jenett: the milky way emerging from silhouetted hills (Default)
jenett ([personal profile] jenett) wrote2013-09-18 09:14 am

Salon Post: That time of the year

Welcome to this week's salon post! As always, invite your friends along, feel free to chat about anything that you feel like, and so on.

Today's starting topic: Sunday is my birthday, and I'm curious what matters to y'all in celebrations of that kind.

My own habit is to do something involving good food (I plan to roast a chicken this weekend), good music (I am going to a concert tonight, eee!) and I am currently suffering under the "I want a clean apartment for my birthday!" colliding hard with the physical realities of the world, and the fact that, y'know, work takes a chunk of time out of my day. (I managed very little cleaning over last weekend, and cleaning after work is - yeah. Stupid bodies are stupid.)

And I generally apply the same thing I do on New Year's Day, which is to do a bunch of things I hope will be in my coming year, in at least symbolic amounts. Which means there should be some music in there and some knitting and some writing and some reading, and a decadent bath.

Current listening: Avalon Rising's version of "Hexamshire Lass" (I woke up with the tune stuck in my head, and that version is the closest version to the one I have stuck in my head, which I do not seem to have handy at work. Either that, or my brain's making up arrangements of things again, which is not actually that uncommon.)
lizw: photo of Blake with text: "reality is a dangerous concept" (Default)

[personal profile] lizw 2013-09-18 01:33 pm (UTC)(link)
Birthdays are a pretty low-key thing for me. I see them as the anniversary of me becoming a member of my birth family, and therefore the only thing that really matters to me is that my mother acknowledges it in some way, which she always does. I don't particularly expect or want other people to get involved, and tend to feel quite alienated by other people's large birthday bashes. I was also profoundly relieved when my kids reached an age where they could organise their own festivities, because I used to find that aspect of parenting incredibly stressful.
theora: (Default)

[personal profile] theora 2013-09-19 01:33 am (UTC)(link)
If you don't mind answering, did your feelings about kids' birthdays change at all with the age of the kids? So far I've, well, not quite enjoyed, but at least coped with arranging parties for my daughter (now 4). But she's a summer birthday, and she hasn't yet expressed many strong desires about her birthday other than which friends come and what kind of cake. So her birthdays have consisted of putting up outdoor play stuff in our yard, inviting a few of her friends, and setting out food and cake. This I can cope with, but I'm sure she'll start asking for more elaborate stuff in the future.

lizw: photo of me looking windswept (Ben Nevis)

[personal profile] lizw 2013-09-19 09:51 am (UTC)(link)
For me, the early years were the hardest. I'm not good with small children who aren't my own, especially en masse. Having the parties at our house got so stressful that by the time my second son was six, we basically said we wouldn't do that any more and started holding them at commercial venues or museums etc, so at least the entertainment and some of the organisation would be done for us. That still left the stress of getting everyone to the venue and back, though, with all the attendant fretting about whether people would show up in time for us to get there. It didn't really get better for me until the kids and their friends were in their early teens and therefore (a) less dependent on their parents to get them to us on time and (b)less in need of herding and troubleshooting once they got to us.
mrissa: (Default)

[personal profile] mrissa 2013-09-18 01:45 pm (UTC)(link)
My first birthday habit as a grown-up is to make myself something good and unusual for breakfast. I nearly always have a good breakfast--I love breakfast--so it needs to be something I don't have every day, as a special marker of birthday breakfastness. That's one of the things I can do for myself to make sure I have a happy birthday.

Hypothetically we don't have to celebrate on exactly the day of my birth. But in reality, having my folks in town, we like to, and I say "we" for a reason: yes, it's my birthday, but it's also a big milestone in my mom's life (and my dad's, but he did less of the work), and so I don't mind at all celebrating it as a family. So we usually get together for dinner and presents in the evening--but I also make enough of whatever special thing it is for breakfast and get it over to Mom (and Dad) and Grandma a few days early to stick in their fridge or freezer to stay good for the actual day, because as much as I like the day that honors me showing up, I also like to do a little to honor the people who got me here.
mrissa: (Default)

[personal profile] mrissa 2013-09-18 01:54 pm (UTC)(link)
I should note that we have a family tradition of five days of celebration (minimum), which is not hard given the different extensions of friends and family I have. So while the above stuff is the actual-day birthday stuff, I often have other dinners and parties and excuses to get together with people around, though not on, the date.
(deleted comment)

(Anonymous) 2013-09-18 02:19 pm (UTC)(link)
I am not big on birthdays, and I dislike people where I work even knowing when my birthday is. That said, I find it to be sad birthday without a "birthday dinner" out someplace, although it doesn't have to be on the actual date of my birth. A week or two window to celebrate it is just fine by me. It needs to be somewhere I might not normally go -- a special occasion type place -- and I want a drink and dessert.

This year, I also made myself a cake, which was nice. And since I have nieces and nephews who like birthdays, I let them get all excited and sing for me. Because that's more about them than it is about me.
kakiphony: Chihuly exhibit at the KIA (Default)

Me!

[personal profile] kakiphony 2013-09-18 03:52 pm (UTC)(link)
Sorry. That was totally me. I have no idea how I became un-signed in....

Re: Me!

(Anonymous) 2013-09-18 03:59 pm (UTC)(link)
I will also add that I make a much bigger deal of my husband's birthday. He also gets the dinner out, plus I make a special cake and try to have a special surprise present. Last year, that was his concert ukulele. This year, I am stumped though.
kakiphony: Chihuly exhibit at the KIA (Default)

Re: Me!

[personal profile] kakiphony 2013-09-18 03:59 pm (UTC)(link)
Again, That's me. I have no what is happening here...
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)

Re: Me!

[personal profile] synecdochic 2013-09-18 04:04 pm (UTC)(link)
some browser extensions (most notably LJ Login, LJ Juggler, and some password-saving extensions) can muck about with your cookies to the point where you wind up getting logged out a lot!
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)

Re: Me!

[personal profile] synecdochic 2013-09-18 05:27 pm (UTC)(link)

yeah, LJ Juggler is notorious. i think it doesn't always swap out all the cookies it's supposed to, which makes the site freak out and log you out because it thinks somebody's trying to spoof your login cookie.

the one I use is called CookieSwap, and it's very lightweight and easy to use. i have one profile that's for standard browsing, then make a separate cookieswap profile for each DW account i want to stay logged in as. from there it's just "go to icon in add-ons bar, pick profile, do thing as other account, go to icon, switch back to main account". and because it's creating entirely fresh sets of cookies instead of just manipulating one or two of them, it hasn't given me any shit at all.

ckd: small blue foam shark (Default)

Re: Me!

[personal profile] ckd 2013-09-19 12:05 am (UTC)(link)
For most situations where I might want to log into one (or more) sites as a different user, Chrome's multiple user profiles have been the best solution. They're built in to the browser rather than being an extension, and they swap not only cookies but also bookmarks, etc...
mm_writes: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

Re: Me!

[personal profile] mm_writes 2013-09-19 04:24 am (UTC)(link)
CookieSwap sounds brilliant. When I must log into two DW accounts at once I usually divide them up between Firefox and IE. This sounds much easier. And *checks Google* it is a Firefox extension!

*gets*

Thanks for the heads-up on this, omg.
amianym: A small boy, with the head of a squid behind him. (Default)

[personal profile] amianym 2013-09-18 03:50 pm (UTC)(link)
I really value getting a proper birthday party, but I feel incredibly awkward about undertaking any of the necessary steps to make it happen. I feel like saying anything about when my birthday is and suggesting that I would appreciate some degree of birthday celebration - much less organizing my own party - is dreadfully presumptuous of me. I don't have much in the way of local friends that I'm close enough to that I feel like I can expect birthday-recognition. Then, because nobody has any idea that I would have liked a celebration, it doesn't happen, and the day ends up rather sad for me. Plus, of course, there's the feeling that if I did tell anyone that I wanted a party, it would be forced and fake. Do people who get birthday parties just, um, have a pile of friends who offer celebrations without prompting?
calissa: (Default)

[personal profile] calissa 2013-09-19 04:27 am (UTC)(link)
I don't really do birthday parties so much as birthday dinners. I tend also tend to frame it by placing less emphasis on the birthday aspect and more wanting to catch up with people. It seems to work fairly well and sometimes friends from different circles really hit it off.

I will also end up doing a series of dinners--this one with this friend circle, another one with this friend circle, and so on. People seem to appreciate the chance to catch up, especially if life has taken over and we haven't seen each other in a while.
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)

[personal profile] rmc28 2013-09-19 06:52 pm (UTC)(link)
I used to enjoy organising parties for my birthday, and have done since I turned about thirteen or so. Sometimes big parties, sometimes small groups; always something involving food and drink and conversation.

But last year I was heavily pregnant and my birthday was near my due date, so I didn't want to organise anything that might have to be cancelled at short notice, and this year I was too busy/tired/stressed to face the necessary clearing up to invite people for a party, or even put together an invitation list for drinks or a meal out.

I'd like to do *something* for my birthday next year and perhaps I'll book it well in advance.

Next year my spouse turns 40 and we went to a family party with a format we liked very much, in a community hall with playing fields and a playground nearby, so we're hoping to book our local hall to do something similar. There's a long enough run-up that I don't feel overwhelmed by planning it, and it should be fun.

synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)

[personal profile] synecdochic 2013-09-18 04:04 pm (UTC)(link)
I've never really understood people making a fuss about birthdays.

this is probably a relic of the fact that mine falls so close to Christmas (5 Jan); I developed a pretty big dislike for celebrating, since for years it felt like a tacked-on afterthought after Christmas and New Year's, and it sort of coalesced into one big seething mass of familial resentment in my tweens/early teen years when, after so many years of my b'day being an afterthought, my six-years-younger sister's was then made much more of a fuss over, since hers didn't fall anywhere near any other holiday (23 apr). (i love my sister, and even like her to boot -- ie, it's not the "i love my sister but" that people sometimes mean when they say something like that -- but the fact i love her is pretty miraculous considering the many, many, many ways in which our familial dynamics, especially when i was growing up, conspired pretty hard to set us against each other. or, more precisely, conspired to set the rest of the family in contrast to me, but she was the most obvious.)

so these days I mostly just ignore it when it comes around. Sarah and I will usually go out to dinner somewhere we've been meaning to try, someplace nicer than our usual place to eat (you've visited us, so you know how rarely we cook these days) but it's rarely on the actual day itself, more usually on the weekend before or after.

and this year, if I get a talk accepted at this conference I proposed to, I'll be flying over the Pacific on my birthday. (or possibly over the middle east, depending on which direction I choose to travel in.) (which reminds me I have to gently nudge about talk proposals and see if they have any idea when the rest of the accept/reject decisions are sent out; they sent the first batch a week ago, announced the speaker lineup, and then mailed the rest of us with proposals still in, being all "oops, that doesn't mean you were all rejected, that was just the first batch!" not very classy, guys.) sarah wouldn't be coming this year if I go, so not only will I lose much of the day on a plane going over the Date Line, I'll be doing so by myself.

so i guess it's a good thing I don't care much about birthdays! but i still hope yours is a good one. :)
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)

[personal profile] synecdochic 2013-09-18 05:27 pm (UTC)(link)

huh. that's a good idea to tie it with specific time-of-year frameworks! i am kind of charmed by the idea of modern ritual like that.

synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)

[personal profile] synecdochic 2013-09-18 05:37 pm (UTC)(link)

one of them should be "review your financial setup, check on your investments, etc, etc". maybe to coincide with open benefits enrollment at work and fold that in, too. and one should totally be "make a list of your big and little goals for the year".

kate: Kate Winslet is wryly amused (Default)

[personal profile] kate 2013-09-18 10:28 pm (UTC)(link)
This is a brilliant idea - I've been looking for ways to recognize and do something for holidays for a while, but haven't come across something that appealed to me until this. Totally copying you guys, this is just a great idea!
lizw: photo of Blake with text: "reality is a dangerous concept" (Default)

[personal profile] lizw 2013-09-19 10:04 am (UTC)(link)
Wow, it's not just me who does this kind of stuff as a seasonal ritual thing! I do the "in the event of my death" stuff between Samhain and Yule, the financial stuff between Yule and Imbolc, and the goal-setting between the Summer Solstice and Lughnasadh (partly because this way it coincides with our development cycle at work, but partly because the energy boost I get from Solstice makes it easier for me to contemplate goals that might be challenging). In fact, it's probably now the longest-standing element of my ritual practice, since IIRC I started it while I was Asatru and continued it through several years of Christopaganism and now as a Druid.

I should think about whether I want to expand this into the other seasons. I'll be interested to hear how it works out for you, [personal profile] jenett!
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[personal profile] kaberett 2013-09-18 05:12 pm (UTC)(link)
Mostly, at the moment, they come with a little spark of wonder that I'm alive.

Things that are... close enough to a must to be worth mentioning are: honeysuckle. It has always flowered by my birthday; sometimes it comes into blossom the very evening before, but - honeysuckle. On my birthday. It is a thing.

I can't really think of anything other than that.
pretty_panther: (tennis: andy despair)

[personal profile] pretty_panther 2013-09-18 07:51 pm (UTC)(link)
Mostly, at the moment, they come with a little spark of wonder that I'm alive.


I can relate to this. Or, I have wonder that I've made progress and am actually getting out of this hole I'm in given how improbable that seems at times in my own mind.
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[personal profile] silveradept 2013-09-18 05:53 pm (UTC)(link)
My birthday falls on the sole U.S. Federal holiday in the summer. Which meant that I was lumped in with all the other summer birthdays (since U.S. schools run to about June before summer break), so no individual attention there. Outside of school, everyone is taking that day for themselves and going to see the pyrotechnics, and I rarely get any sort of party plan that will work on either weekend before or after, because of vacation plans. So I don't really get excited about birthdays, even the ones where my parents flew out to see me. This makes my Significant Other a bit perturbed, but I just don't really try that hard, because I know everyone else has made plans long in advance.
ckd: small blue foam shark (Default)

[personal profile] ckd 2013-09-19 12:13 am (UTC)(link)
Mine's not on the day, but not far from it, so I was also always in the "generic summer birthday" bucket. Historically, as a kid, it wound up being celebrated while visiting my grandparents; as an adult, I celebrate it off and on (but more usually off), sometimes with just a nice dinner with friends. (Since it tends to happen during or near Readercon, that conveniently allows it to be "dinner with friends who don't live close" sometimes, for which yay.)

A few years ago I did an extended party over three weekends (Fourth Street Fantasy, holiday weekend with family, Readercon) culminating with my actual birthday on the Saturday of Readercon. The motivation there was a combination of a Big Deal Age Number and having just gone through a whole lot of life changes, combined with having done nothing at all to celebrate the previous year.
silveradept: A green cartoon dragon in the style of the Kenya animation, in a dancing pose. (Dragon)

[personal profile] silveradept 2013-09-19 03:18 am (UTC)(link)
That must have been a very fun time.
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[personal profile] eeyorerin 2013-09-19 01:19 am (UTC)(link)
My sister in law's birthday is also on that day. She now lives in the US, but she is Canadian, so the day doesn't even have any significance to her as a national-to-her holiday!
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)

[personal profile] silveradept 2013-09-19 03:20 am (UTC)(link)
Yay, Canada Day! Which is conveniently only a few days before, so most people won't notice. I wonder how confused she was when she came to the States and now had all that fuss to contend with.
eeyorerin: drawing of me made using weemee generator (Default)

[personal profile] eeyorerin 2013-09-19 04:39 pm (UTC)(link)
She said it was rather nice to usually have the day off on her birthday as a given, but now she's working in nursing, where one has to negotiate holidays in advance, so she doesn't even get that perk anymore.

She does enjoy having two Thanksgivings, though. :)
silveradept: A cartoon-stylized picture of Gamera, the giant turtle, in a fighting pose, with Japanese characters. (Gamera!)

[personal profile] silveradept 2013-09-19 08:27 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, not so nice on the vacation requirements.

But very nice on two Thanksgivings.
theora: (grand union)

[personal profile] theora 2013-09-19 01:21 am (UTC)(link)
My brothers were born on that holiday as well. People always used to tell them, "Oh, you're so lucky, you get fireworks for your birthday!" I suspect they got pretty sick of that.
silveradept: The emblem of the Heartless, a heart with an X of thorns and a fleur-de-lis at the bottom instead of the normal point. (Heartless)

[personal profile] silveradept 2013-09-19 03:21 am (UTC)(link)
If you'll take my experience as a stand in for theirs, they did. A lot.
pretty_panther: (hp: quiddich)

[personal profile] pretty_panther 2013-09-18 07:50 pm (UTC)(link)
This is interesting for me cause I guess I'm in a kind of transitional period. I'm 22 so for a long time my birthdays were this huge deal and then I started caring less and others still wanted to make a big deal and now...we're getting all more relaxed about it as I like.

I like having some time to myself on my birthday. Cards and gifts mean a lot to me when I receive them so I like to sit and read them, arrange my cards nicely, give each gift time and so on. I like to read a little, listen to some music and so far I've been lucky in that my birthday tends to result in new books and music to read and listen to. It is about doing what I like to do. I also reflect on my year a lot. Having an early September birthday and still being in education means the school year tends to matter to me more than the calender year because my progress happens in a school year with courses and such. And then I like to have a drink and one of my favourite meals which I haven't cooked. I actually prefer my mum cooking me dinner than going out and I certainly don't like partying.

I mean, this year the big 'deal' with my friends was a week later and involved us ordering pizza, drinking wine and watching Predator, Aliens and episodes of Charmed. It was utterly fantastic.
alexseanchai: 11-round crochet granny square, red center through grape edge (Default)

[personal profile] alexseanchai 2013-09-18 09:23 pm (UTC)(link)
Take the day off work!

--That may not be happening again. My birthday's mid-January. The end of December is CRUNCH TIME. Priority seven, often priority six, and sometimes priority five (and if we're really having a shitty week, priority four) work tends to slide, to be dealt with in January (or if we really had a shitty month, February). Overtime is therefore mucho available in January, and I need the damn money.

I like your New Year's and birthday traditions, though. I may borrow them.
kate: Kate Winslet is wryly amused (Default)

[personal profile] kate 2013-09-18 10:37 pm (UTC)(link)
I've had a tough time with my birthday for years (and many people I know have too). I'm an organizer - I really love to organize things for other peoples' birthdays and have done so on many occasions. When I move away from home though, all birthdays go out the window and I don't send cards or gifts or do much of anything (though I call my mother and send e-cards to my immediate family).

For me, my birthday is mostly notable for being the day after my best friend's; we celebrated together a lot, and now that I'm back in the area, I may suggest it for our next birthday. I love getting all our friends and family together and just having a great time with lots of food. I miss when my birthdays were so simple.

I'm adopted, so there has always been a strange hollow area around my birthday that I didn't really understand until I was an adult (coincidentally, my best friend was adopted too; I think that's why we enjoyed our parties - chosen family, choosing to do things together). Now that I'm an adult I let my birthday slip by mostly unnoticed (and man, I cannot tell you how much I hate things like work birthday parties) and celebrate my "birthday" on my adoption anniversary instead. That day is always a happy day for me, so I prefer it. Plus it's close to my wife's so we can just celebrate together, which seems to be a preferred way of doing things for me.

One of the few things I got from my ex-girlfriend worth keeping, though, is our tradition of having birthday cake for breakfast, and the notion that it is your birthday until the cake is all gone. So the little things, where usually you have to compromise (where are we going to eat? what are we going to watch? who's going to clean the litterbox?) go to the birthday person (except the litterbox).
calissa: (Default)

[personal profile] calissa 2013-09-19 01:57 am (UTC)(link)
Ha! How appropriate you should post this. I'm currently in the middle of "birthday season". I have six family members and four friends who celebrate birthdays this month and mine kicks off October.

Usually, I celebrate by taking a day off work. Now that I'm self-employed this is pretty easy. I let myself sleep in. My sweetheart usually takes the day off to spend with me, too. We often go out to the national park for a picnic or see the local flower festival (it being spring here). This year he has an absolutely unavoidable work commitment, so my retired mother agreed to take me out to my favourite tea shop for lunch. Generally, I spend the day just doing things that I enjoy--spending time with those I love, doing lots of reading, just taking it easy. I also usually have a dinner at some point with my family and another (or several) with my friends.
cheyinka: A white egg speckled with black spots. Text: "I was hatched! From an egg!" (hatched!)

[personal profile] cheyinka 2013-09-19 02:57 am (UTC)(link)
My birthday is exactly equidistant from Christmas, so as a kid I loved having two gift-getting occasions exactly six months apart. For me what I consider necessary to my birthday is that my family acknowledges it - I don't really need presents, I can live without my mom's brownies (better than most cake in my opinion and more readily shipped across the country to me), I can skip going out to a restaurant, but I want to get calls (from people not here) and cards (even from people I live with) and have people say "happy birthday!"

If I'm going to go out for dinner (or breakfast, which I did this year because my son's usually pretty good at restaurants... as long as it's before about 1pm), though, it has to be on my birthday, or it's just a celebratory meal, not a birthday meal. (I'm the same way about celebrating Christmas and Easter, and as much as I'd like to celebrate the feastday of the saint for whom I was named, I never remember to plan something for that day and so I don't do it. Because it has to be that day.)
mm_writes: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

[personal profile] mm_writes 2013-09-19 04:43 am (UTC)(link)
I didn't grow up having birthday parties with friends over and all that so I can't say if I would want that now had I had it to begin with. Maybe that sort of conditioning would've found me enjoying such things to this day or maybe I would never have liked those things much to begin with at all.

But I did enjoy what I had, usually small just-family parties at home. To this day (well, with the exception of this year, after last year officially made me an orphan with no living relatives except a very far-off half-sister) I still favor quiet family celebrations. Except I'll have to make my own family now.

So this year's celebration was simply with one friend. But it was a lot of fun.

For me it's less the birthday itself that's appealing because truthfully it's not. Around the age of 11 I stopped liking birthdays and adding another digit to my age - but I like the month I was born in (February) very much - the way it feels and the way it makes me feel (very energetic and happy, especially if I'm in NY and it's blizzarding, since I was born in a blizzard). February makes me feel new every year; it's the month where I'll usually sort of regroup all my scattered energies, focus on what I want out of the future a little bit more, and get more of the things I want done.

I can't explain it, but what February feels like and does for me is the closest thing I have to any seasonal ritual (although September is similarly another great month most of the time, I guess because it follows summer, so I start getting more organized mentally, cleaning things up at home, online, and in other areas pf my life).
Edited 2013-09-19 04:43 (UTC)
sanacrow: (Default)

[personal profile] sanacrow 2013-09-19 05:29 am (UTC)(link)
I have a very... complicated... relationship with birthdays largely due to complicated family History. I'm usually a bit grumpy and spend a lot of my birthday kind of off to myself because of foo. Sometimes I think I'd like to do some of the same stuff that I see other people enjoying, but I don't think it would end well. Mostly I just want a bit of recognition from my sweetie, a bit of a treat (this year it's a new "splurge" book I've been looking forward to), and some hermit time.

My birthday is next Wednesday, and our youngest's is the Wednesday after. We both have a liking for a particular restaurant that we don't visit often, and the last few years we've made a thing out of going on the weekend between our birthdays. It's nice and low-key, and it's easier for me to deal with since it's not on the actual day.
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[personal profile] kyrielle 2013-09-20 03:29 pm (UTC)(link)
Growing up, birthdays were for family parties. I got to pick the dinner - where we ate - and the cake. (Which is, in fact, exactly how Mom's and Dad's birthdays were celebrated.) I didn't grow up with parties-with-friends-over.

We made a big deal of always celebrating a birthday properly in our family, and I think it may be good that we celebrated AS a family since it prevented me from getting as much of the "too close to Christmas" syndrome. My birthday is mid-January, and judging from relatives' habits in sending gifts, it falls close enough for some people to let it get absorbed into the holiday. But I had a really good example of not permitting that: Dad's birthday was at the end of November and quite capable of falling on American Thanksgiving. The most important part of his celebration was a particular birthday dinner he loved, and by golly if it fell on Thanksgiving, we ate his birthday dinner and had a turkey that weekend if at all. (Beef pasty, angel food cake, and "grease" - which I think was Bavarian cream, but I'm not completely sure.)

Now, I try to get the day off work if I can. I really DO NOT want to be on call after-hours for that day, because that's so not me-focused and I do want that. We will sometimes try to go out, but I don't care as much, and there's no cake. Little gifts, lots of hugs, and some time doing whatever I want.

For the boys, I am making the same conscious delineation that I grew up with, as much as I can. Obviously, I can't make the outside world do it. (It's a consideration. Drew's birthday is a week before mine, so closer to Christmas, and Ian was born in early December. On the plus side, both are on days outside the traditional 'winter break' timeframe for school, and they're both equally holiday-affected?)

They do - well, Drew has and Ian will, so long as they want it - have parties with friends over. We're in town and we have enough space. I get the food pre-made from the grocery to simplify it, and otherwise it's just hanging out and playing. As they get older, they may want something fancier, and I'll take that on a case by case basis. These are usually not super large parties, and so far it's worked well, especially as a decent percentage of those invited usually cannot make it. ;)