Monday, August 23, 2010

A Birthday By the Numbers

I was born in 1966. So that means that for the first few decades of my life, there was a nifty pattern. This birthday is the end of that pattern, but since 2010 is a nice round number, it seems like a good time to look back on my life by elevens:

  • In '77 I was 11: I lived with my 3 brothers and 2 sisters in a little brick rowhouse just outside of Baltimore on exit 13 of the Beltway. We had a swingset in the yard, an alley in the back for bike riding, and a maple tree in front for climbing. I liked reading, crafts (I think I already had a weaving loom by then), riding my bike and playing my viola. My favorite books at that time were the Little House on the Prairie Books, and my camera was a kodak instamatic 110-the kind that looked like a candy bar and had a post with a flashcube on top. I still took a lot of photos, even then.
  • In '88 I was 22: I was getting ready to move into my first real house-a brand-new townhome just outside of Baltimore but 4 exits up the Beltway. I was married and had one child and had just found out I was expecting another. A few weeks later I experienced my only miscarriage. Fortunately I recovered quickly and was pregnant yet again by the end of that year. I liked reading, crafts, taking walks with the baby in the stroller and trying to learn how to be a grown-up. My camera was a Canon EOS 620 I think. It was the camera that really started my life in photography and was a gift for the previous Christmas from my husband.
  • In '99 I was 33: I lived in the house I live in now. I had all five of my children by then (ranging in age from 3-12 at that point), we'd moved to and from Seattle and Atlanta in the intervening 11 years, and my husband started and finished law school. I liked reading, crafts (knitting was part of my life in a big way at this age), riding my bike, running (this was the year of my first marathon) teaching knitting, trying to figure out how to be a grown-up and serving in church. My calling then was as the Stake Young Women President. Life was definitely going full steam ahead. My camera was an EOS 630 that we got as a replacement for the first EOS that was lost in Hawaii in 1990. I would continue to use that camera till about 2005.
  • Today I'm 44, but there will be no more double digit years for my double digit years for the rest of my life. My next multiples of 11 will be in 2021, '32, '43, '54 and '65. Hopefully I'll make it to the biggest one of all: '66 and a 1 followed by double zeroes! I actually like thinking about that. Anyway, I've lived in the same house now for 17 years, my kids are now 14-23 years old, and this year I'll only have two at home because I'm at the other end of motherhood and they're growing up, in spite of the fact that I'm not sure I've figured out the whole grown-up thing yet. This is the year I gained a daughter-in-law and it will always be special for that. I like reading, knitting, running, writing, taking photos, teaching, and now at this middlest of middle ages, I'll be going back to school. I've been accepted to the local community college and will begin working toward a certificate in photography next week. Just one basic art class, but it seems a good way to commemorate a birthday-by starting something new. My camera is a Canon 5D but I think it is funny that I just bought an EOS 650 film camera for 35 bucks on ebay so I can get back into film as part of my certificate. Time just goes in circles sometimes.
Today, I got the best birthday present of all, a day with my family. Everyone was there but Johnathan of course, but thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I could read his weekly letter on my phone while we were all were out sightseeing amongst the grandeur of monuments and museums in D.C., so it was the next best thing. I came home to millions of wishes on facebook that have been an absolute delight, a surprise gift and slice of cheesecake from the kids, cards from friends and family and a warm, happy feeling in my heart. It was a perfect day for me and I can honestly say that it is good to be 44. Here's to the next 11 years!

The Gang in front of the National Museum of American History. Go and see the Star Spangled Banner!

At the WW2 Memorial. This is my first visit there and it is really beautiful.

One of the beautiful, symbolic sculptures at the WW2 Memorial

Each state is represented here.

Sam is very proud of his birthplace!

The view from the Lincoln Memorial.

Part of the walk-around porch outside the Lincoln Memorial

Column Detail at the Lincoln Memorial

Reflecting pool

One without a person in it.


  1. A fun way to commemorate your special day. Thinking of you!

  2. Happy Birthday Kel. It sounds like the perfect day.

  3. As your geeky little brother, almost exactly 10 years younger than you I might add, I found the math to be one of the most interesting things about your post! Actually, in one way, 2010 is actually the last of the pattern because since '99 is 9 X 11, 2010 could be seen as 110 if you replace the 20 with a 1 (as if you were counting up from 0 to 110), which is 10X11, so you still have a double number (sort of - maybe its a bit of a stretch)! In 11 years from now, no such luck though. Happy Birthday!

  4. I'm glad you had such a wonderful birthday! Too bad about the date thing, though. And hey, do you mean to tell me Star Wars didn't make your list on '77??? :::shakes head:::

    Hmm, my word verification today is blessons. The blessings sons bring? Happy birthday, my friend.

  5. I walked all the way around the Lincoln Memorial porch in April and it never occurred to me to get that shot. I love it, and really must try to see things differently!

  6. Happy Happy birthday! You are younger than my husband! I thought bishops and their wives were supposed to be old :)

  7. I wish I'd called you on your birthday. Happy Belated Birthday! Those are seriously awesome numbers, and a GREAT recap of your life. You are so great.


Thank you for sharing your insights!