Thursday, March 21, 2013

Geburtstag 2013

Yesterday was my 44th birthday, so Andy and I took the day off to celebrate.

We started out with the traditional beer lunch at the Winchester, one of our favorite places to eat (and drink beer) in Grand Rapids.  We prefer going for lunch, rather than dinner, because it gets very busy and loud in the evenings.  We're too old now to enjoy squinting at a menu in the dark and yelling conversation at each other, so we go there for lunch instead.  If you go, make sure you have the green chili.  This is something I haven't eaten since visiting New Mexico (way back when I lived in Colorado), and it is so good!

Mr. Handsome.

The woman who was our waitress at dinner said my hair reminded me of her grandma.  Another person might take offense at that, but not me!  I'm all about the grannies.

Last year we started the day at the Winchester, too, and then we went to the zoo and watched the capybaras swimming in their pool.  Last year it was 85 degrees on my birthday.  This year it was 20 degrees and snowing.  Ah, March in the midwest--how it laughs at us!  (I truly do prefer the winter weather to the summer weather in March; it makes more sense in Michigan.  Last year's early heat wave helped kill off all the local fruit crops.  It was a disaster.)

Topgraphical map of Michigan.
This year we headed to the Grand Rapids Public Museum to check out the Titanic exhibit, which was pretty nifty.  It told the story of the Titanic mostly through artifacts that have been excavated from the wreck.  I was surprised to see how many items had been retrieved.  The exhibit was quite well done, with ship sound effects adding to the overall effect, and quotes and stories from various passengers.  Mine and Andy's only quibble were that there were a couple clothing props used that were clearly--to us anyway--not of the era.  (One was a striped 1970s JC Penney's shirt with the tag still on it, masquerading as a shirt in an Edwardian era third class passenger's suitcase.  Yeah, kinda silly detail and it probably only bothered us due to the nature of our work...but they could at least have taken the JC Penney label off.)

Oh, and when we were about 2/3 through the exhibit, a school group came in.  The kids weren't bad or anything, but suddenly this lovely, quiet experience was chaos and noise.  I probably wouldn't have minded so much if we hadn't paid $17.00 each to see it.  (Signs of aging: grumbling about the kids, prices, noise, and lack of authenticity in a museum exhibit.  Bring on the Geritol!  I am a curmudgeon!)

This is Andy pointing out Lake Freska on the topographical map of Kent County.

We couldn't leave the museum without a stop in my favorite room, this Victorian era specimens room, which is filled with displays of rocks, minerals, coral, skulls, and poor, creepy taxidermied animals.

It was an excellent birthday!



  1. Happy Birthday to you!

    I love old style museum exhibits like that specimen room. It really shows how taste has changed!

    I've been know to go up to an attraction, see the school buses and leave, which is bit hypocritical as I led many a fifth grader into museums and historical sites. But my bunches always behaved, by gosh, or they knew they would not get to go the next time. Whenever I do get stuck with a really well-behaved school group, I always let the teacher know that she/he is doing a great job.

    Several years ago this well-known collector of movie costumes lent some of his collection to a local arts group so they could display it as a fund raiser. There were at least 3 items that I knew were not what the collector thought they were.

    First, a “1960s Liza Minnelli owned dress” was actually from the 80s, and with a lower-priced department store label. A “1950s movie-worn gown by Bette Davis” was an 80s acrylic bathrobe! And an orange dress that said “from the estate of Audrey Hepburn” was a scratchy poly double knit homemade affair, that I seriously doubt had been anywhere near Ms. Hepburn’s Givenchy clad body.

    My birthday is next week, and I'm way past 44. Tim actually asked where I wanted to go for lunch! So it must be that you are officially one of the old guys.

    1. Thanks for the birthday wishes, Lizzie! :)

      I felt like such a curmudgeon. We made a complaint when we left the museum (and did get free parking!), but in a nice way, suggesting that maybe they could have school groups on just certain days, or a "quiet day" for those of us who prefer that. They were kind of dismissive, like "Oh we can't do that" blaming it on the schools. The kids were not awfully behaved...but they were far from quiet. I gave the teachers several dirty looks, but I doubt they noticed or cared. Sometimes the teachers were the worst, actually--yelling at the kids to round them up.

      That's so funny about that collector. I wonder if he was uninformed, or just thought he could pull one over on everyone?

      I hope your birthday is a lovely one...and that you get a really great lunch!

    2. Some museums and historic sites do only allow school groups to come on certain days of the week. And I can tell you from experience, that teachers rarely take kids off campus on Monday. Of course, many places are closed that day as well.

  2. happy belated birthday, dear! i love the purple granny hair, and
    i really want to get Andy another beer :) my 46th is coming up in a few months - getting into that next age bracket again ...

    1. Thank you, Alex! :) I know, doesn't he look dismayed at that empty glass?

  3. Happiest of happy birthdays beautiful lady!
    I love your purple hair and I'm so the same when it comes to groups of children. Something about that whole "seen but not heard"! … I hope you had cake!


    1. Thank you, T! I had creme brulee (and macarons!), but no cake...but I was happy with that. :)

  4. Love the hair! Seeing yours is making it really tempting for me...

  5. Happy belated birthday!!! I'm a curmudgeon, too. And I like it that way.


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