29 July 2009

Birthday Weekend

First and foremost, thank you, yes you. I had an amazing birthday weekend, and it was because of the friends that I am fortunate enough to have in my life. So, if you came to an event, wrote on my wall, danced with me, e-mailed or called, or just wished me well, thank you. You all are the reason my life is so wonderful.

Second of all, I over did it. I am old now, I need to plan in a little time for a nap.

I have no reason to believe anyone actually reads what I write here, it is after all my blog, it is about me. It is self-indulgent. I know plenty of people with self-esteem issues, I’m one of them … only instead of low self-esteem, I battle high self-esteem, self importance, and general me centric thinking. It is a constant struggle, with my own ego, to keep me from making everything about me. So after a weekend of birthday partying, I walked into work on Monday morning and read about this unexpected quote: when Arizona Cardinals linebacker Michael Young was asked at the baseball all star game what he would say if he met President Obama there, he answered that he would ask him “How can I help?”

My thoughts on perspective and alcohol are about the same, I’m always ready for a shot. It immediately made me (re)consider President Kennedy’s quote “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” The feeling isn’t so much about country as it is about my readiness to serve. I have been praying lately to have something to do of God’s making. Some of you may remember the last time I decided that I needed some work to do. If the question I ask is “how can I help?” I pray that my answer will be “Here I am (Lord)” when I am called.

Now, on to the weekend, it started on Wednesday evening after work with a trip to Blue Sushi downtown. Sarah, Maeg, and I met up downtown and headed upstairs. Ben (yes, but which one?) met up with us, and then we enjoyed a seemingly endless number of plates of sushi, a surprise visit from Becca, a strange malady which caused normally intelligent people to not be able to count (the number of martini’s I drank), and the oddest surprise of all, Ted & Wally’s had three good flavors.

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I tried some new sushi, it is on the left of the picture, I think it was called spicy tuna, and although it was good, it wasn’t spicy.

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Never mind the highly attractive people at the foreground table, check out the guy in the background, he wins!

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Check it out, “French Vanilla Malted”, “Amaretto”, and “Cherry Pie”. Who knew?

I have a couple more pictures here, as does Maeg here. Becca made friends with some of Omaha’s finest right before the party broke up, I’m not saying that these were related events, I’m just saying.

I woke up on my birthday and was greeting with a present from Danny, who “made” me some banana bread. Danny was quite happy to give me a present, until it turned out it was “his” bread and he wanted to open it … two year olds! I then headed off to that scourge of all birthdays, work (boo!), but my coworkers made it all worthwhile with cake, food, and unfettered adulation:

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After work was the big birthday event, dinner at Harrah’s casino and then gambling with the traditional loss of the money my mother sent me for my birthday. All the hard work I have been doing with portion control was out the window at a buffet. It started out at Stir (the bar), with a “manly” martini, and then we migrated to the buffet to eat our fill. There were a small number presents that were bestowed upon me, including a cow pie Frisbee, lots of chopsticks, an onion storage thing, some Bailey’s and a bottle of Cruzan black cherry rum, and the latest Prairie Cats CD, Fires Below.

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It’s a cowpie Frisbee, seriously, I can’t even make that up.

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Somebody was pretty excited about chopsticks.

More of my dinner pictures are here, with thanks to whomever was running my camera. Maeg has some too here. We then headed back over to the bar and eventually down to the boat where I failed in my annual quest to lose my mom’s birthday money … I ended up walking out with more cash than I walked in with, weird.

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Finally, a zero calorie martini, and we owe it all to Sarah.

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Thanks for a great birthday!

I took Friday off of work and decided (in advance) to treat myself to a round of golf, and now I get to treat you to reading about it. I used to golf several times a week, and I was very good. I chose to go to Tara Hills in Papillion because, I’ve golfed the course before, and I knew it would represent less of a challenge than most. This is only the second time I’ve golfed in the past five years and just the first time I’ve even picked up a club since the roller skating incident. Sarah came with me to walk/ride, and as the people who run golf courses like foursomes, we got two new friends to golf with, Al and Lloyd. Al was good, Lloyd much less so.

The first hole started off with a par, but the rest of the front nine was icky at +10 total. The problem was with touch shots, putting, and aiming difficulties. I got things together when I started on the back nine, and hit some really nice shots, including a very nice birdie on #17. I ended up 45-39 for an 84 (par 70). My (perhaps overly ambitious) plan going in was to shoot an 82, +12. Oddly enough, a tougher course might have been a better choice in that I would have played more target golf. I was just +2 on the last six holes, so I could have done much better.

Golf is odd because I get better with age. It’s not just about practice, it’s the ability to use my brain over my brawn that makes my scores improve. I just play smarter (not 100% of the time, but hey). One thing for sure, I still have the golfing bug, I would play every day if I could afford it.

After golfing, Sarah and I headed over to the zoo for a pleasant little afternoon walk.

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Okay, just a few seconds longer and I’ll take the perfect picture.

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Sarah makes a fine feathered friend.

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Who took my charge card?

More pictures here, but the highlight of the trip was the Skyfari trip. I video taped the entire trip, coming in at a “short” 9:31. It’s full of inane jokes, me talking too much, and unsteady camera work. If you would like to waste ten minutes of your life you can never get back, you can see it here

We actually had a short break before the next stop on the tour, dinner at Jazz. It turned out to be just Sarah and I, until Lisa showed up a little later. Lisa brought me a framed photo from our “lemonade” day last fall. The dinner at Jazz was pretty much exactly what was wrong with the whole weekend, too much food. One good thing, or at least entertaining thing, Lisa was the object of the waiter’s affection.

We left and headed over to JNO, now featuring more people in the birthday jam than in the surrounding circle. Sarah and I were exhausted, but somehow had enough energy to make it through the birthday jam and shim sham.

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Look who else had a birthday!

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I was insanely popular.

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I co-led the shim sham, for hopefully the last time.

Robin took the pictures with my camera, thank you, more here. Cliff also took some pictures that can be found here on his SmugMug account. Sarah and I left shortly after the jam and we each headed home for some well deserved rest.

For Saturday I had planned a busy day, but it didn’t exactly go as I had thought it would. The morning meet up was supposed to be at Standing Bear for a walk, but for various reasons, no one showed except me. I took it as a test of my positivity, a lemonade moment. Obviously, a one way walk was out with only one car, but I had my camera, so I walked along the trail and took some shots.

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Not the typical size for one of my pictures, but it fits the subject.

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Probably my favorite shot from the weekend.

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More from the weird seed pod department.

I eventually packed it back in, and headed down to Q’Doba in Papillion for lunch. Surprise! Jessica was there when I got there with some fresh peaches from her yard. Mmmm! She was there for just a few minutes due to having to go meet a client. Sarah showed up and then Frank. We ate outside, which was nice in the shade, a little warm after the sun came out.

After lunch we headed down to minigolf. I picked a place owned by the city of Papillion, Papio Greens, didn’t scout it out, and was sorely disappointed. It wasn’t a minigolf course, it was a dump, quite disappointing. However, we made the best of it. Frank and Joe made it really enjoyable with their sense humor. Sarah won, Joe used a club evidentially made for a three year old, and Frank met his arch nemesis, the windmill.

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Frank bows in defeat to the windmill.

Later Saturday night Maeg and I met at Troy and Merinda’s house and played a game of Dread Pirate which was won by me. Then Frank and Joe showed up, and we played a game of Shadows Over Camelot, which was won by the good guys, but not without some consternation. We also managed to squeeze in a little Rock Band.

Sunday was one of the prettiest days I have seen in a long, long time. Sarah and I met and went to church. Frank and Joe went too. The feeding of the multitudes was [insert link] the Gospel. The message I heard loud and clear was that Jesus prayed before and after He fed them … if Jesus could find time to pray, I probably need to also. Sarah pointed out to me that after the multitudes were fed, there were twelve baskets left over, one for each of the apostles, the message being that God will provide for you when you are doing His work. Take either of those thoughts away, they both work.

After church Sarah and I drove out to Wehrspan Lake and staked out a claim on the prettiest picnic spot in the upper Midwest, if not the world. Jenny showed up a little later, and then Maeg, who walked about three miles to get there. The temperature was perfect, the sky was perfect, the scenery was perfect, and I won the round robin game of ladder golf … perfect.

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If you were not here, you were some place not as beautiful.

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The only bug we saw all afternoon.

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Sarah was the only one to get the bonus point for this trick.

I got more pictures of the picnic here, and so does Maeg here … and that was it, thank you again.
Thanks to Maeg for picture use.


Kaleb said...

Very happy to be a part of your bday celebration, Eric. Seems like one memorable of a weekend - happy for you! :-)

Anonymous said...

Hey happy birthday late. I just came across your blog after not having been here for awhile. Hope you are doing great. Adriane