather old.

It seems like only yesterday that he turned 40. I remember it quite well. We had a big party and made a huge cake, and I can’t be 100% sure (or even 70% sure), but I think it was the first time we used those number-candles on a birthday cake. The number seemed so huge to me — 40. Of course, I’m only three years away from being 40 myself. Which makes me… 37. Again, that pesky 7 shows up.

Maybe Dad was lucky he didn’t live to see his 70th birthday. He was living a miserable life toward the end, so I can’t imagine it would have gotten much better in two more years.

Of course, that doesn’t make me miss him any less. And it doesn’t help my heart, which hurts when I think I can’t call him to wish him a “Happy Birthday” or buy him another bottle of “Smelly Stuff” for his bathroom cabinet.

But I do think he’s in a much better place now. And wherever he is, he’s looking down on us and smiling. He’s smiling because he has two granddaughters on the way. He’s smiling because we’re all healthy and living our lives the best way we know how. And he’s smiling because he’s no longer in pain.

So, Dad, wherever you are– above the clouds, or over the rainbow–

Happy Birthday.

Love, your champ.

It hurts when I…

…cough.

…breathe.

…sneeze.

…cough some more.

…wheeze.

That’s been my life for the better part of this week.  Coughing, sneezing, coughing some more, and wheezing.  I’ve caught whatever this nasty bug is that has been going around Chicago- sort of Bronchitis, but without the fever (thankfully, at least in my case).  People are dropping like flies– not dying of course but sick sick SICK.

I went to the doctor yesterday and got the necessary antibiotics to kick this thing out of my body for good, but it will take a while to get rid of this violent cough.

It SUCKS, and I’ll tell you why.  First of all, I was sick on my birthday and that is never cool.  Though honestly I’ve been sick on my birthday more times than I care to remember– 3 or 4 years ago I was even WORSE than this, flat on my back and off of work for an entire week.  Of course that’s because I had taken a vacation that week.  Lovely way to spend a vacation, isn’t it?  I also dealt with this over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2004.  Holidays and me just do not mix.

It also sucks because I’m supposed to have friends over for a birthday/Christmas party, and I’m feeling a little less festive than usual.   But I am slowly improving, and as the day goes on, and I take more of my meds, I am feeling much more like myself.

Though my voice has taken on a certain “Barry White”-ish quality that is both sexy and disarming at the same time.

“Oh yeah baby… wish me a Happy Birthday.  Ohhh yeah…”

 Ouch… it hurts when I laugh, too.

Christmas Baby

I was a Christmas baby.

“Oh that had to suck!” people tell me all the time. “Did people forget about your birthday?”  “Did you get birthday/Christmas presents a lot?”  “Did your parents combine your birthday and Christmas?”

The answers to these statements and questions is:  No, it wasn’t that bad; No, No, and NO.

I was pretty fortunate.  My birthday was, is, and always will be December 12th.  That’s almost exactly two weeks before Christmas, so there was plenty of time between my birthday and the “big holiday.”  My parents were always good about separating Christmas from my birthday, and family and friends never combined my gifts into one.

As far as I was concerned, my birthday was always a prelude to Christmas.  An appetizer, if you will.  The tree was always already up, and my gifts were placed under it.  The house was decorated in red and green and there was usually snow on the ground outside.  Christmas carols played on the stereo, and everyone was in relatively good cheer.

Other birthdays didn’t have the pizazz that mine did.  They didn’t have the colors, the lights, or the festive atmosphere.

As far as I was concerned, I considered myself LUCKY to be a Christmas baby.

Of course, as the years went on and I got older (and older), birthdays didn’t matter as much.  Family parties were long a thing of the past.  It got too hard to coordinate everyone’s schedules for a party for cake and coffee and the traditional opening of gifts.  So those parties turned into phone calls or emails, and maybe a gift card sent in the mail with a birthday card.

And that’s OK.  Birthdays are something to celebrate, but the festivity around them should be reserved for kids.  After all, you may not remember what anyone gave you for your birthday last year or the year before; but I bet you remember getting your first bicycle, that special dollhouse, or that super-special toy you just HAD to have when you were a kid.

So as I celebrate the end of my 37th year, and the beginning of my 38th, I want to thank everyone that I’ve come into contact with in the last 37 years;  for the friendship, love and support; for the good advice, the kick in the ass when I needed it, and the shoulder to cry on when I had nobody else to turn to; for the wild and crazy times and the quiet, reflective moments; but most of all, for being part of my world.

Because that’s the best gift anyone can possibly give.